Two years ago, in honor of Mother's Day, I wrote my Weekly Words of Wellness column about “momisms.” This week several people asked me if I would please write about momisms again this year and several readers even sent me some of their favorite words of wisdom that they heard from their moms through the years. I have included several of these new additions here. My friend and author, Ann Stratton, wrote a similar column about her mom's favorite sayings, which I highly recommend. You can find her column at http://aystratton.com. A momism is any of a wide variety of pithy, wise statements of advice and warning that all mothers seem to have stored in their collective memories, available to be pulled out and used at just the right moment. Below you will find some of the all time favorite momisms, followed by a brief reflection on how each of these sayings offer us some insight into the deeper principles about personal and family wellness that our mothers were in fact teaching us--even if they didn't know it at the time! The momism appears in quotes, followed by the expanded personal/family wellness principle being taught, in italics.
- “If you keep making faces like that (or crossing your eyes), one of these days they are just going to stay like that!” Over time, the little choices we make turn into habits, which then become very hard to break or unlearn. We create the patterns in our lives, and then the patterns create us.
- “For a friend in need, say a prayer and roast a chicken.” Our spirituality is expressed well in our prayers, but it is expressed equally well by providing concrete, practical support for a friend in need.
- “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!” Words create worlds. Our words have the power to build up or break down the people we love.
- “Don't walk away from me when I'm talking to you!” Stay connected to those you love, even when you disagree--or especially when you disagree.
- “How do you know you don't like it when you haven't even tasted it?!” Be open to trying new things, to tasting new experiences for yourself and in your relationships.
- “If everyone else jumped off cliff, would you have to do it to?” Be an individual who lives life from the “inside out,” aligned with your core values and beliefs, not overly influenced by the dominant culture.
- “I don't care who started it, I want it stopped, now!” It's not about being “right” when you are in conflict with someone, it's about staying in right relationship with them.
- “Don't use that tone with me!” Words said with a harsh tone will escalate a conflict. The same words, said with a soft tone, will maximize our chances of resolving a conflict. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean.
- “I don't know is not an answer!” Choosing to “hide” by pretending not to know what you are really thinking or feeling will always lead to more problems later on.\
- “I see everything because I have eyes in the back of my head! (Or I hear everything because I have ‘mother hearing'). We may think we can keep secrets from those we are closest to, but we cannot. The truth always comes out.
- “You know, money doesn't grow on trees!” Our well being, and the well being of our relationships, must be earned over time through the day to day small choices we make.
- “No matter what you do, I will always be your Mother, and I will always love you.” Unconditional love is the single most powerful determinant of personal and family wellness.
A special thanks to our mothers for teaching us all that we needed to know to be well!
And to all the women in our lives, who bless us with their love and guidance, Happy Mother's Day. ***Do you have a favorite momism that I left out? Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.