Every mother has that one day when she looks in the mirror and suddenly realizes the unthinkable has happened. Yes, she has turned into her mother. It kind of just sneaks up on a person. Perhaps, it's the crows feet, the laugh lines or that one gray hair gleaming in the sunlight.
Nah, that's not it. Sure, aging and catching up to our parents so to speak is part of the transformation. Certainly, having kids of our own is part of it, too. But as the saying goes, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, I've become my mother after all."
In fact, the process is so slow that most women don't even notice what's happening until it's too late. Once a woman is expecting, she begins to better understand her mother and even her father to some extent. Caring for that little bean and anticipating the future is the first step to knowing the torture of parenthood, the torture we've all put our own parents through.
While the transformation at first feels like defeat, most parents feel a sense of pride at turning into their own parents. It's a special rite of passage that largely goes unspoken. One minute a woman is a rebellious teenager promising to never be like her parents and get out of this godforsaken town.
The very next minute she's a young mom herself - maybe in that godforsaken town (or one that's a lot like it) - and she's doing everything her parents did when they were raising her.
Of course, everything coming out of her mouth sounds like good ol' mom and dad to boot. Discover the phrases just about every parent eventually ends up saying to their kids no matter what promises they made as their younger selves:
15 Because I Said So
This phrase is the gateway drug of parenting sayings. Once a parent blurts out "Because I said so," in response to a child, their transformation is complete. It's a quick jump from "Because I said so," to all the other classics (which you'll incidentally find on this list). This particular phrase is a parent's way of planting her flag firmly in adulthood.
It's her way of drawing a line between her children and her. "Because I said so," means the children must accept rules and regulations simply because their parents have set the agenda. It's the way to establish a natural order of power and to lead from the top. So much oomph is packed into that one short phrase.
And it almost always gets blurted out in the heat of an argument with a defensive child who does not want to comply with the family rules. Does it sound like a dictator? Sure does, but democracy is for building free nations, not households with adults raising children.
14 Wishing For A Grandchild Like Their Own Child
Oh, boy, this phrase is always a doozy when it comes out, "I hope you have a child exactly like you!" Most often, a mother says this to a teenage daughter when the emotions are raw. These words can cut deeper than a knife. Indeed, many parents will later reflect on making this statement with regret. But it sure feels great coming out in the moment.
It can be downright cathartic. What mom is saying when she shouts out this phrase is that her kid is rotten and deserves to get some of the maltreatment she's dishing out. This phrase is a cry for justice. In essence, mom is calling for karma because she feels as though she is being treated unfairly.
"I hope you have a kid just like you one day," is a wish that a grandchild slams mom, ignores dad, throws a tantrum, is stubborn as a mule, and displays any other negative trait a parent has had to endure over the years.
What most parents fail to remember - or choose to forget - is that their own parent probably "wished" the same on them previously and that previous "wish" is simply coming to fruition. Indeed, what goes around eventually does come around. #sorrynotsorry
13 Money Doesn't Grow On Trees
Parents, especially fathers, favor, "Money doesn't grown on trees," because they quickly learn that having kids is often equivalent to going bankrupt. At first, the kids can't be blamed. When they're babies, they need diapers, food, healthcare, and all those contraptions (car seats, cradles, swings). But it's out of their hands.
They didn't ask for life. Parents decided to bring them into the world, after all. So, spending on them doesn't seem so bad. Besides, babies are so flipping cute, moms and dads could care less. The thing about kids is they get less cute as they grow up and especially when they get a mouth on them.
The kids get older and begin asking for all sorts of stuff, including toys, video games, computers, smart phones, and the list goes on and on. Maybe they aren't as grateful as they should be. And some are downright spoiled from the gilded baby years. The material items get progressively more expensive as does the resentment on the part of parents, not to mention the dwindling bank account.
That is about the time when the "Money doesn't grow on trees" statements start dropping like rain in April. The kids don't know what hit them.
12 Is That Chocolate Or Poop?
No one - seriously, no one - ever thinks she will hear herself saying, "Is that chocolate or poop?" Yet, most moms of toddlers and the pre-school set will tell you that they spit out this phrase (sometimes literally if it's poop) regularly, even daily. This is one of those questions that comes up for practical reasons.
Mom really needs to know whether that brown spot on the wall or clump on her kids hand is poop or chocolate. Either way, she has a mess to clean up, but one requires antibacterial wipes and bleach, lots of bleach. The other could simply be a lovely surprise saved for later, especially if found mid-afternoon, when the mojo is starting to crash and a little sugar could lift her up.
