Mom: The reason we don’t smell
I want to credit one Mom for the birth of personal hygiene. Who that mom is? I do not know. I am sure, however, that it indeed was a mom. It had to be!
Personal hygiene has been instilled in our heads since our birth. It is a priority from day one and has been for centuries; Mother Mary made Jesus wash his feet before entering her house. It is just human nature. Even in the animal kingdom, hygiene is practiced between mother and offspring. When a lion cub is born, the mother licks it clean. LICKS IT CLEAN. That is some serious commitment to hygiene right there. Mothers have no problem doing whatever it takes to get their baby clean. They will even put us in the kitchen sink and hand wash us like a head of lettuce if we are too small for the bathtub.
Hygiene is one of the earliest lessons that we are taught as humans. It is a practice that is rewarded and can just as easily be condemned. It is almost used as a sense of structure in a child’s life.
As a baby, when I would get out of the bath I can remember hearing my mom, “Who’s my handsome boy? Is it you? Are you my handsome boy?” “Yes, you are.” Well heck yeah, I am a handsome boy, and I smell delicious thanks to the vast amount of lotion spread across my body. Even when I was in grade school I would be rewarded 15 extra minutes of playing before bedtime if I brushed my teeth without being asked.
We were rewarded for doing something that should already be done. On the contrary…
What’s the first thing mom says before dinner? “Did you wash your hands?”
What’s the last thing mom says before she tucks you in? “Did you brush your teeth?”
As kids we know these questions are coming, and as parents they know the next thing coming is a lie.
“Then why is there dirty under your fingernails?” My personal favorite, “Then why is this toothbrush bone dry?”
“You can’t eat until their spotless. You have to go to bed earlier tomorrow.”
How many times did it take your mother to use her own saliva and thumb, wipe it clear across your face, in front of the whole class, just for a quick clean, before you started making sure your face was clean?
Gosh mom. So annoying. But what we fail to realize is that she is teaching us the importance of personal hygiene, even if it is in the most embarrassing of ways.
It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I realized just what she was up to all these years. When I would wake up and head to the shower, I could hear “don’t forget to scrub behind your ears!” Before I sat down for a meal, I noticed I’d examine my hands front and back. Every time I walk into an interview, I make sure to been clean shaved.
These are all things I now do in my everyday life, because mom made me self-aware of my hygiene.
Wash your hands = Don’t get sick.
Brush your teeth = A girl might kiss you because your breath doesn’t stink.
Take a bath = Come out a handsome boy.
Mom, you are super embarrassing, but you’re the best teacher I have ever had. Without you I would look like a bum, smell like a bum, and most likely just be a bum. You didn’t let that happen though and now I can’t wait for this to come full circle and watch the redness run to my kid’s cheek when I give them the ‘Spit-n-thumb clean combo.’
Source: I bathe and I have a job, I am healthy, and yes, a girl has kissed me.