For critical answers, Southerners always turn to She Who Knows All.

By Valerie Fraser Luesse
questions to ask your mom
For critical answers, Southerners always turn to She Who Knows All.
| Credit: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

You want to know how to change a flat tire? Sure, Dad can handle that. How to find online deals on your game day attire? Your older sister—or maybe your younger one—is your go-to. But for life's truly burning questions—like where Great Aunt Sissy's third cousin's second husband is buried—there is one source and one source only: Mama.

Want answers to the following questions? Just ask your mother. (We've already asked ours.)


  • 1. Does it REALLY matter how I fold a fitted sheet?
  • 2. What was that stuff you used to call "bluing"?
  • 3. How do you fold your towels so they look like a department store display?
  • 4. Why did my pink hydrangea turn blue?


  • 5. Why won't the crust stay on my fried chicken?
  • 6. Can you teach me how to flute a pie crust?
  • 7. Will you give me your pound cake recipe? (She will, but only if you promise to follow it EXACTLY.)
  • 8. How do you can green beans, tomatoes, pickles . . .?
  • 9. Would you show me how to make your famous [FILL IN DISH HERE]?
  • 10. Can you freeze potato salad? Because it would be great if you could go ahead and make lots and lots of yours so we can still enjoy it when . . . you know . . .
  • 11. Will you teach me how to bake your red velvet cake? I promise to pay attention this time.


  • 12. Will you teach me how to make a slipcover?
  • 13. Will you teach me how to quilt?
  • 14. Will you teach me how to cross-stitch?
  • 15. Will you teach me how to make drapes?
  • 16. Will you teach me how to hem a skirt?


  • 17. How did you and Daddy get together?
  • 18. Why the heck couldn't I be an only child?
  • 19. Why on earth did you have just one child?
  • 20. Why did you have another boy/girl?
  • 21. How did you put up with me when I was a teenager?
  • 22. Who are all these unnamed people in our family albums?
  • 23. Will you tell me your secret for being happy no matter what?
  • 24. How did you ever finish a college degree with all of us kids running around?
  • 25. Would you do it all again?


It doesn't take these junior Elizabeth Ardens long to figure it out: Mom is beautiful just the way she is. (But she's still not heading to Publix without her lipstick.)