Momma told me so

I’ve been playing with this forever; trying to get an essay written that I can share with my family and that feels true and right. I even went so far as to make both of my brothers write one, with the idea that their memories might inspire some of my own. Theirs are great and touching, but they didn’t have the desired effect on my own writing… I’m still struggling along with it. One of these days, whenever mine is finished, I’ll share them all here.

Anyway… part of what that template causes you to reflect on are some of the stories that make up the history of your family. That started me thinking along the lines of the crazy things we were led to believe as kids. Those little lies our parents or older siblings told us to fuel our imaginations or to make us behave or to frighten us or even, maybe, to make the everyday seem magical.

The lies parents tell is a popular blog subject, apparently, but this post was a favorite among the many I came across.

I made a list of the things I could remember being told and would imagine that many of you will share a similar list if you were to think of it. Maybe you find yourself repeating the same lies to your own kids for the sake of convenience or whimsy.

– “If you don’t eat something, you’ll blow away in the wind!” (A favorite of my Grandpa’s.)

– “I promise I won’t let go.” – when the training wheels first came off.

– “Of course we leave the hall light on for you all night.” (I was especially scared of the monsters that lived under the bed.)

– “Your teeth will be ruined if you keep sucking your thumb.” (My oldest brother was probably in braces at that point and all those wires and rubber bands looked really scary to 7 year old me.)

– “Your face will freeze that way.”

– Sitting too close to the TV will ruin your eyes.

– “You’ll catch a cold if you go out like that!”

– “You’re too young for coffee… it puts hair on your chest.”

– Fibbing makes your nose grow.

Mostly harmless, right? Little lies. Have any to add?

And then, of course, there were the real lies we grew up believing:

– “If you tell the truth you won’t get in trouble.”

– “You’ll understand when you’re older.”

– “It’ll only hurt for a second.”

– “I’ll be right here when you come back.”

18 thoughts on “Momma told me so”

  1. My memories center around my dad’s opinion of many of our boyfriends…

    “If you lay down with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas.”

    and, of course, his favorite:

    “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s***.”

  2. My Mom said ” If you sit on concrete you’ll get a chill in your female parts”!!

    Stragely, Art’s Dad said you’d get hemorrhoids!

    Where do they GET some of these ideas?

  3. I think the hardest one for me is the “I’ll be here” one. Having lost a parent when I was a child, I have a hard time promising my children that I’ll “always be there.” I don’t want to be a liar. I can say I’ll always love them. I can say I’ll always watch over them. But, I can’t promise I’ll always be there — life (or death) too often gets in the way.

    On a lighter note, I tell my kids that the morning dew is created by the Dew Drop Fairies — cousins to Jack Frost! They love it and when we drive to school on dewy mornings, they’ll tell me how busy the Dew Drop Fairies have been.

  4. Not very poetic, but my life’s journey can be summed up in one short sentence: To Hell in a Handbasket.

    And as for the lies perpetuated by adults:
    Santa Claus.
    Respect your Elders.

    Hey, they don’t call me a curmudgeon for nothin’…

  5. That last one made me sad.

    Let’s see:

    Eating the crust of your bread will help you learn how to whistle.

    Never stick anything in your ear, except for your elbow. (that one is actually good advice)

    There’s no such thing as monsters.

  6. My mother’s response to requests to go just about anywhere: “No, there are weirdos there!” recited in a Spanish accent. I still don’t know if she meant hippies, or dopers, or what. But everywhere I wanted to go, there were “weirdos” there, so I couldn’t go.

  7. “If you clean your plate, it will be a sunny day tomorrow..”
    I tell my daughter that all the time and she already knows it doesn’t work, but I say it anyway. Also, “Don’t waste your food, there are starving kids in {insert 3rd world country here ] that would kill you for that brusell sprout..”
    Someone told me that her father used to say to her “eat your broccoli, it will make your boobies grow..” Never heard that one. Maybe eating saurcraut would put hair on your chest. All food for thought….

  8. Jayne: lol! I don’t remember getting any sort of boyfriend advice from my dad. Too bad that, cause he might have saved me a lot of high school grief.


    Lynne: I hear the same sort of thing… weird!

    Liza: Yep, but I’m not sure that the truth or impossibility of those statements really matters. I think it must be nice for a kid to be able to believe that for a while anyway.

    I love your Dew Drop Fairy story! That something I bet they’ll repeat to someone else.

    Dr. Know: Respect for elders was a big thing in our house – I wouldn’t dare question it – even to this day.

    Snipe Hunts?

    NCMountainWoman: I spent countless hours staring at a half-empty plate contemplating that very same thing.


  9. Susan: Yeah.

    I thought bread crusts made your hair curl.


    And monsters… I think we might’ve been taught that the really scary things in life don’t always look so scary until they’ve got you trapped somewhere dark.

    Delia: Pobrecita… but I wonder if it didn’t keep you safe.

    Chicken Farmer Kevin: When are you gonna write something on that darn blog of yours!

    (Had to get that out of the way first… I mean, I can’t be the only one sharing embarrasing family stories.)

    I’d forgotten about the sunny day thing. I do remember you making *train wreck* faces at me across the dinner table. Why were you so intent on getting me in trouble at dinner? Was it cause I always asked for Lima Beans?

    The broccoli thing worked apparently.


    Too bad I only started really liking it a couple years ago. It’s probably too late for me, right?

    Sandy: Why not share a couple?

  10. Along the lines of the too close to the TV saying; “you’ll ruin your eye site if you keep reading that with hardly any lights on.”

  11. My Mom, when someone upset me, would always say “Well you really let them know where your goat was tied, didn’t you.”

    She still says that.

  12. “Want something to cry about? I’ll GIVE you something to cry about.” But, that wasn’t a lie :o)

    I’ve heard them all. I loved this post.

  13. If you eat the apple cores then apple trees will grow out of your ears.

    Batting left-handed will get you to first base faster! (He forgot the part about you have to hit the ball, too)

    Fun post!

  14. Cedrorum: Yeah.. that sounds familiar.


    Webtoad: You had a goat? Cool.


    Mary: And its close cousin, “You’re bored? I’ll give you something to be bored about.”

    Rabbit’s Guy: lol!

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