“Elizabeth. When someone pays you a compliment, they are not looking for a discussion. Just say, ‘Thank you.'”
This bit of wisdom is one of many things my wonderful mom said to me more than a few times when I was growing up.
Moms say the same things over and over for two reasons:
1. Those things are true.
2. We are too tired to come up with new material all the time.
Which got me to thinking about the mom standbys I’ve been known to say with some, er, frequency.
Well, it’s got to be somewhere. I feel like I’ve spent the last 19 years looking for lost stuff. At least once a day, I tell my girls that whatever they can’t find “has got to be somewhere.” Because it has. Now in the case of, say, my high schooler’s lost cell phone, we still haven’t figured out where “somewhere” is, but the phone IS somewhere. It might be a trash heap or it might be smashed in a parking lot or it might be in some mystery spot in her room we haven’t thought to check, but it IS somewhere. Whatever is lost IS still in existence somewhere. It didn’t vaporize, for crying out loud. And I don’t mean to brag, but no one in this house is better at figuring out where somewhere is than me. My daughters don’t call me “Sleuth Mommy” for nothing. Most recent Sleuth Mommy score: my daughter’s lost purity ring. Which was somewhere, as it turned out. Namely, under her dresser. I found it keeping company with what looked to be every bobby pin my daughters have ever “lost.”
It will be okay. It will. I have two teenagers, and they’re both hormone-ridden girls, so I employ this phrase A LOT. And it’s true. Whatever “it” is, it will usually be okay. Someday. Probably soon. In heaven if not before. It’s the stuff that might not be okay until heaven that’s tough to stomach.
Just do your best. And by “best,” I mean best under a given set of circumstances, on a given day. Under other circumstances on another day, best might look better than it does right now. But just do it. That’s all I ask.
Do you need a snack? Once I figured out I was going to have girls and only girls, I started talking to moms of boys and asking if I could rent their teenage sons to feed. Because I love to bake and feed people, and teenage boys are notorious for wanting to eat. Once my girls got older, though, I retracted my offer because as it turns out, my teen girls eat plenty, thank you very much. Which THRILLS me. But their healthy appetites do mean I spend a lot of time coming up with snacks-of-redeeming-nutritional-value that can be eaten on the run, in the car, en route to dance, before a track meet, etc. And in case you’re wondering, the answer to “do you need a snack?” is almost always “yes” (insert tones of semi-starvation).
Are you listening to me? By which I do not mean, “Are the sounds coming out of my mouth being perceived by your auditory senses?” By which I do mean, “Are you paying attention to what I am telling you and, more to the point, do you have any intention of actually acting on what I’m saying?”
Did you put it in the laundry? Usually said in response to “is such-and-such clean???!!!” shouted from the top of the stairs at 6:08 a.m. on a school morning. Usually a Monday morning.
Be careful and pay attention. I have a teenage driver. I say this frequently. And then I pray.
I’m so proud of you. Not just of what my girls have done, but of the effort they’ve put into the doing. And not just of who my girls are but of who they are becoming.
Don’t forget to ___________. Brush your teeth. Find out what time the birthday party starts. Turn in your permission slip. Take your vitamin. Look in the bottom of your locker for that missing library book. Give me the shirt you want washed (see “did you put it in the laundry,” above). Text your mother when you get there. Et al. Ad infinitum.
I love you. The end. And the beginning. And lots of points in between.
This post originally appeared on Guilty Chocoholic Mama.
Elizabeth Spencer is the mom of two teenage daughters who make her look much better at mothering than she actually is. She’s been married for more than 20 years to an exceedingly patient husband and lives with her family in a 107-year-old farmhouse that needs at least 107 years’ worth of work. She blogs about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and rambles on about sleep deprivation and hormones over on Facebook.