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Mama Says: The Best Advice from Some of the World's Best Mothers

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Mama Says: The Best Advice from Some of the World's Best Mothers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573248709
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 4/15/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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Mama Says

The Best Advice from Some of the World's Best Mothers


By ALICIA ALVREZ

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2004 Alicia Alvrez
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57324-870-9



CHAPTER 1

The Proper Compartment of a Lady

Times may pass, standards may change, but throughout history, moms have always had very strong ideas about how their daughters should behave themselves—and they will always make sure we hear about it!

Words are the clothes you wear, and I know you want to be well dressed.

—Naomi Judd's mother


Always wear white gloves when traveling to Boston.

—My mother

Never say "bucket;" say "pail." Never say "cellar;" say "utility room."

—A friend's mother

Never wear plaids with stripes.

—Ruth Segall, Judith Segall's mother

Sit properly ... the world isn't interested in the color of your pants.

—A mother in Grace Notes

I don't care how small the top on that two-piece bathing suit is. You just make sure the bottom covers your bellybutton, because I feel something here that it is obscene to show your bellybutton!

—Dotty Cala's mother, while beating a clenched fist against her breast in a much-used Italian-Catholic gesture

Looking good is feeling good.

—Cynthia Cotton, mother of Blythe Cotton

Never go out of the house without your lipstick on.

Susan Tumminia, Tyler's mother in Real Simple magazine

Keep your nose clean.

—Stephanie LaPierre's mom

Sit still. You're as jumpy as a cat before a storm.

—A friend's mother

Brush your kitchen [meaning the hair at the nape of your neck if it curled up].

—Odette Clayton Charbannet, Joyce Charbonnet Hayward's mother

We don't do that (or wear that, speak like that, make those kinds of faces, listen to that kind of music, etc.). Remember who you are!

—Marcella Conley's mother

Cross your legs at the ankle, not the knee.

—My mother

Ladies never poop!

—Anne Hollingworth's mother

"Hey" is for horses, not for people.

—Patricia Ashton's mother

Go change your dress.

—A friend's mother, after Sunday school

Put on a little lipstick so you don't look pale.

—Cynthia Cotton, mother of Blythe Cotton

Everyone has to slip off their shoulder pads sometimes.

Mother, in Mapping the Edge

Nice boys do not ask girls unfair questions.

—A friend's mother

Smiling is a gift of intimacy.... Nice young ladies [give] such tender responses only to their husbands.

Mother, in In the Name of Salome

Get your nose out of that book and say hello to our company.

—My mother

Hold your stomach in when you're young. Then it will be habit when you get older.

—A friend's mom

Walk like a lady, with small steps—you walk like a truck driver.

—Stephanie LaPierre's mom

Never hang around on park benches. People will think you're a cheap girl.

—Anne Hollingworth's mother

You know, dear, birds of a feather flock together.

—Robin Mastro's mother

You are known by the company you keep.

—A friend's mother

Pretty is as pretty does!

—Sheri Short's mother

Don't whistle. It's not ladylike.

—Barb Parmet's mother

No pins in your slip strap! You might be in an accident.

—A friend's mother

Always send a thank you note for a present, and always bring a hostess gift if you are invited to someone's house.

—My mother

Keep your voice down. Nobody wants to know your business.

—A friend's mother

Keep a curb on your tongue.

—English mothers

Don't scrape the bottom of the barrel.

—Robin Mastro's mother, on her improper friends

Don't be going out looking like a Fiji islander.

—A friend's mother, when her mother thought her hair was a mess

Get that hair out of your eyes, young lady.

—My mother

Don't say you're sweaty; ladies don't sweat, they glow.

—Lori Pottinger's mother

Keep your elbows off the table; that's bad manners. Don't slurp your soup or eat with your fingers. Put your hand over your mouth when you cough. Say "excuse me" when you sneeze. Don't hold your hands over your head to speak; stand straight; now talk.

—Odette Clayton Charbonnet, Joyce Charbonnet Hayward's mother

Young ladies never call boys.

—A friend's mother

God don't like ugly.

—Annette Madden's mother

CHAPTER 2

Men: Can't Live with 'Em and Can't Live without 'Em


Love them or hate them? Mothers can't make up their minds. What is true is that they want their daughters to have happy relationships; just how to achieve that is open for speculation.

A piece of man is better than no man at all.

—A mom

No man is better than a piece of a man.

—Cynthia Harris, Alisa's mother

Any woman can marry if she sets her standards low enough.

—Deidre Marion Charlot, Myra Hayward Marion's mother

Don't need a man, but let him believe that you do.

—Judy Craig, Nara Brados's mother

[W]omen are simply going to have to take over this world and that's all there is to it. All men want to do is start wars and show off in front of each other ... most of them don't get past age twelve.

—Mother, in Standing in the Rainbow

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

—Charlotte Whitton

Never a foot so crooked as a shoe won't fit it.

