In celebration of Mother's Day, I asked colleagues, friends and relatives to come up with their favorite "motherisms." Here are just a few.
On discipline: "Don't make me have to come back there."
On making you wear a shirt with sleeves that are too short: "If you roll them up, who can tell?"
On buying shoes that are slightly too big: "When you're wearing your heavy socks, they will fit just fine."
On keeping the old shoes: "You can use the new pair as your school shoes and kick around the house in the others."
On wearing hand-me-downs: "Your brother only wore these once or twice."
Upon asking her for money: "Do I look like a bank?" which has evolved into, "Do I look like a Cash Station?"
Upon asking her opinion: "Do what you want. You will anyway."
On watching a son gulp a meal: "What girl is going to want to sit and watch you eat like that?"
On watching a daughter gulp a meal: "What boy is going to want to sit and watch you eat like that?"
Upon passing a lighted room: "Am I the only one in this house who knows how to turn off a light?"
Upon passing a bathroom: "Am I the only one who knows how to change the toilet paper roll?"
On challenging her intelligence: "You must think I'm a fool."
"I wasn't born yesterday, you know."
"I've been where you're trying to go."
On challenging your intelligence: "I bet you think you're so smart."
On obedience: "While you're living here, you'll dance to my music."
On dancing to music: "Don't shake your butt like that in my house."
On wearing too much makeup: "You're not leaving this house looking like a clown."
On burned toast: "Just scrape it off."
On swallowing your pride: "Just swallow fast."
On forgetfulness: "You'd forget your head if it weren't attached to you."
On being nosey: "Stay out of grown folks' business."
On self-reliance: "God helps those who help themselves."
"If your friends jump into Lake Michigan, I suppose you'd follow, too, huh? (Note: The body of water can change to read: the Mississippi, the Danube, etc., depending on one's geography.)
On remaining chaste: "Why buy the cow when the milk is free?"
On running away: "You can leave, but take only the things you came here with."
"Hey, I'll pack your clothes and send them to you later."
On reprimanding the neighbor child: "Does your mama let you do that at your home?"
A mother's curse: "I hope someday you'll have children just like you."
"I hope I live long enough to see your children treat you the way you treat me."
On that trip called guilt: "All I want is a few kind words."
"Is that too much to ask?"
"Don't worry about me, I'll be all right."
"Are you proud of yourself?"
"The poor children in (fill in the name of an impoverished country) would kill to have what you have."
"A mother is the last to know."
"I never made my mother cry."
"Give folks their flowers while they're living."
"Happiness is a direction, not a place."
"You think that's heartache? Just keep on living."
"Every knockdown is a boost."
"Measure twice, saw once."
"Just remember, I love you no matter what."