The Mass-Media Madhouse
(Press-Central For Handy Soundbites, Useful Info,
And A Good Wet-Your-Pants Laugh)

Home / The Mass-Media Madhouse
(Press-Central For Handy Soundbites, Useful Info,
And A Good Wet-Your-Pants Laugh)
/ Professional Organizer’s Blog Carnival / As Published In Professional Organizers Blog Carnival --
A Lesson From Erma Bombeck

As Published In Professional Organizers Blog Carnival
A Lesson From Erma Bombeck

I was helping a client clean out the other day and came across a bunch of books by Erma Bombeck — I hadn’t seen these in years! My mother used to love Auntie Erma’s sense of humor, skewering suburban life in a way that only someone mired in housework and child-rearing could. But Ms. Bombeck also tried to help her readers live in the moment — worried less about appearance and more about true enjoyment.

Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream

In 1979, someone asked this famous humorist, “If you had your life to live over, would you change anything?” Her immediate answer was no — but once she thought about it, she changed her mind. Soon after, Erma published a column expressing her true feelings (which has been illustrated into a lovely keepsake book called Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream.) Much less snarky and more heartfelt than her usual brand of “housewife humor,” her words have touched and inspired readers for more than 30 years. The world has changed, women are no longer just diaper-changers and meal-cookers — but these sentiments are no less true now that we have full-time careers and houses full of expensive electronic gadgets and still not enough time with our loved-ones. Re-reading this column that my mother first taped to the fridge when I was in elementary school (but this time as an adult myself) made my eyes water — isn’t this really how we should all be living our lives?

Auntie Erma Knows Best

“If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.”

“I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.”

“I would have cried and laughed less while watching television — and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.”

“Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, ‘Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more I love yous — more I’m sorrys.”

“But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it — live it and never give it back.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2001

PS: Wanna instantly rack up some serious virtual cred? I've made it easy for you to share this content with your social networking friends, e-mail it to your peeps, or republish it in your own blog (thereby showing off how smart you are) with these links.

(iCopyright widget here)

"I Have More To Say About This... No Surprise!"

Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

If you would like to reprint this page, please contact me

9 Responses

  1. Jeannette says:

    Erma Bombeck is the best – my Mom loved her too – there was a lot of sage advice between the lines with her works, that we can still use today.

  2. Ramona says:

    Dear old Auntie Erma!

  3. SimpliciKey says:

    Great blog post!

  4. Janet Barclay says:

    My mom had some of Erma Bombeck’s books too, and I enjoyed reading them, even as a child. This piece is very heart-warming – thanks for posting it!

  5. Lauren Giammarco says:

    Just bought the book, thanks for the tip! Erma knows her stuff :)

  6. Tracy @ Simply Squared Away says:

    What great reminders to cherish it all and remember what is really important! I am going to kiss and snuggle with my little one right now!! :)

  7. Raela says:

    My mom once read this to me while I was going through Finals. We were in her bathroom in the master bedroom and I looked over at the soap in her soap dish and said. Lets do it, them together, We both washed our hands with the bunny soap. Then we spent the rest of the day at the library together. She helped me find books on the subjects that I needed to study then i went to school that monday and got an A on my test. This is me loving life. <3

  8. Ramona says:


  9. Anonymous says:

    I loved Erma Bombeck because of her witty way of looking at everyday life. She is truly missed and there will never be anyone that can replace her. On the days when I’m feeling overwhelmed from playing Super Woman to the world I hide in the bathroom for 15 minutes with one of her books that make me roll with laughter and feel a lot better when I step out into the world.

Leave a Reply

"We Don't Need No Steenkin' Badges!"