Lessons Learned From Our Kids

By Ann Robson

This is the month we devote to mothers. Florists, candy makers and greeting card makers have more or less taken over a day that was intended to be celebrated quietly in a spiritual way.

One of my favorite mothers is the late Erma Bombeck, mother, humorist and caring human being. Her column “Things My Kids Have Taught Me” was a great celebration for mothers. While most of us realize at some point we don’t have all the answers, we may pretend we do, so our kids won’t catch on that we may not be as wise as we think.

With great respect for Erma and for all the mothers who have been surprised that our kids really do know something after all, here are some excerpts from what her kids taught her:

“If you’re going to draw on the wall, do it behind the couch.”

“It’s more fun to color outside the lines.” However, there’s a new trend aimed at adult coloring books, and you really must stay inside the lines, or your design will be off kilter.

“Ask ‘why?’ until you understand,” is another truism from Erma. I recall  having my four-year-old niece stay with us for a week, and she used the “why?” question at least a hundred times a day.  I chalked it up to it being a stage, like the “terrible twos.” As I look back at that week, I realize that she really did want answers.  Her mother had given birth to twin boys the year before, and I’m sure there were times when she just didn’t have time to explain why. That niece now has two children and has been through at least one “why?” stage.

“Some weeks you really need Saturday on a Wednesday,” according to Erma. How true! As I watch today’s mothers juggle schedules, meals, homework and driving to practice for basketball, baseball, band, drama or all kinds of activities, I feel for them and wish them lots of diversional Wednesdays.

Many of the things Erma listed could easily be applied to an aging population:

“Play, don’t watch.
Sometimes two is a crowd.
Make sure you always know where the bathroom is.

To all the moms out there who spend 365 days and then some trying to live a good life, bring up nice kids and stay sane, warm thoughts for you on this Mother’s Day.


Robson is the author of “Over My Shoulder: Tales of Life and Death and Everything In Between.” She can be reached at overmyshoulder@charter.net