“Part of the reason motherly advice bugs us as daughters is because our mothers are so powerful in our lives. They loom like giants. The reason mothers keep at it is because they’re so powerless. They cannot get you to do what is so obvious to them you should do.”    Deborah Tannen

My mum was at my place during the week.

It was evening and I was at the end of a very long and arduous day. So I did what I tend to do and had a good old whine. And as I bitched and moaned, my dear Mum just looked at me, taking sips of her own wine, before declaring…

“For god’s sake. Put your shoulders back.”

It was a conversation killer. I did what I was told and rose in my seat, defiantly sticking my shoulders back.

“That’s better,” she said approvingly. “Now what were you saying?”

mother and daughter having conversation over coffee

I had forgotten what I was saying. I was too pre-occupied with the thought that here I was, at 38, still being told the same thing by my Mum as she did when I was five.

Straight away the song by Billy Joel started playing in my head: “She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes.”

How come mums still wield so much power, even when you are a grown-up?

Later that night after the Posture Police left, I took to Twitter.

My mum just left, but not before telling me to put my shoulders back.

Responses came in thick and fast.

My mum told me my lipstick colour makes me look like I have a heart condition.

Hubs grandma told me day after our wedding “you didn’t look as fat as you normally do.” err…thanks?

Mum told me that I should never, ever go back to my hairdresser.

My mother once told me that I should never wear white near my face. It washes me out. Apparently.

I was thrilled to know that I was not alone!

It appeared that women everywhere were still being told to do by their mums. And a lot of times it has to do with appearance.


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