Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mother-isms - things my mum taught me

If theres one thing I’ve learned from experience, its that you probably never FULLY appreciate your own mother, until you become a mother yourself.

Suddenly I’m having all these light-bulbs go off… these “aahaaaa!” moments. Suddenly I understand!

Please note: I mean no disrespect to the non-mums out there, what I’m trying to say is that although I loved, valued, respected and appreciated my mum all my life, until I became a mama myself, and went through all those sleepless nights, the illnesses, the toddler tantrums, the stress, the joys, the pride, the constant questioning of yourself if you’re “doing it right” etc – well, I now have a deeper level of appreciation. I suspect it will only increase as time goes by and I struggle to be a good parent during the upcoming difficult times, the school years, the teenage angst and rebellion, the constant “mums taxi and drop off service” that I’ll be providing etc for the next 20-odd years…

My own mum is a gem. She grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and by all accounts was one tough cookie when she was a kid. As a mother, she has never been one to drag out that old line of “Just you wait til your father gets home”… No siree – my mum was more like “I’m dealing with this here and now!” Yep, mum was the disciplinarian at my house. And if I'd been naughty, when my dad came home from work we’d all sit at the dinner table and mum would tell dad how naughty I’d been. Then he’d sit there and say “Oh Hilary…” in such a tone of disappointment, and give me this look – honestly, it was worse than any punishment I ever got from mum LOL!! I was always more worried about disappointing my dad than any punishment my ma could dish out!

Mum loved trotting out those old familiar lines:

“You’re like a bull in a china shop!”

“Stop crying or I’ll give you something to really cry about!”

“My house, my rules! If you don’t like it, you know what to do”

“Finish your dinner, think about the starving children in Africa!”

And my own personal favourite, when mum got sick of that endless question, always spoken in that annoying, plaintive voice that kids have:

Muuuum… whats for dinner?"

She would always reply “yim yams”.

I still, to this day, do not know what a ‘yim yam’ is.

But mums can also the bearers of some amazing wisdom…

There are some things that mums teach you from an early age that you carry with you all your life. Pearls of Wisdom.  Not all of them were good ones as I remember, and a few of them had to do with going out with boys and what you should and shouldn’t do… I wont share those little gems, but my mum does have a few very handy tips.

I bring you - Lessons from my mum:

Folding washing at the line

Ok this one is probably the most useful one of the lot. Just like my own mum, I detest ironing. Well I don’t actually know anyone who loves ironing, so I guess I’m not alone there. The lesson here is that you should always fold the dry clothes while you are at the washing line – that means it takes longer to bring the washing in because you have to fold each item as soon as you unpeg it, but honestly it saves you a ton of time later on by not having to sort, fold or iron.

I have expanded on this lesson too – I have a basket each for my husband and myself (I do kids clothes separately). So as I take an item off the line, if its mine it gets folded and goes straight into my basket. If its his, it gets folded and goes straight into his basket. Then when you bring it in it’s a very simple matter of putting the already folded clothes away in the wardrobes. Or in my case, I put hubbys in neat little piles on the bed – he can put his own clothes away!

Result = very little ironing required.

Unless you’re one of those people who likes to iron everything, including underwear. I know of one person like that!

Scrunch test before buying clothes

This one kinda goes hand in hand with the previous lesson – when you are standing in a clothes shop, thinking about buying an item of clothing – do the scrunch test on it.

I cant count the number of times that I’ve witnessed my own mum do this. Always done very inconspicuously of course – almost on the sly in case someone saw her doing it… she would grab a small handful of material, scrunch it in her fist and hold it for a few seconds (and casually look in the other direction as if she's daydreaming). When you let go, if the material is really badly wrinkled, step away from the clothes rack!

Hmmm, now that I think of it, I'm beginning to think my mum REAAALLY hated ironing!

(Apologies to anyone in clothing retail who might be slightly horrified at this destruction of your carefully displayed clothes! In my defense I’ve only done it a handful of times myself, cos I usually feel a bit guilty about doing it)

Tips for selling a house

So our last real estate agent scoffed at this, and I admit its quite a strange one. But seriously, my parents were the experts at buying and selling houses when I was a kid. Of course they never actually made any money doing it, but I think I lived in about 7 different houses when I was growing up, all houses that we bought, renovated and sold.

Mums theory was that you needed to get your home smelling nice and “homely” and she thought that nothing beat the smell of beef mince and onion cooking – so whenever a potential buyer was coming around, we would conveniently be having spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. All it took was for one person to say “Mmm, that smells nice!” for her to continue doing it!

Never discuss your political preferences in public – EVER

A good rule of thumb which I still practice today. I never discuss this with anyone other than my husband.

Roast Potatoes

The best “roast” potatoes are not actually roasted in the oven at all, they’re shallow fried in the fry pan, with lots of oil so they go all crispy crunchy on the outside, and all smooshy and soft on the inside– oooooh yum…

I wonder what pearls of wisdom I will pass on to my own children?


Schez said...

Hi there! This post is so nail on the head! It's when you have children that a lightbulb goes *ping* and you suddenly understand... I hear myself say and do things that mum said and did with us growing up! A great, thought provoking post! Ps. Im a mumma blogger too, still a newbie really, if u have time please swing by :-) Pps. Who has TIME for ironing?! Blah. Thanks for the crinkle free tips!

Magda said...

Absolute gems. Our mums really knew their stuff :-)

abigail said...
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