Southernisms: Mama Always Said…

Southern mamas’ advice – the best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas – take them to heart!

As y’all know, Southern mamas are brimming over with important pearls of wisdom, and in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend I’m sharing some of my favorite Southern mamas’ advice from my own family. After all, “Mama is always right” — an adage I’ve come to accept more and more the older I get. I look back at the wisdom my mother and grandmother imparted growing up and I can’t help but be a little awed at just how right they were.

Southern mamas have a particular way of imparting advice that you can’t deny is colorful. Often involving a level of quirkiness only found in the South and more likely than not couched in doublespeak, their advice on occasion can be difficult to swallow. But our Southern mamas’ advice is always said with loving intention. And more often than not, it has been handed down from generations of Southern mothers who survived many a tribulation.

So let’s celebrate our Southern mothers this weekend and all their judicious wisdom! Chances are you’ve heard these Southernisms from your mothers and grandmothers, if not out of your own mouth.

Southern Mamas’ Advice:

If one is pretty, two would be prettier.

Advice usually given when decorating something. It doesn’t really matter what…a house, a Christmas tree, or a cake more in the South is always better!

You weren’t raised in a barn!

This Southernism is almost always said by way of scolding and in efforts to correct some uncouth, ungracious behavior.

Southern mamas' advice - The best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas - take them to heart!

Kill ’em with kindness.

The best way to deal with anyone who is rude, mean, or down right ugly!

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Usually said as a warning to young ladies to conduct themselves with decorum in relations with young gents.

Southern mamas' advice - The best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas - take them to heart!

Don’t wade any dry mud holes & don’t kill any dead snakes.

A favorite Southernism of my grandmother said when someone was on their way out the door. Meaning don’t do any thing pointless today.

Southern mamas' advice - The best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas - take them to heart!

Good manners never go out of style.

One of the most important Southernisms in existence. No explanation needed!

Southern mamas' advice - The best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas - take them to heart!

Slap some lipstick on before you go out the door.

More sage advice offered when getting ready to go somewhere often followed up with “you need some color on your face,” and “run a comb through that hair.” Then there is the inevitable question “do you have a slip on?”

You can’t fix stupid.

Usually, offered as comfort when someone you know has done something absolutely drop your jaw idiotic.

Southern mamas' advice - The best words of wisdom from our Southern mamas - take them to heart!

Never forget where you came from.

A Southern mama wants you to be proud of your family and know your heritage. We are Southern and proud of it!

A big thank you mama for all your Southern words of wisdom. I’ll never be too old to hear them!

I would love for y’all to share your Southern mamas’ advice. Comment below!


Partying at Between Naps on the PorchA Stroll Thru LifeThe Dedicated House


  1. Elizabeth Burrell on May 14, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I enjoyed reading these, ….. thank
    God for the South!

    • Katherine on May 15, 2017 at 7:07 am

      hehe…this was a fun post to write!

      • April M Haynesworth on May 29, 2023 at 5:39 pm

        These quotes are cool, I definitely will use these in my live videos, thank you for sharing

  2. Sandra Garth on May 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I could hear my mom and aunts saying some of the same things. Another one I heard many times was, “If you make your bed hard you lay hard”. Meaning: whatever you do, own it!

    • Katherine on May 17, 2017 at 6:55 am

      Sandra, I’m so glad this brought back those memories! I’ve never heard that one, but it is so true… thanks for sharing!

  3. Nellie on May 17, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    What a blast from the past……I recognized most of those from my Mom.and relaltives.
    Another expressions was I swanee to goodness……….from my southern grandmother.
    Also we are fixing to go home………I used to say that all the time as a kid, and of course, I got
    it from my Mother…., and had others who weren’t southern say… you don’t fix to go home you just go home……….lol Well….maybe they don’t…, but I fix to go home….lol
    This was a fun post, oh and the slip thing, I can not wear a dress without a slip, did it once
    and all I could think was maybe someone could see thru my skirt… and I finally have
    broken the no white shoes after labor day, only took me 60 years. I live in Central Florida
    and it is like summer here until mid Oct. at least, But it was a big deal to wear white after
    Labor day……….I felt free at last………lol
    Isn’t it so amazing and wonderful how our Mother’s words ring in our ears our whole life.
    Love it, and hope my words ring in my kids ears too.
    Hope you had a Happy Mothers day………….

    • Katherine on May 18, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Nellie, thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. I’m so glad this post spoke to you. Ah…the slip! If I even think about not wearing one, my mother’s voice pops up in my head, “ladies don’t go out without a slip” she would say. Haha….It is amazing how strong an impact their words have. Best, Katherine

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