Rudey's Room

Joanisms and Other Things My Mom Said


“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”

– Victor Hugo


My college roommate and I lovingly coined them: Joanisms.

This was the term we gave to the one liners my mom would evenly and consistently dish.

I say this only with love because at 39 years old, I truly cherish these pearls of wisdom.

Granted, sometimes they drove me a little wah-wah-eyes-rolling-not again-mooooom, seriously. 

Such as, “You can catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

I’d wonder, I get it, watch your tongue, be kinder … yet who wants to catch freakin’ flies?

But I’m so grateful she dished (and still dishes) these out. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

In fact, her words are with me this week. She’s known to say: “Hindsight is 20/20.”

She used this more with the could’ves, should’ves, would’ves in decisions, but it can work at the start as well.

Right now this phrase is helping me let go to the unknowns.

I feel a little of out control and too heady. Her words are holding me at the moment.

It’s a lot harder to connect the dots looking forward and much easier to connect them looking backwards.

Her words are giving me the confidence to follow my gut and my heart.

My mom also taught me:

“You can’t love anyone until you love yourself.”

“You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

“You can lose your house. You can lose your money. They can take everything away from you, but they can’t take away what you’ve learned, what you have upstairs. Unless you want them to.”

Little did I know she was philosophizing with Frankl.

In Man’s Search for Meaning he wrote,”Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

That’s fundamental, but she also said, “Tough titty said the kitty, when the milk was all gone.”

What kitty? 

We didn’t have a cat.

That one came out when my brother, sister, and I were relentlessly negotiating, pushing back, complaining, and she’d had it.

It was her way of saying, the buck stops here. 

Do you have any sayings from your mom (or dad)?



The picture is of my mom and I at Happy Joe’s pizzeria in Green Bay, Wisconsin circa 1979. It’s one of my favorites.



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