Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

There is an saying I see pop up on Facebook fairly often about how as you grow up you start hearing your mother come out when you speak. This is very true in my case. I also find myself using certain “mum” phrases that I always used to find extremely irritating when I was growing up.

If you find yourself using any of these, or any others of this nature, and feeling shame… give yourself a break. Cliches become cliches for a reason, and mum cliches are there because they just do the job so much better than anything else we could try and say!

Photo Credit Profile 31

Photo Credit Profile 31

1) Because I said so.

A classic. One of the most annoying phrases any mother has ever said in the history of time. But after your child has said “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” to every single instruction you’ve given them, and you’ve patiently explained the reasons behind them such as “because it’s dangerous” or “because it’s dirty” or “because that’s not food” then eventually you are left with “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” screeched at them whilst you try not to rip your own hair out.

2) Use your words.

At times my relatively articulate child will resort to grunts. It goes in phases such as when she’s tired or cranky, or in the case of my brother the entirity of his adolescence, and she stops bothering to use words. She will grunt and gesture wildly and get exasperated with me when I don’t understand her noises. I have heard “use your words” time and time again from various mothers around me growing up and it’s always grated. I now say it regularly.

3) Flipping fudging fiddllesticks.

This can be in assorted variations. It’s basically how mummy’s say “fuck” or “shit” or “bollocks” when they are able to resist actually saying “fuck” or “shit” or “bollocks”. Of course… we don’t always manage to resist saying it but I, for one, give myself a mini round of applause when I do resist and insert one of these random sayings in it’s place.

4) You have until the count of three.

I use this a lot. It’s one of my favourites. I don’t always know what the consequence will be if they don’t do what it is they’re meant to do by three, but fortunately it usually works. I am also a big fan of using it when I don’t want to stop doing what I’m in the middle of doing immediately, thus buying myself either thinking time or finishing something off time before I have to deal with whatever the little monster is doing wrong.

5) I’ll cancel Nanny coming.

Or “I’ll cancel our trip to the playground”. Or “We won’t have pizza for dinner anymore”. Whatever they most want that day, that you have no intention of cancelling (Nanny’s on her way… pizza’s in the fridge…) is held above them as being taken away unless they just do what you wanted them to do, or stop doing whatever crime it is they keep doing.

6) Later do you want to you know… you know… when we you know…

Suggestions of sexual intimacy to your partner are great to make and can build up excitement to when the kids go to bed. However, you can’t actually say the things you’d like to do to the other person in front of the kids or you’ll scar them for life or have them repeat it without understanding in public. So “you know…” with a meaningful stare becomes the appropriate code.

7) No it doesn’t hurt.

My rather dramatic girl child likes to loudly declare she has a “wound”. Most of the time she’s tough as nails, but a hint of tiredness or grumpyness and everything hurts. It’s a constant “No, there’s no wound there” “No you don’t need a plaster” “No it doesn’t hurt”. Of course, I get so used to assuming she’s being melodramatic that when she actually has a genuine bonafide wound I sometimes tell her she doesn’t and then when I realise she does I feel like the worst mother in history and compensate by offering her several plasters and a bar of chocolate.

8) Don’t make me come back there.

Another time buyer before discpline needs doling out. Either I don’t have time or I don’t want to or it’s a physical impossibility for the moment. When they’re fighting in the back of the car I will say “don’t make me come back there!” and mean it… but not until we’ve found a safe place to pull over so I can get my seat belt off and clamber awkwardly about in my seat to deal with them. Usually I am betting on not having to do it at all.

9) Manners.

I am constantly trying to ensure the kids say their pleases and thank yous. I remind them regularly. Recently I forgot to say thank you when Miss Rose handed me something I’d been looking for and she sternly said “Thank you, mummy, manners”. Schooled by a two year old.

10) What did your last slave die of?

So annoying, right? Alas another I am guilty of hating and using. “Mummy get it” she will say when she is less than three foot away from whatever it is she wants.

11) I know you speak English.

This I tend to roll out when she claims sudden deafness. You can call her name, tell her something, ask her something, and if she doesn’t want to hear you she acts as if she’s deaf or doesn’t understand, and carries on regardless with not a single reaction to indicate she’s heard you.

12) Whoever started it, you can both stop it!

When they’re squabbling over a toy or a cushion or spot on the carpet, it’s not always easy to tell who’s in the right or who’s in the wrong. We tend to just confiscate from both of them whatever they’ve been fighting over because the chances are whoever initially started the fight, the other escalated it.


However many mumisms I use in daily life, and however much I am irritated by myself using some of them, the most important thing I say to these kids as often as I can is “I love you” because even when I am being driven to the point of wanting to bang my head against a wall, that is still the most over riding and all consuming feeling!

If you have anymore please comment below and share them.

You can check out all my contact info an links on, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!


3 responses to “Mumisms

  1. “Do as I say, not as I do!”
    I had this growing up!! I have already used it and then felt completely hypocritical!
    “Because I said so” is an all time classic and one of the best!


  2. Pingback: Grandmaisms | Rose and Mum and More


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