So here's something I wrote a million years ago, originally published in At-Home Mother magazine, Volume 1, Number 2, 1998.*
Live and Learn: A Mom's Eye View Of Cliches and Common Sense
They clutter our conversations and seem always to be on the tips of our tongues. They are words to live by--maxims, bits of wisdom, cliche's built on a grain of truth. But how well do they hold up in the hectic world of modern motherhood? Here's a mother's perspective on some popular platitudes:
A pessimist sees the glass as half-empty; the optimist sees it as half-full.
A mom knows that either way, when the glass spills, it's the same amount of liquid to be wiped up or pre-treated.
Don't count your chickens before they've hatched.
We're pretty sure this is a reference to science fair projects. We strongly recommend vetoing any project that requires finding permanent homes for a dozen or so living things.
Let the buyer beware.
This applies to everything from diet aids yo buy to shed those last few pregnancy pounds to the toys displayed on the pegboard in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.
Look before you leap.
Look not only before you leap, but also before you tiptoe across the kids' room in the dark. Beware tiny, sharp-edged toys magnetically drawn to the softest parts of human feet.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
There's no telling who's been there before you and with which color crayon.
The early bird catches the worm.
And he'll want to keep it forever in a coffee can under his bed. This applies to late risers as well, and far from being limited to worms, it can include a wide variety of amphibians, reptiles and insects.
Still waters run deep.
Except in the case of mud puddles, which, while deceptively shallow, contain a seemingly endless supply of water and sludge.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Moms would rather see no eggs in the basket. Between salmonella and the mess factor, we're convinced no one under ten should have anything to do with raw eggs.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Of course, before we take that step, we have to find clothes that go together, put them on frontward and right-side-out, find socks that match (each other and the outfit), locate misplaced shoes, round up jackets, coats, mittens, hats, sunblock and bug spray (and any other seasonally appropriate accessories), and establish whose turn it is to ride next to the door (by chronicling who rode next to the door each of the last 42, 000 times the car left the driveway). By then, of course, we're too exhausted to go any further than the grocery store.