Things Mi Madre Told Me

BY: CAMILA CISNEROS


If you have a Latinx mother, chances are that you grew up hearing an abundance of proverbial sayings in Spanish. At the moment, they probably sounded completely crazy and made zero sense. As you grow older, you start to see the truth behind these sayings. Here is a list of sayings our madres have told us at one point or the other in our lives:

Dime con quién andas y te digo quien eres

Literal translation: Tell me who you hang out with, and I’ll tell you who you are

This is what your madre tells you when she sees you hanging out with a group of friends that she doesn’t like. This is her way of telling you that you become whoever you surround yourself with, so be sure to choose wisely.

A mal paso darle prisa

Literal translation: Hurry up a bad step

If your madre ever sees you dreading something, this is what she will tell you. It is similar to being told to just rip off the bandaid. The quicker you do it, the quicker you get over the pain.

El viejo sabe más por viejo que por diablo

Literal translation: The old man knows more from being old than from being a devil

Madre knows best, and she will never let you forget it. That’s why she will always force you to take her advice, insisting she knows more because of experience.


Mejor sola que mal acompañada

Literal translation: Better to be alone than in bad company

Have you ever brought a significant other home that your madre simply did not like? Or have you ever vented to her about your relationship issues too much? She will try to reason with you that it’s better to be alone than with someone who isn’t good for you or brings you happiness.

Calladito te ves más bonito

Literal translation: You look better in silence

This was basically your madre’s way of telling you to be quiet. If you ever talked back, or if you said something downright dumb, you were most likely told this.

Dale tiempo al tiempo

Literal translation: Give time time

This is for the moments when you feel like things aren’t going to get better. It’s a reminder that time heals all wounds, and all you can do is wait it out. It’s frustrating to hear, but later you realize how right your madre was.

Para ser bella tienes que ver las estrellas

Literal translation: You have to see stars to be beautiful

If your madre ever pulled your hair into a ponytail too tight, or burned your ear while straightening your hair, chances are this was her reaction to your cries of pain. Beauty is pain...or is it?

Mala hierba nunca muere

Literal translation: A bad weed never dies

Your madre’s cynicism would come out when she says this. It’s her way of saying that people don’t change. Of course people could change, but once someone wrongs you, it’s hard for your madre to change her mind about them.

Cara vemos, corazones no sabemos

Literal translation: We can see the face but not the heart


This was a warning from your madre to not judge people based on their appearance. Someone may look trustworthy, but you don’t know their true intentions. Conversely, someone may look menacing but could be kind. The point is, there’s more to what the eye can see.

El que no escucha consejo no llega a viejo

Literal translation: Those who don’t listen to advice don’t reach old age

Self-explanatory. Listen to your madre if you want to reach old age!