Motherhood

A Funny Parenting Realization

Jeremy and Jean Goddard

This weekend, my dad came to visit, and while watching him with the boys, I realized something…

I am becoming my parents.

Now that I have two children of my own, I keep noticing myself using my mom’s and dad’s expressions and rituals, without even realizing it. Here are a few:

My dad (and now me):

  • While driving, now and again, he would reach one arm back to squeeze our ankles.
  • Calling everything an “adventure,” to make life (and grocery store runs) feel more exciting.
  • Taking us kids to bookstores for ages, just to hang out.

  • My mom (and now me):

  • She would warn us, “You’re skating on thin ice.” (Her expressions were amazing — if someone was being mean at school, she would say, “Tell her to go jump in a lake!” BOOM.)
  • When she meant business, she would give us THE LOOK: widened eyes, eyebrows raised, head slightly down, very still, looking straight at you. You would stop doing anything if you got the look.
  • Getting the names of movies, songs and celebrities slightly wrong.

  • Side note: Also, did your parents play the same songs over and over? My mom would crank up Total Eclipse of the Heart in our car on the way to school, the bank, Target, everywhere. (It’s now my go-to karaoke song.) And my dad played Lay Down Sally on the living room record player 845,239,751 times while we were growing up.

    Jeremy Goddard

    My dad with the boys this weekend.

    Do you find yourself using your parents’ old expressions? Do you parent in similar ways? I’d love to hear…

    P.S. More about talking to kids, and preparing your child for a new baby.

    (Top photo of my parents.)

    1. Tess says...

      When I see pictures of me watching my children, I see the same look my mother gives me. And it hits me everytime … She loves me as much as I love my children. She is also that proud of me, as I am at them.

      My mom is also a notorious hugger. She once told me that she always waited for US to stop hugging. She wanted us to feel she always had the time and love we needed. I loved that so much, I do this now too.

    2. Colette says...

      Haha, I love these so much!!!

      I’m also not a mom, but this post has me recalling so many of my parents’ and family friends’ funny phrases from growing up.

      Just to name a few:
      – Every morning when my mom came downstairs in her pajamas, slippers, patagonia, etc. (in wintery Connecticut), my dad would sing, “there she is, Ms. Ammeeeeericaaa” (I now do this all the time to my friends)
      – “Oh, that’s a sin” from my mom when hearing bad news that happened to someone
      – When asking my dad for a tissue, he always responds, “Kiss you? I hardly know you!”
      – An even further exaggeration of everything being an adventure: “It’s a magical, mystery tour”
      – My dad had a knack for insisting we should already know things as kids, and now we always make fun of him for one of his go-to phrases: “Use the brain” (usually while poking yourself in the forehead)
      – As little kids, when we were whining “no” and adding an “ah” at the end for dramatic effect, my parents always said “No-ah had an ark”
      – My mom calls everything “the … things,” like “oh, the bra things” when talking about bras – I just find it so goofy!!
      – Last one, if my dad ever goes into the bathroom and sees an empty roll of toilet paper, he comes out and very seriously says “you must have thought the world was going to end before someone else needed to use the bathroom” – I also can’t help but use this one at times hahaha

      • Anna says...

        Yes! Thank you for sparking a sweet memory. My dad too would sing “There she is, Miss America” to me every Saturday morning when I would inevitable trudge downstairs later and grumpier than the rest of the family in my disheveled bedclothes and hair.

    3. My fiance is always calling me out on endearing random ways I take after my parents….

      Jenny-isms include (all in complete earnest):
      -“Bandersnatch” instead of “Benedict Cumberbatch”
      -referencing older women who prefer to date young men “Cayotes” rather than “Cougars”
      -phrases like “What’s the heck?!” instead of what the heck.

      If I ever get pronunciation wrong or phrases incorrect, I’m far more proud than I am embarrassed because my mom is so precious when she gets it wrong and my fiance will remind me that I take after her.

      My dad is well known for adding celery to every meal he cooks and I find myself sneaking it into pasta sauces and curries randomly now and then too… catching side eye from my fiance. And dad was completely obsessed with a pretty unusual album: Donovan’s A Gift from a Flower to a Garden is the most sentimental sound I know. My fiancé gifted me a beautiful vinyl copy of it which will be played on heavy rotation when we have little ones getting ready for bed… it’s such dreamy lullaby music. I’ve never met anyone who knows that album though!

      And both of my parents say “bless!” to anything that is remotely endearing. All four children and our significant others have picked up on it. We never say more than just the one word: bless! We say it constantly when something sweet has happened, someone does something nice or thoughtful, an animal is doing something cute, flowers bloomed, a good intention was there… Maybe it’s a British thing? It’s different from “#blessed” or “blessings…”

      I love it so much because it feels like we’re in a little club when we hear each other say it and I’m reminded of my family when I catch myself exclaiming “oh, bless!!” at work or with friends. My sister even named two of her skincare products “Bless Balm” because of it, which I realize now she’s never quite explained publically why it’s a special word to her!

    4. Jennifer says...

      I love this post! My dad passed away 5 years ago and I was hesitant to use any of his old sayings around my mom for a few years. I miss him so much and I don’t want him to disappear. He had a great sense of humour and was always singing and talking to inanimate objects around the house. He would greet the fridge when he opened it and talk to himself while making tea.

      I find myself constantly using phrases that my dad said when I was growing up, both with my husband and kids. One that drives my husband (and mom) crazy was “don’t do me any favours“ he would say that with a smirk if you grudgingly did something for him. When he was being silly with my mom and she would ask him to do something he would plug his nose and say “yaaaassss dearrrr”, oh it drove my mom crazy. My husband uses it on me now, which I secretly love!

      When I would be nervous or anxious of something as a kid he would always say “you’re as good as everybody else, if not better”. I truly felt that he meant this when he said it. My moms go to reassuring phrase was “everything is going to be alright”.

      I hope my kids remember quirky things my husband and I do. :)

      *My mom ALWAYS played the Beach Boys in the car. I still have Kokomo in my head!!

      • Caitlin says...

        Jennifer – I lost my dad a little over 18 months ago and this post and your comment tugged at my heart. I don’t have kids yet but I see, as my sister parents, parts of my dad and mom in her. My dad would always say if we got hurt, “it’s a long way from your heart!”. We say this all the time now and it makes me laugh thinking of my dad but in the same sense makes me miss him so much. I wish he was here to see us use all of his ridiculous phrases :) Thanks for sharing! xo

      • Jennifer says...

        ❤️ 🤗 The “missing” doesn’t go away, but it does get easier with time. Since posting I have thought of tons more great things my dad used to say and do, dads are the best! ❤️

    5. Anna says...

      My mum would say, “Shavings!” and “Flopping chooks!” in bursts of anger. (I helped Mum to say f**k for the first time when she was 59 yrs old). Dad would call us “Peasants!” whenever we called him out on something. I hear myself saying this to my 12 yr old son and just like with us back in the 1990s, it’s always met with a chuckle or grin!

    6. Danielle says...

      I love all this joy in the idea that we are becoming our parents. My mom’s signature phrase is used when you’re shopping and unsure about whether to invest in something nice. She’ll always say “once you have it, you have it!” None of us really know what the point of it is but my brothers and I say it all the time!

      I look exactly like my mom and have always been quite close to her so my dad is always desperate to find connections between us. He insists that I have the “edge of” a Philadelphia accent like his, although he left there 40 years ago and neither of us has a trace of it. He finds joy in our shared physical traits, even the ones that annoy me, like our red cheeks and strangely shaped toes.

      What I find most comforting is that after more than a decade living across country from him, he tends to borrow my phrases instead of the other way around in order to feel connected. When he sees my name on the caller ID he always answers with a long “heeey” just the way that I do. He also now refers to himself and my mother as “Moms and Pops”, the names I adopted in my teenage years against their will.

      Even though I refuse to use his many ridiculous dad phrases such as
      “dead as a doornail” or “get with it, old-timer” in everyday life, I do enjoy how I can use them as sort of passwords with my older brothers to feel like we’re all on the same team even though we live such separate lives now.

    7. Daynna Shannon says...

      Whenever my older brother or I were leaving the house by driving away in our own car, my mom would say, “Listen to Jim Morrison!” The subtext was that both he and I idolized Morrison and our mom was specifically referring to the song ‘Roadhouse Blues’ by the Doors, during which they sing, “Yeah, keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel…”

      It was her way of reminding us to drive safely every time we drove away from her, but by phrasing it in this context of lyrics from our favorite band, it became both cute and funny, and also a little cool. For an old mom anyway… ha

      • Sonia says...

        Love this!

      • Luna says...

        Love this.

    8. Janel says...

      Toby really resembles your dad in the photo of him above. Precious.

    9. Kat says...

      Now I NEED to know what happens after THE LOOK!!!

    10. Sara says...

      These are all so funny!

      When my brother and I would ask what was for dinner my mom would often reply “Shit on a shingle.” We thought it was so hilarious!

    11. Trish says...

      Thanks a lot. Now I’m on the 237th playing of Lay Down Sally. :)

    12. Shannon Kessler says...

      My dad always said “Look with your eyes, not with your hands,” as I was touching something that was fragile or otherwise not kid-proof. It drove me crazy when he said it and the first time it came out of my mouth as a mother, I nearly died!

      • Luna says...

        Lol

        Same reaction with me.

    13. Madge says...

      When my mom would reach her quota for our never ending “but why!?” questions, she would simply answer “Seventeen” and now I have to laugh when it escapes my lips. It used to drive me bananas but now it fits! She is also famous for her classic response to chaos “no blood no sympathy” (which she got from her mother). Makes me laugh. One other favourite expression of hers is “Schlope schein heine beine” which is low German for “sleep well chicken legs”. She would always whisper this to us kids on her way out of our respective bedrooms after bedtime stories.
      My dad’s top expression is well used and loved in our family of practical, impatient and hard working folk: “Ninety percent operator”. So true!

      • Erin says...

        My grandpa would say someone who was well-to-do was “a big operator” and someone who was sort of shady was “some kind of operator”.

      • Luna says...

        Playing with other kids, if we got hurt and cried, our Mother would say, “Are you bleeding? then you’ll live. Carry on or home.”

        Of course we’d keep on playing! lol

    14. Whenever my brother or I wanted something that my Dad thought was unnecessary or a luxury, he’d say, “You need that like you need a hole in the head!” I hated that expression so much as a kid, but I said it just the other day at work and stopped short, realizing I just said The Thing! The other thing my dad used to say was “Bedtime for Bonzo!”, which it took me yeaaaars to learn was actually an old movie about a chimp named Bonzo! Haha! But then, of course, I’d get peeved that Dad was calling me a boy, and I’d say that my brother was Bonzo. So the phrase turned into, “Bedtime for Bonzo…and Bonzoette!” Hahaha. Still makes me laugh.

    15. Nora B says...

      I adore these comments…totally taking notes! My mom was big about honesty and always said, “oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Also, “the saddest words of tongue or pen are these: it might have been.” I totally repeat these to my kids. Also, Joanna, Toby looks so much like your dad!! Love.

