Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening


Dirty clothes should be scary. Especially to a young woman getting a fresh start in the world.

That’s why when Becky Blades wrote a good-bye letter to her college-bound daughter, she began with cheap laundry scare tactics. It was all a ploy to get her daughter’s attention and to slip in last-minute motherly advice.

In Do Your Laundry Or You’ll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give if She Thought You Were Listening Blades speaks for the mother in all of us.
With warmth, wit, and a hint of motherly sass, Blades blends bite-sized morsels of coming-of-age common sense with tiny essays on topics like forgiveness and phone etiquette. All beautifully illustrated with her celebrated mixed-media art.

The perfect gift for the new graduate, from mother to daughter or from friend to friend, Do Your Laundry Or You’ll Die Alone is wise counsel for women of all ages, reminding us to trust our instincts and to show our dreams who’s boss.

Do Your Laundry Or You’ll Die Alone has become a classic, topping bestseller lists at graduation and holiday gifting seasons since the launch of the first edition in 2014. Updated with a sunny new cover design in 2021, its counsel stands the test of time.

But Blades knows she did not think of everything, and that advice is best when it’s personal. That’s why she left pages at the end to add those just-right words to create a keepsake.


Laundry Stain
Buy the book here

Here’s what the experts and moms are saying:

A visual, spiritual, and practical delight — for any daughter, any mother, and even an open-minded guy who’d like to learn the simple secrets of living well.

— Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life

Thank you, Becky, for lovingly completing—with a playful balance of truth and humor—the essential advice-writing homework on every mom and mother-figure’s “to do” list!

— Barbara C. Unell, author of 20 Teachable Virtues and Uncle Dan’s Report Card

Teeming with side-splitting humor and poignant insight . . . Blades has illustrated this beautiful volume with her original artwork, and every page is a treat for the eye. My personal prediction is that readers will demand poster-size versions of her luscious pages and they will fill dorm rooms all over the country . . . a terrific sending off gift for anyone on the threshold of college, a new job, marriage or any other of life’s big moments. 6 stars out of 5!

— Lisa Heffernan, Grown and Flown

Blades’ wonderful book is a perfect graduation gift. Her words of wisdom range from the practical. . .to the felicitous . . . on to the ‘horrifying, but you have to say it’ . . . She covers the new etiquette . . . and the old. I bought one for myself and one for my 23-year-old! Get your graduation shopping done or just fill out your parenting bookshelf!

— Christine VanDeVelde, author of College Admissions

Mixed-media artist and debut author Becky Blades combines wit with sincere counsel in an innovative scrapbook format.

With a daughter approaching high school graduation, Blades began compiling life lessons she hoped to impart on her daughter. The resulting book of aphorisms could have been schmaltzy but is instead both humorous and visually impressive.

Offered as a numbered list in a quirky variety of fonts, her maternal instructions range from two words to paragraphs. The themes may be perennial advice-guide fodder—seizing the day, embracing creativity, being prudent with money and treating others with compassion—but snappy delivery and unsentimental wording help them feel fresh. Thus the doctrine of mindfulness becomes, simply, “WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE ALL THERE.”

Where Blades acknowledges clichés, she always adds a clever twist: “IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. You’re smart enough to think of something nice.” She also debunks a few old chestnuts: Instead of exhorting girls to “dream big,” which she’s nonetheless in favor of, she reassures them that “It’s okay to OUTGROW YOUR DREAMS.”

Some standout features include two-page spreads in which each epigram repeats the same first word (“KEEP your knees together when you’re sitting on stage”; “KEEP your head when all about you are losing theirs,” etc.), occasional puns (“HAVE RUBBER GLOVES. On hand”), and echoes of Kipling’s “If—” and Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. In one notable, original proverb, Blades balances enthusiasm with discipline: “COMMON SENSE AND SELF-RESTRAINT SHRINK IN THE PRESENCE OF PASSION. Does this mean don’t be passionate? Absolutely not.”

Pithy recommendations about forgiveness, charitableness, being a good hostess and accepting change would be valuable in their own rights, but the whimsical artwork renders the book all the more delightful. Cutouts of paper dolls and maps share space with colorful, textured illustrations of houses, trees and clouds. Fashion plates lend a sophisticated, faux Parisian feel, while plentiful tips on Internet and cellphone etiquette help put the book on trend for today’s teenagers. Inspirational yet never syrupy, the text could easily be read in one sitting and should prove useful throughout college and beyond.

A perfect graduation gift for young women—but the advice is applicable to all.

