It’s your mother. Not only am I your mother, but I have a mother too. And she had a mother, and she had a mother and so on and so on and so on, just like that old shampoo commercial from the 70s. Not only that, but I grew up watching reruns of The Brady Bunch and Happy Days. That alone practically qualifies me as an expert in Mom-dom. Not only that, but it is a well-know fact that mother knows best, you should always listen to your mother and quite simply, because I said so.
Despite what you may think, children, I was not placed on this earth to make life more difficult for you. I do not always say ‘no’. It is not my sole goal in life to make sure that you suffer in misery throughout your childhood and that you don’t get to do anything your friends do. Yes, I do know how to cut toast, how to count to ten when playing Monopoly and though I may not know which Clone Commander wears green and which wears blue (Gree and Rex, ha, ha, you doubters), I generally know quite a bit about quite a few things. Just like Carol Brady knew what she was talking about when she told her kids, “Don’t play ball in the house!” Just like the Mom in A Christmas Story knew what she was talking about when she said, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” How do I know? Greg and Peter and Bobby went and broke Carol’s favorite vase, didn’t they? And Ralphie went and nearly shot his eye out. That’s how I know.
There are a lot of things it is my job to teach you in this life. How to be kind to others. How to respect differences. Table manners. Why working hard and never giving up is important. Why giving back is the right thing to do. But sometimes, oh children of mine, it’s the little things. So while I’m sitting her waiting for the moving man to come and give me an estimate, I thought I’d share with you some motherly advice. Sometimes you do need to sweat the small stuff.
Boys, whatever you do, don’t be Jimmy Johnson. Who is Jimmy Johnson? Jimmy Johnson is the boy in 3rd grade who was still picking his nose and eating whatever he found. Yes, I still remember his name, and yes, he was teased. All the time. He was teased, dear sons, because he was 9 years old and picking his nose and eating it. So don’t be another Jimmy Johnson. Just don’t go there. Trust me, I’m your mother.
Don’t offer directions, advice, or how-to to your parent or any other adult in moments of stress. Yes, yes, we know you have good intentions, but no grown person wants to hear that they are putting the comma in the wrong place when trying to get money out of a foreign ATM machine and it’s telling them, in Uzbek, they have insufficient funds. Trying to get money out of an Uzbeki ATM is stressful enough without your well-meaning child telling you you’re doing it wrong. Same goes for directions when driving or anything that you are not legally old enough to do, know how to do, or shouldn’t even know about. Trust me, I’m your mother.
Table manners are important. Some day when you are sitting with the girl you’ve had a crush on for months at Pizza Hut over a romantic, deep-pan pepperoni, you are going to remember that your mother told you to use your napkin and not your shirt. Someday, at a work function you will know how to hold your knife and fork properly and you will not embarrass yourself. Someday, sitting with your future in-laws, you will feel a belch burbling up in your gut and you will excuse yourself from the table. And they will think, “My, this boy has lovely table manners.” And you’ll be in like Flynn. Trust me, I’m your mother.
The truth will set you free. How do I know? Because I have eyes in the back of my head, that’s why. I know all, I see all, I am mom-niscient. And duh, because I was a kid too once, a long, long time ago. It is pretty easy to see and/or smell that you haven’t washed your hands when I’ve asked you too, or that you haven’t brushed your teeth before bed. Yes, the lies will get more dangerous as you age and you’ll become more adept at it. But I am going to find out, so it’s always better to be truthful from the start. Trust me, I’m your mother.
Until you are old enough to go west, young men, I will be all over you like a nasty rash. Yes, I will be barking at you to clean your room. Yes, I will be reminding you not to pick your nose, or use your sleeve as a napkin or eat with your fingers. Yes, I will make sure I know where you are and who you are with and what you are doing and that you aren’t playing ball in the house or hanging out with someone named The Fonz. Or anyone who only goes by one name preceded by “The”. That’s just the way it is, guys. Why? Because I love you. Trust me, I’m your mother.
Be a kid for as long as you can. Because being a grown-up is hard. It’s boring and monotonous for long stretches of time and you have people relying on you and calling you on that i-Phone 5 you saved up for in the middle of the night because of some imaginary emergency. Ride your bikes, play outside, make sure when you say ‘we’ you mean people and not a machine. Eat ice-cream in the summer and watch movies in the winter. Look forward to your first kiss and going to prom. Do your homework. Study hard. But don’t worry if you aren’t the best at everything you do. Do cannonballs and make arm-pit fart noises and camp out and play spin-the-bottle and, well, just enjoy being a kid.
Trust me, I’m your mother.