Things Moms Say

Daily Foglifter:  Ernest Vincent Wright wrote the novel “Gadsby,” a story of over 50,000 words, without using the letter “E.”

Before I was a mother, I knew what things I would never say when I became one.  I knew I would never say them because when my mom said them, I felt like screaming.  I would be nicer to my kids than my mom was to me.  I would be a cool mom who explained everything to her kids.  Here’s a short list of things I swore I would never say:

  • Because I’m your mother.
  • You’re not old enough.
  • Life isn’t fair.  Get used to it.
  • We’ll see.
  • When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.
  • As long as you live under my roof, you’ll follow my rules.
  • Sammich. (I’m not sure why this bothers me so much, but it drives me up the wall.  Oddly enough, my husband uses the word sammich.  I can only chalk it up to God’s attempt to cure me of such a silly pet peeve or maybe He’s just having a laugh at my expense.)
  • Because I said so.  (The absolute WORST phrase in the history of the English language.)

I thought these were horrible, awful things to say to kids.  (With the possible exception of sammich).  I thought they were what lazy parents said when they didn’t feel like chauffeuring their kids all over the place or taking the time to explain things in terms kids can understand.  I was right.  I know I was right because I say these things at least 10 times a day for those very reasons.

I have 5 children.  Between trips to the grocery store, church, and gymnastics I spend half my life in the car as it is.  I cannot run to the store because Billy has a sudden hankering for goldfish.  I cannot go to the redbox just because they’re bored.  There are logical reasons for this, but no matter what I say the kids will hear, “Because I said so.”  I save myself the time it would take to explain that gas costs money, I don’t have time, and it’s not good for kids to get whatever they want as soon as they ask for it, because this creates spoiled rotten brats with a skewed sense of entitlement, and just say, “Because I said so.”  Then when they say, “It’s not fair!” I say, “Life isn’t fair.  Get used to it.”

Aside from laziness and not creating spoiled brats, there are even better reasons for using these phrases.  When my son asks if he can ride his bike down the road, I say no.  He asks why and I say, “Because I said so” or “You’re not old enough.”  He’s 11, which is plenty old enough to ride your bike down a country road.  IF that country road didn’t have a crazy man who stumbled up and down it, mumbling to himself.  IF that road wasn’t the place where a dead body was dumped last summer.  IF that country road wasn’t a popular sunning spot for 5 foot rattlesnakes.  “Because I said so” is kinder and less scary than “Because that guy could be a child molester or deranged homicidal maniac” or “you might get bitten by a monstrous venomous snake.”

Of the things I swore I would never say, the only one I kept my word on is “sammich.”  I guess I’m not a cool mom.  Of course, there is no such thing as a cool mom.  There is only mean, embarrassing old mom who has no idea what it’s like to be a kid.  As far as my kids are concerned, I am old, have always been old, and always will be old.  I realized this when my son, Billy, asked me to pour him a glass of tea.  When I didn’t do it as fast as he thought I should, he said, “Where’s my tea, old lady?”  This was a blow to my ego as both a parent and a woman.  I am trying so hard to raise non-brats, and he calls me that incredibly rude (and untrue) name.  I’m 32, for heaven’s sake.  That is not even close to old.  Not to mention that “Where’s my tea, _____?” is no way to ask for something to drink, even if he had filled in the blank with “my cool, beautiful, sweet mother.”

Normal “momisms” aren’t the only unbelievable things coming out of my mouth.  Sometimes I say something and my immediate thought is, “Did I really just say that?!”  Some recent examples include:

  • Don’t eat coffee grounds out of the garbage can.
  • Don’t rub pizza on your feet.
  • Don’t eat styrofoam.
  • Put down that metal bar.  Find something else to sword fight with.
  • Don’t touch the cat’s butt.

