My Mom's Three Rules

Though I grew up with a fair amount of rules in my family home, my mom has based our entire childhood on three key rules. These rules are so embedded that many of my friends even know them upon request (in no particular order):

1. Always wear pants to the grocery store.

2. They always come back.

3. A lion does not care what sheep think (flexible rule).


I'll address the first rule quickly because a) this is the rule my mom is probably the most passionate about and b) this is the rule that most often catches people off guard.

My mom desperately believes that when you go to the grocery store, you need to wear pants. Not pajamas, not revealing miniskirts, pants. We grew up in a really small town, where going to the grocery store was basically a social event, and my mom is really big on outfits— and pajamas anywhere besides your home is a crime to her. I texted my mom to have her elaborate on this rule and got the perfect response to why my mom requires pants to the grocery store. She doesn’t mean it just in the literal sense: "It's a life metaphor,” she says.

"Well, always wearing pants is a metaphor for life.

1) Wearing pants to the grocery store means getting F*CKING dressed even if you're just running out quick because you are representing you. You never know who you're gonna run into and once it gets easy wearing your pajamas to the grocery store it gets easier to just start wearing them everywhere and it takes over! Then, you have given up.

2) Wearing pants as in "be the boss"

3) Wearing pants as in, "cover up for goodness sake, just because you're beautiful doesn't mean you have to hang your crotch out to prove it.”

4) You look stupid wearing a skirt to the mall when it's -45 outside just to prove you're good looking.

It goes on forever.... "

The second rule hits closer to home. My mom made this rule to help us deal with heartbreak. She says "they always come back" not because we always want them to, but to highlight that no matter who breaks your heart, you always have the choice to let them back in, or move on without them— because they will always come back. She made this rule not just for romantic interests, but for friends and family members as well. She always reminds us that every relationship in our lives is valuable, but not always permanent, and that is okay. When the time comes, you will meet again and then you have decisions to make about what you need or who you need and don’t need in your life. I have found that this helps me take ownership over my heartbreak, and control the way that it either hurts me, or helps me when friendships or relationships end. At the end of the day, no matter how much loss hurts, sometimes it is exactly what you need.

The final rule is relatively flexible. I have heard my mom say it in many different ways, but the way that sticks with me most is that "the lion does not weep over the opinions of sheep.” My sister and I have always found it to be so empowering, as sometimes the people who are bringing you down seem like lions—but you are a lion when you choose not to let it affect you. I really ruin the poetic sound of it in real life, but I have often found myself telling friends "You are a lion, and everyone else is sheep okay? That’s what Deanna would say.” In the hardest of times, I've often found myself thinking "I am a lion,” and it resonates with me in each and every difficult situation I encounter. Through this quote, I am reminded that my mom raised strong daughters, and I can get through anything.

People often laugh with me about my mom’s three rules, but in all honesty, they remind me of some of the most important things in life. They remind me about the importance of representing yourself, the importance of recognizing your ability to carry on in times of loss and of self-empowerment and strength. Every day I appreciate my mom's humorous way of communicating her years of wisdom and I would be absolutely lost without her- and pants.

“Living life from the outside-in pales in comparison with living your life from the inside-out.” -Deanna Van Eerd