My own series of bumper stickers

As an added bonus to my usual case of return-from-flying-the-friendly-skies-in-a-giant-germ-filled-metal-tube plague, both kids appear to have… something… as well. As in, they were sick before I got home, so I didn’t give it to them. No one is deathly ill, we’re all just ill-ish (is that a thing? I feel like if I were cooler, ill-ish would actually be a compliment, no?) and grumpy and SUPER FUN TO BE AROUND. Also, shut up and stop looking at me.

Needless to say, this has made that whole getting-back-into-the-swing-of-things endeavor even more painful than anticipated. Because what now? We’re out of milk? And you can’t have cereal because there’s no milk? Why don’t YOU go to the store for more milk? The fact that you’re not old enough to drive is not an excuse. Wait, you ARE old enough to drive, but your meaniepants parents won’t let you get your learner’s permit? It’s probably because they want you to die alone, carless, and without any milk. Clearly.

A couple of days ago Monkey started the day by flinging himself down on the floor of my room while I was in the shower, and when I emerged he told me he felt “really sick.” I assumed he was dying, but it turns out he just has sniffles and was really sleepy. Still! Points for identifying feeling yucky!

I don’t know if it’s a post-conference thing or a school’s-about-to-start thing or just a random thing, but I find myself doing a mental catalogue of events in a way that distills them down to aphorisms. Then I feel kind of self-satisfied and wise, and I think things like “I should totally put this on a bumper sticker!” (After which I then think “… for people who are new to our planet,” because… right.)

Mind you, this all comes to you from someone who can barely remember to buy milk, so take it for what it’s worth (exactly what you spent on it). But feel free to use any and all of the following:

Walk softly and carry a big Tide pen. I made several new friends (and impressed old ones) at BlogHer because I always have a Tide pen in my purse. And I like to think it’s just part of my charm that the obvious rejoinder to “Oh, you are SO SMART” is “No, I just drop food on myself a lot.”

Good cooking is like life—first you have to learn the rules, then figure out which ones to bend. Have I ever mentioned that I’m suspicious of people who tell me they “can’t” cook? I am. It’s one thing to say, “This isn’t interesting to me and I would rather pay other people to prepare my food,” but quite another to claim that you’re just inherently bad at it and therefore should be excused. People who fall into that latter category perplex me. Also I think cooking is a kind of life meditation. (Also, I like to eat.) And the corollary…

Life is too short to skip what tastes good. All things in moderation, I know—I would never suggest we all go whole-hog on the Paula Deen 2-sticks-of-butter-in-everything plan—but remember when I vowed not to skip dessert? One of my better insights, I think, be it literal or figurative. Maybe nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but when Kate Moss or whoever said that I doubt she had a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at the end of a long, hot summer’s day. Just sayin’.

Always go with the good stuff. To continue the food thing, lest you think I do nothing but sit around eating ice cream (I wish), y’know I mostly cook healthy stuff, and even my “unhealthy” stuff often has hidden goodness in it to pump up the nutrition. I put Greek yogurt in cornbread. I add protein powder to brownies for the kids. I don’t do full-on Sneaky Chef level hijinks, but part of how I just kind of eat the stuff I want is to make sure that most of what I want isn’t as bad for me as it might be. When I expanded this theory to life interactions, SURPRISE! It made me a more pleasant human. Like, assuming someone is going to treat you well and/or has your best interest at heart makes for a nicer life. WEIRD.

There’s very few times when drinking a glass of water is a bad idea. If you really have to pee or you’re actively vomiting, I guess you should skip the water. But the rest of the time? Go for it. Hungry? Drink some water. Thirsty? Obviously. Sick? Help your body flush out the bad stuff by drinking water. Bored? Drink some water! It’s good for you! (Call me, water, I’d like to be your spokesperson. I am a fan of hydration.)

Naps are underrated. I have no idea why naps get a bad rap. Sure, there’s not always time for them, but when there is, whoa. Sleep is good. Naps fix what something yummy and a glass of water doesn’t.

See, I’m wise like Buddha. I do not understand why “Put your laundry away, and drink some water!” doesn’t receive all kinds of fanfare ’round here. It’s possible my children just need a little more time to reach my level of enlightenment.


