Essay — Because I Said So

Thanks for sharing this!

Years ago, when my kids were little I had a whole vocabulary of wise one-liners. A few favorites were: Clean up your room, it looks like a tornado went through here. Eat your vegetables, they’ll make you grow. Do I look like your maid?

It didn’t take long to find out those so-called kid motivators produced a high rate of disorderly conduct. The youngest tidied up her room by hiding stuff under the bed. The middle child fed his veggies to the dog. And when our new landlord asked if I had a job, my oldest told him I cleaned houses.

Image source: NARA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Image source: NARA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

My next try at prompting good behavior included Stop cracking your knuckles, you’ll get arthritis. If you want to go blind, keep reading in the dark. Playing with toads will give you warts.

Today, many of the jibes, puns, and clever remarks voiced by moms in former years have been debunked. The latest buzz recommends when talking to children (young or grown up), it’s better to think before you speak and remember to be tactful.

Still, I believe Momisms will be around as long as I live in Carpenter Country. In fact, the above “remember to be tactful” sentence is just a sweeter version of If you can’t say anything nice, keep quiet.

Which makes me wonder how they’ll spruce up Why? Because I said so, that’s why!

A possible revision could sound like this: You want to know why, sweetie? Because I’m your tactful mother and I’m asking you politely, that’s why.

Yuck! I’m glad my sage advice days are over.


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