There are an arsenal of phrases a mom will say in her parenting career. When I was growing up it was, “If you keep making that face it will freeze that way” and “Well, if your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?”
These are the phrases you will say over and over again, like a repetitious rite of passage. You will say them so often, you may even think that nobody can hear you. Rest assured, your kids absolutely can, but often just choose to ignore you. Keep at it, your perseverance will not go unnoticed.
On a different note, you might consider recording these on your phone and simply pressing play when required so as not to disrupt you from taking a sip of your wine and/or coffee. Motherhood is, after all, about working smarter, not harder.
1. Don’t Put That In Your Mouth
Or, alternatively please take that out of your mouth. This includes, but is not limited to, food that has fallen on the floor, rocks, dirty hands, sand, toys, Lego pieces, the cat, and glue.
2. Because I Said So
An oldy but a goody, this phrase is used when you’ve already repeated yourself a minimum of ten times and your child still responds, “But why, mom?” Paired frequently with “What did I just say?” and “I’m not going to say it again”.
3. Do You Have To Go To The Washroom?
You’ll say this before putting on their snowpants, heading out on a long road trip, running to the grocery store to pick up milk, and in a hundred other different scenarios.
Save your breath. Your child will say no. You will repeat it. Your child will say no, again. Then the moment you put on the snowpants, buckle up the seatbelt, or put him in the grocery cart, he will need to pee.
It’s basically the Murphy’s Law of parenting.
4. But You Liked It Yesterday
You lovingly make your child’s favourite meal only to have him declare, “I don’t like this.” This phrase pairs well with, “You have two choices: take it or leave it” and/or “When I was a kid, I had to eat what I was given no matter what.”
Pro Tip: Give it a week or two, they’ll like it again.
No, you can’t have candy for breakfast. No, you can’t run around outside naked. No, you can’t parachute from your bedroom window using a bed sheet.
No, no, no, and no.
You will say this a million and one times over the course of 18 years and beyond. Often it will feel like all you ever say is no, sometimes a good twenty times before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee; the coffee that’s cold because you had to break up two fights, wipe up a cup of spilled milk, and get your kids to brush their teeth. But the fact is, it’s your child’s job to push boundaries, and it’s your job to help maintain those boundaries.
This is the little two-lettered word that’s going to help you raise a caring, kind, and compassionate human being who doesn’t expect the world to be laid out at his or her fingertips. Practice saying it with authority.
Which brings us to our last phrase, because when you say no to your child’s every whim what you’re really saying is…
6. I Love You
You will whisper this in your child’s ear while she sleeps, or as he walks out the door to play.
It will be your go-to phrase as you wipe away tears and help heal pain. You will write it in notes and in birthday cards. It will be sent in texts and left on voice mail messages.
You will also say it through clenched teeth in moments of frustration, and as a silent prayer when it’s past curfew and they still aren’t home.
As your kids gets older, you may even come up with a code so you can still say it without embarrassing them in front of their friends.
Ironically this three-word phrase barely makes a dent to describe how you feel about your children.
Say it often because it’s the one phrase that can never be overused.