Several of my friends have a family motto. Some of them even have their mottos cleverly displayed on a wall in cross stitch or decoupage. While our family has three mottos, I have yet to immortalize any of them in embroidery thread. I’m not Martha Stewart on steroids after all. And, I’m not entirely sure our family mottos deserve to be etched in stone or hand stitched on a sampler for that matter.
Our first motto is “Everybody carries something!” And yes, it deserves an exclamation point. I came up with this motto about six years ago when I was sick and tired of being the only person to haul in the groceries every single time I pulled into the garage. So now, I just have to say, “Everybody carries something!” and the kiddos know immediately that they are not to leave the garage without full arms. As soon as the youngest is able to navigate the stairs, she is also given something to carry. It makes for a happier momma, and a quicker grocery unload.
But I’ve found this motto also works with lots of other things. Like, when one kid needs help with her homework, but I can’t give it, I’ll tell an older sibling, “Everybody carries something,” and they know I mean that they need to help out with the homework. Or, if someone is particularly sad, or having a hard time, I will tell the others in the family, “Everybody carries something,” and they know they need to help carry the burdens of the sad family member, lift them up for a while. The “something” we sometimes carry is actually each other.
Our second motto is “Everybody goes, even if you don’t think you need to.” This started when we were at theme parks. If one kid needed to go to the bathroom, everybody had to go, no ifs, ands or but(t)s about it. It saved us many an accident and wasted time while waiting for someone else to make a second trip to the facilities.
This one has also morphed into something else. It has also become our way of showing support. If one child has a soccer game, I’ll proclaim, “Everybody goes!” and away the entire family goes to show our love and support for that child. The same goes for Daddy’s band gigs. And, it’s also a conveniently subtle hint to make a potty stop before we head out the door.
Our final motto is “You’re never fully dressed without your pants.” True, don’t you think? It’s been a necessary reminder for each of our kids as toddlers. My kids will probably have to repeat it to me when I’m old and senile. It’s also best if sung to the tune “you’re never fully dressed without a smile” from Annie.
So, those are our family mottos, serious, and not so serious. Feel free to steal them and make them your family’s own. But, if you decide to cross stitch one and hang it on your wall, make a second and send it my way.