20 Things Moms Say (& What Their Kids Hear)

little girls not listening

Most kids in America begin to talk sometime after 6 months, and by 2 years old, they're forming sentences -- albeit two- to four-word demands. And if you're like most parents, you probably taught your kids to speak the same language (or languages) that you speak. But if you're like most parents, you've also probably figured out that kids never end up speaking the same language as their parents.

At least it feels that way. You say one thing, and your kids hear another. It's like playing that old game, Telephone, only the message doesn't change when it's said a second time. It's only just out of your mouth, floating through the air, when the meaning of everything you're saying is turned upside down and inside out.

Not sure how to get through to your kids when you're speaking English and they're speaking ... kid? We've decoded the kid version of some common Mom phrases for you ...


Mom Says: Hang up your bookbag.
Kid Hears:
Throw your bookbag on the floor somewhere near the hook.

Mom Says: For the last time, you can have a cookie after dinner.
Kid Hears:
Ask me again in five minutes. Maybe I'll have changed my mind.

Moms Says: I have a headache.
Kid Hears:
Time to break out the toy drum set and give it a whirl!

Mom Says: I'm on the phone.
Kid Hears:
Now's a good time to ask me anything, really, the sky's the limit. What burning questions have been weighing on your mind lately?

Mom Says: It's bedtime.
Kid Hears:
Nothing -- you think kids actually HEAR when you tell them to go to bed?

Mom Says: Brush your teeth before bed.
Kid Hears:
Get your toothbrush wet and stick it back in the holder, because I wasn't a kid once, and I totally never tried that trick myself.

Mom Says: We're leaving the playdate in five minutes.
Kid Hears:
In five minutes, please lie prostrate on the ground, pound your fists, and scream, "Nooooooooooo." Loudly.

Mom Says: You can't come into my room at 3 a.m. anymore.
Kid Hears:
Wait until 4 a.m., then climb between Mommy and Daddy.

Mom Says: I'm going to the bathroom; I need some privacy.
Kid Hears:
Stand outside the bathroom door and stick your toes in the crack between the door and the floor. Breathe heavily.

Mom Says: Come here, I need to brush your hair.
Kid Hears:
I just bought a medieval instrument of torture on eBay, and I'd like to try it out on your head.

Mom Says: Leave your brother alone!
Kid Hears:
When I turn around, poke him in the ribs really hard.

Moms Says: Clean your room.
Kid Hears:
Shove a couple things under your bed, then go play video games.

Mom Says: Aww, that's so sweet! Thanks Honey!
Kid Hears:
You have me right where you want me. Now's the time to ask for that $150 LEGO set.

Mom Says: Close the fridge.
Kid Hears:
Stand in front of the fridge with the door wide open for the next five minutes or so while the electric meter spins.

Mom Says: I'm not going to tell you again; you need to feed the dog.
Kid Hears:
I'll remind you again in 5 minutes and then again in 10, so really you have a good 15 minutes or so to sit on the couch and read the next chapter of Ramona Quimby.

Mom Says: Shh! Daddy is sleeping.
Kid Hears:
When the dog barks, yell at the top of your lungs, "Shh! Daddy is sleeping!"

Mom Says: No.
Kid Hears
: Well, maybe, but you'll have to ask at least four more times.

Mom Says: We're having mac and cheese for dinner.
Kid Hears:
Throw eight years of loving mac and cheese out the window and declare loudly that you hate it, hate it, hate it. Then stomp off to Dad to ask him if you can order pizza.

Mom Says: Go to the bathroom before we leave.
Kid Hears:
There's a perfectly good bathroom at the McDonald's 20 minutes away, so really, why bother using ours?

Mom Says: No, you cannot have a cellphone just because Jimmy's mom got him one.
Kid Hears:
I actually share DNA with Satan AND the Wicked Witch of the West, and we have pow wows every night where we think up ways to make your life miserable. Sometimes we invite your father.


What do you keep saying to your kids that they just don't understand?!


Image via Tomas Rodriguez/Corbis

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