I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anyone to learn that when I was a kid, I’d break the rules as much as possible. Finally, to keep peace in the house, I stopped breaking so many rules, but I vowed that when I had my own house, I’d not have any of those same rules. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve spent some time breaking those rules and I’ve learned that most (not all!) of them had a really good reason for it. Let’s take a look.
“Don’t stand and stare into the refrigerator”
This might have been the one thing my mom and I fought the most about. If I spent more than 30 seconds staring into the fridge, mom would be on me like white on rice, yelling at me not to stand around staring into the refrigerator. Naturally, the first thing I did when I got a house of my own, is open my refrigerator and stand there staring into it for as long as I felt like it.
The truth is, it really does let the cold out, and you shouldn’t stand around staring into the fridge. But how are you going to decide what to eat without opening the refrigerator?
“We don’t turn on the air conditioning until June.”
Growing up in north central Indiana, we didn’t need air conditioning as much as we do here in Tennessee. But sometimes we’d have days in May that were 90 degrees with 80 percent humidity, and still Mom wouldn’t turn on the AC. “Not until June,” she’d say, as I languished half-naked in front of the fan, dabbing my forehead with a washcloth.
By the time I moved out, I was living in Tennessee. As any Tennessean knows, there are times when you need to turn on the AC as early as April, sometimes even March. Mom had calmed down on that rule when we moved here. But she was still pretty strict about making sure it was miserably hot before turning on the AC.
I have a programmable thermostat that takes all the guesswork of turning on the AC or not. When it’s in AC mode, the house is kept at 76 during the day and 78 at night. The thermostat does all the work of deciding whether or not we need heat, AC or nothing at all. Still, I do sometimes long to sleep half-naked under a fan on a hot night, so sometimes I turn it all off. Funny how things that once were miserable are now somewhat of a treat.
“Don’t yank your clothes off the hanger.”
That used to drive my mom nuts. I never understood why until I became the person fetching hangers out of people’s closets. There’s nothing worse than a pile of tangled hangers in the closet. Especially when a bunch of them end up on the floor. Now, as an adult, I yank my clothes off the hanger and then I neatly put the hanger back. Oh, and I make my kids do the hanger-fetching, so they understand why you shouldn’t yank your clothes off the hangers.
“Change your underwear every day! What if you’re in a car wreck?!”
Because, you know, there’s nothing worse than being in a car wreck with dirty underwear. Actually, some of the wrecks I’ve had have nearly caused me to wet myself anyway. But stinky drawers are a bad thing whether you’re in a car wreck or not, so I’m on the clean underwear every day train now.
“No dessert until you’ve finished enough of your dinner.”
I remember when my mom would give me an amount of bites I had to take before I could have dessert. I’d put a miniscule amount of food on my fork and hope to get away with that counting as a bite. It never worked. I vowed when I grew up that I’d eat cake for breakfast if I wanted to, or have my dessert before dinner. And I did, many times. But I’ve learned as I grow older that eating the right foods really does make me feel better, look better, and be generally happier. Now, I hardly ever bother with dessert at all, even when I’m at my mom’s. My willpower is awesome, she says.
Now, Home Eccers, it’s your turn: tell me what rules your mom had that you broke shamelessly as an adult. And was your mom right, or are you right?