Friday, February 26, 2016

Moms Censored

So, Blair sends me this yesterday.......
It's times like those when a mother has to remind herself of the truths from God's word,  "Children are a gift from the Lord.....Children are a gift from the Lord.....Children are a gift from the Lord."       

It's true, though.  We, moms, generally have two levels of parenting.  One is a more polite form which is used in social or public settings.  The tones are warmer and the words are more carefully chosen for a broader audience.  It gingerly handles parenting matters with a palatable candy coating.  It dances lightly around the issue at hand in a way which is aesthetically pleasing to all who see.  This surface level is usually not adequate to express the depth of parental frustration and so it is often used in conjunction with inconspicuous nonverbal cues which are given to signal to the child the seriousness of the parent's displeasure, e.g., raised eyebrows, a pinch under the table, or a subtle shaking of the head.  I mean, most of us do try to class it up for the sake of southern gentility, proper decorum........oh, and the Department of Child Services. 

The second level of parenting is a more raw and less edited version.  It is used when the child and parent are at home or alone where the problem can be discussed more freely and constructively and without witnesses......oops, I mean, onlookers.  Sometimes, these parental threats may or may not be worded to Dr. James Dobson's liking nor are they always executed with the patience with which Fred Rogers would be pleased but, for generations, impressive results have been achieved at this home based level of parenting. 

Here are some examples of things our Moms said to us at home and her corresponding public wording of them.       

At home:  "I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week."  I never really knew what that meant exactly but I knew that it must be a pretty hard hit to hurl you forward several days.  It was really serious when it was only Monday and she said that because she was talking about displacing you by a week and a half!  I think that the only time I've personally used this one was that half-year, somewhere between 13 and 14, when Blair suffered from a brief period of delusional authority and, on several occasions, forced me to attempt to catapult her forward into time.....and space. 
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said with a solid pinch to the thigh.
At home:  "If you don't stop that crying, I'm going to give you something to cry about."  It was always so hard to stop crying when someone was telling you to stop crying or else they were going to make you cry.  Wait, what?  You were so confused at that point that you just cried more.        
In public:  "Dry it up," said with raised eyebrows.   

At home:  "Look at me when I'm talking to you" and its first cousin, "Don't walk away while I'm talking to you."  Oh, nothing infuriates a mother like acting like you don't listen, care, or have time for her lecture.  It would not be out of the question to have your face manually moved toward her direction at this point in the discussion.   
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said with a firm squeeze to the upper arm.   

At home:  "As long as you live under our roof, you'll follow our rules."  This was another way of saying, "You will not stand there in those shoes I bought, eating that Twinkie I bought, holding the car keys I bought while using the electricity I bought and tell me how it's going to be."   
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said with squinted eyes.   

At home:  "You better answer me when I ask you a question."  An unanswered question will not fly during a mother's interrogation.  There is no Fifth Amendment in Mama's world.  That's only in America.  Mama don't play by those rules.       
In public:  "We'll talk more about this when we get home," said quietly through gritted teeth.   

At home:  "Don't make me stop this car!"  Oh, if your mother had to pull over because of a dispute in the backseat, it was not going to be pretty.  I can remember an arm coming over the top of that white vinyl, front bench seat and it would just go to slapping legs.  Didn't matter whose they were.  Just slapping whatever it could reach. 
In public:  Or if someone else was in the car....."Kids, I'm not going to tell you again."    

At home:  "I brought you into this world and I can take you out."   This was, basically, a glorified death threat in which the mother established her powers as judge and jury to administer the death penalty as she saw fit.  It was never out of the realm of possibilities to hear a small sermonette inserted here on how many months she spent slumped over the toilet before she slowly and painfully extruded you from her womb only to be kept awake for the next 3 years straight.  I may or may not have brought up Carson's colic a time or two at opportune times.     
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said while firmly squeezing child's hand.   

At home:  "You better wipe that smile off your face before I do." If you want to infuriate your mother, just smirk while she's correcting you.  You will awaken a fury in her that you didn't know existed.  I believe the original text read, "Hell hath no fury like a woman smirked".....especially during the pre-menopausal/menopausal years.  I foolishly engaged in this behavior as a teen.  I should have a t-shirt printed that says, "I survived smirking at my menopausal mother.  Want to see my scar?"          
In public:  "You think you're so cute, don't you?" said with a furrowed brow.   

At home: "I'll treat you like an adult when you start acting like one."  This is a more concise way to say, "Adults pick up their own stuff and cook their own food and wash their own clothes and pay their own bills, therefore, you don't qualify for their benefits at this time.   
In public: "We'll talk about this when we get home," said while shaking head with displeasure. 

At home:  "You're not going to tell me what you will or won't do" which can be used interchangeably with "Don't give me that attitude."   This is, on occasion, followed by something like.... "You see this muffin top?  This gray hair on my head?  These bags under my eyes?  These wrinkles on my forehead?  I haven't bought anything new for myself since the day you were born and have given you the last piece of pie since you started eating real food, so you will not stand there and tell me what you're not going to do because that's not how this works."     
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said with a look of great disappointment.

At home:  "I'm going to snatch you baldheaded."  This threat is meant to express a level of frustration so deep that baldness may have to be called in to satisfy it.  It was always best to stay, at least, an arm's length away from her after this one was thrown out there. 
In public:  "We'll talk about this when we get home," said while firmly stroking the child's hair.   

So, yeah, we, mamas, can be nicer in public, sometimes. 

Just like our mamas taught us.

Y'all have a good weekend!               


  1. I have a 17, 16, 14, and a 9 year old. I may or may not have said some of these things before. I am an adult who pays for things so I will take the 5th on that.

    1. Oh my word, Mama Hen! You have the right to say whatever you have to with that many teenagers!! God bless you, my friend. :)

  2. My, my, my, this is a great post for all moms and dads dealing with attitude from the child. I've repeated many of those statements. "Because I said so" with a firm tone and look. Then I think to myself, wait until they have kids. I don't recall "I'm going to snatched you baldheaded" that's a good one.
    Love this post Joni:)
    Have a great day, Kathleen in Az

  3. "Because I said so" is always appropriate, Kathleen. I hate you missed out on using "I'm going to snatch you baldheaded", though. :)