My mom didn’t raise us in a conventional way. She cursed like a sailor (she still does) and we were not allowed to follow that example. It was very much a “Do as I say not as I do” philosophy. Well maybe not so much a literal “do as I as I say” thing or else we’d by cursing up a storm today!
One of my favorite phrases that she said was, “Well then eat shit!” I love it, although it is harsh and not very appropriate for children and it scared me at the time. Now she didn’t just yell this profane statement randomly. No, this was used as a parenting tool to scare out any picky eating habits we may have tried to form. We were not allowed to be picky eaters. If she placed something in front of us that we were wary to eat she would lose her patience and tell us, “Well then eat shit!”
The imagery I had of this as a child was of us having to leave the table and go to the toilet, plunge a scrawny arm into the cold toilet water and pull out a slimey poop log and take a big icky bite out of it. Whenever she said that phrase that image always came to mind and I quickly shut up and ate the regular people food she placed before me. I was already a very timid, shy, and quiet child, her yelling this at the dinner table didn’t help any of those characteristics melt away. At the time it made me nervous. Looking back, I can understand how she could become impatient and maybe even hurt if we didn’t appreciate her cooking. You just can’t argue with an over worked, over tired, single mom that just cooked something up who was yelling at you to eat shit if you didn’t like her cooking. There was no gentle coaxing or cooing or games to trick us into digging into our plate of Hamburger Helper and peas. She had her tough and to the point ways of parenting.
I can just laugh all day about it with my sisters. My older sister, Marina, and I decided that if or when we have children we should have our own special phrase for making our kids eat. We think, “Well then I’ll RAM it down your throat!” has a endearing sound to it. What do you think?
My mom yelling that phrase was one of the many ways she instilled, what my best friend Joycelin and I refer to as: “The Fear”.
Coming Next “What The Fear Is” and “Best Fashion Advice My Mom Ever Gave Me”