Kirkus Reviews

Truly, this was a breath of fresh air. I loved it. As a daughter, it’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek. It’s the same advice my mother gave me, but I wasn’t listening. I want the book to sit on my dresser, and I know I would smile every time I looked at it. Priceless wisdom for life. 5 out of 5 stars

— Karen Li, NetGalley Reviewer

This book would make a fabulous gift . . . I wish I’d had a copy when I went off to college. Some of my favorites (and there are 270 great little gems):

#85: Little habits can cost you big. The $4 a day you spend on fancy coffee adds up to $1460 a year.

#2: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You’re smart enough to think of something nice.

#18: Make something every day.

#157: Know the difference between collecting and hoarding.

#83: Own a tutu and a boa. (I have a screensaver that says the world would be better if more people wore tutus. I think the same would be true with boas!)

— Christie Eckert, Goodreads Reviewer

Reading your book, and fighting the tears! What a wonderful, heartfelt book that will mean so much to all moms of daughters about to venture off on their own! Thank you for making such a wonderful and moving read available to us and our daughters!

— Vicki Elliott Stofer, mother of two glorious young women

Becky Blades has made a book that brings both mother and daughter together, offering advice you wish you had told, listened to or just agreed with. This book lists the advice you do not want to hear but you know you have to pay attention to. . . I cannot wait to see what Becky Blades comes up with next!

— Briana Pascarelli, University of Miami

Becky Blades has truly made a masterpiece, and I haven’t even touched on the artwork! I have sent many of the quotes to my other girlfriends in college, as well as giggled with my mother over the phone when she insisted “See! I’m not the only mom who has said that!” Reading this book was an absolute joy from cover to cover!

— Lauren Arant, University of Minnesota

Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone gives every young woman that pep talk from mom she needs on her journey to conquer the world. With the perfect balance of sass and endearment, Blades provides smart, real advice that reminds girls everywhere mother will always know best. Humorous, straightforward, and creative words to inspire independent women at any age.

— Katie Anderson, University of Missouri

Filled with witty and relevant advice and outstanding illustrations, Becky Blades gets it right. Trying to capture the didactic yet loving intentions only a mother can have for her daughter can be difficult, or can come off sounding predictable. However, without venturing into cliché territory, this guidebook to early womanhood falls far from predictability. Whether your mother is proper, zany, a pottery-loving hippy, or a little more reserved, you will feel her voice captured in Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone.

— Raquel Sain, University of Ohio

From PopTarts to little black dresses to cell phones at meal times, Becky Blades has words of wisdom on every topic. Heartwarming and hilarious, with beautiful art to boot. We keep it in our sorority house to look at when we miss our moms.

— Taylor Phillips, Harvard University

There are few times in my life when I actually WANT to listen to what my mother says – luckily this is one of those instances. Filled with humor, wit and plenty of unforgettable and “Pinterest-worthy” quotes, Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone is perfect for mothers, daughters and anyone who needs a little motherly advice. Because as we all know, mother truly knows best.

— Devlin Woods, Villanova University

Finally, wisdom that isn’t whitewashed. Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone miraculously puts into words what every mother wants to share with her daughter before sending her off to face the world in clean underwear. This book is the perfect gift to pack away in a your child’s suitcase before she leaves home for the last time. It will give her (or him) a loving nudge to do what would make you proud and them soar in life, friendship and love.

— Brenda Clevenger, Midlife Mona Lisa

This has arrived at the perfect time at our house as I prepare to take our daughter to college. Becky Blades has captured all of the wisdom that contemporary moms want to give their daughters but lack the words or gorgeous art work to illustrate. So much humor and heart is inside this small package! A must-buy for the teen to young adult women in your life to help them on their independent ways.

— Mary Dell Harrington, Grown and Flown

Simply wonderful. I gave this cute book to my daughter the day she left for college on the other side of the country, little did she know I had already read the book and starred the pieces of advice that were special to me and wanted her to especially remember. When my daughter came upon my notes next to Blades’ stellar advice, she called me crying. What started out as a fun little gift has ended up being a beautiful keepsake that both me and my daughter cherish. Thank you, Becky, for sharing your stories and advice. You’ve created an even more beautiful bond between me and my daughter. I’ll be the first in line for your next book!

— Stay@homeMommy

What a delightful book! I bought this for my daughter for graduation and wound up buying several for all her friends. This weekend, they sat in the kitchen for hours reading sections out loud and laughing and talking. It’s witty, deep and very amusing. Even the art is thought-provoking.

— Mindy Mixt