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The Biggest Lies Your Mother Ever Told You

02/02/2015 07:06 am ET | Updated Apr 04, 2015

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Mothers have lied to their children since the invention of language. Sometimes the lies are for the mother's convenience, such as the admonition that it isn't safe to swim for an hour after lunch. Other times, the lies are to protect the child's ego from a harsh reality because the child can't sing on key or play the correct notes on the recorder. But mostly, mothers lie to their kids in order to allow the kids to believe that anything is possible if they work hard enough and eat the right foods.

One of the biggest lies your mother told you was that you could be anything you wanted to be if you were willing to work hard. This just simply isn't true. The short stocky girl will never be a runway model no matter how hard she tries. The clumsy nonathletic boy doesn't have a chance of being a professional baseball player. You are never going to have a job or career doing something you are phenomenally lousy at unless your parents own the business, modeling agency or baseball franchise.

In a similar vein, you can't have it all. Period. Telling a child that they can have it all is well-intended but it is perhaps the mother of all lies your mother told you. Nobody has it all. You may be beautiful and talented and wealthy and married to a movie star but you may also carry a genetic mutation that causes cancer. You may be a mom with a fabulous career and a few adorable children and find yourself guilt-ridden and torn between spending time on your career and spending time with your kids. No one really has it all except maybe some monks who have no possessions and wander around barefoot, but then again, they don't have shoes so they don't have it all, either.

Your mother may have told you that you can have whatever body you want if you exercise like a maniac and eat vegan, macrobiotic whatnot. But it's not true. She lied. She was trying to motivate you to try to improve yourself and she should be commended for the inspiration, assuming she didn't cause you to develop an eating disorder. But exercise and diet won't give you bigger breasts or smaller ones either. You can't exercise or eat your way to a taller body. Neither exercise nor diet will give you a robust derriere if you were born with a flat one. Padded underwear can help, however.

Good things do not come to those who wait. Not really. There are no tickets left and no rooms at the inn for those who wait. Many things you want for yourself or your child have limited availability and if you don't book that hotel, that plane seat, that spot at camp or that weekly session with the therapist, you are out of luck. Act now. Act fast. Nothing good comes to those who procrastinate. Although waiting for a good guy to come along instead of getting involved with the narcissistic loser is a good plan, actually.

Every cloud does not have a silver lining, no matter what your mother told you. She was sweet to try to spin your miserable failure into something positive but it just isn't true. It is hard to find the silver lining when you didn't make varsity, didn't get into the college you wanted or didn't get the job you wanted. Drowning your sorrows in cheap beer doesn't qualify as a silver lining. Just sayin' . . .

On the other hand, telling the truth is often the best policy but not always the best policy despite what your mother told you. "Do I look fat in this?" and "Do you think he likes me?" are two questions that you should never answer honestly if you value your friendship with your best friend. We've all been there when a friend was proudly modeling a hideous dress or wanted to know if we thought some guy liked her even though he didn't know she existed.

Your mother may have told you not to cry over spilled milk but she was wrong about that, too. It is far better to let your emotions out than to bottle them up and allow them to cause you to have issues that will require expensive therapy later on. Enough said.

Lastly, men are not like taxis. My mother used to say that men were like taxis and if you missed one, there would be many more barreling down the street very soon, so not to worry. Unfortunately, where many people live, there aren't many taxis coming around at all. And many taxi drivers stop more often for younger women, anyway. So that was just another lie.

Your mother most likely meant well. She told you these lies in order to assuage your hurt feelings when you faced rejection or to motivate you to continue trying. She was lying to you to protect you. But she wasn't lying about everything. The bright orange dye in the snack food is bad for you.

We should all aspire to provide our kids with advice that comes from the heart, as our mothers did. And we will also, no doubt, get some things wrong. But hopefully we will convey the more accurate message that at least some things are possible if you work hard enough and eat the right foods.

photo credit: april-mo via photopin cc

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