If you grew up in the South, then you likely know that not only is mama always right, but she also has — um — a lot of opinions. She also has an easy way of communicating those thoughts in clever idioms, sweet sayings, and tired-and-true blessings that have been passed down from her grandmother’s great grandmother’s grandmother. But if you weren’t raised among the honeysuckle bushes and gravel roads clogged with tractor traffic, you might encounter the Southern mother breed — and well, have no idea what she’s damn well talking about.
Before you raise an eyebrow and meet the hickory stick, here’s what those loving, fiery, and funny mothers are really saying. Just remember, they always mean well, y’all.
1. I’m going to tan your hide!
If you’re a Southern native, then you know there’s truly nothin’ (and we mean nothin’) scarier than the wrath of an angry Southern mother. And when she gets all riled up, you know you’re not only in trouble, but you might get yourself a whippin’ (also known as a spanking). Your hide — that's your backend — will definitely change colors if you don’t run fast enough to the neighbors.
2. Nothin’ good happens after midnight.
Though not all Southern mothers are concerned with protecting your Cinderella-esque virtue, they are concerned with safety. And if you went off to college — or you’re just visiting a Southern town you don’t know very well — you might have heard some words of caution. Though midnight might not be the precise cutoff point, haven’t you ever regretted those last-call tequila shots? Probably.
3. God don’t like ugly.
If you’re being difficult to get along with, back-talking to your parents or siblings, or throwin’ one of those hissy fits, you might not be called argumentative in the South. Instead, Southern mothers simply have one word for anything other than a well-behaved, properly raised child: ugly. Mama don’t like ugly — and so they say, God doesn’t either.
4. Pretty is as pretty does.
All mamas know their daughter is the very best of ‘em all, but when she's passed over on the cheerleader squad or some backwoods boy chooses another gal to take to prom, a Southern mama might have said, "Pretty is as pretty does." It’s a simplistic way of saying that actions mean more than looks. And it can go two ways: If you’re focusing too much on fixin’ your face and minding your weight, but not paying attention to your heart, she’ll tsk-tsk at you.
5. You can’t get blood out of a turnip.
When you can’t make someone love ya the same way you want them to and you find yourself sobbin’ over them in your bedroom, you might hear a knock at your door to put yourself together, stat. And because she’s kind hearted to her core, your Southern mother might add, "You can’t get blood out of a turnip," which means people only give you what they can.
6. Don’t get too big for your britches.
Acting full of yourself and too good for that off-brand, half-price lipstick on a Walmart shelf? Your Southern mama isn’t impressed by high class (okay, maybe she is a little). It’s more important for her to know that you remain grounded — and grateful. That’s why if your ego starts taking over, she’ll acknowledge your growing attitude — and ask you to check it.
7. Don’t forget what your knees are for.Deeply rooted in Christianity, tons of families in the South attend church regularly — meaning you spent a lot of time saying your blessings before supper and bedtime. This is another tactic a Southern mother uses to keep her kids humble: Those knees are meant for sending thoughts and thanksgiving up to the heavens.
8. Just wait ‘til your daddy comes home.
If you’re so out of control and can’t be tamed, your Southern mother’s final threat is about your daddy, who, even though mama is pretty stern... he’s even stricter. This is when you quit the tears and close your door… softly.
9. You sound like a dying calf in a hail storm!
Venture out to a shopping mall or a barbecue joint, and you might witness a Southern mother trying to keep her kids sane. All children have their meltdowns, and if the temper tantrum is so extreme that she’s losing her patience, you might hear her beg her child to stop crying because he sounds like a farm animal.
10. It’ll all come out in the wash.
Worried about how something will turn out? Or anxious about what the future may or may not hold? While she might do some frettin’ on her own (and of course, some powerful praying), a Southern mother is also convicted that everything happens just how it should.
11. You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
If you’re contemplating revenge or letting your hiney show (that means being cheeky or sassy), a Southern mother will try and persuade you to change your evil ways. Or, at the very least, try to kill ‘em with kindness by being sweet instead.
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