Let Me Translate That For You

Funny Business

There are a lot of little scripts people use when talking to the Procreation Nation. It starts with the ever-dangerous, “When are you due?” and ends with “How does it feel to have an empty nest?” They are mostly just polite fillers for strangers who are too tactful to tell you there is baby vomit in your hair. But, I have realized there is subtext to a lot of these phrases and I feel it is my job to translate some of them and save someone from getting punched the next time they tell a mother that she “has her hands full.”

“When are you due?” = “FATTIE.”

“You have your hands full!” = “Your kids are the most unruly bunch of demons to curse this earth. A pox upon ye for bringing them to Walmart!”

“You’re doing a great job with them.” = If the children are acting a fool and screaming like howler monkies, this one means, “I am afraid you are going to drive your mini-van off a bridge. Can I talk you down?”

“You had another one after the twins? You’re brave!” = “HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL. WHY DO YOU KEEP REPRODUCING. CONDOMS! STAT!”

“Are they really twins?” = “The one on the left looks more like a midget in a sailor suit. I am not sure I trust him.”

“They grow up so fast!” = “Except for during that period between 2 year and entering pre-kindergarten. That will stretch on so long you’ll think you’ve broken the space-time continuum.”

“She looks like she has mischief in her eyes!” = “I need to see a priest. I think your daughter just ate my soul when I pinched her cheek.”

“Do you breastfeed?” = “I don’t care if you do, I just want to judge you.”

“Do you co-sleep?” = “I love judging moms!”

“Do you spank?” = “I have Child Protective Services on speed dial.”

“Do you cloth diaper?” = “JUDGEY MC JUDGE-ERSON.”

“Are you having any more?” = “I really love schadenfreude.”


72 thoughts on “Let Me Translate That For You

  1. Sounds like you have your hands full. Just kidding. “Sound like you have your hands full” sounds like another sentence you would put on your list. Very Funny!

  2. Great list…I especially like “Are they really twins?”

    I got something similar once, only opposite: “Are you sure they’re NOT twins,” I was once asked about my daughter and her BFF at a restaurant.

    Um. Yeah. I think I woulda remembered that…

    Thanks for the smile this morning!


  3. Love it! It’s all about the judging. Especially BFing questions….you’re judged if you BF for 3 days after they turn 1 year (or 6 months, depending on who’s judging you), or if you don’t BF at all. The answer is irrelevant and the judging is certain.

  4. “You had another one after the twins? You’re brave!” = “HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL. WHY DO YOU KEEP REPRODUCING. CONDOMS! STAT!”– SO FUNNY!! You so deserve to be Freshly Pressed!! Well deserved LOL

  5. Oh, I love it. I don’t understand all the judgement. I mean they get to have their own kids and raise them however they want right? Get out of my diaper bag!

    Of course (full-disclosure here), I don’t have any children.

    One of my best friends however is having a boy and he found himself in a fight with his entire family about circumcision. I can’t believe he even told anyone whether they were going to clip the little fella or not. I mean holy, non-of-your-business, Batman!

    I adore your sense of humor and that has to helping to make the experience of motherhood better.


    1. “I don’t understand all the judgement. I mean they get to have their own kids and raise them however they want right? Get out of my diaper bag!”

      (1) Agreed about not understanding all the judgment. Just as there are a million ways to write an intriguing, fun entry and get it “right,” so, too, for raising kids! Also? I’d love to ask folks on a judgment mission where they got their special accreditation that should make me care. 😀

      (2) “Get out of my diaper bag!” FTW. I just hope I have occasion to use it!

    2. I got read the riot act from my entire family when I decided against circumcision for my son- but I stuck to my guns. He’s almost 20 years old now-and being “unclipped” doesn’t seem to bother him. Bottom line- it’s better to MYOB 99% of the time when it comes to other people’s childbearing choices and kids. How many times did I explain to people that my son is an only child for two reasons: a.) I was unable to have any more kids, and b.) I wouldn’t have had any more even if I could have because I could barely afford one! Everyone’s circumstances are different.

