“Because I’m the Mom, That’s Why,” and Other Mom-isms

Black and white line drawing of woman pointing her finger. Text reads "because I said so, that's whyA friend of mine was recently horrified to hear herself actually say, “Because I said so” to her two-year-old daughter.  Jokingly, I told her that if her daughter protested she needed to pull out my own mom’s favorites: either, “If you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about,” and, “I’ll knock your teeth from here to China!”

I should note here that my own mom spanked me probably three times in my entire life, and these threats usually inspired giggles rather than terror.  I suspect that my mom was probably horrified to hear herself throw out the teeth-smacking line, given that it was probably a throwback to my grandmother.

But then I was thinking, one day I’ll have kids (who I hope turn out just like you, threatens my mother), what lines will I surely be appalled to hear myself saying?  Of course there is the standby, “I don’t want to hear another peep out of either of you.”  Which would, predictably, entice my sister and I to engage in a chorus of, “Peep! Peep Peep Peep!”  My mom also used the, “Because I said so,” and, “Because I’m the mom, that’s why” lines with frequency.  I assume they must be in some sort of a manual they give you at the hospital.

Ever the source of aggravation for my mom, when I was an older child and teenager my mother took to responding to me with, “Goddammit, Luci!” Which is actually what my inner monologue now says when I am frustrated with my own actions.

Here’s one I actually did catch myself saying to my hungover boyfriend this past Sunday: “If you dance, you have to pay the piper.” A smug refrain from my mom starting when my sister and I were in college and she would find us, Saturday morning afternoon, laid up on the couch next to a bowl and a glass of water.  When we were older teens and adults, my mom’s dating advice to me and my sister was, “It’s a date to the prom (or, an invitation to drinks, or a free dinner) not a commitment for life!”  My mom holds firm to the “You have to kiss a few (dozen) frogs” philosophy of  romance.  Although when we talk about old flames, my mom laments how many goddamn frogs were in the lot.

What about you? What old standbys did your own mama use?  And moms, any you have heard yourself say that shocked you?

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Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

14 thoughts on ““Because I’m the Mom, That’s Why,” and Other Mom-isms”

  1. My mom used the old standby of pulling out the middle and last names, as well as the wash-out-your-mouth-with-soap, which she actually did to my brother when he called me a bitch when he was 4 and I was 5. Scared me out of swearing in front of her until I was 15.

  2. My mom, in moments of exasperation with me, threatened to sell me to the “gypsies.” When I was little, I thought gypsies meant the same thing as fairies, so I was kind of excited about the idea.

    Also, I have 2 middle names, so I could always gauge just how much trouble I was in by how many names she called out, and heaven help me if she got to the last name stage…

  3. Ah, one I now say, though I don’t really know what it means is ‘Not now, but right now!’. There’s a lovely redundancy to momisms. Another old standby, ‘go ask your father’, which though I don’t have kids, if ever I do, I’m sure I’ll use. The saying. Not the kids.

  4. Growing up, my mom watched me, my sister and the neighbor’s kids. Whenever we’d get in the van after playing in the park or running around a bunch, she’d yell, “It smells like a locker room in here!” We loved it.

    One that I will for sure carry on IF I have kids, is a tradition we still have in my family – for the first 4 or so years of my life (basically until I learned to read), my fortune cookies always said “Be nice to your mother, she loves you a lot.” Every once in a while, I still let them say that.

  5. I laugh when I hear the old chestnuts coming out of my mouth, I can’t help it. Sometimes “Because I said so” is the best you can do. I figure it’s a trade-off. For every time you sound like you mother, there is a “Why are you licking the dog?” moment to make up for it.

  6. My mom used to say ‘You better [blank] or your ass is grass and I’m the lawnmower!’

    She also pointed out a squirrel that had been hit by a car and told me that it hadn’t held its mom’s hand, and that’s why it got hit. Worked on me.

    1. I used to say “Because of gravity” which would throw my students off their game long enough to get them back on task. My older kids would pass on “that means just do it.” to the younger ones.

      When I taught I used to call my mom once a week just to apologize for being a teenager.

  7. My brother and I were fond of balloons and water balloons as kids. (Heck, we still are.) On one memorable occasion, my mother told us to be careful or we’d aspirate it into our lungs, catch pneumonia, and die. We still joke about it to this day when anyone has a foreign object near their mouth.

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