Lies our mothers told us (and dads, too)

Lee St. John, a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, is a #1 Amazon ranked humorous author. Look for her on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeStJohnauthor), and on her blog at Her new release, “SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess” can be found on

Recently, a friend wrote this on her Facebook page: “My mother once taught me that if I ate sweets before noon, I’d get worms. Uh-oh.”
This set off a fire storm of texts regarding what lies our parents once told us. We may have even said a few ourselves. I’ve divided them up into categories. Are you guilty of any of these? I know, if not these, there are others I’ve been known to fabricate.

Things that have to do with your body:
“If you swallow watermelon seeds, you will grow a watermelon in your tummy.”
“You need to rest 30 minutes after eating before swimming or you’ll drown.”
“If you eat fat off a steak, it will make your hair shine.”
“If you drink your milk, you’ll grow big and tall!”
“Shaving your legs makes the hair grow back thicker.”

Don’t Touch That!:
“Touching frogs will give you warts.”
“When we went to the store my mom used to tell me, ‘Every time you touch something a kitten dies.'”

Holidays and Festivities:
“Santa is watching you.”
“As a kid I put a tooth in a plastic bag and slid it under my pillow for the tooth fairy. When my parents forgot to put money under my pillow, my dad said, ‘You shouldn’t have put the tooth in a bag. The tooth fairy couldn’t smell it.'”
“Living on the West Coast, my friend showed the East Coast feed of the New Year’s Eve countdown to her kids, then had them in bed just after nine.”

Things you shouldn’t do:
Me: “I want to because Gayle (my friend) is going to.” Mother: “If Gayle jumped off a bridge, would you?”
“If you cross your eyes, they will stay that way.” Or “If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way.”
“If you have a wart it’s because you peed in the street.”
“Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis.”
“Watching TV too close to the screen will make you go blind.”
“Dropping a penny from the Empire State Building can kill someone.”
“If you swallow gum, it takes seven years to digest.”

“My uncle told my cousin her turtle could do tricks like play dead. They went through 7 turtles.”
“When my dog died, my parents told me that she was at the doggie nursing home and visitors weren’t allowed.”
“My father always said the animals on the side of the road were just taking a nap because the road was warm.”
“My dad told me my dog left to be with my father’s mother in Japan, when he actually died. I mean, what?”

Let’s calm down:
“We’re almost there!” amidst a painfully long road trip.
The classic “I’ll check on you in a minute” as you say good night.
“We’ll come back another time.”
“It won’t hurt. I promise!”
“We’ll see.”

Flat out lies:
“When the ice cream truck plays the music, that means it’s out of ice cream.”
“I never would have done that when I was your age.”
“My roommate grew up on a farm and was told by her parents that their TV only worked when it rained.”
“My mom told me 7-Eleven was only open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., and that 7 p.m. was far too late to have a Slurpee.”
“When I was a kid my parents warned me that if I pressed the ‘reset’ button on the power outlet the house would explode.”
And of course the one we have all said, “I’m leaving without you!”




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