  6. Hi Mom –

    You said, ““You have your hands full!” = “Your kids are the most unruly bunch of demons to curse this earth. A pox upon ye for bringing them to Walmart!” Haha too funny.

    I’m a guy and a dad. Sometimes we’re just saying that we understand and we feel compassion and grateful,,,that you have to deal with it and not us, lol. Have a wonderful Monday, MOM! 😛

    1. I’ve gotten that, too! *primal roar*

      One of my coworkers (since let go of) used to say, “Oh, you’re still at work? When are you going to let your hubby take over for you?”

      Oh, let me think about that for a second. Right! That’ll happen when he gets a law degree and starts making enough to pay everything including my law school bills!

      Actually, full disclosure? It wouldn’t happen even then. :p I find my time away from home makes me so much more grateful for my time at home. Still, magical law-degree transference might give me the freedom to move to part-time!

    2. That one goes both ways, too!

      “Oh, you’re a stay-at-home mom?” = “Could you be lazier? How are those soap operas and bon-bons coming?”

      It’s video games and chocolate pudding, thank you very much. 😛

  7. Hilarious! My favourite was “Do you think they are hungry?” when just finishing a feed. Translates as “We’d really all be more comfortable if you just stuck a bottle in his mouth and put your breasts away”!

  8. You are totally right, for most of the people they are polite fillers.
    When are you due? can be translated in a couple of ways, too.
    = Did you get pregnant before you got married?
    = Wait a second, wasn’t your husband abroad five months ago?
    = What, you did it right after your grandfather’s funeral?

    Oh, those polite fillers producers…

  9. Hahahaha, i love this! I’m totally guilt of the “you have your hands full!” And your translation is 100% correct. My bad 🙂

  10. “They grow up so fast!” = “Except for during that period between 2 year and entering pre-kindergarten. That will stretch on so long you’ll think you’ve broken the space-time continuum.”
    I was laughing out loud when I read that one..maybe because I’m living in that time zone…great post !

  11. I have to admit I am not terribly patient (now that my son is grown and I’m in my cougardom) with screaming kids in Target, Walmart or Kroger’s, but I sometimes forget the times when I had my son out in a public place and he would let forth the banchee wail that would peel paint off the walls, when he would send his shoes, socks and any other clothing he could remove airborne across the store, and as he got older, sneaked as many embarrassing items- such as condoms, PrepH, multiple boxes of feminine itch cream, you name it, into the cart. My child was no angel either. My condolences! I still have one more parenting goal. My son is potty trained and literate. He is in college, and therefore we are still working on the ultimate parental goal of “gainful employment.” If I may quote the great wit of Meatloaf: “Two out of three ain’t bad.”

  12. So good to know that I am not alone. Having three kids in three years I have heard it all! Honestly sometimes I don’t want to go out in public…
    my favorite is, “are all those kids really yours? are you the nanny?”
    And those who ask what we are doing (or not doing) for contraception….that one brings out the bad side!
    thanks for the laugh!

  13. It’s funny because it’s true. 😀 My supervisor has been bringing her daughter in to work with her since she was a newborn (we have a cool work environment like that) and having never been around kids before, I’m HOPELESS with what to say to her. I can usually pull something funny but not completely cliched out of my hat, but I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve said, “Oh really? My dog does that too.” Comparing your boss’ baby to your dog? NOT A GOOD CAREER MOVE. ;D Thankfully she’s got a good sense of humor…

    1. Yeah, I think the world is a much better place when people can learn to laugh at the naive things people say, and not take other’s comments so personally.

