Women Who Inspire: Erma Bombeck

By Aug 27, 2010January 24th, 2011244 Comments

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We are surrounded by amazing women who continue to pave the way and knock down stereotypes we often find ourselves staring down. Women who show us what it means to live the best life we can live. Once a month we’d like to  feature a woman we find inspiring who may or may not have even heard of blogging.

Today we pay tribute to Erma Bombeck.


Erma Bombeck was the blogger before blogging became blogging. She’s the voice of our mothers generation…back when the option to hop online in order to diffuse frazzled minds didn’t exist. Erma, like many of us, used her words to reach out to moms who experienced the same joys and frustrations of parenting as she did.

Only she was much funnier.

And more famous.

Between best selling books, regular TV appearances, and one of the longest running columns in newspaper history, reaching over 30 million readers, Erma managed to tackle the image of the ‘perfect’ 50’s housewife by being honest about motherhood and giving women something they could actually relate to.


What made Erma beautiful, in my opinion, is that while she poked fun at the trials of parenthood and brought women to tears with laughter, she also said things like, “children make your life important”…it’s evident where her heart was.

Recently I chose to respond to a writing prompt on my own blog that answered the question, “what would you do if you had it to do all over again?” For inspiration I took to the one search engine that answers all of my deep seeded questions. What would I do over again? Surely Google would know.

What I found was that Erma Bombeck had already written that post. Only better. Humbling and inspiring…I give you Erma Bombeck’s If I Had My Life To Live Over:


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 have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or 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 have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

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 sat on the lawn! With my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

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 you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s” …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.

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. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what. Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.


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  • My mom had that very Erma Bombeck column taped to the inside door of her medicine cabinet, and I read it many times as a kid, pondering all the parts I didn’t understand. So fun to see it again!

  • Kristy @livinglifeunsimply says:

    “Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what. Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us”…… MY FAVORITE!!! No more wasted time on those who waste my time.

  • Kristy @livinglifeunsimply says:

    I love Erma Bombeck! Ya got one quotable woman thur! 😉

  • Deborah says:

    Have found you in the Hall of Fame on SITS – I love the tribute to Erma Bombeck (I haven’t heard of her here in the UK but she sounds a very wise woman). It really makes one think…

  • One time a friend told me my writing reminds him of Erma Bombeck. He is a single gay man who can’t relate to a domestic housewife at all. And he was bombed out of his mind. So I’m gonna chalk that up to a laugh.

    She’s my hero, though. She, Sedaris, and Carrie Fischer are just my idols.

  • Green Monkey says:

    wow….. I haven’t been here in awhile. I took a break from blogging and am just starting to feel the rhythm of the tap, tap, tap…

    I like your new design A LOT!

    Last week, I went to s psychic fair. I sat at a table with a reader, who used round cards (never saw them before). I shuffled the deck and she laid them out. In the center was the CREATIVITY card. She went on to tell me.

    Why aren’t you writing? You have a book in you. 2 or 3 books. Your writing is very different, sad and funny….

    when I confessed that I don’t have faith in myself, that when I read other writers work I am convinced I’m not smart enough, clever enough or witty enough.

    she looked me in the eyes and asked… Have you ever heard of Erma Bombeck?

    From there, she told me to focus on my voice. To not compare myself. And to channel from the heart.

    Interesting that I would find my way back to you SITS ladies. You have always been a source of inspiration to me… and here, I would find your choice for women who inspire…. Erma Bombect!

    Have a glorious day! Shannon

  • Helena says:

    I LOVE the titles of the articles in that magazine! “Guilt the gift the keeps on giving”

    What a funny lady.

  • Colleen says:

    I am catching up on my SITS and was delighted to see your tribute to Erma Bombeck. I loved her and remember fondly buying her book “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, then Why am I in the Pits?”
    She was a wise and funny woman!

  • Adriel says:

    So good! I love the first one about just going to bed when sick instead of worrying that life can’t go on without me for the day. Seriously. And why is it that I’m quick to give that same advice to friends when they’re not feeling well, and yet when it comes to myself I always think I just need to “buck up” and get through it? Hmmm…

  • I think I’ll have to find some more of her stuff to read. Sounds fun. 🙂