    16. Jillian says...

      My mom, who loves the beach and ocean more than likely any human on the planet and is a true beach girl through and through (to this day, she and I can sit on a beach for 9-10 hours easily, and happily!, reading, listening to music, having cold beer) was OBSESSED with saying: ‘dry and reapply!’ re: sunscreen. I probably heard this every 30 minutes for…my entire life (exaggeration). We grew up in Texas and were constantly at the beach and the pool and the sound of her interrupting my 15-year-old dramatic BEACH playlists to tell me to ‘dry and reapply’ inspired so many eyerolls and so much whining (and putting tanning spray ON TOP of SPF30 sunscreen). However, many years later, I… always dry and reapply, which I know my future self will thank me for (and my present self can thank my mom for).

    17. Kate Bentley says...

      I have always thought your mom(the younger pics you show) looked like someone! Now after seeing The Greatest Showman it hit me-she looks like the British actress Rebecca Ferguson!

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        oh my gosh, she really does! going to email her now!

      • Lana says...

        And Katharine Ross!

      • Luna says...

        Yes to Katharine Ross!! always bugged me that your Mom looks like someone famous.

        Rebecca Ferguson is Swedish but has a beautiful English accent.

    18. Katy says...

      Joanna, did you ever go to Halfway Down the Stairs, the children’s bookstore in downtown Rochester? I used to hang out there as long as possible. Such a cool place!

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        i don’t remember that bookstore! it sounds lovely. my dad used to take us to a barnes & noble near his apartment, which was a couple towns over. but my brother and i would ride bikes to the library downtown and read books or play the oregon trail during the summer! :)

    19. Emily says...

      My dad did school drop offs from the time my sister and I were in preschool until I turned 16. He always said the same thing as we were getting out of the car: “Have fun with your friends, try to learn something new, and don’t settle for being average.” I never thought much about it as a kid, but now that I’m in my mid twenties I recite the phrase to myself all the time as a way to refocus when I’m feeling overwhelmed or stressed. It helps me remember what’s important.

      As a kid, I was super sensitive and a bit of a worrier (about things big and small). When expressing my worries to my dad he would lovingly reassure me and say that he loved how “tender-hearted” I was. It made me feel so loved and understood, even as a little kid.

      He taught me this song and we would take turns singing on the way to school when I was much younger:
      (about birds on a power line)
      There’s a bird on the wire what’ll I do? There’s a bird on the wire what’ll I do? There’s a bird on the wire and his tail’s caught on fire, there’s a bird on the wire what’ll I do? HONK HONK…
      We would take turns singing the verse and adding a silly expression at the end…so HONK HONK became HONK HONK, TOOT TOOT. Then HONK HONK, TOOT TOOT, BEEP BEEP, and so on. It was a little challenging to remember which expression the other person added before you and almost always left us in fits of giggles.

      When talking about the similarities of a parent and their child, I always say “they’re cut from the same cloth” which I don’t remember hearing growing up, but my husband groans and says that EVERY time spends ANY amount of time with my family someone is bound to use that expression.

      • I love that your Dad honored your feelings and turned it into a power. That is so beautiful it makes me want to cry! I was super sensitive and had a lot of anxiety as a kid as well and my parents always told me I was just being « dramatic ». It stung! I’m very aware of wanting to honor kids, and one day my kids, feelings as important and valid. I’m going to steal your Dad’s tender hearted line. ❤️

    20. Liz says...

      The two that stand out to me:

      My mom putting us to bed would say:
      “say goodnight Gracie!”
      To which we replied laughing hysterically “good night Gracie!!”

      My dad when we whined for someone to bring us milk or water or a toy would say:
      “Are your legs painted on?”
      Which as a kid I thought meant did my legs have wet paint ON them, not exactly what he meant! It was years before I understand that one.

      • Luna says...

        I say that about legs to our kids & now my Husband.

    21. Jessie says...

      My Dad always would shoot a look and say “this isn’t romper room” when we were misbehaving. I never knew what he was talking about but I always wanted to go to this Romper room…I was 30 before I found out Romper Room was a real TV show that aired for 30+ years! He wasn’t making it up!

      • Jill says...

        oh no! Now I feel incredibly old, I guess I am (48), but I used to watch Romper Room!!!! Lol. Thanks, my daughter is 13, I think Ill have to use that with her. Coincidentally I am a preschool / toddler / early intervention teacher, so I do tell her “this is not preschool”!!!

    22. Ellie Hayes says...

      I always use my mom’s philosophical comments with my children: “This, too, shall pass” and (with regard to how to respond to the difficult person in one’s life) “Kill them with kindness.”

      My dad was the silly, cheerful parent, and his sayings run through my mind all the time reminding me of my beloved dad who passed away nine years ago. — At the beginning of a trip, “We’re off, like a dirty shirt!” When talking about our whole family, “The whole famdamily!” When encouraging me when the going got tough, “Illigitimae non Carborundum!”

    23. I’m not a parent yet but as a thirty-something woman, I sometimes mutter to myself “time for beddy-bye” which was my mom’s signature bedtime phrase for us. I already know I will use it on my future children. She always played Luther Vandross.

    24. Emily D says...

      Whenever we would get lost driving and pull into a stranger’s driveway to turnaround, my mom would enthusiastically yell “Company!” as if we were joining them for dinner. I now find myself thinking of that whenever I’m in a stranger’s driveway!

      Also, as any awkward teenager mortified by her parents, I would always melt in my seat any time my parents spoke loudly or *gasp* sang in the presence of strangers at a restaurant (they both have beautiful voices and no qualms about making a scene). Now I can’t wait to embarrass my own daughter during those years :)

      • Alanna says...

        “Company!” had me laughing out loud. Sounds like your mother has a wonderful sense of humour.

      • Ki says...

        My dad always said “Company!” too. And, I do it myself. I wonder where it comes from?

    25. kate says...

      My dad inherited the bedtime imperative from his dad: “Go to bed, go directly to bed, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.”

      • Meredith Whitfield says...

        My parents said (and still say – I’m 27!) this CONSTANTLY.

    26. Tristen says...

      Oh yes, and especially my grandfather’s Depression-era Nebraska sayings! I remember being maybe 5 or 6 and hearing him tell someone on the TV that they could “go piss up a rope.” I was like, OH YEAH, I’m gonna remember that one.

      My mother, however, did not appreciate being likened to the “north end of a southbound mule” or “an old whore in a new dress.” She knew exactly where I picked these gems up, though ; )

      • Meredith says...

        Well, now I’ve committed to working these phrases into regular conversations, *especially* the “north end of a southbound mule” one!

      • Emma says...

        I love this so much. Can’t stop laughing

      • Tristen says...

        How could I forget my favorite?! If we were whining about something, my grandfather would say, “If you want any sympathy, you can find it in the dictionary, right between shit and syphilis.” Pure gold, my grandfather.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahahahahaha these are gold!!

      • Luna says...

        Yes to “Sympathy”.

        I said to this my Husband once and he laughed so much.

    27. Irina says...

      I don’t have kids but I catch myself using my parents’ expressions and tone of voice with my husband! It annoys me A LOT because unfortunately I seem to have picked up the worst of their conversational habits rather than the best.

    28. Erin says...

      When we were in elementary school, my dad always drove my brother and I to school on his way to work. Every day, he would turn up the stereo and play classical music, and all three of us would “conduct” the orchestra, waving our arms from the front and back seats of the car. It was so much fun! I don’t have kids yet, but I sometimes still do this by myself in the car, and when I have kids I know I’ll do this with them.

    29. Matilda says...

      I remember telling my friends in high school that I’d be thrilled if I turned into my mom. I don’t look much like my mom, but our personalities are very similar, which makes me happy because she’s the best! There are definitely some things that I’ve taken from my dad too, like his rules for driving/parking:

      1. Never park next to a two door car. Their doors are bigger and more likely to ding your car
      2. Never get gas from a station that is getting filled up by the gasoline truck. It lifts all the sediment off the bottom and then it gets into your tank
      3. Always brush the snow off not only your windshield, but also your headlights and hood
      4. Always try to park far away from other cars or on the end because then there’ll only be a car one side

      • Luna says...

        I like the car-related tips.
        Thanks for sharing.

    30. lydia says...

      i tell my girls when i hear them say something is perfect, “only two things are perfect, God and sunrises” my daughter’s catch themselves now. “i know, i know mom, only two things are perfect…” hahaha i just think women especially have this phrase thrown at us constantly. it’s too much pressure! and i want them to know perfection is unattainable. just try your best and have fun! that’s enough.

      • Luna says...

        I’m will start using that line too.

    31. I’m not a parent, but I catch myself becoming my parents all the time. Anytime I did something useful around the house, my mom would say “Oh, she’s useful as well as decorative!”
      Whenever my mom would say “we” (referring to her and my dad doing or saying something) but he didn’t want to be included, he’d say “What’s this we sh*t? You got a mouse in your pocket?”
      My dad’s favorite advice/thing to say when someone else screws up, but expects you to fix it: “Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
      Our family song was Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business” which to this day stops us in our tracks, and gets blasted anytime it comes on. My dad’s favorite thing to do in the summertime (he’s kind of an audio geek) was to turn our house stereo ALL THE WAY UP and play Freebird with all the windows open, mostly to piss off the neighbors.

      • Megan says...

        Omg I laughed out loud at the mouse in your pocket line. I have to start using that!

      • Grace says...

        “Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I have that sign up in my office. It’s my life mantra!

      • Alexis says...

        My mom always uses the ‘mouse in your pocket’ expression, too!

      • Ada says...

        I enjoyed these & will definitely use “You got a mouse in your pocket?”

    32. I never realized the term “Pillpot” wasn’t a common one till my husband asked me what I was calling teasingly calling our toddler. Apparently it is something my mom made up (being a pill is bad, but being so annoying you are the equivalent of a whole pot them?!)

      • Elizabeth R says...

        My Mom used to say this too! ♡

      • Rachel L Allmen says...

        Or is a cute reference to the dictator?

    33. Josephine says...

      Oh my goodness, yes! When me, my brother and sister were being a handful, my dad would exclaim, ‘You kids are the giddy limit!’ I have find myself exclaiming the very same on more than one occasion with my two lads.
      I’m also guilty of playing the same music over and over again as my mother did. My mother used to sing a lot around the house – this is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, but I wish it did.

    34. MaryMargaret says...

      So sweet. My dad always calls us “Dear Heart” and tells us he loves us and is so proud of us (entering or leaving a family gathering, beginning or ending a call) — this became even more endearing once he explained that his dad never expressed the same sentiments to my dad and his siblings. My dad wanted to be sure we always knew we were loved. He also has a million funny catch phrases (“well, it’s time to boogie”), always nicknames the cars (“you can take the silver bullet”), does an Inspector Clouseau imitation, adds ten seconds when you ask him the time (“9:34 and ten seconds”), reverts to a goofy way of speaking when telling stories (“so I says to the guy”) and has a crazy ricocheting laugh when gathered with his siblings. He was the softie and my mom was the enforcer, complete with guilt-inducing-stop-you-in-your-tracks stinkeye. She also had a truckload of Catholicisms (“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”) and faux swearwords (“son of a biscuit eater!”) that always made us laugh. For music, we listed to Elton John (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), Janis Joplin (Bobby McGee), the BeeGees and ABBA on repeat.

