Mama Said

Mama SaidMama always said so many many times. It seems an inherent trait in mothers to repeat themselves. Perhaps the repetition is indicative of Mama's need to assure herself that the mantras she utters really will protect her babes. How many times do we have to hear, "Wear your best panties when you go to the doctor?"

Or, "Are you really going out dressed like that?"

What about, "Just because I said so?"

Is there a secret Mama school somewhere they go to learn those annoying rules that plague each generation as it matures?

Did your Mama have an admonition or phrase she always said? Let us know. If your contribution is really unusual, we may use it here.

So, drop us your comments and include your Mama's words in your comments--along with your e-mail address. We'd love to hear what she had to say--and what you have to say, too.

What did your Mama say? Tell us.

"offer it up to the pour souls"

Which my daughter now tells me just flew out of HER mouth! My mom used this phrase after listening to us spill out a list of woes, all of which she couldn't fix. It was the period on the sentence. It was what it was. Might as well get some grace for putting up with it. Oh...and in order for it to work, grace that is, you couldn't tell anyone else about the suffering you were enduring. Graces got you into heaven.


It doesn't have to be perfect--it just has to look that way.

--Elaine Price

As little kids, we got our plates served at the stove, then we'd carry them a few feet over to the table. Some things were already on the table, butter, salt, pepper, rolls, salads, cold stuff... but the hot items stayed over on the electric eyes unless we were having company. As we were coming to the end of the meal, mom would go over to the stove and look to see if there was enoughfood to make it worth saving for leftovers. If not, she'd bringthe potover to the table and ask who wanted more. "Who wants a nickle's worth of green beans?"and "Steve, do you want a dime's worth of potatoes?" I'm not sure if this is a remnant of speech left over from the depression, where a plate of food might really contain a nickle or dime's worth (one or two spoonfuls) of vegetables, or not, but I've never heard anyone else say it.

--Jane Jacobson

Mama was a Georgia gal who carried her roots with her in all her travels all over the country. It was a gift I cherish. Mama says, "The quickest way to hell is not knowing where you are going."

-- R.A. Semich

Mama says, "The fireflies are the souls of those who could not find their way to heaven."

-- R.A. Semich

Mama says, "You will always find your true home, no matter how you get there, honey."

-- R.A. Semich

Mama says, "I believe that you can never lose someone if they live in your heart; but you can forget them, if you choose that."

-- R.A. Semich

This wasn't something my Mom said, but something my best friend's Mom would say. "Cuss fire (far) and save the matches.” This would be said when something startling would happen or when something that shouldn't have been said, was said.


When I turned 18 and was old enough to visit the bars in Kansas City, KS, my mother told me, "I don't want you going into those bars.” When I asked why she was so worried about it, her reply was, "Because someone from the church might see you there.

--Karen Cockrell

"One of my Momma's favorite things to say was 'Act like somebody.' She'd always tell my sister and I that whenever we were going someplace without her. And we knew that we'd better be minding our P's & Q's while we were gone. It seemed that there was always a friend of Momma's or some relative that would report back to her if we didn't!”

--Linda Kidd

My mama always said, "Get your Christmas decorations down before New Year's Day or there won't be enough black-eyed peas in the world to bring you good luck.”

--Kristen Goldston

My mother always told us, 'For every privilege you receive, there is an equal responsibility.' We thought that she was just trying to spoil our fun, but now I see the wisdom in her words. For example, driving a car is a great freedom, but you must always be careful not to injure anyone while doing it. Being married is great, but one must take the time to nurture one's partner and commitment. Mom was right!

--Adrienne Lloyd

When saying something particularly catty or unkind about another human being (but not often, mind you), my mama always makes a little flicking motion to her shoulder. She always said that was to make sure you get the devil off you. You know what's she referring to: ‘Get thee behind me Satan!' I love your books by the way. I bought them all when y'all were at ALA in Atlanta last year.

--Valarie Adams

If there was something planned for later on Mama would say ‘Lord willing and the Creek don't rise.' It was years later that I learned that the Creek were Native Americans from South Carolina, and not the creek between my Grandparents' house and the Church.

-- Louise Sharp-Blackstone

Today in the car during a ride home from mom's birthday lunch, my sisters, mom and I were discussing some of our 'uncles'. We were talking our way through some of our more familiar points of conversation, going back a couple of generations, when some of our relatives' lesser known 'deeds' seeped out of the family tree.

I must admit when I heard that these sweet ole' men (who I'd known in their older and even doddering stages) had sown not only 'wild oats' but fields of them and in a seasonal manner, while married to their wives (who had known their own kind of wisdom), it filled me like an epiphany...has my mind just come to realize most all men do this? Or just men on Earth? To say my brain went through a 'Sex in the City' series of questions Carrie herself would find exhausting is an understatement.

From one of us in the car came the question of disbelief, 'Why are we just now hearing about this?', and of course the answer mom gave was 'It never came up before.'

!!! What !? I'm Sorry?! Never mentioned!?!

'Yes. it was never mentioned. It was impolite to bring it up; but if the subject has already been broached, it's all right to talk about it. You know. It's just a Southern thing.'

What is this, Southern Rule 101-aaaaaaa? The bubble-thought popped in my head! I know there are rules but has mom just created a new one? Now that she is a year older, is there now a 'share info packet in glove compartment with daughters, rule 12b?'

'If it's a Southern thing,' I started to say, 'why, you are the most Southern person I know.' I told mom.

Don't ask me how I know...I just know, and anyway...I think it might just be impolite to ask.

After all, it took mom twenty-five years of my life to reach rule 12b...I figure it must be something you're born with yet takes time to grow into...this being Southern. . . it's more than a trait. . . it's like being the stately just takes time. There are no true maps to show you the way unless you were lucky enough to have Southern parents who took the time to explain the why's and the what for's along the way. And if you weren't and if you were born in the were still Southern so what's the difference? You might not have had the Southern way. So-oo-oo let's just get it straight this one time...if you know the difference, go out and spread the word, but do it discreetly. It's just like vanilla behind the ear...a little is nice but a lot will draw flies.

--Joanne Crosby

"My mother used to say to me, 'Alice, be careful of what you wish for. The chances are you might get it.' How true this has become with some things I wished for and got, that I would have been better off if they had just passed me on by!"

—Alice Glenn

"I was always told you never pay for your raising until you raise your own. Now I tell this sage advice to my children about my grandchildren. Also, my father always said the only alternative to growing old was not growing old."

—Ann Linker

"My mom used to say that there are two things in this world everyone should know how to do—swim and drive a straight shift—because you never know when you may need to save someone's life, and pray to God it's not your own."

—Traci Bryant

"If myself or one of my siblings had a particularly sulky expression, or pulled a horrible face, my Mother always said, 'The wind will change, and you'll stay like that.' When I was little, I would always glance up nervously, to see how windy it was... just in case."

—Denton Bearman

"My mama always said, 'If you can't say anything nice about a person, don't say anything at all.' So of course there were lots of people we never mentioned."

—Donna Greene

"My mama's rules and commentary, inherited directly from her mama:

'You can't go barefoot before the first of May.'

'Don't wash clothes or sew on Sunday or New Year's Day.'

and for when I misbehaved, 'If you weren't mine, I'd just shoot you and tell God you died.'"

—Sara Amis

"A saying my mother had was, 'Don't do as I do, but do as I say.' This was of particular interest to her when at the age of 19 I decided to get married. Of course she was married at 14 (another coal miner's daughter, if you will). She thought that I should wait until I was at least 30 to even think of marriage."

—Debbie Roe