There are many things that my mom told me as a kid that I believed would happen if I didn’t follow her direction. There were standards like, “if you cross your eyes, they’ll get stuck…” and there were some odd ones that I never really understood the reasons why she used them until I became a mom myself. I even wrote about one lie tactic that I recently used with my daughter, and as I was writing it, a sad (pathetic) realization hit me:

“Holy sh*t…I’ve turned into my mother…”

White Lies

There were the”white lies” that I had put out of my memory because they were just so “mean” – just the other day, my brother reminded me of how my mom convinced me that I was allergic to sugar. SUGAR!!! It didn’t stop there – she also told me I was allergic to apple juice and ketchup. I mean seriously, who tells their kid they’re allergic to the three childhood staples?? When he reminded me of this, I recalled how I’d go to friends’ houses and tell their moms, “sorry…I’m allergic to sugar.” In my mind’s eye, I can see their moms smirking knowingly and offering me carrot sticks or celery instead.

I now have the worst sweet tooth of anyone I know.

Breaking Bad Habits

There were the myths that she used to break my bad habits. I was a notorious nose picker in preschool because I suffered from allergies. I constantly had a finger up my nose either trying to clear it out or trying to scratch it. My dad has a LARGE nose and Mom told me that it became that way because he picked his nose a lot. Dad even played along – I’d look at him to reconfirm the size of his nose and he’d flare it out like a bull.

I no longer pick my nose but only because it’s not socially acceptable. If it were, you can bet that my fingers would be up there scratching away every single springtime…

There are others that I didn’t even realize were “tricks” until someone pointed them out to me.  Whenever my mom caught me laying on the family room floor on my belly, doing my homework with a snack next to me, she’d tell me that only cows ate while lying down. Granted, this was more of a “so what?” fact, but anytime I did it, I felt like a total slob. I never realized that this was a shaming tactic until I mentioned it to my husband and he rolled his eyes, only saying the following:

“Ya think maybe she told you because…oh, I don’t know…so you wouldn’t choke on your food??”

Seriously, between the giant nose and the fact that I ate like a cow, you’d think I looked like this as a kid:


Survival Tactics

Finally, there were the ones that she used out of sheer survival. As a small kid, I woke up every night like clockwork to pee. I remember calling out to her in kiddie Korean what could be translated to, “I’m gonna pee RIGHT NOW!!” This happened EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. Then one day, she told me that every time I woke up, I’d lose a millimeter in potential height because I needed sleep to grow. She explained how this meant that at the end of the year, I’d be 3.5 cm shorter than I would be had I slept through. She told me this every single morning after a night waking.

It worked in that I eventually learned to sleep or take myself to the bathroom, but…I’m STILL FREAKING SHORT, so now I feel gypped!

(note: Does this sound familiar?? Sound like the trick that I pulled on my daughter the other week?? )


Sometimes moms have to resort to whatever works as long as it is relatively harmless and truth/fact-based. I use little tricks on my kids, but I always make sure that there’s some element of truth behind them because I know that kids remember a lot more than we give them credit for. If you don’t believe me, I’ll say this – I remember a lot of other “tricks” she used as a kid, the oldest memory being one of my second birthday.

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