—A friend's mother

These same men who run around with their heads laid back and their tongues hanging out ... don't worry—Father Time will take care of all that.

—Lucinda Smith, Gwendolyn Goodbeer's mother

Women prefer men who have something tender about them—especially the legal kind.

—Kay Graham

Men are like streetcars: there's always one coming down the track.

—Robin Mastro's mother

Never say "I told you so" to your husband, even when you told him so.

—Liza Gutierrez-O'Neill's mother

Never marry a man that looks better than you.

—A friend's mother

Why buy the cow when the milk's for free?

—Robin Mastro's mom

Never swim with boys. Sperm floats.

—Naomi Judd, Ashley and Wynonna's mother

Men are the tears of God.

—Egyptian mothers

Don't start anything that you can't keep up (especially when it comes to doing something for men).

—Cheryl Z. Moore's mother

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

—A friend's mother, regarding her daughter's break-up

Marry a man younger than you and he will always keep you young at heart.

—A mom

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

—Marlene Charbonnet's mother

Marry someone rich so that you can support your parents in their old age.

—Necia Velenchenko's mother

Never trust a man.

—My mother

The secret to a successful marriage is to marry a man who loves you a bit more than you love him.

—A friend's mother

Bring a hatpin with you, dear, just in case your date gets fresh.

—Robin Mastro's mom

Don't marry the guy. Live with him first so you can get to know him.

—Yolanda Asher's mother

Women are cursed, and men are the proof.

—Rosanne Barr

You judge a man by how he does walk. If he walk brisk or slapdash or to show himself off, or day-dreamy or idle—the walk will betray him.

Mother, in The Ventriloquist's Tale

Never trust a man that doesn't wear socks with his dress shoes.

—Iren Luciana

No matter how in love you are with someone, if you've lost sight of who you are and you're loving yourself a little less, it's time to walk away.

—Emily Sauber's mom

Men are pigs.

—Yolanda Asher's mother

Don't count on a man to buy you the finer things in life—buy them for yourself.

—A friend's mother

Sex is not good.

—Queen Latifa's mom

Always have a man as a roommate because you'll be safer.

—Susan Asbjornson's mother

No matter how much success you find, nothing compares to the love of a man.

—My mother

No man is perfect.

—A friend's mother, when she got cold feet before her wedding

If you meet a man who can wait until after marriage to have sex, ditch him quick. His libido is too low to satisfy anyone in this family.

—Marilyn Webber's mom

The secret to a long marriage is separate bathrooms.

—Nancy King's mother

It doesn't matter if you are not really attracted to him, because once you get married, you won't have much sex anymore anyway!

—A friend's mother, on "a good catch"

Don't ever sit on a boy's lap.

—Sarah Quigley's mother

Don't depend on any man to take care of you.

—Yolanda Asher's mother

Don't get married. Don't rush yourself. Live life.

—Oracene Price, Venus and Serena Williams's mother

All boys know when you are having your period ... they are like wild dogs.

—Robin Mastro's mom

There are forty men in the world who are right for you.

—Nancy King's mother

If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.

—Margaret Thatcher

You can't control who you love.

—A friend's mother

French kissing is a mortal sin.

—Cheryl Murphy Durzy's mother

Men are just like gardens. You have to tend to them every day or they just go to seed.

Mother, in Standing in the Rainbow

If you have a choice between marrying two men, always marry the man whose name is closest to the beginning of the alphabet. Everything in life goes in alphabetical order.

—Marilyn Webber's mom

If you get married, make sure you keep a separate account of your own money as a safety net.

—Yolanda Asher's mother

It's just as easy to marry a rich man as it is a poor one.

—Robin Mastro's mom (and several others!)

CHAPTER 3

Succeeding on Life's Highways and Byways


In the quest for the best for their children, mothers dole out many notions about how to make it in the world. Each one has her own ideas—you decide which gems to keep.

Just try your best.

—My mother

Your best friend is the dollar in your pocket.

—George Lopez's mom

Don't worry about things over which you have no control.

—Goldie W. Chaverson, Deborah Grossman's mother

You're going to be glad you did [take a risk]. It's good for you.

—A friend's mom, when whatever she was doing didn't feel good

Just keep living!

—Nancy Thompson's mother

Happiness is not the goal of life.

—Dotty Cala's mother

Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

—Ruby Jean Roberson, Marsha Lang-Collins's mother

You can always count on your family.

—Gaynelle Henger's mom

The only person you can count on is yourself.

—My mother

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

—A friend's mother

If I put it on your back, someone can take it away from you. If I put it in your head, no one can.

—Elsie McGuire, Marne Benedict's mother

Do unto others before they do unto you.

—Odette Clayton Charbonnet, Joyce Charbonnet Hayward's mother

Make sure to get that piece of paper in order to prepare yourself for life.

