Lies My Mother Told Me

I was always taught to be honest. I would never think of lying to my parents. But it wasn’t until much later, when I was well into adulthood, that I finally realized my mother had a subtle way of bending the truth to adjust my behavior. Like saying ” _________ is talking about you because you did/didn’t do ________ .” As a young adult, I learned to ask ________ if the quote was accurate. It wasn’t always.

I’ve been thinking about this after reading “The Ultimate Guide to Bizarre Lies Your Mom Told You” by Eric Grundhauser ( Apparently other mothers haven’t been as subtle as mine. It’s a pretty extensive list with multiple categories; I stopped counting at 50. For example —

“If you lie to me, I will know because when I ask you to look into a bowl of water, I will be able to see your reflection.”
“In order to keep us kids from stealing pennies from water fountains, my mother told us the water was electrified and we would die.”
“Mom always knew when I was fibbing. She said she could tell because I had a black mark on my forehead. My grandma used to say the same thing. I would run to the mirror to see it, but it was never there. They said I couldn’t see it because fibbers eventually go blind! I was scared to death.”
“As a little boy, my husband hated his white blond hair, and although he also didn’t like bread crust, his mother said if he ate it he would get the brown hair he so wanted.”
“Eating end of a bread loaf will help to grow breasts.”
“White bread is only for white people. We buy wheat bread, because we’re brown.”
“She would bring salt shakers to the beach and told us if we were able to get salt on a seagull’s tail feathers it would become our pet. Her way of keeping four kids occupied.”
“If I didn’t stop crying my head would fall off and laugh at me.”
“You would get spots like a rotting banana if you didn’t go outside.”
“My mother used to convince me that I was tired by telling me that I had ‘twirlies’ in my eyes that she could see. The more twirlies you had, the sleepier you were. Always sent me running straight to bed.”
“I’m gonna unscrew your belly button and your legs will fall off!”
“My mother told me if I bit my nails, a hand would grow in my stomach.”
“If I touched the basement freezer, I would be sucked inside and no one would be able to hear me scream.”
“That if I sat too close to the TV my eyes would become square.”
“She said that the dust under my bed (if not kept clean) would turn into a man. And I thought about that every night before turning off the light.”
“Every Easter my mom would take me to a quiet room away from the kitchen. She would sit me down on a comfortable cushion and very seriously tell me that if I sat quietly and concentrated very hard that I could lay an egg. I would sit there, checking behind me occasionally. Sure enough, after close to an hour, an egg would magically appear. Elated, I would run to my mom and triumphantly hand her my magic egg!”
“To deter my brother and me from eating my mom’s delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies she told us the extra crunch to them were frog legs. Really they were walnuts.”
“She told us that if you kissed your elbow you would turn into a boy.”
“If you whistle at night, snakes will hear it and come into your bed.”
“She told me that the grease spots in the street in front of our house were stains that were left from children being hit by cars who had ventured out into the street.”

And that doesn’t even cover Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy!

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