      For my own kids, I kept the made-up catch phrases and endless evolving nicknames as well as the loudly-announced departures from and arrivals to the house.

    35. martha says...

      What’s even stranger is hearing your voice sound like your parent. My mother died about 5 years ago, but last year when I was checking my voice mail I realized the recording of my name sounded like she was saying it!! It was a weird moment, but now I like the little reminder of/from her.

      • Tristen says...

        Same. <3

    36. Francesca says...

      Not a parent, but I wanted to say that I love the family photo in this post – just makes me smile looking at it. :)

    37. Carrie says...

      I’m not a mom yet, but I can only hope I do things the way my mom did. She made everything fun! She took a handful of tongue compressor sticks, wrote a chore on each and put them in a jar. She then cranked up the music on her huge, cloth covered Bose speakers and we’d all jam out while doing chores, pulling a stick from the jar to get our next assignment.

      That’s probably where my love for cleaning comes from, now that I think about it!

    38. Laura says...

      I can’t think of two more “Michigan” expressions than “skating on thin ice” and “go jump in a lake”!

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahahaha you’re right!!

      • Kelly P says...

        So true! Hahaha! My mom always busted out the “skating on thin ice” line.

    39. Victoria Lee says...

      My dad would often take us to bookstores just to read and “hang out.” They were some of my favorite “dates” with him. He passed away a little over a year ago and I find myself going to Barnes & Noble alot just oto browse and I find I feel oddly close to him there.
      My mom (and now Me) use(d) the following sayings:
      “Home again, Home again, Jiggety Jig!” and “Maybe next time.” The latter often used when we wanted something frivolous (i.e. Beanie Babies) Turns out it’s something she got from HER mother which just makes this all come full circle. Also, this might be what goes on their tombstones.
      Music:
      Mostly country songs for my Dad but also Van Morrison’s “Moondance”
      Anything Enya always makes me think of my mom, especially “Orinoco Flow” Also, she had a love affair with Savage Garden’s “Truly, Madly, Deeply” that I thought at the time was “gross” hahaha

      • Kristen says...

        “Home again, Home again, Jiggety Jig!!!” I also say this reflexively whenever we pull into the driveway and never thought about it until my 3-year-old asked “Mama, what’s a jiggety jig?”

        My mom grew up in the south and consciously dropped her accent when she moved north, but kept all sorts of funny little sayings. They come to me at the strangest times and confuse my kids. “You’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off!” “You look like a little ragamuffin.” “I know you wouldn’t do that at tea with the Queen.”

        This post and the comments are wonderful…can’t wait to steal some of these phrases!

      • Abbie says...

        We also say Home again Home again Jiggity Jig!!! I love it so much lol.

    40. Missy says...

      This reminds me of my fiercely strong grandma and how I catch myself repeating her phrases constantly. She’s always said gems like, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” (When I was worrying or complaining) “Never drive faster than your guardian angels can fly.” (After getting my license and subsequently, too many speeding tickets) But my favorite is, “At least we’re makin’ memories!” (Said when I was caring for her after a surgery and was inserting a suppository) She is simply, the best. I’m 13 weeks pregnant and hope I can raise my daughter as she’s raised 7 children and 18 grandchildren.

    41. Sara says...

      I do this all the time! Things from my mom:
      Bump bump bump (for railroad tracks, etc)
      I’m afraid it’s about that time (for waking up)
      What’s that have to do with the price of tea in China?

      From my grandpa:
      It’s a mell of a hess!

      AND I am super excited that I have perfected the look!

    42. katie says...

      From my Dad:
      -Get tough. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!
      -Watch yourself. (this could be a gentle warning or a dead-serious one)
      -Eat it. It’s good for your colon. (Any burned food, especially toast.)
      -presents from inanimate objects: tugboats from the pond, or dump trucks from the garbage man, socks from the gym, or dog toys from the dog; he made everything in our lives come to life through gift-giving.

      from my Mom:
      -(You/this/that) look(s) like the wreck of the Hesperus!
      -Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.
      -Morning songs: “Good morning to you, good morning to you! We’re all in our places with bright shining faces! This is the way, to welcome the day!” or…”Lazy Katie, will you get up, will you get up, will you get up? Lazy Katie, will you get up, we need the sheets for the table!!!”
      -Scrubbing the kitchen sink w/Comet or Ajax every night. She always did this, last thing before bed (I guess?), and now I do it, too.
      -“Girls! Be gentle, loving, and kind”. Always said to us re: sibling fights.

      Songs:
      Baby, Please Don’t Go by Muddy Waters (and the entire Good Morning, Vietnam! soundtrack. On loop the 12 hours to San Diego in the car.)
      Pencil Thin Mustache by Jimmy Buffet (we went nuts for this one)
      I’m So Excited by the Pointer Sisters. OMG my mom KILLED this song.
      Willie Nelson over & over & over again. . .

      • Sasha says...

        The smell of commet reminds me of my mom.

      • Amanda says...

        My mom also sang an off-key version of “Good Morning to You”!

        Loved your descriptions.

    43. Oh my goodness, I notice things all the time! It’s really comforting as someone who lost both parents. It’s nice to have them with me in little ways!

    44. Alison says...

      Target was around when you were a kid??????? Im 42 and Target only came into my life a few years ago.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        she played that song from when we were in elementary school to in high school, when the first target came to our michigan suburb :)

      • Sasha says...

        Allison, we got Target just after my youngest was born in 1998. There is *before Target* and *after Target* in our lives lol.
        Sadly, we are still living in the *before Trader Joe’s* era here.

      • Matilda says...

        Oh man, I can’t remember a time without Target and I don’t want to, haha. I’m 33 and from Minnesota (aka Target’s homeland). I recently moved to Nevada and our Target is stuck in a time-warp from 1989, but at least it’s here!

      • Gen says...

        Target is one of my early childhood memories in St. Louis, along with Venture, which instead of red and white concentric circles, had white and black diagonal stripes. (Anyone?) A Target is scheduled to open blocks from me in Portland OR this summer and I’m psyched.

    45. Lisa says...

      One of the most mortifying moments of my life was when I was at university, and two of my classmates were arguing in the list (and had been doing so the whole class). I turned around and said “just stop. I don’t care who started it, but one of you finish it” in my mother’s exact tone of voice. It was terrifying

      • katie says...

        HAAAAAAAAA! love this. Brutal.

      • Ada says...

        Love this.

    46. My sister and I still tease my dad about when he referred to Snoop Dog as “Snoopy Dog Dog”. We’re now both in our 30s but we’ll never let him live that one down. Those classic parental moments are so endearing though… and my heart breaks a little every time I think about it.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        oh my gosh, i love your dad now :)

      • Erin says...

        My father said (and says) exactly the same thing!

      • Becca says...

        My mom used say 10,000 idiots (instead of maniacs) and we all cracked up so much!

      • Eva says...

        Reminds me of my parents! My mom would rap to WuTang but thought it was “dolla dolla bing bong!” instead of “dolla dolla bills y’all”. Still my preferred version of the song lol.

      • Katherine says...

        Ha! Too funny. Reminds me of when my mom asked me, “Who is in the band Usher?”

      • Nina says...

        Yup….Snoop is Snoop Doggie Dog to my dad!

      • Katie says...

        Haha many years ago my mother asked me if I’d heard of, “beyonds”…… Beyoncé. She was a big fan!

      • Veronica says...

        Loooove this

    47. Rose says...

      Hahaha! My mom was totally into Total Elipse of the Heart, too. She’d write down the lyrics and sing it along. Ah, the romance. It is a great karaoke song.

      I now try to order stuff that’s not on the menu like my father, which used to annoy me :o Thinking we’re so special.

    48. Molly says...

      I’m not a parent yet, but I’ve recently entered my 30s and feel this must be the time you become your parents, kiddos to parent or not. Similarities follow:

      Mom:
      -To check for a fever when we were little, Mom would first feel our forehead, and if that was warm she’d then reach her hand under our PJs to feel our bellies. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing the belly-test, and I’m pretty sure there’s no scientific basis for this, but I still do this test on myself and my boyfriend if we’re feeling icky.
      -If she was mad, like, really mad, she’d say, “I’m so mad I could spit!” and turn “spit” into 1.5-2 syllables, like “Spi-yit” or “Spee-yit.”

      Dad:
      -Growing up, if we wanted something, we’d ask. “Can I get a Twix bar?” “Hey Dad, can I go to the movies with Annie?” “Will you drive me to the mall?” Every question risked my dad’s favorite answer. He’d say, with purposefully annoying glee, “No, but thanks for asking!!”
      -Dad is an extreme morning person (I’ve inherited this) and loved to wake us up by approaching our bed doing this kind of dance-walk where he’d rub his legs together as closely as possible while wearing nylon sweatpants. It created this incredibly loud swishy sound and as soon as he’d get right next to the bed, he’d bellow/sing “GOOD MORNING, SUUUNNSHIIINEE!!” This behavior typically resulted in a huge groan and then one of those exasperated smile-laughs that you wish you could hide from your parent when they are being annoying/funny, but can’t.
      Now, I like to wake my boyfriend up in annoyingly cheerful ways, too. I took Danish in college, and like to roll over, tap him, and say “Kan du godt lide drikke kop kaffe??” which roughly translates to, “Would you really like a cup of coffee?” My boyfriend doesn’t speak a word of Danish.

      Both parents:
      Both Mom and Dad used to tuck me in at night and say “Goodnight Molly. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning,” which probably sounds terrifying, unless you’d seen The Princess Bride 87 times, like we had.

      • Cait G says...

        Oh my god, this made me snort-laugh and spill a sandwich all over my desk at work. I also grew up with an aggressive morning person and inherited the early rising/happiness gene. I now have a 7 month old daughter and enter her bedroom every morning chirping, “GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING, ITS ANOTHER HAPPY DAAAAAAY”. She loves the daily welcome now, but I foresee a teenage future where this behavior is not tolerated well. I love being a morning person and sharing this habit with my own mother!

      • Sasha says...

        You and your parents sound really fun 😊

      • Pam says...

        Oh Molly this made me laugh so hard! Tears rolling down my cheeks… I am going to read it again just because it makes me feel so happy to read it!

      • Laura says...

        The “No, but thanks for asking!” is still making me laugh like 10 minutes after reading this. It reminds me of something Jim Carrey would do in a skit. I’m totally going to start doing it with my kids.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        me too, laura! so cute :)

      • Ada says...

        Oh my gosh! My Husband and I just laughed so hard.

        He wants to try it with our youngest. 😄

        Also, from the Princess Bride, if my Husband is being silly I will say “Anybody got a peanut?” and we both laugh.

    49. Anne says...

      My mom would always say “Well, life is not fair” when my sister or I would complain about something not being fair (i.e. every day). I rolled my eyes at her but caught myself saying the same thing to my kids recently! And I find myself channeling all of my Southern lady relatives when I screech “Y’all, GIT in the car NOW” to my wayward children!

