When you're a child your parents can seem so foreign and alien. The things they say, the way the dress, how they behave; it can all seem so different to how you imagine you'll live your life. Which is why it's such a shock to slowly (and inevitably) realize you're turning into them. Personally, there are a lot of mom phrases I swore I'd never say that I now say every day and, well, teenage-me would be pissed.
Of course this doesn't happen to everyone, especially if your parents vary wildly from you in terms of beliefs and philosophies or, of course, if they were abusive or toxic. Sometimes parents give their children a concrete blue print of what not to do, and it's easy to become extremely different than your parents. However, for most of us the words and phrases we are surrounded with in our childhoods start to become the soundtrack to our own parenting journey.
For me, its usually in times of stress that I realize I'm essentially channeling my mother. If my son is whining or refusing to get ready in the morning and I don't have the patience or head space to think creatively (or fall back on my education in child development) I'll say some tried and true "mom-isms". I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
"I am Not Your Maid"
My son is a rambunctious 3-year-old toddler, so it's pretty unreasonable to expect him to clean up by himself (although he does like to "help").
Still, sometimes when I go into his bedroom (or any room he has been in, actually) and it looks like a marauding elephant has just destroyed our home and I break out this classic, fully aware that he doesn't even know what a "maid" is.
"Candy Is Not For Breakfast"
I was so smug for the first two or so years of my son's life, believing my son ate a balanced diet and silently patting myself on the back as a result. Then Halloween hit and he understood the whole point of the holiday so, for the first time, and became a candy monster.
He spent all of December mooning over the gingerbread house; hugging it and sneakily stealing candy off the windows. Now he earnestly believes sweets are a legitimate food group.
"Because I Said So..."
I try so hard to carefully explain my decisions and treat my son with respect. However, when he has asks me for the hundredth time why he can't have a pet tiger or shouldn't walk up the stairs with his skates on, I sort of lose my damn mind and snap back.
It usually infuriates him and cements me as ruler and commander of the world so, um, job well done, I guess?
"Enough Is Enough"
Every time I say this phrase I want to break out into the Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer hit song and shimmy away. It must be quite catchy, as I have caught my toddler saying this particular gem to his dolls. Monkey see, monkey do!
"The Answer Is No"
This one is the cry of the desperate parent, along with, "This time I mean it"." It suggests that everything that came before was just a "suggestion" but now you are serious.
In reality it simply undermines your authority. My dear dad's favorite closing statement was, "End of discussion. Full stop."
"Money Doesn't Grow On Trees"
My son has just started to understand that money gives us the ability to purchase things, and that we keep our money in the bank.
Anytime he wants something now, he will "help" by suggesting we go to the bank to get some money out. So, I said this old favorite to him and, in reply, he examined the trees outside our window. He Then thoughtfully asked, "Well, where does money grow then?" I wish I knew kid. I wish I knew.
"Do You Want A Timeout?"
I am not sure why parents ask this question, as it's usually the precursor to screams of "No" and followed by a ridiculous tantrum.
However, my son has actually sometimes answered, "Yes," because he is a cheeky monkey. These kind of rhetorical questions are the low point of parenting and always make me feel grimy after I have said them.
"I am Going To Count To Three"
Luckily, I have never had to see what happens when you get to "three," as my son's imagination has no-doubt conjured something so terrible that he doesn't allow me to even get to one before he starts to comply.
I am pretty sure this will change in time and I'll have to count slowly. Really, really slowly.
Parenting is hard work , you can't be expected to get a passing grade in gentle discipline and reflective mothering every minute of the day. So, if you hear yourself muttering one of these "old school" threats, like I do, don't sweat it. After all, you turned out alright. Right?