  1. Amanda

    Or maybe your children just need a nap?

  2. HG

    The water thing cracks me up. Do you remember in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the father always thinks a little Windex will fix anything? That is us with water. Kids: I have a headache. Us: Have some water. Kids: My skin is dry. Us: Water. Kids: I don’t want to do homework. Us: Water)

  3. Tricia

    Wallace Simpson said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. She’s generally considered a socialite bitch and other than a king who gave up his throne for her no one would have cared. See also…I’m betting she was also rather hungry.

    • Katie in CA

      or thirsty

  4. MaryP

    YAY, HYDRATION!!! For reasons I don’t care to get into here (you’re welcome), I tracked my fluid intake every day for two months. I am proud to be able to declare — with documentation to back me! — that I drink comfortably over two litres of water every day.

    My children used to be about as enthused as yours, but now that they’re in their twenties, they are on the water bandwagon. Another tiny marker of maternal success. :)

  5. My Kids Mom

    I’m all for eating the good stuff, but I see that differently. Since I generally eat well, I think indulging in the good stuff is fine. I decided long ago to forego all store bought sweets at parties. Homemade cake? Still warm cookies? You made candy?! Yeah, I’m all over them. But the six hundredth store bought birthday cake? I’ll save my calories for a piece of dark Ghirridelli, thank you very much! (chocolate doesn’t have to be homemade, just the good stuff- no milk chocolate footballs!)

  6. Sharon

    Good bumper stickers as well as good advice. My daughter has been pushing the water angle with me and I’m trying to do better. I do my best cooking when I’m feeling good about life in general. I’m with you on eating what tastes good ~ life is too short to not enjoy what we’re eating.

  7. Sheila

    Re: Aphorism Number Two

    I would like to think you are right as usual, but you have never eaten my fish tacos. Which I made last night for the first time. (You should be grateful for this.) My poor husband tried very bravely to soldier on and finish them long after I gave up on the second or third bite, but even he was unable to continue.

    Seriously, I. Can’t. Cook.

  8. timberdawn

    The illness related bumper sticker around here is: When in doubt, gargle with salt water”. Sore throat? Stuffy head, lost love? I don’t actually remember recommending it for that last one, but my daughter swears I did.

  9. kapgaf

    What about a bumper sticker that reads : Eat the good stuff, drink water and take naps.
    Of course, that doesn’t solve the milk buying question but you could probably work it in somewhere and still have it fit on a bumper….

  10. elz

    “Drink some water” is my standard mom retort to any kid whining. “My foot hurts”- you need to drink more water, “My tummy hurts,” You probably need more water, “I don”t want to do my homework” -Drink some water. Water, it’s awesome.

  11. Rocky Mountain Woman

    You are brilliant! We only get about 70 years give or take to eat, so we might as well make the most of them..


  12. Zuska

    Because my mind works in weird ways, the whole hydration thing reminded me of a favorite saying in our family. It seems that one of my brothers-in-law once overheard an exchange between a child and grandparent, at a crowded fair on a very hot day. The child was whiny and cranky and kept asking for a drink, but the lines were long and they were apparently in a hurry because the grandparent’s response to the request for a drink was the charming suggestion to “Swallow your spit.” Imagine it being said with an Archie Bunker-esque Noo Yawk accent for the full effect.

    So the minute anyone complains or gets whiny, we say “swallow your spit.” And then our life seems magically better!

  13. Korinthia Klein

    Now I can’t help but picture someone vomiting while trying to drink water. (But I probably don’t have to imagine it because there is likely a whole corner of the internet just for that.)

  14. Pamela

    Actually, water can be good if you’re vomiting too – dry heaves are the worst.

  15. Stimey

    My HUSBAND uses Tide pens regularly and I have no idea why he didn’t bother to share the magic of the Tide pen before. Jerk. Honestly, there are not a lot of things that water, naps, and Tide pens can’t fix.

  16. Aimee

    I love napping. And hydration.

  17. Stacy

    I could live by those rules. I love naps, I love desserts, I should drink more water. Works for me!

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