    50. Lori says...

      I don’t remember how old I was but I’ll always remember whenever my dad saw me doing chores like washing dishes, or vacuuming (without being asked to), he’d say “whoa is it snowing outside??” snow was rare where we lived at the time. He’s since passed on, but whenever it snows I think of him.

    51. Lauren E. says...

      My dad has strange taste in music so I grew up knowing all the words to Johnny Horton and Jan and Dean. A high school boyfriend asked if I knew who sang “I Am a Rock” and I said, “DUH. It’s Jan and Dean!” Facepalm.

      • Sasha says...

        My fifth grade teacher introduced my class to Johnny Horton and I love him! “North to Alaska” will just randomly pop into my head and it makes me so happy.

        Sadly almost no one knows who he is.

      • Angie Stolp says...

        In my family, we were woken up every weekend by Johnny Horton’s “Battle of New Orleans”. We also played “I’m Ready, if You’re Willin’ when I was younger for a couple in their senior year of high school. The girl was living with us for the school year when I was in 1st grade. We wore that Greatest Hits record out and it was the first CD my husband and I bought after we got married in 1991. Great memories!

    52. Jennifer L Vercelli says...

      These comments are so sweet and bring back lots of good memories of my grandmother, who basically raised me. She had the funniest expressions; “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear” and “You have champagne taste on a beer budget” (she had me pegged) and when I was acting up “I wish you were in Halifax!” I had no idea what that meant as a kid but figured it was an awful place. Also when we were driving and saw a police officer she would say “uh oh, look out for the fuzz”…ah nana you were amazing.

      • Bonnie says...

        My mom said I had Cadillac taste on a Model-T budget. :)

      • Courtney says...

        Ha! I grew up an hour outside a city called Halifax, so going there was super exciting! I promise it’s not that bad!

    53. Nadja says...

      I have one that I say to my younger siblings, which I know I’ll tell my future kids: “I love you because you are.” My parents are ambitious above all else, and growing up, I often felt that their love was contingent on success. I want my kids to know that I love them simply because they ARE – just because they exist – and no matter who they turn out to be, no matter what they fill in after the “are,” it could not possibly alter that strong foundation of unconditional love.

    54. Kelli says...

      My grandpa always used to call things “right cute.” I don’t think I noticed that he always said it, until one day, several years after he had passed away, I was reading a book and thought to myself “I’m so sorry my grandpa never got to read this book, he would have thought it was right cute.” Now I use it all the time, and remember my adorable grandpa every time. (By the way, the book, which is absolutely right cute, was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley).

      • Denise says...

        Yes!!! Love Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia is a gem. As is Alan Bradley. I also like “right cute” although my family saying is “cute as a button.” Because… buttons are cute? I guess?

    55. Anna says...

      Anytime someone talks about someone who’s something and someone who’s something else, my parents would ALWAYS chime in “Together they’re detectives!” Or sometimes they’d just do the whole bit themselves–“He’s a pope. He’s a chimp. Together they’re detectives!”

      They swore up and down it was from a skit they had seen, and I finally found it a few years ago–an old SNL skit. But seriously no one knows it, and no one ever really gets when “Together they’re detectives!” bursts unbidden from my mouth, haha.

      There are plenty of other sweet things too; my parents’ big mantra before sports games and the like was always “Do your best and have fun,” and that has really stuck with me. A wonderful way to go through life :)

    56. katie says...

      A surprising thing that’s stuck with me: a million years ago on MTV’s “Laguna Beach”, one of the teenage girls — Lauren? Lo? I wish I could recall — was pleading with her father to let her go to Mexico with friends. It seemed like she might get her way and then her Dad just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m sorry, but you are precious and irreplaceable. I just can’t replace you. The answer is no.” Totally made me tear up!

      Now I say this to my 8th grade students before breaks from school, reminding them to have fun & be safe. Crazy stuff can happen when you’re a teenager, and I think letting teens know how much you care about them can’t be said enough.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        that is so, so sweet, katie.

    57. Moo says...

      Love your family photo. =)

    58. Mia says...

      These days I often say my mom’s phrase «let’s take it philosophically»

    59. Lana says...

      Haha! My dad always used to say “God dandruff some of it itches!!!” When he was upset. I don’t really say anything he did but I catch my older sister using his expressions for all kinds of things and it cracks me up. I’m always like, “Oh hey there, Dad!”

      • Libbie says...

        That expression of your dad’s is hilarious, Lana!

      • Gemima says...

        I like that last line, “Oh hey there, Dad!”

        Our youngest likes to quote his Dad even though he’s only 7yo.

    60. Alex says...

      Oh man, these expression are making me crack up! And this post couldn’t be more timely as we’re down in Florida visiting my dad and stepmom this week. My stepmom is constantly pointing out all the little quirks I have inherited from my day – “You’re your father’s daughter!” every five minutes. A few favs:
      – As kids my brother and i would cut the fat off of our meat and push it to the side of our plates, and our dad would yell “EAT THE FAT! ITS GOOD FOR YOU!” Now I yell “EAT THE FAT!” at anyone wasting any part of their meal.
      – When I would whine about not having anything to wear to school my dad would yell across the house in Greek – “Your skin inside out!”, which he had picked up from his mom.
      – Making up sing-songy rhymes to my name – “Alexis in the solar plexis”, “Alex Alex jinga jonga jalex”. Now my daughter is “Charlie Marley Parley” or “Chuckles Maguckles”. :)

      • Gemima says...

        “Your skin inside out!”

        I am using this on my Hubby. Almost every day he complains about his choices & yet he has the most clothes in our family.

    61. Laura says...

      YES. All. The. Time. I catch myself and think who am I? Especially these two…
      Upon taking a kids temperature and finding no fever “you’re cool as a cucumber”. I said it this morning!
      Bad but not serious news “that’s an unhappy-how-do-you-do”

      • Gemima says...

        I have never heard that second phrase. How cute.

    62. Sarah says...

      Ok but how can you keep a straight face when trying to pull off The Look? I feel myself doing it and am so self-consciously aware of it as Mom Behavior that it makes me start laughing, so my six year-old laughs right back at me, even if she’s being a terror and I’m genuinely mad. I guess I still don’t feel like the grown-up in the room.

    63. Michelle says...

      My maternal grandad was the king of a good catchphrase. My parents moved in with him for a while before they bought their first house, and I think that’s how my dad came into the endless one-liners as well. There are so so many phrases I grew up hearing that I can attribute to his way with words.

      “You have to wake up early to catch me.” – To say after winning at anything.
      “Don’t touch a star.” – My grandad would always say this when someone messed up his ‘Hollywood” hair, but now we use it as a comeback for just about anything.
      “You lie like a rug.” – Because parents can always sniff out the truth.
      “The baby is sleeping.” – When someone needs to quiet down.
      That person needs “a kick in the head.” – To be used interchangeably with “some sense knocked into them.”

      Another one that warmed my heart was when he would call me his best “girl-een”. In Gaelic, adding an -ín to the end of the word is just like -ino in Italian. Since English was his second language, mixing Irish words into conversation is a continued family pastime.

      Of course there are a million more that escape me right now, but I know I will continue to say them all with my parents for a laugh and someday I will say them to my kids too.

      • Maggie says...

        “Don’t touch a star” made me smile. I think I’m going to use that one!

      • Mary Ellen says...

        My great-aunt would call me “girl-een”. Love it!

      • Gemima says...

        The first three phrases I have not heard before.

    64. Hannah says...

      This has been the loveliest post to read-

      We have lots of stand outs and I’m sure I’m going to be remembering them all day.
      My mother would say “When a job has once begun do not finish until it’s done. Be the matter big or small, do it well or not at all.” This was infuriating when I was younger, but I completely agree now. Do it if you’re going to do it.
      If something bad happened that was not actually damaging or hurtful in the grander scheme of things (we fell or someone said something rude), we were often told to “rub some dirt in it”. It’s a reminder that it’s good to realize your own toughness in your life.

      They sound really intense…but they’re very balanced and lovely. My dad would sing us John Denver songs every night “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “Grandma’s Feather Bed”. He would take my mom on a date every week and overpay the babysitters in town. So much so that babysitters would call early in the week to see if they were needed. And although I think my father is handsome, my mother is a complete knockout. He would get teased about it frequently and would always smile and say “I know! I outkicked my coverage” (still one of the only sports-ing terms I know).

      My mother always had us think about what could be going on in someone else’s life to make them behave in a way we didn’t enjoy. She always wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt (“maybe they’re late to work”, “perhaps they’re feeling really sick today”, etc.). I was complaining how a bride at the David’s Bridal I worked at in college projectile vomited in a room with me and 4 bridesmaids. It splattered on all 4 walls, got on each dress, and in her hair. I had to cut women out of dresses, scrub the room (it was a packed Saturday w/ probably 50 people in the store), and wash the bride’s hair in the sink. I knew she had partied the night before and was probably hungover. However, when relaying this story to my mom after 12 hours on my feet, she responded “well, perhaps she is sick. You know sometimes people with cancer don’t know they’re going to vomit?”

      Mom. What a saint. We now use “perhaps they have cancer?” as a response to someone. It’s a bit inappropriate but we mean it good heartedly and as a reminder to ourselves to be as saintlike as our mother if possible.

    65. B says...

      Funny bc I am listening to Total Eclipse of the Heart right this second reminiscing about my moms tape player in her car!

    66. Kate says...

      Whenever we were whining and disagreeing with my Mom by saying “But, Mom….!” she would stop what she was doing and look at us with a serious expression and say “Did you just call me butt Mom?” and we would crack up and forget what we were whining about! I did that to my kids all of the time when they were little- and as a bonus, the first time they do it, they really stop and think because they think they are in trouble! Anything to make mommying funny………

      • katie says...

        Ah, I love that! So funny & sweet. What a smart way to redirect…

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahaha just read this aloud to the office :)

      • Haha ohh I am stealing ‘Butt Mom’ for sure! Thanks to your mom for that one!

    67. Maren says...

      Whenever we kids asked my dad what he wanted (from the store, for his birthday, etc.) he would say “a silver nixel and a gold colta-volta-vile!” It cracks me up to this day, and definitely got our imaginations going. I will for sure be using it when I have kids.

    68. Annie says...

      Two that my husband picked up from his parents that I love so much I started using, too:
      – When the kids ask what’s for dinner, the answer is “wind soup and rabbit tracks.”
      – If someone eats too much of something and it makes your stomach hurt (the infamous example in our family being pickles), you have the “mollygrubs”

      My husband says I stick out my tongue just like my dad when I say something silly to the kids. I have distinct memories of my mom rubbing my back in bed when I wasn’t feeling well, and I do the same for my kids!

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        “My husband says I stick out my tongue just like my dad when I say something silly to the kids.” = awwww :)

      • Denise says...

        Ah-ha! My Grandmother always gets the “mullygrubs” from cantaloupe (not from overeating.) I’ve never heard anyone else say this.

    69. Lynn says...

      I defer to my dog on this one. My dad would always tell our family dogs to “drink the ”bink” ( water), and now I tell my dog the same, lol.