Whoa baby, her mind will be blown the first time it ain't chocolate! Trust the mothers who have been there, who have ended up with No. 2 in the hair. Don't judge. While some more sophisticated palates might ask, "Is that Nutella or poop," it doesn't change the sentiment or the stakes. Seriously, this "game" is the motherhood equivalent of Russian roulette. No one wants to be on the losing end of that bullet.
11 If Everyone Jumped Off A Bridge...
An oldie but a goodie, this bit about whether you would jump off a bridge if your friends did is the way parents lecture on the dangers of peer pressure. The question serves as both a warning against joining the crowd blindly and a talking point about one's own character. While this has become a somewhat cheeky way of touching on a pretty serious subject, it serves its purpose.
Everyone knows that parents mean business and are trying to make a big statement to steer their children away from being followers whenever they ask about the dreaded bridge. Parents put this in their toolbox for raising a leader, someone with a backbone and a mind of his or her own.
Still, many a child has responded sarcastically with a resounding, "Yes, yes, I will jump from the bridge with my friends." A few bungee jumpers actually have gone through with it, so parents should be careful what seeds they plant, too. That is unless they don't mind a thrill-seeking adventurer for a kid.
10 Naked Is Not An Outfit
Parents often end up saying some version of, "Naked isn't an outfit"or "Put some clothes on" from early on in their children's life through young adulthood. In the early years, toddlers tend to just hate pants. They take them off if the sun is shining, the rain is falling, or the wind howls. They run away from mom when she's trying to change their diaper.
Sometimes, they dance around in their birthday suits. It's adorable. But mom still worries about baby catching cold. So, she might say, "Naked isn't an outfit." Sometimes, the pre-schooler would like to go to school in nothing but underwear and rubber boots. Mom will probably laugh about this and say, "Naked isn't an outfit."
When that same child is heading out to high school in nothing but underwear and rubber boots, mom will probably cry about it and say, "Naked isn't an outfit." The tone and usually the decibel invariably change. But in both cases mom will force the child into more appropriate clothing.
Of course, she will check that teenager's bag for the more provocative outfit, too. Oh yes, dear child, mom is onto you. So, put on some clothes!
9 This Too Shall Pass
One of the most challenging parts of a parent's job is helping their children deal with the heartache and hard times life will inevitably throw their way. Some will experience great tragedies and losses. Most will get dumped, rejected, or fail at something. Tears will fall, hearts will ache, and frowns will prevail for a time.
These are the worst of times, even for parents. Most mothers and fathers never want to see their children suffer. Not ever. Yet, parents know all too well from their own experience that many young people make mountains out of molehills (another cliche parents like). They realize these tremendous blows are really just part of growing up.
At some point, their children will look back, gain perspective, and laugh at the drama they had created in their mind. So, when Junior is crying on mom's lap about little Sally dumping him for little Johnny a week before the high school dance, mom will hug him and say, "This too shall pass."
Of course, she'll say the same to her kids when Grandpa's flatulence flares up at the table, so make of it what you will.
8 I'm Counting To 5
Ah, sometimes parents need a time out, too. When they feel the heat overcoming them and they might blow, they take a deep breath and tell their kid, "I'm counting to five." Granted, some moms prefer three. But the idea is the same. They want to give themselves a chance to cool down and collect their thoughts.
And they want their kids to get into gear and do whatever is being asked of them. For generations, parents have used this method to instill some fear in their kids and gain a little bit of control. No children ever want to find out what happens if they don't comply by the time mom gets to the last number.
So, rooms get cleaned, shoes are put on, and homework gets started in those all important five seconds. It's like mom's prayer, and whatever she asks for gets answered.
7 Eat Those Vegetables
Although healthy eating has become extra trendy in recent years, moms have been telling kids to eat their vegetables for generations. This saying is tied with "Eat, there are kids dying in whatever country is struggling with famine at the moment." It's a torturous beginning to a night full of angst, yelling, crying, and usually little eating.
It's a surefire way to ruin dinner, which might be why parenting experts have suggested telling kids to eat their veggies isn't the most effective way of getting them to eat. The funny thing about telling kids to clean their plates or eat veggies is that it's usually their first lesson in hypocrisy.
Mom and dad rarely finish everything on their plates, nor do they eat enough vegetables, unless pizza and French fries count. Let's be honest here. Put brussel sprouts or broccoli on a dish, and tell everyone to dig in, and no one in the family is going to jump for joy. Unless mom is serving chocolate zucchini cake (with sugar), she is going to have a hard time convincing the brood, including herself, to eat.
6 Somebody Is Spoiled Rotten
When mom is facing a tragic tantrum in the middle of the Walmart because she won't buy little Petey yet another useless plastic Batman, she will shout, "You're spoiled rotten." This is a statement of facts and a sideswipe at her own parenting. Moms have an epiphany in that moment that is greeted with the realization that their child is spoiled rotten.
