Momma Dogma


My Mother has always been funny, intuitive, insightful, and not just smart; but wise.

Dementia has changed some of this. She is still very funny, although now her sense of humor varies from childlike, to irreverent and sometimes, unfiltered and downright naughty.

It can be difficult to remember just how smart she was, but I know her wisdom is still in there somewhere; it just isn’t always accessible to her.

She is proud of her five children, and she is amazed that she raised them. She just doesn’t remember how she did it. In the moments when she is aware of her failing memory, it frustrates her.  I tell her that she is a great Mom, she did her job well, and now she has five children to help her remember the things she has forgotten.

“Well, I suppose so.” is her response.

As I remember it, she was never overbearing or terribly opinionated; quite the opposite.  She was pretty easy going and didn’t get too upset about much. She was firm, but she didn’t shout or yell often. Instead, she relied on nonverbal communication: “The Lois Face.”

The Lois Face is not a single expression. It is fluid. A series of quick facial movements: eyebrow raise, lip purse, lip biting, eye closing, lip smacking, eye opening.  Go ahead, try it.

The Lois Face was incredibly effective at instantly conveying complete disapproval. It resulted in that yucky  “uh-oh-I’m-in-trouble-feeling” in the pit of the stomach. She still uses it occasionally, especially if she is feeling bossed around and needs to reassert that she is, in her words, “still the mommie.”

Like all Mothers, there are certain philosophies, guidelines, responses and rules that she repeated through the years, with great conviction.  No one questioned them or disputed them. It is her Momma Dogma.

I’ve compiled a list of my Mother’s classics……before I forget them!

Some of these are quirky, some are completely accurate, and I admit, a few of them have caused me to roll my eyes, after hearing them repeatedly over the years!

Whether they are “right” or not, they still ring in my ears, and I admit….I pretty much live by these rules.

In honor of Mothers Day, I am sharing some of my Mother’s wisdom:


  • When house hunting, picture where the Christmas tree would go
  • When shopping for a new set of dinnerware, picture a fried egg on the plate
  • Don’t buy anything sold door-to-door:  If it was really great, they would sell it in stores
  • Use half the recommended amount of laundry detergent -your clothes will last longer.  They are in the business of selling soap.
  • Put your crystal stemware in the dishwasher: It will be safer than hand washing it and risking knocking it against the side of the sink
  • Get your hands wet, dry them on a rag. That is your dust cloth.
  • If you think it smells funny, just  throw it out. I don’t need to smell it. (I think someone had a weak stomach)


  • If it isn’t lined, wear a slip: the skirt will hang better
  • You should wear the dress, the dress shouldn’t wear you
  • If you don’t feel good in it, get rid of it
  • Don’t buy it just because it is on sale
  • Never buy cheap bras
  • Nothing ruins a perfectly nice outfit faster than bad shoes
  • A white blouse makes you feel better
  • Never add lace to the bottom of a hem: It shouts “homemade!” (We used to sew.)
  • January is not a great shopping month – the stores are full of cruise wear


  • Cut yourself? Put Bacitracin and a Band-aid on it.
  • Got a scab? Let it air out, don’t touch it. Just leave it alone!
  • Never pop a blood blister
  • If it hurts when you move it…don’t move it
  • Never eat fruit in the late evening; you’ll have gas during the night
  • Have a stomachache? Lie on your right side
  • Have a fever?  Stay quiet
  • If you are nauseous, drink Pepsi, not 7-up;  the cola will settle your stomach

House Rules

  • Boys are not allowed to sit on the furniture or at the table while shirtless
  • Have you no couth? Please have some decorum! (responses to inappropriate behavior)
  • No grape-flavored chewing gum allowed in the house (now I realize, it does stink)
  • You don’t need a Ken doll. Barbie can play with P.J.
  • Forbidden language (in addition to the big curse words):  stupid, shut-up, oh my god, god dang, butt, sucks, I hate you

Life Observations

  • Bad haircut? It will grow.
  • Why do people pass on a high-priced head of lettuce or cauliflower but will buy a bag of chips for the same price?
  • When men have a cold it is the worst EVER…the only ache or pain we women get to claim all to ourselves is our period.
  • You should never feel guilty. No good ever comes from it.
  • They should allow prayer in public schools. They took prayer out of schools and then what is the first thing they do with the kids after a tragedy…hold prayer circles and prayer vigils.
  • Mr. Business went to church, he never missed a Sunday. Mr. Business went to hell for what he did on Monday. (a reminder that it takes more than going to mass on Sunday.)


Now if only I could master “The Lois Face!”


Happy Mother’s Day!


13 responses »

  1. Great tribute! And whether or not you are aware of this, you’ve been using her wisdom since I met you at PU. I have benefited from a few like the old laying on the right side, Pepsi elixir (way too many times) and never buy a cheap bra, just to name a few.


  2. What’s crazy is I am using all of these as my own now! It has been passed down 2 generations! One of my other favorites is if you are sick, you have to lay on a sheet down on the couch. I most definitely do this. There are so many great ones! Oh how many times I have thrown something out without a sniff test, been annoyed by all the January cruisewear, layed on my right side or drank Pepsi for the syrup that sweetens your stomach! If you want to master the Loie face, ask Sarah, she is quite talented! I, on the other hand, have inherited the weak stomach.


    • How could I have forgotten the sheet? Glad you will be passing these down to your children as your very own dogma.
      YES! Sarah totally inherited the Lois Face – it was meant to be – think how many of her students will be reminiscing in the future about the face she would make when they were in trouble!


    • If only it had been Grandma Campbell with the weak tummy, we would have grown up hearing references to “The Campbell Stomach” Why oh why did it have to be Grandma Seaman that had the weak tummy…..


  3. Sounds like advice that withstands the test of time. As for the slipping away memory – my mom’s isn’t too good anymore either. My favorite comment she made about it though was when her sister – a year and half younger and well aware that she can’t remember anything anymore – was knee deep in a conversation about forgetfulness with me. She turned to my mother who was saying nothing and asked her if she ever forgot things to which my mother said, “I try not to.” I still laugh at that clever come back. Happy Mother’s Day to you.


    • Thanks for reading – glad you enjoyed it. MY nurse Mommie earned her R.N. in 1951 – so who knows – maybe the “cola is medicinal” philosophy is leftover from that era.


  4. Pingback: Week 18 – Hey, What’s In This? | Fit For Fifty Svelte For Sixty

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