      • Gemima says...

        Aww.

    70. JB says...

      My mom’s expression and answer to everything difficult: “Trying is better than crying.” It is surprisingly motivating because it’s true and now I find myself saying it to everyone.

      Even though I’m a redhead and my mom is a blonde, people think we look alike because our facial mannerisms, our posture, and the way we speak is very, very similar. I’m not complaining – she’s my hero!

      • Alex says...

        “Trying is better than crying.” I am taking this one. Thanks JB’s mom!

      • Capucine says...

        Same here. I don’t look physically like my mother, who is 5’10” with a Joan Baez look, to my red hair and short sturdy build and Spencer Tracy nose, but she is very expressive with her eyes (think Lucille Ball) and I inherited those mannerisms from her. People who know her and then meet me always exclaim how alike we are. It’s remarkable how that one thing really creates resemblance out of thin air!

    71. My dad always told my brother and I “be kind, be kind, be kind” before bed, I find myself telling my daughter it all the time (always said in 3s). I also call everything an adventure with my daughter. My husband and I actually started doing that when we were dating. An adventure to the DMV or Furniture Store makes things much more fun.

    72. Emma says...

      My mom always came up with all of these crazy nicknames for us that would morph as time went on. Now I call my 15 month old Bunto (his name is Adam). The other day I called him Singo and my husband was like “Singo?! Where did that come from.” And I said, “You know like Bunto, Bingo, Lingo, Singo.” haha

      My dad was always the funniest in the car. And now I catch myself saying all of the crazy things he used to say. Like “let’s not make a federal case out of this” or “who opened the flood gates?” or “what do you need an engraved invitation or something?”.

      • Nadja says...

        My two brothers and I are responsible for our sister’s nickname evolution! She was born Katrina, then she became Kit-Kat, then Kitty…and lately, just plain “Kid.” One of the many perils of being the youngest!

    73. molly says...

      When I was little my mom’s “stare” would stop me dead in my tracks.

      Family sayings that drove me crazy when I was a kid:

      “what’s going on in your world” my grandmother still says that rather than “how are you.”
      “you people” my grandmother says that all the time rather than “you two” or “You guys”
      “I love you to pieces” (or sometimes it was “bits”) grandfather says that to me all the time
      “there’s a time for fun and a time to be serious, its time to be serious” My dad would say that whenever I was acting out and I needed to behave
      “you’re pushing the envelope” mom when I was acting out.

      I’m sure i will say many of these phrases to my future children.

    74. Jade says...

      I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this but Toby looks just like your dad :)

      • katie says...

        Yes, Jade! I thought the exact same thing!

    75. Elizabeth says...

      Oh, this makes me miss my mom so much! Her mother had a saying for everything: “A rolling stone gathers no moss.” “Familiarity breeds contempt,” are two that come to mind, that my mother often repeated. But I find myself using her other things, now, all the time. One recent declaration: “I’ll bet you dollars to donuts…!” What does that even *mean?*

    76. lacey says...

      This is a tough one for me. As a child of 2 alcoholics, there are so many things I want to avoid doing/saying. But, I can think of a couple things that I do love that my parents did when I was a kid:

      My parents would try to get us to crack smiles when we were upset by saying “I see a smile!” and I find myself doing that at times with my almost 3 year-old. She’ll hold her lips together in a sucking-type manner desperately trying not to smile and its pretty darn cute.

      Otherwise, I find myself mostly trying intentionally to NOT say/do things they have said/done. I do appreciate being made to look for a positive. :)

      • Lauren says...

        This got me in the feels – good for you for looking for the silver lining <3

      • Lana says...

        I had an alcoholic step dad and a mom who probably needed some kind d of anti depressant. The phrases that come rushing back aren’t ones I want to say to my kids and I find myself trying to bite my tongue all the time. You don’t realize who little phrases—good and bad—stuck with you until you hear them rolling off your tongue.

      • edie says...

        you’re a very resilient, courageous woman, Lacey :)
        keep rocking it. xo.

      • Ker says...

        Lacey and Lana, you both sound so wonderful <3

    77. Jesica says...

      Phrases from my parents that I have found myself using on the regular:
      “Stop schnozzing around and get a Kleenex!” (when we had colds and didn’t blow our noses.)
      “Have a good day at school. Get my money’s worth!”
      When I was in college and lived at home to save money this changed to: “Have a good day. Get your money’s worth!”
      “Sounds like a personal problem to me.” (This is the one I say the most. To my kids. My husband. My sister. My students. To pretty much everyone.)
      “Where were you the day the Good Lord handed out brains? Hiding in the bathroom, reading a book?!”
      I could go on and on!

      • Grace says...

        “Sounds like a personal problem to me.” I’m going to steal this! It’s the perfect response to my co-workers that chronically over-share.

      • Gemima says...

        In regards to runny noses, my Mum would say, “Do you want me to chop it off?” Lol.

        I say to my own kids, “Get a tissue or I will yank it off.”

        Recently, I have started to say this line from the Film, Cold Mountain…..
        “Repeating a thing doesn’t improve it.”

    78. Nancey says...

      No matter when I called my Dad on the phone he would always say ‘Hi Sweet’ just that saying, was so my Dad. I now say it automatically to my Daughter, ok, sweet, hi sweet. It makes me think of him. He also loved the movies, he could go 3 times a week, and I find I am like that too. He’s gone now and I miss him so much, he was such a good sweet man and such a good Father.

    79. Susan says...

      When I was watching my sister’s kids I said, “Ok, bedtime for Bonzos!” Which they informed me is just want their mom says to them too. Apparently we both picked this up from our parents, although I couldn’t have told you they said this before it started coming out of my mouth.

      Also, that is such a beautiful picture of your kids with your dad.

      • Paige says...

        I say that too!

      • Carrie says...

        This is so funny! My mom always said “it’s bedtime for Bonzo!” Too.

      • Erin says...

        My parents, who were in college in California when Reagan was governor, would go around the house saying “It’s bedtime for Ronnie, starring Bonzo Reagan!”

      • Sarah says...

        My in-laws varied this saying to be “bedtime for bonsai” and now we use it with our daughter.

    80. If I made fun of my older brothers or misbehaved in a way that was amusing, my grandmother would always say “you little devil!” and shake her head at me and smile. It was her way of saying, you’ve mis-behaved and we both know it, but I can’t lecture you because I’ll probably start laughing. I think I went out of my way to do things that would elicit a “you little devil” from her, and I find myself saying it to friend’s children when they’ve been simultaneously naughty and charming.

    81. Taylor says...

      Whenever my sister and I were scared, or worried, or afraid to stand up for ourselves/speak up, my mom would always chant “Be bold, be brave, be strong, be free!” It became like a mantra for any problem we faced in life and I think it grew with us! I still find myself repeating it in my head whenever I’m nervous to do something.

      • Karen says...

        not a mom yet, and i’m often a coward. writing this down as a self-mantra and future mom mantra. thank you for sharing :)

      • Molly says...

        Oh my gosh, I LOVE THIS!! I want to use this too – for my kids, for me, for everything!! Thank yr mom for me. :)

    82. L says...

      My dad would put Walk of Life by Dire Strait on repeat!
      Forever memories of Saturday morning cleaning with windows wide open and my mom getting lunch ready in the kitchen :)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58TexsppsSU

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        dire straits!!!!! same with my dad hahaha.

      • Sara says...

        OMG do we have the same dad?! My dad and I danced to Walk of Life at my wedding because it is a song that always makes me think of him. He made me listen to it so many times haha. I still love Dire Straights actually.

      • Carrie says...

        As soon as I read your comment I had to run to youtube and listen to walk of life! Love that song so much, I always get excited when I “remember” it!

    83. Reg says...

      These are all so sweet!
      I have an immigrant mother and father who was in the military and worked all the time. We moved every 1-2 years as well. My mom had zero chill and a very short fuse. She loves fiercely and tried her best, but didn’t have much patience. Now that I have two kids I find myself losing my patience VERY quickly and have to take a step back to not go down the angry route. It’s takes a lot of willpower, but I don’t want to be so reactionary like my mom was. My brother and I were always so scared. It’s interesting how I have that instinct to react like her, but have to work very hard to not. My mom is now an amazing grandmother, and now that I’m a parent I have so much more respect for her. She was essentially raising us kids with zero support from my dad While trying to navigate parenting as an immigrant military spouse. Military bases in the USA are typically located in small towns without much diversity.

      • Nikki B says...

        I’m a military girlfriend (I’ll honestly probably marry my Marine) and whenever I see wives in the local Walmart with a few kids alone and a huge cart or I see the kiddos kiss their father’s goodbye at deployments and my heart stops a little. I envy those women strength and hope I have the same one day.

        The life of a military spouse is much harder than it should me.

      • Anne says...

        Oh Nikki, it is. My husband just finished his last tour with the Navy and I can’t describe how relieved I am that this is almost over. Have an internet-hug from someone who has been in your shoes.

        My advice is not to martyr yourself for his career. If you want an education or a certain job, that should be as serious a consideration as his work. It’s so hard for many soldiers/sailors/etc to remember that re-upping is a two-person decision. Staying in is one answer, and getting out and allowing a partner to be the “lead” spouse is another answer too. Hope you and your guy find a path forward that works for you :-*

    84. Andrea says...

      My mom’s touch is so comforting. The gentle way she would stroke my hair when I was upset would instantly lower my heart rate and make me feel safe and loved. Now, as I’m snuggling my sweet 7 month old baby, I stroke his hair and get that same cozy feeling.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        oh my gosh, that makes me weepy, andrea. how lovely. my mom used to always stroke our foreheads, and now i do that with my boys when they’re lying on me watching a movie.

    85. When I think about my dad, I think about all of the cuddling he did with us when we were kids. That has rubbed off on me! I can’t get enough cuddles!

    86. Caitlin says...

      My mom would always tell us, on our way out the door to school, “be good and smart!” Recently, we discovered that her sister yelled after her kids a similar but slightly different phrase- “be good and make friends!” They must have picked it up from their mom, but adapted it to fit their idea of the most important things for their children to focus on in school. My mom is more of a researcher, and my aunt has always been a great connector of people, so their adaptations make perfect sense!

    87. My mom used to say “oh bullhockey!” when anyone said something ridiculous or something annoyed her. She passed away a few years ago of breast cancer and I had forgotten that was one of her expressions until one day my computer gave me a weird error message and I heard myself say it! Exactly the way mom did. I laugh-cried for awhile when I realized what I’d done.

    88. Kate says...

      Every time my dad tries to mention Leonardo DiCaprio, it comes out all one word, “Dicaprioleo”

    89. Margaret says...

      My grandfather, in response to any “why” question, “Because Y is a crooked letter.” I still have no idea what it means, but I definitely use it on my kids on days when I’ve reached max “Why” capacity! And my mom, to answer to any of the myriad questions we would ask about things that could/would/might happen in the future, “Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.” Drove me crazy as a kid (I wanted an answer Right Then), but I use it all the time now!