    2. In reality, dogs are a lot less gross than kids- and I have three large dogs. Dogs generally do not generate copious quantities of snot. I also think my son spent the first ten years of his life with his finger jammed up his nose to the third joint, retrieving the oozy slimy treasures inside. Kids take dog-gross and add opposable thumbs to the mix. For example, it’s bad enough when the dogs get in the catbox. It is unspeakable when your toddler mistakes the catbox for a sandbox!

  14. LOL I love the “translation” for “Are they really twins?” Hilarious. I think the most common polite filler is really “Ooh, what a pretty baby” = I have nothing else to say to you regarding your child.

  15. Fabulous list! When I run into acquaintances when I’m without my kids I often get “Where are your children?” I translate this to mean “Oh my god, you left your kids alone in the car while you came in here to shop/eat/watch a movie, etc” I usually tell them they are napping in the trunk just to keep the conversation moving.

  16. While I think this post is funny on the surface, the whole of it makes me sorta sad because it reminds me that it’s so easy to misinterpret the comments of others when we feel insecure about our own choices as moms. And pretty much all the mom’s I’ve ever met are for a time kinda insecure about being a mom. If someone asks a question of you, they may just be interested OR they may be judging you. It’s hard to tell. It’s too easy to become bitter and imagine people are thinking things they really aren’t. I ask people stuff all the time, not to judge them but to show interest and make convo. But I should be aware that if I’m having a conversation with someone who feels unsupported in their choices, my innocent questions might be interpretted as an attack on their lifestyle. I guess it’s best not to ask too many questions unless you know people : ).
    My daughter is a teenager now, but I remember how facist the world of parenthood was, particularly from 0-3yo. Best to you !

  17. I’ve been asked all of these questions. And yes, the time between 2 and kindergarten is a solid 12 years, maybe more. When people said “oh enjoy it! It goes by so fast!” I wanted to shove my 3 preschoolers (Condoms! Stat!) into their arms and say “HERE, YOU TAKE THEM” Now they are 23,21 and 20…and even in retrospect, it was a solid 12 years.

    1. I only had one, but I feel your pain. He was even worse from 14-16 (I think that was 20 years versus 2, and I also think hormones are harder on the guys) but this too shall pass. It’s hard to remember that toddlerhood is temporary when you’re in the store, out of Kleenex (of course) and trying to manage a kicking and screaming child who is also thrashing his head around and blowing snot all over creation. He’s almost 20 now and is for the most part a civilized human being but when he was two that was an eternity away!

  18. I’m not even a mom yet (though I spent plenty of time close to moms, working as a nanny for a while) and I find this absolutely hilarious.

  19. My favorite was the day I walked into a Home Depot with my third baby strapped to my side (he was three weeks old) and my husband holding my hand …… and was asked by some guy if he could say hi to my grandbaby. And then said to my husband how lucky he was to have his mother around to help. We stood there in a sort of stunned silence for a moment not knowing which of our three Response Options that was most applicable:

    Response Option 1: “Grandbaby? I’m only 31. I won’t have grandchildren for another ONE HUNDRED YEARS!”

    Response Option 2: “It’s not my fault I look haggard and old. I haven’t slept, showered or brushed my hair in three weeks, and the only clothes that fit is this maternity dress, that, granted, looks like a nursing-home housedress. WHAT?”

    Response Option 3: Burst into tears.

    I chose Option 3.

  20. So funny…somebody oughta make pocket-sized little pamphlets of this info for the nurses to hand out in the maternity ward, along with lifetime supplies of Dove dark chocolate bars and Magic Erasers. You know, if we are really serious at all about any of that “public service” stuff…

  21. This is so hilarious, and plus it is soooo true. I have two kids, and sometimes it is as if today’s society is not only eyeing you up, scrutinizing your every move, and the fun starts if they start uttering things as if they could do a better job than you, they are judging your education, your kids, they are judging you, full stop. That is exactly what they do. Thanks for writing this!

