Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What Our Mothers Told Us

     The other day I mentioned that if we'd just done what our mothers told us to do -- no questions, no arguing -- we'd all probably be better off. That got me thinking:  Is that really true?

     Well, I know it would have been true with my kids, if they'd listened to their mother (which they did more often than not). She wanted, above all, for them to follow their dreams, make the most of themselves and make their mother proud along the way.

     But what about us? What if we'd listened to our mothers? What advice did your mother offer to you as a child? In my case, the advice was more modest, more practical. But perhaps no less important. She told me to:

     Drink your orange juice. In our house we began every day with a glass of orange juice. My mom bought it frozen, in a can, and mixed it with water. It was pretty inexpensive that way. She thought it was important that we get a little fruit inside of us, and enjoy the benefits of vitamin C, which she believed warded off colds and other diseases. This was long before Nobel-prize winning scientist Linus Pauling claimed that large doses of vitamin C reduce the risk of getting a cold. Those claims have since been questioned, but the latest research, according to WebMD, does suggest at least some minimal positive effects from vitamin C in reducing cold symptoms. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps reduce inflammation, and offers some protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.

     Eat your vegetables. Well, we know vegetables are good for us. They have no cholesterol, are low in fat and calories, and provide many vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber. My mother served up a lot of broccoli, cauliflower, peas and string beans. (If only she hadn't overcooked them and served them up limp and soggy.) When I was a kid I hated broccoli and cauliflower; but now in my maturity I actually like these two vegetables. (I'm still trying to develop a taste for spinach though.) One other benefit: the vitamins and minerals you ingest in vegetables are more beneficial than those you take as supplements because of other active ingredients in the food.

     Sit up straight. My mother had pretty good posture herself, and was always telling us kids to "Sit up straight!" I wish I'd listened to her. I developed stenosis of the upper spine in my late 40s -- from sitting at a desk and hunching over a computer, said my doctor -- that left me with a numb, tingling left arm, and aches and pains in my shoulders. Fortunately, I did finally listen to my physical therapist (not the first time; but after my third trip to the doctor); and so now I try to sit up straight -- I try not to sit for long periods of time at all -- and I do my stretching exercises to keep my back and neck loose and limber. But I do realize, if I had just listened to my mom, I could have avoided all that!

     Brush your teeth, and don't forget to floss. My mother's father was a dentist, and my mother was very proud of the fact that "I still have all my own teeth" up to the day she died at age 89. I remember her giving us kids lessons in how to brush -- up and down, not across -- and how to use dental floss. I must confess, however, that while I've always been pretty good at brushing my teeth, I still have had my share of cavities. Recently, my current dentist recommended using those softpics, the little brushes that fit between your teeth, and I've found them very helpful -- and, believe it or not, fun to use!

     Tommy, go outside and play! My mother had four children, and so, honestly, I think she wanted us out of the house in order to give her some peace and quiet and time to herself. But I did have a tendency to spend too much time sprawled on the couch reading a book, or flopped on the floor watching TV, or lying on my bed listening to music. So getting outside for some fresh air and exercise was definitely good advice. We all know the benefits of exercise -- which a lot of people get these days by running or rowing or climbing stairs in a stuffy old fitness club -- but really, I think it's better to go outside and take a walk or ride a bike or play a little tennis or golf.

     Anyway, thanks Mom for the advice. I wish I'd taken more of it!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

My Mom told me to be sure there were no holes in my underwear..I might have a wreck and end up in the hospital (and how embarrassing that would be!) I have been in one wreck in my life and sure enough, there was a hole in my underwear.

Tabor said...

Sitting up was definitely my mother's call to us. I did not slouch but sort of collapsed onto the sofa.

Olga Hebert said...

OMG! It's like we had the exact same mother.
Well,except for my mother also wanted me to be a nun when I grew up.

Kirk said...

"Quit picking on your sister!"

I have done that.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

I try to eat my veggies, but eat grapefruit for my citrus. As for plying outside, its too cold. Are you sure we didn't have the same mother?

My Mom also said, "You shouldn't throw bricks if you live in a glass house," and "You want the world with a fence around it painted red." Both conjure up strange images in a young mind.

Stephen Hayes said...

My mother is ninety, and she still gives me advice every day. Sigh....

Anonymous said...

Well I think if people treated their children like I was treated they would be happy, grateful and healthy..Where is all of this entitlement crap coming from..People don't think they should work for a living anymore and think they need cars..I just read an article in the seattlepi about a fellow who had a car 10 years ago in Detroit or near it and he takes a public bus and walks the last 8 miles in the daytime and 10 at night time and never is late and is an excellent worker..His boss stated many live near the plant and drive lovely cars and still come in late and are lazy, oh, my goodness sakes! Some kid at a university started a crowdfund start up for him for a decent car/insurance and gas and has raised nearly 91,000 and the fellow said the only thing he would love to see is the bus company run the buses 24/7 and more buses to get working people back and forth to jobs they actually work on and get money for their bills, he said he would tell the bus company president that and the mayor too..Now that is the type of person I think most baby boomers are not the young starts today if they don't have this and that and loads of money they don't even go out for jobs and they are college graduates which this fellow certainly is not working for that molding company for car parts for over 22 years..If he can do it why can't others and he did not sound like the greedy little you know whats that think they are working now.NOT..as for advice my Mother said work like your life depends upon it because it does! No whining, no complaining and be GRATEFUL EVERYDAY LIVING IN THE GREATEST COUNTRY SHE AND MY DAD IMMIGRATED AND BECAME US CITIZENS AS FAST AS THEY COULD AND SPOKE MANY LANGUAGES ENGLISH HER FAVORITE, sadly she died a young wife and mother of many children, but I know one thing she was happy as a lark living here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Florence said...

OTOH, my mother told me not to marry my dear Joseph. Fortunately, I didn't listen and married him anyway. We will celebrate our 47th anniversary in May.

DJan said...

I think there are many things my mother told me to do I wish I hadn't done. How different would my life be if I hadn't listened to her? :-)

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! Hmmmm...interesting question because I think what I remember most from "what my mom taught me" was from her actions rather than her "words." From following her lead I learned both things to do and things NOT TO DO for which I am eternally grateful. In the long run, I happen to believe children pick up more from those actions in their parents than from anything they are told. ~Kathy