    90. I don’t have kids but find myself saying a lot of my parents’ expressions to the kids I babysit and work with at a middle school.
      – “School is your job” (a reminder that school is the work of children and should be taken seriously – oddly motivating to middle schoolers)
      – “Says who?” (a good response to a kid who says they can watch infinite shows or eat endless dessert)
      – “Hi sweet girl” (I loved this endearment from my mom)
      – “How goes it?” (More fun that how are you)
      – decanting things from one container to another, like pouring milk from the carton into a pitcher (jokingly, like my mom, as you could never put a bottle of anything on the table, it had to be in a nicer container)
      – “If I made more coffee, would you drink some?” (fun way to ask someone if they want coffee without the dreaded back and forth of ‘don’t go out of your way’)

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        my mom says “hi sweet girl”!!! awwww, love that. :)

      • My mom’s is “what’s up, Buttercup?”

      • Sarah says...

        My mom says “hi sweet girl” too! Though lately, since I changed my name after getting married six months ago, she really enjoys calling me “Mrs. NewLastName” when I call her, for some reason. She also would stroke my hair as I was falling asleep, which I do for my husband now and will do for my future children. It’s so soothing!
        My dad says “you betcha!” when you thank him for something. He also likes to go from room to room with a blanket draped over his shoulders in the winter. I do both of those things as well :)

      • Luna says...

        Oh Jess, I will have to start using this with the girls “What’s up, Buttercup?”

    91. joy says...

      When we were very little, before we wised up to the fact that the other kids all got candy, my parents used to give us Easter baskets with bananas, raisins, and–for a Big Treat–mini marshmallows. I swore I’d never be so mean. It should surprise no one that my toddler got an Easter basket with bananas, raisins, and a book yesterday, as well as–for a Big Treat–three plastic eggs with about six mini marshmallows each.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        omg, haha, i love that, joy!

      • Lauren E. says...

        I’m cracking up. I don’t even have kids yet, but every time my husband puts a box of Fruit Pebbles in our grocery cart I whip out, “When I was a kid, sugar cereal was dessert!” story. God help my future children.

    92. Alice says...

      So I always say “now in a minute”- as in, I’ll be there in just a moment. I didn’t realise until uni that this was a VERY welsh saying that I picked up from my dad that to the untrained ear is COMPLETE nonsense!!
      I’m sure I’ve picked up loads of sayings from my parents though- my ex used to tease me about how I regularly come out with “old lady expressions”, haha!!

      • Kathleen says...

        I say this too! But I’m from Newfoundland (Canada).

      • Sadhbh says...

        I say this too – I’m from Ireland!

    93. Rebecca says...

      My mom always says, “stand up, you’re not a pup!” When she’s asking one of my kids to stand up. It makes no sense! I asked her where it came from and she had no idea. We were visiting my aunt (my mom’s sister) one day and she used the same expression when trying to get my son out of his car seat. I guess it must have come from their mom. Even though it’s the strangest expression, I find myself using it all the time!

    94. Emily says...

      When I was growing up, my mom had the best expression for when she was done with our nonsense: in a foreboding tone, she’d say, “You guys: I’m running out of fun units.” I don’t have kids yet but I still catch myself saying it ALL the time when I’m frustrated, tired, hangry, etc.

      • DIANA says...

        hahaha, using this with my students. They steal all my fun units….

    95. Charity says...

      When someone would honk at my mom or flip her the bird while driving she would say “oh blow it out your butt”. Which i find myself saying now instead of swearing.

      She also told me that boy were dumb and if you wanted them to know something you had to tattoo it on your forehead. I give all my single friends that advice.

    96. Lindsey says...

      Love this! Also love hearing my kids sound like me. One example: We’re moving in a couple of months (about 5 hours away), and our 5-year-old is having a hard time coming to terms with it. Last week, we visited our new city to look for housing during her spring break. I asked her how she liked it, and she said, “It was just awful.” Her dad pointed out that it has quite a few parks, several of which we explored during our visit.

      “Was it truly awful? Didn’t you even like the parks?” he asked.

      She thought a minute and then said, “I’ll give you that. I liked the parks a fair amount.” A fair amount! My favorite answer when she asks how much candy/how much time at the park/how many pancakes/etc. I couldn’t help but laugh.

    97. Rachael says...

      If we asked for help looking for something that was easily found by someone else, my dad would say “if it was a snake it would have bit ya”. I say it to my kids (oh, and sometimes my husband ;) too.

      • Gemima says...

        We say that here in Australia.
        But it’s also literal.

    98. When I was a kid and I wouldn’t get out of bed before school my dad would scoop me up and put me on the floor. I HATED it, and swore I would never do the same.

      Today, when my kids wouldn’t get out of bed before school, I scooped them up and put them on the floor.

      I’m not proud of it, but it worked.

      (I also do all of the other things my parents did, that I swore I would never do, except for the really serious ones.)

      • Gemima says...

        I wish I could scoop up my teenager when he’s overslept.

    99. Melissa says...

      My dad was pretty hard of hearing when we were growing up (he has since admitted he needs, and has gotten hearing aids), so whenever he wasn’t able to hear us clearly he would always make things up about what we said. Like if I had said “I’m going to play downstairs”, he’d say “you ate how many pears?”. Or “That cloud looks like a smurff” could have been “you did what in church!?”. His responses never made any sense, but always made us laugh!

      When driving, he used to make us believe that he had the power to turn a stoplight green with the snap of his fingers. Every time he snapped his fingers, without fail, the light would turn green! Every. Single. Time.

      And he would always see the roadrunner. We would hear the “meep meep”, but never see him (he had a little Toyota truck and the horn sounded just like it). “Look! There he goes! Did you see him this time?”

      • Lauren E. says...

        My grandfather did the red light/green light thing! I’d forgotten about it until just now. What a nice memory. Thank you :)

      • Gemima says...

        The roadrunner! lmao

    100. I was recently reminiscing about how my dad used to take a bottle of salad dressing out of the fridge, read the label, say “Shake well,” and then vigorously shake his whole body. Then, he’d suddenly stop and say, “Oh, I think they mean the dressing!” As kids, it made us laugh so hard and I still get a chuckle from it now!

      • Lynn says...

        I love it!

      • Gemima says...

        Lol

    101. Rebecca says...

      When something didn’t go your way, my dad’s soothing advice was always, “you’ll have this”. The phrase is so full of acknowledgement and acceptance. Hearing it would magically help with the rebound. I say this in my head all the time now and think of him. My mom was no stranger to profanity, and one her compound curse words comes to me regularly too.

    102. Amanda G says...

      My mom always had the same five cassette tapes in her Ford Bronco that we cycled through: the soundtracks to Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Top Gun, Beaches, and the Drifters. It’s pretty funny to grow up singing some of those soundtrack songs without quite processing them, because you’re a kid, and then going back later as an adult and thinking wow, ‘Dancing in the Sheets’ (Footloose) and ‘Otto Titsling’ (Beaches) sure have entirely new meanings now!

      Also, my MIL has this bizarre but highly endearing habit of telling her pouting children “if you aren’t careful, a little bird is going to poop on your lip!” and then she’ll tap their protruding lower lip and say “poop poop poop!”. Oh my gosh, typing it now it is 100% embarrassing haha, but it’s such a running joke in the family. Now anytime anyone pouts, every other family member in attendance will usually go “poop poop poop!” and that’s all it takes :)

      • Bets says...

        Poop poop poop!! I must use this – thanks for sharing :)

      • Sadhbh says...

        My granny said this, too… “Look at that lip, a pigeon will poop on it” haha!

    103. Amanda says...

      My mother (and her mother) always said, “Love many and trust few. Always paddle your own canoe.” I’ve often thought about this as adult friendships and other relationships have evolved.

      My dad is the ultimate at dad jokes like “This is the best dinner I’ve had all day!” Now my husband and I both say that after the other cooks a meal.

      • Gemima says...

        I will use the dinner phrase whenever we’re out dining in Public. lol

    104. Kile says...

      When we got in the car, my mom always sung this 1960s PSA about buckling your seat belt: “show the world you car by the belt you wear. Buckle up for safety. Always buckle, buckle up.” I sing it now too—especially when I’m feeling rushed and in a hurry. Singing that song makes it easier to be patient, which is probably why my mom sung it me. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sq3cQVrnaWs

      • Amanda G says...

        My mom used to sing this too!

      • Brittany says...

        My Nana would always sing this to us! I thought it was just a little song she made up. I had no idea it was from a PSA. I love this!

    105. On a recent morning, I was telling my husband about Colombian expressions I now use (learned from my parents) that just don’t translate well into English.
      “Ponte las pilas” is like be careful, or be on high alert, but literally translates to “put on your batteries.”
      “Como peo de bruja” meaning super fast ie. someone left a party como un peo de bruja, but literally translates to “like the fart of a witch.” (hah!!)
      “¡Qué oso!” is how embarassing, but literally translates to “what a bear!”
      “Lengua de sapo” is used to describe someone who can eat or drink very hot drinks, but literally translates to “tongue of toad,” how Shakespearian.

      • Gemima says...

        Nora, I enjoyed all of these and will try to use them in English!

    106. Audrey Johnson says...

      It’s funny how we think while growing up that we never want to be like our parents. Then as we get older we find things about them that we loved. When we become parents ourselves boy does our perspective change. Thanks for sharing.

      • Gemima says...

        Oh, I agree. The fight was certainly there when I was growing up. Remembering things my Mum said or did, trying to avoid them when my time came. Yet, it just happens! exactly at that moment when it’s needed.

        I do catch myself sounding just like her, but it’s comforting to me now because she has had a brain injury and can’t remember many of these.

    107. Kathleen says...

      I am not a parent yet, but I hope that we (my husband and I) can be as awesome as both our parents. I know for some people relationships with their parents and in-laws can be complicated- we lucked out though!

      I can think of two that really stand out to me.

      Mom- When she stubbed her toe, or something “bad” happens she says “SHHHHH-ugar!!” Instead of saying shit. She doesn’t use it as often anymore since both her children are adults, but it does still happen and it makes me giggle each time!

      Dad- Whenever my sister and I would complain about a rule, my dad would respond with, “It’s in the Daddy book!” A few times we would challenge him to see this supposed “Daddy book.” He actually thought maybe he would write something up to be the Daddy book but never has. Now he’s retired so he may still do it!

      • Maren says...

        My dad used to say “Oh, this is Daddy tax” before taking a huge bite of our desserts! All the institutions of the Dad universe

      • Erin says...

        When my sons complain about having their faces washed, I say “It’s the first rule in the Mommy Book: Keep the babies clean!”

      • Gemima says...

        The “Daddy book” just made me laugh while remembering Barney from TV’s How I Met Your Mother and his “The Bro Code”.

        I will have to tell my Husband so he can win some against our youngest.

    108. It’s amazing, your dad does the exact same things me and the Mister do now that we’re parents! Your mom sounds exactly like my mum and granny, they (used to) pull the same stuff! And now I am, too ;)

    109. Molly L. says...

      Yes! I just became a Mom in December but I am already turning into my parents with their expressions! “Look with your eyes, not with your mouth” is my favorite!