As a result of giving children lots of material goods, parents find that their child acts entitled and expects they can get anything they want regardless of cost. What's worse is that they begin to think the world revolves around them and that they deserve better treatment than others. It creates a bad attitude to boot and can sometimes even lead to a child being cruel or acting as a bully.
But the statement "spoiled rotten" is more for the parent than for the child. It's mom's own affirmation and reminder that she is screwing up. After all, who did the spoiling in the first place? How did we get to rotten?
5 Living Under My Roof
Parents often shock themselves the first time they blurt out, "Under my roof, you'll do as I say." Their parents told them the same undoubtedly. It's another one of those rites of passage for parents. Of course, what parents are saying is, "I pay for everything, so you better follow my rules." This saying has mom and dad establishing themselves as the bosses of the household.
As is the case in every business, the employees (the kids), often wonder out loud about the legitimacy, fairness of correctness of the higher ups. In the end, these questions never really matter. The employees need that paycheck, and therefore they usually back down to the boss.
In that way, mom and dad win whenever they say, "Under my roof, do as I say." That is, of course, until the kids burn down the roof and no one has anywhere to live.
4 A Little Birdie Told Me
Whenever parents don't want to tell their kids about the eyes on the back of their head or the spies in the schoolyard, they instead say, "A little birdie told me..." That little birdie could be the lunch lady, bus driver, or their own intuition.
Still, the all-knowing little birdie may reveal that little Katie trades her kale chips for potato chips everyday in the cafeteria or that little Johnny has a crush on little Katie (eep!) or that teenage Harry is failing geometry. Once in a while the little birdie is a so-called friend of the kid telling secrets to the grown ups. Go mom if that's the case!
If only the little birdie spoke of birthdays and fun stuff, says every child. Mom's little birdie seems to spill the beans on everything the kids don't want anyone to know. Oh, where, oh where does the little birdie live? If the kids ever find out the cat is definitely going to have an ample meal. That's a promise.
3 Go The Fudge To Sleep
Many a new parent has received the book, "Go the F to Sleep" as a gift. At first, its contents, which describe the hardships of parents trying to get their young children to comply with bedtime, is amusing. There are giggles, in fact. As the sleep deprivation kicks in, parents begin to read the book with a louder voice and fists in the air.
The "Fs" get bigger and better. After the children get up from the bed griping about fear of monsters or demanding another glass of water - which will either lead to millions of nighttime trips to the bathroom or a wet bed - mom and dad kind of lose their mind.
"Go the fudge (for lack of that better term) to sleep," is the culmination of every challenge children put forth over the course of an evening to avoid going to sleep. Evading bedtime is a power play by children. It's how they wage war on parents and effectively win. A sleep deprived adult can't adult properly.
Just forget about it. The kids win and rule the house until they go the fudge to sleep.
2 This Is Not A Hotel
"This is not a hotel," is a way for parents to get kids to do their chores. Mom will wield this phrase when the kids leave their wet towels on the floor, a pizza in their bed, and the toys all over the living room floor. Unfortunately, moms and dads often end up feeling like the concierge, cook, and manager of a high-end hotel.
Their kids ask for tickets to the best shows in town, chauffeur service to soccer practice, and answers to pivotal questions, such as how they know the world is round or where babies come from. Their home cooked meals are better than gourmet, and the kids order off the menu just about every night. They have to balance the books and make ends meet with no paying guests.
So, when mom realizes that her kids are onto the fact that the house is more like a hotel, she shouts from the rooftops that this is not the case. It might technically be a lie. But mom has to take a stand and declare her freedom.
1 When I Was Younger
Grandparents hang onto this one long after their kids are grown. This is a favorite with the elders because it's a way of showing all that people accomplish simply by living. Everyone has to overcome some sort of hardship, and he or she learns from it. People accumulate a wealth of wisdom, and it's the one kind of wealth no one can take away from them.
So, they want to spread the wealth so to speak. They also use this phrase as a means for reminding their children that they have more life experience, and therefore more knowledge than they do. In other words, they use the phrase to show they're smarter than their children. It doesn't hurt that "When I was your age," is also a fabulous entry to stories that serve as teaching moments.
When mom and dad want to get professorial or give their child a guilt trip, they turn to this phrase. For example, mom might say, "When I was your age I had to walk uphill in 6 feet of snow everyday to get to school." "When I was your age, I was working three jobs, supporting myself and my parents, and never got to do anything remotely fun," says Dad.
"When I was your age," mom continues, "my parents were telling me about when they were my age." And so it goes on and on and on.