Listening to your mother

Posted: May 8, 2010 in Events, Family, Musings
Tags: , , ,

My Mum turns 80 this year; my Mum-in-law is 83.

Both were born into the Great Depression and World War Two, have endured the deaths of husbands and parents, and lived rich lives which include 13 children, 33 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren between them.

Resilience and a sense of humour have made them much-loved by their large extended families. They have earned their right to be heard, so this Mother’s Day, here’s a little selection from the chocolate box of Nana sayings treasured by both sides of the family.

“Oooh, you wouldn’t want that as a wart over your eye.” (Happy is the well-endowed family member immortalised in that bon mot).

“It’s as cold as a step-mother’s breath.” (The politically-correct fairy didn’t make it to Nana’s christening, but my step-kids and I still laugh at this one).

‘Love all, trust few, always paddle your own canoe” (Advice to my sixteen-year-old self, heading off to the Big Smoke).

“I wish I’d been more like you, dear; I wasted too many of my best years doing housework.’ (A classic Nana back-hander).

‘Don’t bust your foofer valve.” (Not on housework, I haven’t, Nana ;))

“Honestly, he couldn’t run a bath.” (A genuine Nana-ism only when accompanied by the legendary Nana sniff).

‘Does anyone want my potato?’ (Note the singular; that’s how Nana (far right of photo) has kept her girlish figure all these long years.)

Please feel free to share your own favourites below and Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is a Mum and to everyone else who loves their Mum. 🙂

  1. Michael says:

    When we asked for too much mum always accused us of wanting ‘Portholes in our coffins.’ One day when she was angry she got the expressions ‘The shoe will be on the other foot’ and ‘Laughing on the other side of your face’ mixed up and came out with ‘One day you’ll be laughing on the other side of your foot.’ We never let her forget that.

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Michael, that’s priceless, you’ve made my morning!
    For some reason, you’ve reminded me of Andrew’s Mum when she complains that a blunt knife “wouldn’t cut Puss.” Thankfully the derivation of that one has been lost in the mists of time…

  3. Classic, Chris and Michael. Ha, ha. Wow. You come from a very creative, expressive family, Chris. They are brilliant sayings and I love your line ‘from the chocolate box of Nana sayings’. You could make a little coffee book out of such sayings. I can’t remember any old-fashioned or odd sayings, although I think my Mum used to sometimes say ‘oh, my hat!’ (expression of surprise). Joanna :))

  4. chrisbongers says:

    Joanna, “Oh my giddy aunt”, you’ve reminded me of another one!

  5. robyn scheer says:

    Dad was the one with the sayings, such as for anything good:”better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick”.

  6. chrisbongers says:

    Or a slap in the face with a wet fish, Rob?

  7. Lynne the Lurker says:

    My mum can never remember my name first off. I’ve been called by my sister’s name, my brother’s name and even the dog’s name … and the dog had been dead eleven years.

    And her other favourite,”I only want you to be happy, but…”

  8. chrisbongers says:

    Oh dear, Lynne, I’m turning into your mother – Only I call the dog by my youngest child’s name!

  9. Chhaya says:

    hahaha… the wart one was fab!

    everytime my nana was upset, it always started with – Girls of today….

  10. chrisbongers says:

    The wart is a classic, isn’t it, Chhaya? My grandmother used to chastise us for being grumpy by telling us ‘not to get scotty”. I’ve never heard another person say that, before or since.

  11. Lynn says:

    Brings back memories of one of my mum’s favourite sayings…” I’ll belt your bum until your nose bleeds…” and then there was that fateful day where she said,
    “I’ll belt your nose til your bum bleeds…” Ah, like Michael – the laughter still bubbles forth even today…rest her soul.

  12. chrisbongers says:

    And if I have to stop this car my girl, you’ll be laughing out of the other side of your face!

  13. Little Hat says:

    Lovely photo Christine. Who’s the man with his arm around nana? Did he last/
    My mum (sternly):’You can’t make a joke out of everything Stephen’ So I went off and made a career out of being a clown.

  14. chrisbongers says:

    It is lovely, Steve. That’s one of her five younger brothers with his arm around her. Another brother is wearing a floppy hat and what looks alarmingly like matching togs and shirt (his daughter was delighted; she hadn’t seen this before.)
    Carmel Bird once told me that “a mother’s chin on your shoulder” is a terrible deterrent for writers. Lucky we don’t always listen to them, isn’t it Steve?

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