    110. Riley says...

      My mom used to sing to me when I went off to take a shower, ” happy shower to you, until we meet again” to the tune of “Happy Trails.” I still find myself humming it when I take a shower.

      I mostly feel like her when I’m cleaning — I notice I have some of her same mannerisms, like the way I wipe down counters and readjust things to make the house feel cozy. I used to hate when I saw her in myself, but since she died 3 years ago, it’s a comfort finding little bits of her in me. I look forward to seeing more of her when I become a mom.

    111. Heather says...

      Just a quick PSA that The Look is an inter-species trick. My dog is much more badly-behaved than my children, and I give him The Look to get him to stop what he’s doing frequently. It has about a 40% success rate. Try it next time you’re being chased by a bear!

      • Ashley says...

        made me laugh :)

    112. Mary says...

      I we asked my father what time it was, he’d answer, “Half-past kissing time, time to kiss again!”
      He’d tell us to go “drain our radiators” before going anywhere.
      If we got rambunctious around dinner time, especially if my mother was cutting birthday cake, she’d threaten, “I’ve got a knife in my hand!” It wasn’t until I told that story as an adult that I realized other people might think it horrifying. We thought it was hilarious.

      • Margaret says...

        Oh my god! My Mom says this all the time! “Watch it! I’ve got a knife!” This past Christmas, my brother got her a potholder with that phrase on it. Apparently, his fiance was like “what a lame gift for your Mom!,” but of course it landed spectacularly with our family!

        Here it is: https://www.blueq.com/shop/item/229-productId.125848251.html

      • Ada says...

        Mary and Margaret, I say the same thing! only because I’m always prepping in the kitchen when the occasion arises.

        In regards to time, my Husband knows I can’t wear watches because of skin irritation and always replies with, “Time to get a watch.” or “Ten past the hour.” Which really annoys me because, which hour? I will then flash him ‘The Look’ and he will say, “Ha ha, made you look!” then show me his watch. Grrr

    113. Saz says...

      I read all these with a big smile! I lost my dad in September last year and it can still be pretty raw sometimes, and mum still struggles. And because I live 2 hours away, with a full time job, I can’t be there to support her as much as I’d like…

      But reading these reminded me that I still have so much of both of them in me. In previous years, I’d have said it was mum that comes out of my mouth most often, but since dad passed, I’ve heard him more and more. Two classics of his were “if “ifs and buts” were candy and nuts, no one would go hungry”, and if we were ever looking for something we’d misplaced, he’d just say “keep looking and looking ’til you find it!” Singularly unhelpful and annoying!

      With mum, it’s more tone of voice… I recently watched a short video of myself playing with my best friends 14 month old twins, and if I’d closed my eyes, it could have been mum speaking to them. The word choices and intonation were exactly her. It was spooky!

      • Gemima says...

        I like the “ifs and buts”.

        If we couldn’t find something, our Mum would say, “Why don’t you come look inside MY eyes & see if you can find it.” Meaning, she already knows it’s there, or go look again.

        Haha, parents!

    114. Emily says...

      I’m proud of the things I DON’T say out loud to my kids ;). My parents didn’t always seem to have that self control. They have waaaay mellowed out now and are great grandparents.

      I think often times they were under a lot of stress when we were little, and didn’t always handle it well. And I can see and sympathize with that now, from a distance of many years and as a parent myself.

    115. Elizabeth M says...

      I am not a parent yet, but I am a teacher and I hear my family members come out of my mouth a lot! I endearly call my kid’s puppies like my uncle did, I say like it or lump it just as my grandma said, and I realize I am almost the same teacher as my mom is. The worst is when I sound like my dad “ I won’t be mad if you tell me the truth! But if you lie to me then there will be a problem!” I sort of love how all of these things are weaving into my being.

      • Gemima says...

        Hahaha, we got the same line too, “I won’t be mad…..”

        It never worked though.

    116. My husband always laughs at me because whenever it rains hard I look out the window and say, “Boy, it’s really coming down out there,” just like my dad always did. I can’t even control it – the words just spit out of my mouth every time it rains hard!

      • Ada says...

        I will say, “It smells like rain.”
        My Husband will laugh and say, “That’s not even a thing.”
        Lo and behold, it rains!
        Our son then dances around the room signing, “Mummy won! Mummy won!”
        Hubby will mumble, “Lucky guess.”

        Lol. All those years visiting my Grandparents in the Islands rubbed off.

    117. bisbee says...

      Took you a while to realize that! I am your parents’ contemporary (I’ll be 67 in May. Impossible!). There are many differences in the way I parented my children…we were much more open in the ‘70s and ‘80s than they were in the ‘60s. But…I remember using the same expressions as my mom with my two boys…and now my son (43) is doing the same with his kids (12 and 9).

      It is hard to escape!

    118. Karolyn says...

      We (and I) also had “You’re skating on thin ice!”
      Also:
      “Life isn’t fair”
      “What we have here is a failure to communicate” (from Cool Hand Luke; a little disturbing when I finally saw it)
      “No more dilly-dallying!”
      When we called for my mom (of 4), “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”

      • Ada says...

        I loved the Film, Cool Hand Luke! a very famous line.

    119. kate says...

      Wow, Toby looks just like your dad!

    120. Grace says...

      Reading these comments makes me want to call my parents! I often complained dramatically about what was unfair and my mom’s go-to response was either “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” or “tough toenails!” Both infuriated me, especially as a teenager.

      On weekends I would walk into the kitchen and my dad would ask “who wants a hungry man breakfast?” This must include eggs, hashbrowns and sausage. Now I say this to my husband when I’m making breakfast. Always make me smile.

      • Ada says...

        I like the, tough toenails!

    121. Amber says...

      My mom always said, “Your teeth are not a tool” and to this day I still pause every time I consider tearing thick tape with my pearly whites. I’m not saying it stops me, but her voice is definitely there.
      Other gems:
      – Don’t bake when you’re tired
      – You’re either wearing nail polish or you’re not
      – It doesn’t cost you anything to be kind to people

      • Riley says...

        “You’re either wearing nail polish or you’re not” is incredible, and is immediately being added to my lexicon. <3

      • Megan says...

        haha these are all great

      • Maggie says...

        The nail polish comment!! Amazing!

      • MK says...

        What does, “you’re either wearing nail polish or you’re not” mean?

      • Amber says...

        @MK – It was her way of saying that chipped nails aren’t a good look. My mom thought it was unprofessional, she was in sales and talks very emphatically with her hands. So now when my manicure is starting to fade instead of a- peeling off the polish (WHY is that so satisfying?) or b- staring at my chipped nails thinking “man I should really take this polish off”, I just take it off. So simple, yet so revolutionary.

      • Ada says...

        “Your teeth are not a tool”, my Husband uses this because our son likes to use his teeth to open his drink bottles.

        Like his Mumma. lol

    122. Elle English says...

      When my sister or I would whine about being hungry, my father would shake our hand with enthusiasm and big ‘ole smile and say, “Nice to meet you Hungry, my name’s Richard.” Made us giggle every time.

      If we pestered our mother inquiring what was for dinner my father would answer, “Hickory sticks and pine cones!” Now my twin daughters know that turn of phrase.

      I was a worrier as a child. More than once he reassured me, “To worry simply means you care.”

      But the absolute best? I called home first semester of of college, crying, wanting to talk with my mother. My boyfriend had just broken up with me. My Mom wasn’t home so my Dad listened to my heartache. He then said to me, “Honey, you deserve a smart man. And this boy is obviously stupid.”

      • Mom of Boys says...

        I’m officially taking all of these and using them with my kiddos Elle! They are gems.

      • KL says...

        Funny, my mom did something similar, only hers was “frog legs and green grass stew!”

      • Loved reading this! Especially the last one, and the one about your dad’s response to your worrying. Our daughter is a worrier, and I am going to say that to her.

        In our house with a cranky kid, we say, oh is cranky aunty staying with us tonight?! How lovely. Makes them laugh and come up with stories about cranky aunty every time.

      • A Martin says...

        Aw I love this!!!

      • CM says...

        this made me tear up! how wonderful that your father turned worry into a positive trait, your dad sounds like a gem :)

      • Ada says...

        What a quick smart Dad you have.

        Our Mother would reply with, “Holey socks & dirty old boots.”

    123. lydia says...

      i don’t remember specific things my parents said to me. i’m sure there’s something. but i know my kids will remember the phrase i say whenever they tell me they’re bored. “i tell them only boring people are bored, figure something out”

      • “only boring people are bored” <—- that is so good!!

      • Ada says...

        I say that too.

        Now, I’m starting to use this phrase from TV’s Hercule Poirot, “let us employ the little grey cells”.

    124. TJ says...

      My mom used to call tampons ‘spark plugs’, a phrase that I continue to use and find wildly amusing. She also used to say she had to ‘pee like the Pope’, which…indicates urgency, I suppose? (She was Catholic too, by the way; I am not, but love this phrase)

      • A Martin says...

        So funny!!

      • Rachael says...

        I’m giggling away at this comment! Thank you for sharing :)

    125. I’ve adopted “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while” and “you have an intuitive grasp of the obvious” from my father, and an also enjoying hearing my students repeat some of my go-to phrases: “perfection is overrated,” is one that comes to mind but I know there are more 😊

      • Also I’ve gotten “better is better.” “And good is good.” from my mother!

    126. Deanna says...

      I’m on vacation in Portugal with my fiancée and we’ve stayed in to play dominos and drink more than we’ve gone out. I sent my mom a picture and said “it’s happening (we’re turning into you)”.

      • Deanna says...

        And when we were in trouble, my mom used to say “your ass is grass”.

    127. Katherine says...

      My Mom used to wake me up every morning by throwing open the curtains and proclaiming “It’s time to wake up and be alive!”, which I think was her own special way to say “Seize the day!”. I used to find it funny and would sometimes tell her while laying in my bed that I was already alive and she would come over and look at me and after a long pause say something like “you don’t look alive to me!”, then I would jump out of bed to prove I was alive. It was a silly weird thing but it always got me to jump out of bed in the morning!

      • Grace says...

        So cute. My grandmother would do this too. I rolled my eyes, but secretly loved it.

    128. I remember you saying that you have English grandparents, so I’m guessing that your mum is English because of those expressions, especially the jump in the lake one.

      If something was glaringly obvious, my mum would say “A blind man on a galloping horse could see it”. It still makes me laugh. My mum’s maiden name was Quigley, and whenever she gave us a particularly stern look my dad would say ‘Uh oh, she’s giving you The Quigleys’. Nobody messed with that look.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahaha i love these expressions!!!

      • Anu says...

        Interesting, I also grew up hearing the jump in a lake expression, in India, so I wonder if it was because of the English colonial influence.

    129. Mariel says...

      My sisters and I always joke that we opened our mouths, and our mom came out. It’s a constant struggle of not wanting to sound like my mother, but knowing that she had/has some pretty decent advice…!

    130. Cailin says...

      I don’t have children yet but as a preschool teacher I find myself talking to my students exactly the way that my mom talked to my siblings and I.

      If one of us was crying unnecessarily my mom would say, “Oh, we don’t do the crying thing.” And I say that all the time to students who are giving me fake tears.