  22. I really enjoyed your post and as a new mum I really get the “judgement” …

    its hard to find your own happy medium and the constant barrage of questions is exhausting….

    its not enough that we as mothers are super human sleep deprived hormone driven machines of love.. but we have to actually articulate “real” answers to all the questions thrown at us…

    my favorite question is “when are you having another one?” …. my thoughts border on homocidal ideas of choking the person to death …but usually i manage to politely say… “this one is only 5 months old, im just focusing on him at the moment”….

  23. Amazing list. I live in a sea of Judgey McJudgersons here in Brooklyn, and if i’m not armed with kale chips and organic, free-trade, non-gender specific clothing at all times I’m practically shunned. If they knew my daughter was bottle fed, they’d set my apt on fire. Great post! 😉

  24. OMG, I laughed out loud, for REAL!! Too funny, people really do not realize what they say, but I guess we have to laugh at the faux pas or we’d kill ourselves! I know when I say something stupid, I think about it for days. . .but I’m also SOOO self-aware! (Aren’t I special!) Good blog!!

  25. Hahah, this is great… Thanks for sharing…
    My sister who quite recently became a mother is probably going to enjoy this more than me… But still…

    I’ve made the mistake of asking people(whom I haven’t seen in a while) when they were due. Big (yet honest) mistake…

    Ouch, the ice-cold, unimpressed stare of a woman scorned truly punctures a hole straight through you…

    Keep up the good work and congrats on getting pressed 🙂

  26. This is so FUNNY, thank you for writing. Fast forward a few years, the teen years.
    “She works so hard for her grades.” = My child never opens a book.
    “Amanda is such a wonderful babysitter.” = My children’s grandparents are always available and awaiting our next call.
    “If you ever need anything, just call.” = I don’t work, thank God.

  27. this post just made my day. i had a really shitty day (read my post) and this is my last stop before bed… and Im so glad I stopped by

    this one was the best: “A pox upon ye for bringing them to Walmart!”
    ahahahahaha I cant stop laughing!!!!!

    and of course this little nugget of gold: “She looks like she has mischief in her eyes!” = “I need to see a priest. I think your daughter just ate my soul when I pinched her cheek.”


  28. Ha! That was great! I only have one so I haven’t gotten to that level of insanity, but when it comes to parenting, everyone has an opinion. Especially, complete strangers.

  29. Hilarious! Made my day! Couldn’t stop laughing at all those remarks you’ve placed in your post. I’m not a mom (yet), so I’m safe from all those “sneaky” lines.

  30. I love it! I’ve got four (all boys). I get the hands full thing all the time. It also means “don’t ever expect me to have all your kids over to play at my place” and “thank god I only had one”!
    I especially love the Judgey Mc Judgerson!
    Very funny. Congrats on FP. x

  31. Here’s another one:

    “Your baby is so… precious” = “Your baby is not cute. I know you think he is, but he’s not. In fact, is his father, by any chance, a troll?”

  32. I work as a nanny, and I’m 24, so the one I get a lot is,

    “So you must be the aunty?” or “How old are your little ones?” which generally translates to, “Dear God, what a little trash bag, I need to be an obnoxious fool and find out what her deal is!”

  33. This is hilarious! And sounds true to me! I’m an empty nester now, but I have a one year old granddaughter, and a lot of these things ring fresh and true after spending time with my daughter and her family!

    Thanks for the laugh!


  34. When my son was born 12 years after having my daughter, my poor little girl would be so embarassed when people would ask her about “her son”. And I would smile widely when those same persons would say to be, “wow, you’re so lucky to be such a young grandma.” Talk about an angry daughter.
    Thanks for the smiles this evening!

  35. You forgot to add 2 of my favs:
    1.”When will you have a baby?” : Your life must be so unfulfilling being a married couple without children. OR, they’re just jealous that I can go out anytime I want without the worry of a babysitter.
    2. “Where are you going on vacation?” : I want to tell you all about my fabulous plans while you share your plans to visit family a few hours away.
    Good post!

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