“You can’t always get what you want,
but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.”
The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want
My mother is a lot of things. She’s quirky and unapologetically unique. She’s eccentric and philanthropic. She’s dedicated and hard working. She’s understanding, yet firm. She’s outspoken and at times a little annoying. Growing up she drove me insane with all her momisms. As wise as they were, they were never what I actually wanted to hear. It’s funny how those little phrases that I once deemed annoying and stupid shaped me into the person I am today.
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.”
Growing up I hated hearing this one the most. This one she didn’t just say; she sang it. I mean literally anytime I got mad or started pouting because I didn’t get what I wanted, she would start full on belting “You can’t always get what you want…” and she wouldn’t stop until I dropped the subject. I’m pretty sure I was able to recite the chorus of this Rolling Stones song before I could even recite the alphabet. Just a few weeks ago a coworker was telling me about a decision that didn’t go in her favor and to my horror I started singing it in my head. I had become my mother. All I needed to do is lose my filter and start singing it out loud. It’s funny how one day you realize your mother was always right. This song puts everything in perspective. You can’t always get what you want. That’s life. Deal with it. There are people who don’t even have basic human needs like shelter, food, or clean water. You’re lucky if you get what you need. Be thankful, not ungrateful.
“Open Your Eyes.”
If I had a nickel for every time my mom said this to me I could buy all those people who don’t have their basic human needs fulfilled what they actually need. I heard this at least twice a week growing up. Any time I couldn’t find something, anytime I couldn’t figure out a homework problem, any time I claimed my room was clean… “Open your eyes,” she would say. I would get so frustrated. Why couldn’t she just point out to me what I couldn’t find? Why couldn’t she just tell me the right answer? It was my bedroom and it was cleaned to my standards. Why couldn’t she just accept that? I always felt like she was trying to make things harder for me, but what she was really doing was developing my attention to detail skills and teaching me to think critically. Such huge life skills summed up in 3 little words – “Open your eyes.”
“Because I said so.”
This is a pretty universal momism. I read an article recently that chastised moms for saying this and claimed they only use the phrase when they aren’t able to justify their decisions. To be honest, it sounded a lot like something whinny, bitter 15 year old Madison would write. I heard my mom say “because I said so” a lot growing up. After every time my phone was taken away, each time I lost car privileges, and when I questioned every grounding or early curfew that was implemented. Teenage me despised this response, but the truth is I wasn’t in a place to hear her real reasons. It takes a special kind of person, a selfless person, to be willing to be the “bad cop” parent. She knew every time she laid down the law that she was pushing me away. She knew that for a long time I wouldn’t understand that she didn’t do the things she did out of spite or malevolence, but out of love. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to understand that each time I heard “because I said so” she was really saying “because I love you.”
Have any of your mom’s momisms influenced your life as an adult? Please share in the comments!
Still trying to figure it out,
P.S. In case you forgot that Mother’s Day is this Sunday (May 12th), here are some Mother’s Day Gift Ideas that are eligible for Amazon Prime 2 day shipping: