And nothing is clean until your skin and eyes are burning.

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Everyone associates his or her mother with a scent – probably a light floral, ladylike something. And when it comes to my mother, she absolutely swears that her perfume is the most expensive one ever made (Joy by Jean Patou). “It takes over 1000 rose petals just to make an ounce,” she reminds us while also reminding not to ever spray it on your clothes – “Just your skin, perfume never leaves your clothes.” Then, there’s also her favorite lotion of all time – Oscar de la Renta. “Every time I went to the hospital to have one of you, I’d buy myself a bottle,” she says calmly about the five kids she delivered au naturel. Her key to an easy-delivery? “Keep your palms open and up,” she always says to dubious-looking mothers-to-be at baby showers. “That way you won’t get tense. Piece of cake. Those movies blow it out of proportion.” Palms up and a gas mask of Oscar de la Renta – that’s her birthing wisdom.

Strangers may associate my mother with such nice fragrances, but my brothers and sisters know that she really smells like Clorox. A self-proclaimed cleaning and organizing junky, there’s little that Clorox can’t fix and absolutely no situation that Clorox can’t improve. When your life seems to be falling apart – “Cleaning is instant gratification,” she proclaims with glee. While others may tout the powers of organic, all natural cleaning products, Cheri doesn’t believe in any of them. “No, Clorox gets it’s done. It’s what they use in the hospitals,” she says with an unknown authority. Need to clean your vacuum filter? The grout between the bathroom tiles? Arm pit stains in a t-shirt? Some weeds from the cracks in the driveway? A bad odor coming from your air vents? “Just pour in a some Clorox,” she’ll say, “If it starts to hurt to breathe a little or burns your eyes, then it’s working! That ‘burn’ is the Clorox killing the germs! Isn’t that great?!” She says this so excitedly while you’re gagging, but she’s right. Every time. Every time any of my siblings have moved from one fleabag apartment to another, she always shows with an endless supply of contractor-grade trash bags, “Just get everything out,” new light bulbs, “you wouldn’t believe the dust that settles on the old ones,” gallons of Clorox, “to kill the germs,” and always leaves with blistered hands and happy, job-well-done, blood-shot eyes.  Truth be told: she came last weekend to my not-so-fleabag house to help me Spring Clorox it down. Thanks Mom.

Don't forget to make your mom a gift for Mother's Day. She has taught you so much and she deserves so much more. Be sure to thank her this Mother's Day.

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