Sunday, May 13, 2007

About Our Mothers

I use a list in my column today in the Chapel Hill News to capture some of my mother's endearing and absurd ideas about how to maintain health and live well.

I love lists.

They're a great way to:
cover a lot of material fast and briefly, almost like shorthand.

Sometimes we feel we must write long, with
flowing narrative
smooth transitions
deeply developed ideas
clean seques

Lists let you break out. I often suggest writing a list to
record memories
jot descriptions
note feelings
explore images
record dialogue

You can create a week's worth of ideas in two mintues list writing.

Post a comment with some of your mother's sayings.
Try using a list.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,
I enjoyed your piece in the CH News on Sunday about Mom's nuggets of wisdom. Here are a couple from my mom that will never leave me:

1) When you load the dishwasher, never nest two of the same thing together (bowls, spoons, knives) - otherwise the water can't circulate through and clean everything. Thus, every time I load the dishwasher, it's as if I'm arranging a vase of fresh flowers - an upright fork here, a soup spoon pointing downward there, bowls precisely two rack spaces apart... I sometimes groan at myself when I insist on this, but my dishes (almost) always come out clean.

2) Never underestimate the value of a thank-you note. My mom reminded me many times over the years how a simple thank-you note for a brief encounter led directly to her first job as a television producer before she even finished college. On countless occasions, I have also gotten a great ROI on the tiny amount of time it takes to write a personal note thanking someone for their time, advice or generosity. Plus it's just a nice thing to do.

Thanks for the chance to illuminate a couple of my mom's wonderful teachings. Keep writing! I enjoy your columns.

Allison Wiener
Chapel Hill

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,

I really liked your column this morning (and every Sunday that you are in the paper)!

My mom has said some pretty funny things since I have had 2 children:

On the uselessness of changing tables: "You can't fall off the floor!"

On the uselessness of worrying about passing childhood phases: "She won't be [sucking her thumb/sticking peas up her nose/pick something annoying your child is doing] when she's in college!"
Or maybe she will, but at least I won't have to be there to witness it.

About the drudgery of diaper changing: "The best diaper to poop in is a clean one."

My mom also gave me one and only one piece of advice about having a new baby, which I didn't need since I had 2 girls, but here it is:

"If you have a boy, ALWAYS have an extra diaper to cover him up with while you are changing him." Seems that my brother hit all 4 walls and the ceiling the first time my mom changed him at home.

Things I remember my mom saying before I had children:

"You look so much nicer with your hair OFF YOUR FACE!" This comment ALWAYS accompanied by at least one of her hands in my hair near my forehead, as if she were hoping some mousse would appear by magic.

"Do you EVER wear lipstick?"
This comment ALWAYS said with wistful hopefulness. My inevitable answer, "Yes, Mother, on my anniversary."

I look forward to reading other comments from people in a future column or on your blog.

And someday when my children are a little older and sleeping better (they are 2 and 5) I hope to take a workshop with you!

Best regards,

Nan Pardington
Chapel Hill