• Heather Armstrong

    When I’m brushing Marlo’s hair and she complains, I say the word “hair” EXACTLY like my mother does and did. The whole room starts to spin.

  • Meagan G

    I think this is one of those parenting things that no one warned you about but should have
    . I mean really, someone should have told me how to nag without it being nagging. Sometimes I start to hate the sound of my own voice after a day full of “reminders”.

  • http://www.lifeofjill.com/ jill (mrschaos)

    It’s the point where I scream “I JUST WANT YOU TO BE DECENT HUMAN BEINGS” is where it gets bad.

  • http://organicrazorsandfreerangetutus.com/ TwoOnlyChildren

    I JUST said this to myself today! And yesterday. And the day before that. I will learn. And one day, I hope to not have to remind myself again…and again…and again.

  • Rachel Sea

    You are totally doing the right thing. Too lazy to look it up, but I ready a study earlier this year explaining why kids need to be reminded 6 hojillion times before they just keep their feet on the floor already. Growing, and developing means resetting rules, and behaviors, so on top of natural forgetfulness, there is also this thing where they have to check over, and over, and over to see if a rule still applies. Totally sensible, though maddening, stuff.

  • Rachel Sea

    Sometimes when I laugh I hear my mother’s voice. It kind of makes me hate laughing.

  • brent anderson

    Chord, struck. That precarious balance of potentially over-protective parenthood and permissive Darwinism where left to their own devices “they’ll learn one day” (perhaps when they’re getting their own ketchup stains out.) I find myself teetering daily between feeling like the aforementioned drill sergeant nag and standing slackjawed in bemused astonishment at how these otherwise smart little minions either don’t care or somehow still find themselves incapable of absorbing messages repeated with mind-numbing frequency. To nag without nagging sounds exactly like the zen martial art mastery it is.

  • TWM

    There is so much to say no to or remind about. Sometimes I try to remember to remark on something that is working.

  • Sarah Danielle

    I can honestly say I don’t have memories of my parents nagging me to be polite, but I know they must have and I’m grateful for it! The fact that my mom wouldn’t let me watch the Spice Girls Movie, now that’s something I still haven’t forgiven her for.

  • donna

    You’ll know when they are 25+ years, compare their upbringing to their contemporaries, and thank you for bringing them up correctly.

  • http://www.tokenblogger.com ɯoɔ˙ɹǝƃƃolquǝʞoʇ

    Woman! Have you no charm school in your area? Have you been gone from your southern roots that long? Point this out to Grandmother (“Miss Lee says to remind you, Mom…”) and have her send the girls to “charm school camp” this summer! ;o)

    Oh! My! Goodness!

  • christina

    I can offer nothing other than I was sneezing, mouth uncovered, when your post loaded… just like my mom always told me not to do.

  • ErinLynn

    Have you been sitting at our table too? This is the exact issue we’re dealing with in our 2.5 (almost 3) year old. Turn around. Feet down. Sit up. Sit on your bottom. Don’t put your feet in the slats of the chair back – they’ll get stuck. Sit up. Turn around. Feet down. Exhausting!

  • jenn from much to my delight

    I actually am from the paleolithic era because I am a 36-year-old woman who (when alone) eats dinner with one whole leg draped across the kitchen table. I learned this from my mother. You’re doing the right thing.

  • Dita

    Whenever I miss my Mom, I look in the mirror.

  • http://www.escapingelegance.com/ Stephanie Reidy

    I fear I’m always nagging, too. We are doing it for their own good… We are doing it for their own good… Just keep repeating this mantra! Always glad to hear I’m not the only one with these anxieties.

  • Anna Cabrera

    Uh, yeah… I was having this conversation with a friend after we had lunch with her 21-year-old son … we never like *reminding* but we might actually hate it if we weren’t, someday. I wish my mother had told me to sit up straight a million times, now, but then I might not have liked it at all. Hundreds of physical therapy bills later, I most certainly see the virtue of a few reminders. Remind away … some day you will beam with pride.

  • ruthalkons

    Marlo looks like Leta here, if you shook her so hard her brain turned to mush.

  • ruthalkons

    not in a mean way, but cartoonish with canaries circling her head.

  • KPreston

    Apparently, the mom of the middle aged lady who sat next to me at the sushi food belt did NOT have this inner debate. SMACK CHOMP SLURP MOUTH AGAPE. Uck. The future person who sits next to your kids while they eat thanks you.

  • tmb

    OMG I was thinking about this TODAY. And then I picked my four-year-old up from day camp and he waved at the teacher and yelled “THANKS!! SEE YOU TOMORROW!!”

    Every once in a while, I have hope. :)

  • tmb

    when I tell my mom stories like that she says “yeah, payback is a bitch, huh!”

  • anne

    oh that makes me feel so much better. Thank you! I myself sound like my dad, he was doing the nagging.

  • Beth

    I totally read this with a strong southern accent in my head. :)

  • Kelly B

    I, not having children, sound like the crabby old lady who never let us play in her yard. It’s embarrassing.

  • KathyRo

    Oh the gentle reminding… the ceaseless gentle reminding…its never-ending grind is the soundtrack of my life…

    Please shut the door.
    Shut the door.
    Did you forget to shut the door?
    Come back and shut the door. Please.
    Shut the back door.
    Yes, sliding glass doors are doors too. Please keep it shut.

    Shut the door.
    Shut the door.
    Shut the door.

  • Mac

    In our house –
    “please sit down while you eat”
    “Please put your behind in the chair”
    “please sit down while you eat”
    “no, we don’t get up to run a circuit of the house mid-meal. Please sit down in the chair”
    So… how many years exactly does this gentle reminding go on for? Because I’ve been at it for a couple of years now and I’m starting to think they should have gotten a clue by now…

  • Tamara Rabil

    I think they’re in that interesting stage where they remember and absorb what you say without holding grudges. After all, look at that lovely smile! You wouldn’t be rewarded a smile like that if you were considered a “nagging parent”!

