Sweet tea, collard greens, peaches, pecan pie, fluffy biscuits, and grits all conjure up images of Georgia, and chances are they were all prepared by someone’s mama. In Georgia we pass down everything from heirloom furniture and jewelry to tattered family Bibles and good looks, and it’s up to Mama to keep everything in line. Here are few ways to tell if you are indeed a Georgia mom:
1. Manners matter more than anything.
Their first words may be “Mama” and “Dada,” but the next ones after that will be “yes ma’am,” “yes sir,” “please,” and “thank you.” Manners matter in Georgia more than good sense. When a child doesn’t use their manners, it is a direct reflection of their mother and they are typically scolded with the comment, “I know your Mama raised you better than that.” Once a child can write, they are taught to pen thank-you notes to their grandmothers for Christmas and birthday gifts because everybody knows some kid whose grandmother stopped giving gifts when they weren’t properly thanked.
2. You know what your kids should wear — and what they shouldn’t.
Sundays at church, weddings, heck, even trips to the grocery store require proper attire — regardless of the child’s comfort. This is particularly true for little girls who don frilly, smocked, monogrammed dresses with gigantic matching hair bows. Outfits are supposed to match. Everyone’s outfits. A little girl needs to match her big brother and everyone in the family needs to coordinate. This isn’t just true for family picture day — it is true each and every Sunday. A true Georgia mama also knows the rules for white shoes and wouldn’t be caught dead letting her children wear them before Easter or after Labor Day.
3. The contents of your purse are magical.
Big purses will never go out of style in Georgia. Ask any Georgia mom what she has in her purse, and you will be surprised to find that she not only has typical purse contents but also carries a small selection of mints, gum, crackers, and suckers for “emergency situations.” These emergencies include the immediate need to silence unruly children in church, stop hissy fits, and end arguments over who gets to ride shotgun on the way home.
4. You know how to talk trash with other moms and nobody gets their feelings hurt.
We Georgia mamas are true Southern ladies. We still like to talk trash with our friends and the beauty of our dialogue is that we know how to do it without sounding like mean old bitties. You can talk about an ugly baby, poor behavior, or any manner of gossip — as long as you end the rant with, “Bless her heart.” For example: “Have you seen Darla’s new baby? The poor thing is so scrawny that he looks like something the dog’s been keepin’ under the porch. Bless his heart.”
5. Nonsense comes out of your mouth, and everybody knows what you’re talkin’ about.
Speaking of trash talking, all Georgia mamas are known for, even somewhat infamous for, crazy phrases that fly out of our mouths when we’re all riled up. When kids are rowdy we say things like, “Y’all need to act right. You weren’t raised in a barn!” Arguments are broken up with a loud and pointed demand to “stop being ugly!” We straighten our little girl’s gigantic hairbows (see No. 2) by telling them that they’re all “cattywhompus” and when we “have a mind to” do something that means we’re thinkin’ about it.
6. You know that real sports teams don’t wear orange.
True Georgians either cheer for the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech, they hail from Dawg Nation or sing “Ramblin’ Wreck,” and they never wear orange and blue together. Anyone who cheers for an orange team isn’t a true Georgian and must have relatives from an inferior bordering state and be the product of poor upbringing. Fall parties are planned around the SEC football schedule and toddlers attend their first football games in tiny cheerleader uniforms or miniature mesh jerseys.
7. You throw parties just to have a reason to show off.
Pinterest ain’t got nothin’ on a party thrown by a Georgia mama. No matter what the age or the stage, birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, and even football game day tailgating parties are an excuse to show your friends and family what you’re made of. From embossed invitations with a tasteful color scheme to the use of grandmother’s china and silverware, a Georgia party is a sight to behold and worthy of coverage in Southern Living magazine.
8. “Y’all” is a word that can be used in nearly every sentence, and your children will learn its proper use from you.
Georgia is the absolute hub for the word y’all. It is the perfect Southern word and can be both plural and singular. It is to be used in all conversations, salutations, and even when Mama is losing her mind. It’s a welcoming term when you’re invited to a friend’s bar-b-que: “Y’all come on over Sunday after church!” It’s a commanding word when the kids are acting out: “Y’all need to pipe down, or I’m gonna lose my mind!” It’s a calming word when a friend needs comfort and peace, “I’m prayin’ for y’all. Y’all let me know if you need anything.”
9. Grass stains ain’t got nothin’ on Georgia red clay.
No self respecting Georgia mama ever buys her children white shirts or pants and lets them play outside. If that red clay gets on anything, it’s ruined forever. All hand-me-down clothes and shoes have been exposed to this earthy wonder and are now relegated to “play clothes” status no matter how fancy they were when they were bought.
10. When you need an opinion on somethin’, you ask your mama.
No matter how old you are, the only opinion that really means anything to you is your mama’s. If she’s no longer with you, you still make decisions based on how she might have done something. You pray that your sweet tea is as good as hers, that your pound cake is as tasty as hers, and that she approves of how you’re raising your children.
Whether you’re from the city of Atlanna (Atlanta) or the foothills of the Appalachians, grow peaches, or cook shrimp ‘n grits on a regular basis, one thing rings through for us Georgia mamas: Our children are our treasures, and we become theirs. And if anyone messes with our children, we’ll be more than happy to snatch them bald-headed and give them a piece of our mind, bless their hearts.