Lessons from my parents I stopped ignoring once I moved out of home

January 05, 2017
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Even after moving out of home three years ago, my mum still treats me as if I’m on an extended school camp. Supposedly one day I’m going to jump off the bus, covered in mud and dirt, with a renewed appreciation for warm showers and home cooked meals, vowing never to take it for granted again. As a coping mechanism in the interim, her and my Dad are determined to enforce a few adult life lessons. While I usually would ignore them (a habit 22 years in the making), there are some gems that I’m very thankful for.

Lesson one: Don’t eat leftovers after three days
Turned into: Don’t eat leftovers after a week

To my dad, every piece of chicken is a walking E.coli/Salmonella/Ebola cesspool that could kill at any time if not perfectly cooked and stored. What my dad doesn’t realise is that my stress levels about passing my units surpasses all concerns I have about E.coli. A week is the perfect balance between being apathetic to the threat of food poisoning and self-preservation. Unless you’re desperate to get rid of your small intestine, then leftovers that are a fortnight old shouldn’t be a worry!

Lesson two: Invest in good cleaning products
Turned into: Use bleach for everything

Cleaning is one of those things that is inescapable when you move out of home and you realise how gross things get when there is no one else taking responsibility. For this reason, Mumma Lamb made sure I had a cupboard filled with products for every conceivable surface: bathroom spray, mould spray, kitchen spray, stain remover spray, bathroom sponge, kitchen sponge, kitchen brush, floor cleaner – you get where this is going. But behold! The messiah of clean! Bleach. I pour this stuff down EVERY sink, drain and outlet and it takes away literally everything and anything.

Lesson three: Always give a personalised card
Turned into: Bulk buy blank cards

Every special occasion needs a card. Even if you have nothing else to give (and let’s be honest, I’m a broke rent-paying student so I can’t afford nice chocolates for every birthday), a sincere handwritten card means the world. While my mother would insist on going to the newsagent and searching the walls of overpriced cardboard, I have stumbled upon an efficient and timesaving gem. The 10 pack of blank cards. These cards will be appreciated by everyone from your boss to your best friend and won’t blow the bank either.

Lesson four: Never leave the house without lipstick and earrings on
Turned into: Lipstick distracts from eye bags

Beautiful, feminine, picturesque – these are not words anyone would use to describe me. So my mum’s efforts to impose a North-Korean-like injunction on leaving the house without lipstick and earrings on didn’t catch on. But what I have learnt is that your lips are far far away from your eyes and there is nothing a bold red or a deep purple can’t distract from. I’m talking about the bags that never go away and seem to deepen with every year you stay at uni.

Lesson five: Always offer tea
Turned into: Always offer tea, or a beer

Anyone that knows me will testify that my most common question is “Breakfast, Earl Grey or Chai?” followed by “Milk and sugar?” Mumma taught me that tea solves everything. If there was a church dedicated to it, I’d be the Archbishop. But sometimes it’s just not strong enough and what you really need is a beer – so offer that too.

Danica Lamb

Danica is a Laws Masters kid at UWA. She enjoys cheap coffee and 80s pop music.

Image: Sony Pictures