This Sunday we celebrate our mothers - the ones who raised us, guided us and imparted words of wisdom. Boise author Patti Murphy knows quite a bit about those words of wisdom. Her new book Mother Knows Better – Sense and Nonsense from American Moms is a collection of what she calls “momisms.”
“They’re the things that moms use to kind of either teach a lesson or encourage some behavior change,” Murphy explains. “Most people have heard the momism ‘Always wear clear underwear in case you get into a wreck.’ They are just things that people remembered their moms saying.”
Murphy’s mother had lots of wisdom to share with her daughter. Murphy says one quote that stuck with her was “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” Murphy remembers rolling her eyes when her mother would say that but now she says, any time she thinks about cutting corners, her mother’s words come back to her.
“No matter how different we all are, we have a lot in common,” Murphy says. “All moms have something that they say. And while these [quotes] aren’t brilliant or profound or earth changing, what they really are is a real thing that a real mom said to a real kid at some point. And when you look at it in that context it’s kind of like an oral history that gets passed down through the generations.”
Murphy started thinking about bits of wisdom that get passed down in the 1990s. She was having dinner with a friend and offered her shrimp. Her friend politely refused saying her mother had told her that shrimp tails were poisonous as a kid. That stuck with Murphy who started hearing more and more momisms.
She started by collecting these into her first book Mother Knows Best – Wit and Wisdom from Idaho Moms. That book was released in 2011. But Murphy says she knew after that book, she wanted to do a nationwide search for motherly advice. She says she received “hundreds and hundreds” of responses from people all of the U.S.
Here are a few selected quotes from the author:
“Don’t ever go to the principal’s office because they’ll put you in a closet filled with snakes.”
– Bonnie Gordon, Mother of Jeff Gordon - Pasadena, California
“Your get up and go got up and went.”
– Helen Kennedy, Mother of Academy Award winning actor George Kennedy - Eagle, Idaho
“You can drive the car when it snows in Miami.”
– Pat Howard, Mother of Dana Howard Foppiano - Atlantic Beach, Florida
“I’m doing the best I can. You didn’t come with instructions on your butt!”
– Mary Allen, Mother of Melanie Allen - Geneva, Illinois
"When you get to heaven you'll see colors you've never seen before."
– Ruby Long, mother of Jenny Long Niemeyer - Boise, Idaho
We’d like to hear your momisms. What did your mother tell you when you were growing up? Share your comments below.