Mommy Talk Decoded: What Those Momisms REALLY Mean

mom and child

Recently, I wrote a post about the phrases we all heard growing up and swore we would never repeat. It made me realize that 1) I have truly become my mother, and 2) we all speak in a similar "Mommy" code language.

Let's be honest, there are a myriad of things we say when we really mean something else.

So here's a handy translation of some of the most common "Mom" terms and phrases:


Maybe or We'll See--> Not a shot!

If saying this will buy me some time in which you won't ask again or have a breakdown, I will say it with no shame! Things I've caught myself saying maybe to: "Mommy, can I have a playdate with Victoria Justice?" "Ma, can we go on X Factor together -- I'll play the drums while you sing?" "Can we get stairs -- Julia's house has stairs?"

Uh-huh (as mm-hmm, I'm listening, or sure) --> I have no idea what you just said!

Yes, I've ignored and "uh-huh'd" you. This is how we moms maintain sanity. It's also how we get into trouble. I recently promised my daughter a spider monkey that she could dress in a tutu. PS: Does anyone know where to get a tutu that will fit a small illegally purchased monkey?

Wow, that's great, Sweetie! --> I'm still not paying attention, but you sounded excited so I went with it.

Though this often works and makes you look like an engaged audience, it can backfire. The tone of childhood excitement can be tough to read, which means you could end up saying, "Wow that's great, Sweetie!" when your little one has told you the class hamster died. In the future try: Wow, are you serious? It works with excitement over good or bad news.

You are amazing --> Anything from 'You actually are amazing' to 'You are thoroughly average.'

Because we're millennium parents, we use this phrase way too much and it often means nothing more than that was an average job and I'm happy you're not subpar. We say it after our children screech through Taylor Swift songs, have mediocre outings on the field/court, or draw indiscernible pictures. PS: It's important when complimenting artwork to never name the subject of the piece. Chances are you'll call it a butterfly and it'll be a cheeseburger or a portrait of you.

Really? Really? --> WTF is wrong with you?

Saying this is more for our sanity than your ears as we cannot fathom what has inspired you to autograph the sofa or the wall or your sister's forehead with permanent marker, or why you can't get through dinner without falling off your chair ... twice.

Just a sec. --> Don't hold your breath.

This is simply a time-buying tactic. It says, I'm not stopping what I'm doing or moving from this position until you scream for me again. Depending on your child, it can get you anywhere from a 10-second to a 10-minute reprieve.

Go ask your dad. --> It's Dad's turn to be the bad guy.

This is what we say when we know the answer and we don't want to dole out the bad news. If we thought for a second Dad would waver, we would never send you to ask him.

So now, when you hear a mother utter any of those phrases, you'll know exactly what she really means. We moms are good at what we do, even if we simply want to get a break, conceal criticism, or keep ourselves sane.

PS: Don't show this to the kids or you'll ruin it for the rest of us!

What's your favorite mom term or phrase?

Image via Rennett Stowe/Flickr

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