User Input

User Input: Motherly Love

Thanks MomMy mom is one of those people with that unique ability to give you that obvious piece of advice that you should have known, you should have thought of, you should have already considered… but somehow didn’t, couldn’t and hadn’t. You know the type; “Have fun boys, remember to unplug it from the power supply before you cut into it.” and “Bring lots of quicklime to throw into the hole before you fill it in!”

It’s always that classic motherly advice that was exactly what you expect to hear, and yet it’s also the one thing you had forgotten to check, or do, or load in with the bodies. It’s probably because they know us so well, but sometimes it’s just scary how well a mom can give advice at just the right moment.

What’s the best (or worst) piece of advice your mother (or father, or grandmother, or Auntie Jack) ever gave to you at the perfectly opportune moment?

  • The Professor

    True story: long ago, my paternal grandmother advised me on several occasions to start a business that tatooed a persons social security number on their arm for easy identification. She was absolutely sure that it was a money maker of an idea.
    And this was something like 20 years after WWII.

    • Dean Bigglesworth

      No need for that now, just take a photo and do a reverse image search and a facebook profile will probably pop up; complete with address, phone number, e-mail, and the persons favourite brand of handerpants.

      • The Professor

        The old demon died before the advent of the internet, and I consider that a good thing.

  • While I love my mother dearly, I can't think of too much specific words of advice that she gave. Maybe "oil and heat the iron skillet before you add the cornbread batter". She is usually the type of person that can find the longest slowest way to do something. If there is a way to do something that is 0.5% better, but takes 200% longer, then she will do it that way.

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from one of my high school teachers: "One of the great tragedies of life is that a 50 year old has to live with the decisions of a stupid 16 year old kid." That stuck with me for some reason. Screw up, but make sure it doesn't have long term consequences.

  • From a horrible ex-gf…

    "Wear a raincoat".

    In hindsight, extremely sound advice.

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      For your Willie?

      • Yes. Fathering her child would have altered my life for the worse.

  • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    My mom would comment about the ass of the mom of every GF I ever had, which was simultaneously the best and worst advice I ever got from her.

  • Number_Six

    My parents should have been high school guidance counsellors:

    – "You are not allowed to become a pilot. Don't finish high school, just get a job in a factory. Besides, you're too stupid for school."
    – "Why would you leave that good factory job to go to university?"
    – "Okay, you got accepted to law school. Now that that phase is over with, go back to that good factory job you had."
    – (Before a date) "Keep your hands in your pockets." (If I had a daughter, this would get issued to her suitors with the added warning, "If you want to keep your hands")
    – (About fantastically hot girlfriend with two engineering degrees) "She's not the same colour, so our grandchildren won't look like us. We think you should move on."

    And plenty others, besides…

    • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      This is sad and destructive thought (cause I would not be around had it not happened) but one of my grandmothers, her father did not let her suitor marry her because he was not Catholic. That always bothered me very much. It does not help of course that I loved that great grandfather very much as well. It's just all so arbitrary how things are sometimes.

      • Number_Six

        Yeah, my grandparents on my father's side were amazing grandparents: funny, fun, interesting, talented…and horrible, horrible bigots and racists. Oh well, I learned to love steam engines and scones and taught myself the other shit was wrong.

      • Devin

        This whole thing is reminding me of my late grandmother. Great is many ways, but she also insisted I drop school and become a farmer and hated left-handed people (which is why my father is somewhat ambidextrous and has the handwriting of a drunk person, couldn't use his left hand at home but would be otherwise extremely biased towards the left).

        My parents both told me it would be best to ignore certain things about my grandmother.

  • "Why not?!"

    Mom, when I would ask if it was okay to or possible to do something. I never found a good answer. I still say it with the same inflection and declarativeness when I am or someone I'm working with is about to do something untried or strange.

  • skitter

    My parents stopped trying to tell me anything by the time I was five.

  • cruisintime

    My Grandfather advised me to get Lots while I was young . It was years when he mentioned that he meant Real Estate.

  • CopterBob

    On my very first day of high school (in Satellite Beach FL of all places) I had a science teacher who was an ex NASA guy. The first day of class he had us all grab meter sticks and clipboards, and then we all went on a walk around the campus. The ultimate lesson was that, when you're out in the world and have a real job, look like you're busy and on a mission even when you have nothing to do. Some of the best advice I ever got.