      • Gemima says...

        I took this line from the Film ‘Cold Mountain’ and used it on my son this morning when he was fake crying, “If you cry one tear . . . you stole it off a crocodile.”

        Stopped him in his tracks & forgot why he was crying. He was too busy thinking, How did I steal a tear from a crocodile? What crocodile? But I would never steal. Lmao

    131. Andrea says...

      Watch the parody video “southern mama in summer”…that is my mom.

      “Get out from under me!”

      • Traci says...

        Yes x 1000. Southern Mama is my mother and Grandmother rolled into one. I hear it coming out of my own mouth too.

    132. celeste says...

      Mom = gone since ’97.
      Dad = Alzheimer’s since ’13.
      Paving my own path, baby. Although, I worry, I sound like my husband’s mom when I yell. Hard to stay sexy ;)

    133. Lana says...

      “Two shakes of a lambs tail”, is how long I’ll be ready. That could literally mean any time because how long does it take before a lamb shakes its tail?
      “Stop your mule lipping”, and don’t be so owlish” were my dad’s sayings.
      Btw, we grew up in Chicago, not a farm.

      My kids are literally saying all the sayings I’ve learned from all my relatives and brought them up with. They are precious and I hope the tradition carries on.

      • Karen says...

        LOL i thought you grew up in a farm until i read your side note!

      • Gemima says...

        I thought you grew up on a farm in New Zealand!! lol

        But I absolutely agree with kids carrying on the tradition. I love hearing them say it to each other.

    134. anon says...

      Those are all so sweet! I had not a great childhood and I have to actively resist saying the things I heard from my parents to my own kids. It can feel so challenging and overwhelming to break that cycle. Thankfully, my husband has wonderful and loving parents and we have sung the very sweet lullaby “I see the moon” to both boys at bedtime for years. My littlest one also likes to pat us on the back and say “ah, ah, baby” like we do when we’re trying to soothe him.

      • J says...

        Coming to offer support. I had an emotionally and physically abusive mother and it’s been rough to suddenly recall past incidents when my children hit the same life milestones. But just recognizing your parents’ mistakes already makes you better parent. Sending Ethernet hugs.

    135. Margaret says...

      I’m loving reading these comments! And a few gems from my Mom:
      – In response to pretty much any “Why can’t I. . . go to the park/color at dinner/have another cookie?” question, we’d get “Because you’re short.” She continued saying it, although all of her children are much taller than she is.
      – I’m one of four kids and Mom always said, “I love you the most, but don’t tell the others.” We didn’t realize she was saying the exact same to all the others until we was old enough to find it endearing.
      – One of my favorites though – as a stay-at-home mother of four children, all of whom are within five years of each other, she taught us to answer the question, “What does your Mom do?” with “My mom doesn’t work outside of the home for wages.” I learned and recited this constantly growing up, even before I knew what the words meant – they were just a collection of syllables. Eventually I learned what they literally meant, but more so understood the insinuation that the work that she did for our family, while not for wages, would not be discounted as hard work! It’s still a phrase I use to proudly describe my Mom’s work.

      • Lizzie says...

        I just laughed out loud at the “because you’re short” line. Socking that away to say to my future kids, regardless of what height they are.

      • Gemima says...

        I loved the “Because your short.” only because us older kids would say it to the younger kids during family gatherings.

        We can’t use it on our own kids, it’s obvious they won’t be shorter than us for very long. Lmao

    136. Julie says...

      My mom always jokes that the receptionists at my pediatrician’s office knew her by the sound of her voice, because she was so overprotective/kind of a worrier…so if I had a sniffle, we were at the doctor’s office ASAP. I only have a dog—no kids yet—but the receptionists at the vet and the local pet Instacare DEFINITELY know me by the sound of my voice for this exact same reason.

    137. Ha ha, I do the adventure thing too! And now my kids have started to call me on it! (how is this an adventure?)

    138. Mariana says...

      Yes and yes, I find myself repeating the same expressions my mom and dad used to say (and still do). By the way, Anton looks so much like your dad!

    139. Haha the “Go jump in the lake” comment reminds me of my favorite story of my mom’s advice:
      I am a little girl of 3 or 4, preparing to leave for a friend’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, where the only thing that matters is, of course, the ball pit. I want to wear my favorite flowered dress, but, apparently, I’m worried about modesty while partaking in the joys of the ball pit.

      Me: What if someone says, “I can see your Pound Puppies underwear!”?

      Mom: Just say, “Oh yeah? Woof woof!”

      Still makes me laugh 30 years later!
      Other ways I’ve become my mom:
      -Running to get a wet paper towel for an owie instead of a band-aid (it’s cheaper!)
      -Making up songs about everything
      -Not being anxious about very many normal childhood things (so great she passed that on to me!)

    140. Its the best and worst thing about being a parent.

    141. Courtney says...

      If I told my mom she was being mean (dramatically, of course. Whenever I didn’t get my way), she would always say, “That’s right. Call me MM. Mean Mom!” and that would be the end of it. That phrase always stumped me and I dropped the issue.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahahaha i love that. moms are hilarious.

      • haha I need to to adopt this one! reminds me of how my mom would say “not the mama!” to me when I was trying to boss her around (channeling the baby from the 90s TV show Dinosaurs).

      • Grace says...

        This is great. If I ever have kids I’m going to embrace the mean mom moments.

      • Laura says...

        my mother and her best friend (who was my best friend’s mom) would tell us that before we were born, they went to ‘mean mother school’ and they would go on and on about the class they took in the particular complaint we currently had :)

        it STILL gets referenced!

      • Renee says...

        OMG, my mom did the same thing! Except, I would call her rude, so she’d say, “Yup, I’m an RM, rude mom, and you’re being a rude girl!” It always had me stunned. How can you argue with someone after the admit it?! She would also never acknowledge my temper tantrums at the grocery store (just icily walk past me) which made me very embarrassed and ended the tantrum almost immediately.

      • Emily says...

        when i was three i told my mom “you’re the meanest person in this house!”. whenever she references this now, i say, “i mean, it’s still true…”

        (but i’m also so grateful for the ways she was and is tough_

      • Kirsten says...

        Haha, when I said that she would always tell me that she was actually only got second place at the Mean Mommy Awards–it turns out there is one other mom out there meaner than her!

    142. Claire says...

      Great question! I’m sure there are many more that are not coming to mind now, but off the top of my head, from my mom: Many hands make light work. Patience is a virtue. Men are like busses; if you miss one there will be another one along in a minute.
      My dad will always exclaim, “Story of my life!” whenever something not to his liking happens (usually along the lines of not being able to get the parking place he wanted).

    143. Neen says...

      Yes! We have so many silly sayings and words in our family, some of which have carried over from my grandfather (who was the kind of silly sayings). Sometimes I catch myself saying one to my daughter and laugh…like when we were on a road trip, and at the Connecticut border I said, “We certainly do like it…in good ole Conn-eck-tie-kut!” (…say it out loud…)

      Haha

    144. My mom used to say “knock if off” when we were being unruly (which was rare). She says it to my kids sometimes too, and I find myself saying it.

      • Maiz says...

        Ha! I never even noticed that until reading it here. Yes, I say that all the time, and I definitely got it from my mom.

      • Erin says...

        Ooh, I got chills when I read this and just about heard ‘knock it off’ in my mom’s voice – we were mostly pretty well-behaved as kids, but you knew you were about to be in trouble if you didn’t stop whatever you were doing once my mom told us to ‘knock it off.’

    145. Maddie says...

      I asked my boyfriend the other day if he remembered any childhood lullabies that his parents sang him- sadly he said his parents never did. I’m really proud that my mama (a single parent) found the energy to sing to my sister and I. I hope if I become a parent someday that I will bring her beautiful melodies back for my kids.

    146. Katherine says...

      Yes!! I’m not a mom quite yet (I am pregnant, though, and am going to my OB this afternoon for my first ultrasound, I’m out of my mind nervous/excited), but I absolutely have already become her with her sayings. My favorites:
      – if someone asks where something is that they should clearly know the answer to, her response is “on the top of the tree in the front yard”
      – if someone is not helping, you get told to “make yourself useful”
      – when driving and someone is being super slow or not aggressive enough, she gets crazy annoyed and says, “What are you waiting for, a written invitation?!”
      – after a long, hard day of physical work or labor, she’d come in and plop down on the couch and declare her “dogs are barking” (my husband was SO confused the first time I said that one, haha!)

      • Mary Barnett says...

        Katherine, congratulations! I’m excited for how excited you will be to see your little one!

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        congratulations, katherine!!! we’ll be thinking of you this afternoon :) :) :)

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        if someone asks where something is that they should clearly know the answer to, her response is “on the top of the tree in the front yard” = hahahaha

      • Mama says...

        Dude, you’re totally a mom!! Big congrats xxx

      • Mariana says...

        Ahah regarding the first one, my mom said “on top of my head”!

      • Maiz says...

        Congratulations! My mom has lots of things to say to slow drivers, too, and when someone in front of her is turning a corner too slowly, she says, “Don’t tip over!”

      • Katherine says...

        Thanks for the congrats, y’all!! (Also, @Mama, you made me tear up, thank you for saying that.) Reading your replies was my peak moment until we heard our baby’s heartbeat this afternoon. Bless it all, I’ve never heard a more precious sound.

    147. Lily says...

      My dad would call me tons and tons of wacky nicknames and now I do the same with my little ones!

    148. Kirsten says...

      My dad always used to say “We’re off, like a herd of mad turtles!” pretty much anytime we left the house as a group. Guilty, and not sorry about it.

      My daughter is just a baby, but I do hope to avoid one parental phrase I absolutely hated as a child: the dreaded “That’s a sign of growing up.” It was applied to situations both triumphant and disastrous and even 6 year old me felt it was ‘advice’ that was worthy of an eye-roll.

      • Joanna Goddard says...

        hahahaha that expression is so cute!

      • My husband’s family had a tradition of saying, “we’re off in a cloud of mouse milk!” which reminded me of your turtle wackiness!

      • Heather Garbo says...

        Ha! My husband’s dad (and now occasionally my husband) inverts it slightly: “We’re off like a turd of hurtles!” Total Dad joke and my boys think it’s hilarious.

      • Maiz says...

        My mom says “We’re off like a herd of turtles,” too! I didn’t know that was a thing other people say.

      • my grandfather would say a similar expression in vietnamese which loosely translated is: “go, as in go with the dogs!”

      • Kirsten says...

        Ok I am officially stealing “We’re off in a cloud of mouse milk” as my replacement. That is so off-beat and hilarious I love it.

      • Tristen says...

        Hahahahaha!

        Our version is “off like a prom dress.” My mom’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she heard me say that. I blame my Papa!

    149. My mom would say to me “You’re so precious!”
      I say that to my kids now.
      The other other day, my three year old girl said it to me!
      “Mama, you’re so precious…”
      It was heart-squeezingly sweet.

    150. I find myself saying, “A Mother’s job is never done!” when I’m running around the house cleaning up after my son. My Mom used to do the same thing. I laugh at myself when I say it but also secretly love that I do.