My mom rules at being a mom. You’d have a hard time walking into my house without finding a stocked pantry and a full jar of homemade cookies, and the fact that I made it to all my activities as one of the most over-committed children ever (soccer, ballet, choir, you name it) is nothing short of a miracle. I could go on for years about the things I wouldn’t know how to do without Anna’s teaching, but since it’s Mothers Day I think I should share some of the more unusual and possibly impractical ideas I have acquired from my mother.
- “Tanning beds will mess up your insides.”
If you enjoy a little fake bake every now and then, don’t bring it up around my mom. Sure, most parents may warn of that “skin cancer” thing or “wrinkles,” but nothing will scare you like my mom’s anecdotal evidence as to why, in her opinion, the tanning bed will mess with your internal organs. So, thanks mom. Although I can’t say I’ve never been to the tanning bed, the very few times I HAVE gone, I spend all 8 minutes picturing my ovaries frying and feeling guilty, and wind up with a sunburn I have to explain to you by saying “I sat outside at lunch.” I guess I’ll have to give up my aspirations to one day join the cast of Jersey Shore.
- “Don’t go swimming for 30 minutes after you eat.”
I’m not going to lie, this rule was a total buzzkill for me as a child. I mean, during adult swim ALL I EVER WANTED was a fruit snack, and I felt cheated every single time when I couldn’t get back in the pool once they blew the whistle. However, in retrospect, this is pretty sound advice. Nothing is as much of a buzzkill as a kid getting sick all over the pool, and as a result of adhering strictly to this rule I was able to really refine my skills making tents out of beach towels and pool furniture. (No, if you swam instead of helping me build it you are SO not allowed in. Build your own fort.)
- “No caffeine after 5pm.”
I followed this rule religiously as a child. It was enforced so rigidly that even stretching into my teenage years, I didn’t realize it was the least bit unusual. Well, I didn’t realize it until freshman year of high school when some older kid handed me a coke one night at a party. He asked me if I would drink a little so he’d have room for liquor in there (how’s that for peer pressure?) and I acted as if he’d offered me a cup full of poison. WHY WOULD I DRINK A COKE AT 9PM YOU PSYCHO? What, do you think I want to be awake ALL NIGHT!?
After some trial and error, I actually still kind of follow this rule. I used to pound espresso at the library when I was studying late night, but as it turns out I always end up giving up and wanting to sleep regardless of whether I have a caffeine buzz (or a heavy workload, or a giant exam the next day…). A triple grande nonfat latte just means that I wind up sitting in my bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering why I left the library so early. So, mom, you were right. Caffeine after five is definitely for psychos.
- “Nobody likes a picky eater.”
The only thing you have to do to get on my mother’s good side is appreciate her food. It’s a pretty easy thing to do, since she is a fabulous cook, but you’d be surprised at who gets it wrong. We had a friend in early elementary school who literally didn’t like to eat anything. Seriously, I think my mom listed off about a million kid-friendly foods she could whip up and this girl was not biting. I think her name was Jennifer, but to be honest she didn’t last long. She is now referred to as “that-girl-who-was-such-a-picky-eater-she-didn’t-even-like-hotdogs.”
- “Dacey. You are not ADD, you are gifted.”
When I was in high school, I drew on my books (and notebooks, and permission slips, and worksheets, and everything) while my teachers were talking. One fateful day in la clase de español (see, I WAS paying attention!) my teacher pulled me out of class, intervention-style. She looked at me gravely and held out my workbook, which was so scribbled on with my name in various signatures that you couldn’t tell what book it even was. I was pretty freaked out because based on the look she had I thought she was about to tell me someone had passed away or that I was being kicked out of school. “Dacey,” she said, “I think we need to talk about the idea of Attention Deficit Disorder.”
I’m pretty sure I looked at her, warned her not to bother telling my mom that, and went back inside to sit down and finish coloring in some bubble letters. This has probably saved me from 3 years of cracked out Adderal binges in Hodges Library and really allowed me to improve my various bubble letters. Thanks, mom!