I was trying hard not to laugh as I quickly opened my log of overheard comments. I imagined the child’s response: Gee, thanks for the advice mom….I’m only 5, but I’ll take it under consideration.
To be fair, I’m not really one to point a finger for a mom saying something silly. I know my husband and I do it all the time with our daughter. One of my favorites is when we ask her a question with an answer we already know…. Like, do you want a straw in your drink? I can just hear her reply now, though she never says it out loud; Duh! Do I ever not want a straw in my drink?
The cliché terms of parenthood fall from our lips as if we hadn’t heard them a million times already from our own parents: if your friends jumped off a bridge would you? Your eyes will get stuck that way. Someday you’ll thank me. One of my favorites was something my grandmother used to tell me… you wouldn’t want the ambulance drivers to see you in dirty underwear if you got in an accident, would you?
Which kid is really going to care about that…. Or, to be honest, any of those things? And maybe that is the reason we say them. It is not so much the specific behavior we are trying to change, but more the idea that there is so much more to being a person than the ability to squeeze our mouth full of pound cake.
As adults, though, perhaps we should reconsider this. Let’s imagine that this young lady on some future date refuses to go out with a boy who acts silly by stuffing his mouth full of food. Hmmmm, do we really want our son dating her?
Or…. How many times in our life have we followed friends on some outrageous activity and pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zone by doing so?
And, while I don’t wear dirty underwear anymore (I think I stopped grabbing the nearest pair off the floor when I was about four, just to be clear); I will occasionally re-wear a pair of sweats or a dirty shirt. I consider it my own little way to conserve energy.
The point is… our children may, or may not, thank us for this handy advice we dole out so easily. True, I would hate to think of my daughter getting a mouthful of cavities from eating too much candy. But I hope she is learning to not do that by watching how I eat, rather than by my telling her: your teeth will fall out if you eat that all the time.
One last thing… no more screen time for you today; after all, I didn’t just fall off the pumpkin wagon.