While all this is really good advice, I hardly think it will be included in any parenting magazines.  Seriously, though, why do kids want to eat and touch disgusting things, play with their food, and hit each other with deadly weapons?  I can’t believe I told  my son to find something ELSE to sword fight with.  Shouldn’t I have said, “Let’s not sword fight.”  If I recall correctly, that particular game ended with crying and the swelling of some body part, as “innocent” games between five kids always do.

I look back to my pre-kid conceptions of the perfect mom and sigh.  I was right in my convictions.  Perfect moms should take the time to make their children understand why they aren’t allowed to do certain things.  The only problem is that I’m not perfect.  I don’t have the time.  More importantly, I don’t have the heart.  I want to keep the ugliness of the world from tainting my children as long as possible.  Until I’m ready for my kids to view the world with the wary eye of good vs. evil, I’m content with being the bad guy.  That’s a position all moms are willing to take.  If you don’t have kids yet, trust me, “When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.”

Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next.
Franklin P. Jones


16 thoughts on “Things Moms Say

  1. i LOVE this! i look forward to reading your blog everyday, its a great mental break from work, thank you for that. The last part cracked me up…the things we say to our children lol…i have to share this with all of my coworkers, most of us are in our thirties, have children, and think we are cool moms lol….

  2. ” COOL MOM’s ” ^&^#$@#
    You are still children ~ wait till you become Granma’s And you start working on the Grand kids. PAYBACKS ~ as your eldest said, Erin . . . ” I’ll just ask Granma” We are Always one step ahead of you !

    • Thanks! Please feel free to visit anytime. 😎

      Your Facebook post was great. Deleting my facebook account would probably be a good thing, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

  3. I was horrified the first time one of those “I’m never gonna say that” things came out of my mouth. Not that I actually said it, but that it felt so natural and appropriate.

    I am also with you on the “did I really just say that!?” front.

    “Don’t stand on your sister.”
    “The french fry looks like poop? Cool, you should eat it” (I may regret that one later)
    and of course a frequent one at bath time:
    “Don’t put that on your _____”, after which I assure my wife that the reason boys are so fascinated with this is because it is there.

    PS I am frequently guilty of “Sammich”.

    • I guess I should have added dads to that post, too. oops. Yes, I have 3 boys and they were all fascinated with “it” at some point. 🙂 And my “sammich” thing is nonsensical. There’s no reason it should bother me, but it does. Immensely.

    • Kids are funny little creatures with very active imaginations and tons of curiosity. Can you imagine wondering what every object you see would feel like if you put it up your nose, in your ear, or in your mouth? Thank God we grow out of that!

  4. I’m not a mom but I can play too! Mom used to say “Just wait until you have kids of your own”. I tell her now the reason I’m not giving her grandchildren is “Ha! I’ll show you, I just won’t have any!”. She sticks her tongue out at me. I think neither one of us ever “grew up” even though she was a junior in high school when God invented dirt. (Her words, not mine)

    She also told me that she’s saving me a ton in psychiatry bills because all I have to do is tell the shrink “I know it’s my mom’s fault, just tell me how to fix it.”

    Thankfully, I do have a niece and nephew to fill the child void in my life. Barring the fact that I believe children are like soda cans (you shake them up and pass them off to someone else) I find I’m actually attached to my brother’s little cherubs. I find my mother’s words slipping from my tongue all the time. My favorite? “Because it’s Tuesday” (she used to say that even if it wasn’t Tuesday). “It won’t fall off, I promise” (in reference to my nephew grabbing his boyhood and holding on for dear life) And just the other day a brand new one slipped out “Get the peanut butter out of your ears”

    I say sammich because my husband says it. It makes me smile. He’s also responsible for “Hopticopters” (helicopters) and “hajapenjos” (jalapenos)

    Anyway I laughed so hard I cried. I love this post and all the comments!

  5. I loved the five “Did I really say that?” items. Priceless. And reading John Rosemond helped me feel great about “Because I said so.” He totally validates it (if I remember correctly, which I don’t do much these days).

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