—Rae Louise Hayward, referring to a college degree

Nothing beats a failure but a try.

—Ruth Manuel-Logan's mother

Ask Jesus.

Mother, in In the Name of Salome

Never be afraid of hard work. Hard work never hurt anyone. Work is good for you.

—Gaynelle Henger's mom

Don't write no check that your mouth can't cash.

—A friend's mother

Let your "yes" mean yes, and your "no" mean no.

—John Moore's mother

Never hold back a question. You will get further ahead when you do [ask], you'll be at the same point if you don't.

—Shari Ilalaole's mother

Think about the consequences before you take the action.

—Judy Craig, Nara Brados's mother

The world isn't fair. The sooner you figure that out, the less heartache you'll have.

—Mama Clark, mother of seven

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

—A friend's mother

Nobody said life was fair.

—Goldie W. Chaverson, Deborah Grossman's mother

You have nothing to lose by asking.

—Mother Earnestine, to her nine children, including Tomyé

It's okay to cry and get it all out—for fifteen to twenty minutes max; then get up and get busy!

—Ann Marie, Reba's mother

If you don't want to become a professional liar, don't practice telling lies.

—Cheryl Z. Moore's mother

The only way to succeed is to go to college.

—Will Smith's mother

Duty is the highest virtue.

Mother, in In the Name of Salome

Understand the difference between what you want to do and what must be done.

—John Moore's mother

Women must learn to be independent.

—A friend's mother

You need to learn to be patient.

—Gaynelle Henger's mother

If you think too much, you miss all the steps.

—Mothers from the Bayou

Humility is the other virtues' best accessory.

—Naomi Judd, Ashley and Wynonna's mother

If the ice is thin, one must walk fast.

—Russian mothers

Keep your expectations low because you'll never be disappointed.

—Goldie W. Chaverson, Deborah Grossman's mother

You'll have to learn to stop crying or you'll never get anywhere.

—Mother Earnestine, to her nine children, including Tomyé

If you want it to change, do something about it.

—Gaynelle Henger's mom

It's bad luck to begin work on Fridays.

—Southern mothers

If you act as good as you look, you'll be fine.

—Ame Beanland's mother

If you keep doing what you've done, you'll keep getting what you've got.

—A friend's mother

Whatever situation you find yourself in, think of what the Virgin Mary would do and do the same.

—Irish mothers

Always spend more money on books than on beauty products.

—Emily Sauber's mom

No matter what you say or do, people are always gonna do what they wanna do!

—Elayne Howard's mother

Tomorrow will be better than today.

—A friend's mom

CHAPTER 4

Playing Nicely with Others


For most of us, despite the gender revolution, Mom was the one who was concerned with our getting along well with other people. In today's terminology, she taught us emotional intelligence.

It's important to treat everyone you meet with respect, because you never know who you may have to ask for a glass of water.

—Landon's mom

Don't hit on the head.

—My mother, while swatting me on the head

Never tell anyone anything that you don't want told.

—A friend's mother

Your back won't break if you bend it.

—Egyptian mothers

Don't draw attention to yourself.

—Irish mothers

When you go to someone's house [and] they give you something, say "thank you."

—Odette Clayton Charbonnet, Joyce Charbonnet Hayward's mother

Be nice to your sister. It's good for you.

—Gaynelle Henger's mother

If someone is mean to you, compliment them.

—Susan Asbjornson's mother

Always say "thank you" and "please."

—Shari Ilalaoe's mother

Those who turn a deaf ear respond with clichés.

—Armaveni Kazarian-Hamparian, Lucine's grandmother

Don't go around hitting other people's children.

—Elayne Howard's mother

Blow your nose and say hi to this lady.

—Sylvie Galiana's mother

You can only be phony for so long. Always be yourself.

—Delores Madison's mother

No one can use you unless you allow it!

—Deborah Vaughan's mother

He who angers you, conquers you.

—Elizabeth Kenney's mom

When you are in school, your teacher is just like your parents, so make sure you listen and be good.

—Joyce Hayward, Rae Louise Hayward's mother

If you lie down with the dogs, you'll come up with the fleas.

—A friend's mother

Never get involved with someone who is more messed up in the head than you are.

—John Moore's mother

I want everyone to like you, so you will wear a party dress and high heels, even though your friends are all going in jeans.

—Mary Margaret Carlisle's mother
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Mama Says by ALICIA ALVREZ. Copyright © 2004 Alicia Alvrez. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments          

Introduction: Mothers Do Say          

1. The Proper Comportment of a Lady          

2. Men: Can't Live with 'Em and Can't Live without 'Em          

3. Succeeding on Life's Highways and Byways          

4. Playing Nicely with Others          

5. On Being Female and Other Curses          

6. Bolstering and Supporting          

7. Keeping the Home Fires Burning          

8. Practical Matters          

9. Waxing Philosophical          

10. Do They Learn These in Mothers' Training Camp?          


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