When we become mothers, we are sure we will forge our own paths. We certainly won’t be repeating the sayings our own mothers irritated us with when we were young. But guess what? Whether it’s nature or nurture, you can’t fight fate.
There will come a day all too soon, if not already here, when a phrase slips so smoothly from your lips it makes you catch yourself – you are turning into your mother. Here are eight of the best.
1. Who do you think is going to pick this up? The fairies?
This one is an oldie, but a goodie. Substitute “fairies” for “maid” or “servant” – each variant works equally well. Most commonly uttered while gazing despairingly at the bedroom floor or at dirty dishes placed just next to, but not inside, the dishwasher.
2. Hungry? Eat an apple. Don’t want an apple? You’re not that hungry.
This phrase (or some variation on it) drove me mad as a child. Of course I don’t want an apple, I want a Tim Tam. Now my kids do too – but guess what? They’re not getting one either. Spoiler alert: Nobody EVER wants an apple.
3. Did you really look? Will I be able to find it when I look?
This is a question with a kind of built-in, vaguely implied threat. If used well, the fear of what might happen if you find the object when they couldn’t should send the child back for another look. That second look is usually much, much more successful than the first one.
4. If I have to come in there…
I tend to utter this one from the comfort of the sofa. It’s an all-purpose kind of phrase with no clear outcomes, which covers everything from lost shoes to umpiring a fight between siblings. If you use it sparingly it often buys you an extra six or seven minutes to yourself.
5. Don’t make me stop this car.
This is the car-specific version of “If I have to come in there…”. The secret to using it well is to never quite enunciate exactly what will happen if you do, in fact, have to stop the car. But it won’t be good.
6. Your wrist hurts when you move it? Don’t move it.
My kids are constantly complaining that bits of them hurt, and I’ve pulled out this gem on more than one occasion. I am a bit more wary of it than the other phrases though. Why? Because my mum used it on me for about three days once before an x-ray confirmed that yes, my wrist was broken. True story.
7. I’m not going to make three different meals for this family.
You are though, eventually. You know it. They know it. It’ll probably be toast.
8. Because I am the parent, and when you are a parent, you can too.
Does this ring a bell for you? My mum used to pull this saying out whenever I complained about anything that was unfair about life as a child, compared to her glorious life as the mother. And now I finally am the parent – and I use this phrase every chance I can get.
How about you? What gems have you uttered that came straight from your own mother’s lips?