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I can honestly say that 9 times out of 10 my mom is right on point when it comes to life advice and what not. It’s scary how right she is. But she is a woman, a person, an imperfect creature, meaning everything she’s said hasn’t been a gem. None of her shortcomings are reflected on this list but some “what the hell?!?”comments from my other female family members are present. Have you ever heard any of these?

1- Your hair is your beauty

This particular gem was my grandmother’s. Lord knows I love my grandmother. She was my gurl…like for real. But she was just dead wrong with this one. Yes our hair is beautiful but it’s not the source of our beauty. True beauty is reflected just as much, if not more, from the inside, than it is in our outward appearance. Placing all your stock in your hair is just not smart.

2- Doing what you love won’t make you any money

I’m living proof that this little nugget of wisdom just isn’t true. If you look at some of the most successful people in the world you’ll notice that many of them are doing something they’re deeply passionate about. If you listen to their stories you’ll note along the way there were several people who discouraged them, just like some of our mothers but they believed in their passion and their mission

3- Young ladies don’t do ________

This could be anything from flirting a little to hard with the fellas, not being the first one to call, sitting with your legs gapped open. For my grandmother it was very unbecoming for my sister and I, as little girls, to be laughing and playing loudly in the street. Even when she told me this at around 10 years old I knew it was a little off base. It would have been one thing if we were outside cussing and fussing but laughing and playing though?!? I couldn’t understand it and I didn’t accept it. To this day people comment on how loudly I laugh and talk when I’m really excited but honestly, it’s not that deep. Enjoy life.

4- You’re only wearing your hair natural because you’re being lazy

Making the transition from relaxed to natural is already an uphill battle but for some of us our own mothers/family members made the process that much more difficult with their disparaging comments. As we learned in my grandmother’s lesson above hair is not all that we’re about and the decision to wear it in a particular way doesn’t speak volumes about our personal character and integrity. We’re not even going to get into how much time and effort it takes to maintain natural hair…

5- You have to get married/have a baby at a certain time

Even if your biological clock is not ticking your mother’s might be working double time for you. Many a woman has had to answer the daunting question of why you’re still single or when you and your husband are going to stop playing and have some children. For better or worse many of our mothers and grandmothers considered marriage and motherhood to be the markers of a well-trained woman. Today that’s not the case. We have options and it’s becoming increasingly more and more acceptable to put off marriage and having children while you work on your career or forever if you so choose.

6- You need to learn how to cook to feed a man

There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning how to cook. We have to eat and constantly eating fast food will leave you fat and broke. So yes, cook we must. But your main motivation for learning how to cook should not be to catch or keep a man. Again that strategy is flawed. You should cook because it’s necessary to human survival and you want your food to taste good. If anybody else benefits from your skills it’s just an added bonus not an indication of your worth as a woman.

7- You should relocate for him

Whew it’s hard being a woman! And our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and girlfriends, some of the people who should be most sympathetic to our shared plight are the ones who will encourage you to put yourself and your goals on the back burner to be with a man. (See: Savannah’s mother in “Waiting to Exhale”). If you ultimately decide to uproot and relocate for a man you’re in love with that’s beautiful (no sarcasm) but you should never feel pressured to do so by anyone because you’re a woman.

8- You don’t have to tell him the truth about…

Most of us have probably heard from our mothers that we don’t have to tell a man this or that. Truth be told none of us are going to be completely honest about everything in our lives. But outright encouraging somebody to lie, whether outright or by omission is just wrong. No bueno.

9- Marry for Money

No need to explain this one in any great depth. If I had to guess I wouldn’t say this trend isn’t particularly popular among black women but every once in a while you’ll find somebody’s mother spewing this nonsense.

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