How To Remember Which Is Left, And 9 Other Things My Mom Taught Me


From sex and fiber to golden rules, it’s time to give credit where it’s due. Herewith, ten random lessons that I’ll always take with me.

1. Treat others as you’d like to be treated.

Sometimes I feel like if I hear my mum say this one more time I’m going to punch her in the face. But then I’d be afraid she’d punch me in my face. So obviously, repetitive verbal conditioning works.

2. Keep on truckin’!

I remember the first time mum ever said this to us-I was about 17 and the whole family was horrified. Mum just looked at us sideways and said, very convincingly, “What? That’s my motto. I’ve always said that.” Many years later, I still say things like, “Don’t worry mum, I’m truckin’.” This also taught me the power of thought-if you believe in something enough (for instance, that “keep on truckin’!” is your lifelong motto, even when you’ve never said it before in your life) it will become a reality.

3. “It’s OK, don’t be shy, you can tell me. I look like Sandra Bullock, don’t I?”

When people meet my mum it almost always culminates in them turning around wide-eyed, lightbulb flashing above their head, pointing at me with a vigorously shaking finger and exclaiming, “I understand now!” Most of the time mum is joking when she says she looks like Sandra Bullock, just like when I say “people always mistake me for Beyonce.” But I know there’s a half-truth in it somewhere, so I think this particular lesson has something to do with self-esteem. Or maybe just that being crazy and delusional is more fun than not.

4. You can always tell how good a lover a man will be by the way he eats his food.

Mum disclosed this to me several years ago and I put the theory to the test very recently by sleeping with a man who ate with his fingers, got food all over his hands and chin and generally slurped, spat and chewed loudly. It was the best sex I’ve ever had. Thanks mum.

5. “It doesn’t matter how old you are on the outside, it’s what’s inside that counts.”

Mum insists she’s 19, deep down. I believe her because she still dances like it’s 1971.

6. Nothing is personal.

Mum used to say this to me when I’d come home from school crying and she’d have to hack huge chunks of chewing gum out of my hair or pick eggshells out of my legs with tweezers. There is every chance I would have murdered half my class with a pick ax if it not for mum’s calm wisdom and her adeptness with a pair of hair scissors.

7. “You can remember left and right because your left arm is the one closer to your body.”

I haven’t entirely figured out what this means yet, but I’m fairly sure it’s important.

8. When you’re drunk drink two large glasses of water before you go to bed to avoid a hangover.

Never have wiser words been spoken. And from the woman who, upon her 25-year-old daughter getting far too drunk doing tequila shots on her last visit to Melbourne and consequently spending the entire next day throwing up, ordered several trashy action films and a family bucket of KFC for aforementioned shame-addled offspring. Bless her socks.

9. If you love someone tell them every day, and touch them as much as possible.

I’ve tried to remember if there has been a day in the last (almost) 26 years where my mother hasn’t told me and my brothers that she loves us, or, if there has been a single day when we’ve been in each other’s presence where she hasn’t held our hands, kissed our faces, or forced us to sit on her lap (seriously, have you ever seen a grown woman sitting on her mother’s lap? Or a six-foot tall 17-year-old boy with awkward facial hair? (I have). Sometimes I think these behaviors make me fairly intense in relationships but I don’t care-there’s nothing more lovely than loving someone and having someone love you.

10. Stay regular

That’s right. Poo every day. At least once. Eat lots of fiber. Pooing makes you feel good, better than almost everything else that exists on earth. If you don’t poo, there’s something wrong; you need to reassess. Or be like me, who, sans a day of poo, freaks out and starts shoveling down beans, raisins, oatmeal, berries… Anything to get the pipes running smoothly again, like pouring Draino down a sink.

This post originally appeared on kat(G)litter. Republished with permission.

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