Daddy can be in charge of the yard (as long as he keeps the grass cut). And the garage (as long as he keeps it organized). He's absolute ruler of his toy box (aka “the shop”), his bass boat, and that motorless ’55 Chevy pickup he has been restoring since 1982. But Mama rules the house—with a well-manicured, Playtex-gloved, iron hand.
Southern Mama has a zero-tolerance policy for any interference in her spring cleaning rituals; her weekly vacuuming schedule; her decision to purchase additional china cabinets (rather than thin out her tableware, as Daddy insanely suggested); her choices of furniture, linens, and window treatments; and her menus for major holidays. In all these things, Mama knows best. And you’d best not forget it.
She is gatekeeper of the family domicile, with strict rules regarding what belongs in her house and what does not. Actually, she's pretty sure that all Southern Mamas agree with her. How 'bout it, ladies?
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Muddy hunting boots, golf shoes, and cleats.
“If I wanted my clean floor covered with enough dirt to plant cotton, I’d have a truckload hauled in from Home Depot,” Mama says. “Keep your muddy mess where it belongs—on the BACK porch (NOT the front) or in the mudroom.”
Deer stands and fishing rods.
“This is our home, not the Duck Dynasty,” Mama says. “And while I’m at it, if you put another load of Mossy Oak camo in the washing machine with my good towels, the two of us are gonna tangle.”
Home furnishings that have to be assembled.
“Why would I want to put furniture together when I can have it delivered?” Mama wants to know.
Permanent botanicals, aka, plastic flowers.
"In a pinch, we've all fallen back on silk flowers," Mama admits. "But Aunt Myra had a bouquet of blue plastic roses which stayed on her dining table so long that they were wrapped in cobwebs when she passed, bless her heart. We suspected something was nesting in the vase."
Teens and tweens staring at video screens on a sunny day.
“If it’s pouring rain outside or we’re under a tornado warning, then fine—let them pull out their gadgets and gizmos and have at it,” Mama says. “But when the sun is shining and the sky is blue and it’s 70 degrees outside? No, sir. I’ve got three words for you, kids: Hit the yard! Ride your bike. Play some touch football. Go fishing. Play with the dog. Sit under a tree and teach yourself to play the guitar. But you will not lollygag around my house, wearing your thumbs out on some electronic folderol and wasting beautiful weather. Besides—it’s vacuuming day, and when I finish, I want to pour myself a cup of coffee and watch Chip and Joanna in peace. Outside!”
Clothes strewn all over the floor.
“Anybody who thinks it's perfectly fine to change clothes and leave jeans, shirts, socks, shoes, and soccer uniforms scattered all over the place has another thing coming," Mama asserts. "I run a clean, tidy house, so pick up after yourself, or the next time you see those $100 blue jeans, they’ll be on a rack at the church yard sale."
Pets. (At least, most people's pets.)
“Don’t even think of coming at me with snakes and rodents,” Mama says. “Or a fish tank for me to clean. Or cats and dogs to shed all over my furniture—that’s my standard policy. But I sometimes make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Like when Daddy got me sweet little BoBo—the most precious terrier you ever saw in your life. But I don't count BoBo as a pet really. He's so well behaved and thoughtful. I consider him family. That's why I named him after my favorite uncle."
"And then we have one adorable cat named Fluffy," Mama continued. "But she's only allowed on the screened-in porch—unless it's really cold. Or really hot. Or too windy. Or dark outside. Or her favorite show's on Animal Planet. Other than that, she is strictly an outdoor cat. With pets, you just have to put your foot down. Don't you agree?"