  • TJ

    I mostly recall the horror displayed on my mom’s face when we were outside one time when I was about 10 and I spit. Like the boys did on my street. She might even have burst into flames. I was told so sternly, so intensely, with such passion that under no circumstance does a lady spit. I swear even when I exercise, outside, alone, no one for miles and I have a cold and snot is dripping down my throat that it takes every ounce of will I have to spit it out of my mouth. My mom, with a lot of involvement from her parents, raised me. They all were big on my manners. My cousins were raised in a looser environment. We’re all in our 30′s and 40′s now. Each time I eat with them I am appalled by their lack of manners. Their arms are all over the table. They reach across it. They slouch in their seat. They chew while talking. They do not hold their silverware properly. Once my cousin took a tortilla chip from the basket at a Mexican restaurant, licked it, applied salt, then ate it. I nearly died. I have become my mother. Nag, nag, nag! They will thank you later. So will the rest of society.

  • Courtney K.

    Trust me, they will grow up and complain either way. “Why didn’t you stop me from doing x? Why didn’t you let me do y??” You just have to do your best and hope they don’t end up in prison.

  • Schae

    Open-mouthed chewing has been a pet peeve of mine as long as I can remember…I, as a small child, would be the one nagging my brothers (and occasionally parents!) about closing their mouths – to the point that I would get in trouble for the nagging…I still find it terribly unfair! ;)

  • Katrina, Sparkle is a Color

    It’s good for them to learn this now so they can teach their boyfriends later. I can only guess that boys must be a hopeless cause because my mother still reminds my brother not to eat like a feral animal and I remind my boyfriend not to drip ketchup on his shirt almost daily.

  • peejoe12

    Love this! I remind myself of my mother more every day. I knew I had crossed some sort of line when I started singing to wake my 13 year old daughter up (after many failed attempts)…”Rise and shine and give God the glory glory…” She’s like, “Seriously, Mom? We don’t even go to church!” Sidenote…if you have never heard anything by Jake Bugg, please youtube immediately. “Broken” is amazing and I can’t stop listening to it.

  • Catherine L.

    I’m 25 and my mom STILL tells me to keep my feet off the chairs everytime I visit. Never really thought much of it until now, and I was raised by a woman who keeps her house very “museum like”. Can’t say I’m scarred for life, my ex girlfriend however constantly told me I sound like my mom, so who knows! Cheers:)

  • luckymom22

    and then…be prepared to teach it all again when they’re teens. I felt sometimes as if someone had pressed a reset button–seemed like they’d managed to “unlearn” manners they had mastered by age 3! They’re just a wee bit less receptive to correction in their teens than they were as young ‘uns too, which makes it more fun. I’ve risen to the challenge, however, and my beautiful girls are becoming beautiful women–one is about to (heartclutch) leave for college. I also laugh like my mom, and find it comforting. I miss her so, especially now.

  • issascrazyworld

    I am so very with you. I tend to wonder if we’ll ever just enjoy dinner, or if my kids will one day tell their therapist: man we ate together often but all mom did was remind us that our SHIRT WAS NOT A NAPKIN. Heh.
    I’ll admit, I was happy to read that you still have to tell Leta. I’d started thinking that my newly turned nine year old is the only one who still “forgets” and puts her fork against her head.

  • issascrazyworld

    I’m up to nine years so far. I never have to tell my eleven year old any of the above. Then again, she now ‘helps’ me tell her younger sister and brother.

  • Michelle Fabrello

    I’ve been feeling the same way! The constant nagging. My kids are so lucky they get to hear it from both of their parents, over and over, everyday.

  • Val

    I sit with my legs up on seats all the time, particularly in restaurants. I’m short and it’s uncomfortable to have them hanging, since they generally don’t reach the floor. I’m 32. I haven’t caught a weird floor disease yet!

  • Britiney

    I think it must be doubly hard for single parents because you never get to let the other guy be the bad guy while you take a turn as the “fun” and “lenient” parent. It’s just you, all day every day. Also, I’m the WORST at “close your lips” and “chew with your mouth shut” because my husband does not notice (and might also be an offender) and I HATE that I nag my kids about that. But I also hate eating with adults whose parents didn’t nag them! It’s a double-edged sword.

  • http://oddlovescompany.com/blog/ Katybeth

    When you observe your kid stand up to greet another adult, open the door for someone other than themselves, and sit down to eat with table manners, or someone else tells you how nice it is that your kid says thank you for for the ride, the nagging will be worth it. Good manners is an advantage that is available to everyone and will offers our kids opportunities that surpass education–and now I sound like my sweet mama. Good Job.

  • Rachel Sea

    So off topic, but…is that how her glasses usually sit? It looks like they might not quite fit her correctly. I’d take off my glasses too, if that’s how they sat over my ear.

  • Karen

    All that babysitting money wasted on head to toe black clothes and AquaNet, indeed. Sit up straight, use your fork, wipe your mouth… not with your sleeve… . Sigh.

  • Karen

    Haha! Me, too. Floors are gross, but at 4’11″,my feet still dangle from grown-up furniture!

  • Erika T

    My daughter is 5 & I find myself having this very same internal battle. At what point does my gentle reminding become nagging?? Is this all she will remember of me? At what age will she actually say to me “Mom, all you do is nag me!” I think I might cry when those words come out of her mouth, because then I will have my feelings realized. She, too, is a very thoughtful, polite 5 year old (without prompting) & I do realize this is the product of what we have instilled in her, over and over and over (and over) again. I just hope she remembers all of the fun things we do along with the “nagging”.