Friday, June 22, 2007


"How will you ever learn to take care of yourself?"

"You should go to college so you'll always have something to fall back on." (Subtext: In case that snagging a man thing doesn't work out.)

"Too bad you got your dad's awful hair."

"Don't make me ask you again."

"Stop crying or i'll give you something to cry about."

"I didn't want to wake up one morning and find out you were 6'3"."

"Those big thighs come from your grandfather."

"Remember how you used to wear your hair? Well, i really liked it back then."

"Will you be QUIET?"

"Children are to be seen and not heard."

"Stop wiggling."

"No, we can't stop. You'll have to hold it."

"You make me sick."

"You can't carry a tune in a bucket."

"Get your nose out of that book."

"Why can't you behave, just this once?"

"You're driving me nuts, go outside and don't come back in until i call you."

"I swear you'd lose your head if it wasn't attached."

"Your clothes are a disgrace."

"Go to your room and don't come out until it's clean."

"I'm going to call you Nasturtium, Nasty for short."

"What IS your problem?"

"Don't you ever listen?"

"For god's sake, go brush your hair. It looks like a rat's nest."

"I already showed you how to do that."

"What would YOU do with a bra? Keep your dirty socks in it?"

"Why are you always so negative?"

Mona's Friday word is crush.


Girlplustwo said...

dude..first AGAIN!!!!

you make me sick. I've heard parents say that and i think it is the most despicable thing, ever.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Are you channeling my parents?

STOP IT now. Please.

thailandchani said...

I thought perhaps you were channeling my mother, too! Were your mother and my mother related?

My mother's favorite line was "I might have to love you but I don't have to like you."

I agree with Jen. "You make me sick" (which I heard, too) is despicable!



Dick said...

I've heard a couple of those but not many. Sometimes parents need to remember to engage brain before their mouth, too.

Lynn said...

"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." Did you happen to live in my neighborhood when I was growing up? I am very conscious of not talking to my kids that way...words can wield such power.

Scott from Oregon said...

Pops used to always say- "Because I said so!" and I would always say "That's a crappy answer and I ain't buying it. Either do better or we'll all start ignoring you again..."

The sibs were all on my side on this, which helped...

Anonymous said...

That would crush a person, all those words, crashing down on you.

flutter said...

This made me physically ill, because it's like sitting with my dad.

QT said...

How's about

"If you don't stop that I'll beat you to a bloody pulp!"

Sienna said... those people that say those things... I've just got one thing to say back....and I can do this now!!! and live to tell the tale...:)

*You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman*

Go away crush people! You got the wood aaaall over them Meno!!

Them there crush types, they are the littliest saddest minds of all....gimme 6'3" love and inspiration any day---all day...we got the power...we got da gift, we got da.... luuuurve...uhuh! a little excited there!:)

gary rith said...


Anonymous said...

There is no pain quite like the pain that our loved ones can inflict on us, and it's trebeled when it comes from your parents, the people that are supposed to love us more than anyone in the world.

Another beautiful, stirring, thought-provoking post, Meno. How do you manage, m'dear?

ms chica said...

7/27. Most of those I heard were laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm. I knew my childhood was a cakewalk.

What was your grandmother like?

(My deleted comment. I can't proof read worth a shit anymore...)

Anonymous said...

Well, I certainly heard a few of those.

I've uttered a few of those, not necessarily the same ones. Especially "be QUIET." (In fact, whenever the dog barks, Lorenzo yells, "That's EeeeNusss!" even before I can.)

Marshamlow said...

Oh yeah, you were channeling my dad too. Funny thing, they came to visit us recently after not having seen them in years and they were really nice both mom and dad. No inappropriate comments, did they grow up or did I?

meno said...

jen, that one is pretty bad. I can still feel how it made me feel.

hearts, i have stopped it. I don't say these things.

chani, "I might have to love you but i don't have to like you." ? Ick, just ick.

dick, and to think about what it feels like to hear all those ugly words.

lynn, i sometimes wonder if there was a parent's handbook that was distributed with these phrases in it. They seemed so common for a while.

scott, my dad was fond of "This is NOT a democracy!" as well as "Because i said so." It sounds so silly after a while.

deb, i spent lots of time wondering why i was so awful.

flutter, i'm sorry. Doesn't feel very good does it?

qt, that's creepy. I never got that particular one.

pam, Helen Reddy! Wonder what she's doing these days. I remain uncrushed!

gary, yep, so don't talk to your pupppies like this.

irrelephant, i had a ghost writer on this one, my mother. :)

ms.chica, my mother's mother was exiting, mean, didn't like women, had two girls, hunted, fished, hiked, was fucked up, and funny and in her later years liked to hit us. I don't really remember my dad's mom very much.

de, that's a riot about Lorenzo. It can really be telling to hear our words come out of our kids mouths.

marsha, you are no longer in their power. My mom doesn't treat me like this anymore, but she does treat my dad badly.

TTQ said...

What makes it worse are those that deny any of that ever came out of their mouths at one time.... Never realizing the impact that words can leave on young brain in the formative years.

Restraint of pen and tounge should be over utilized sometimes rather than under utilized. You just can't take back words spweing like venom from a cobras mouth. Or worse yet a prim and proper spewing words like that.

Oh and did I mention the fact that the offender usually never feels a moment's remorse or even thinks of it again, while we hear those words ringing ringing ringing and echoing in our heads for a lifetime.

ms chica said...

Sounds like your mother earned a few of her traits honestly. No excuse, just noticing. I wonder about the circumstances we grow up in (our flavor of what is normal) versus the moment we discover everyone's house is not the same. Some break the cycle of misguided love and others perpetuate. I am curious which factors influence who we will become as parents.

Anonymous said...

I heard a few of those, too, LOL. The one that really got my goat was, "You always have to have the last word, don't you?" To which my standard rejoinder was "Yup!" And then I stomped off somewhere before I got lambasted again.

Now, here's an idea for another post: What about the stuff that wasn't in the "crush" category? Ever find yourself saying a few of those things when you're in Mom mode?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think my personal favorite of my considerable collection is "If your mother and I had known we would have you, we would never have married. I wish you were dead."

I didn't do it either. I always made my children feel loved and believed in, and they were never hit.

They all grew up to be far more confident and successful in terms of fulfilling their potential than I did.

Gee, I wonder why.

Susanne said...


And you probably didn't know that the "Stop crying..."-one exists in German too.

And as much as I hated to hear that as a child I have to admit that it slipped out of my mouth once or twice too.

As I said, ouch.

Kellyology said...

I think I'm having a bad flashback...

Anonymous said...

Family Portrait

meno said...

ttq, that pretty much sums it up. We hear those words echoing in our heads for years, and they deny ever having said them.

ms.chica, yes, ahe did come by some of her thoughtlessness honestly. I also think that part of the style of the time was to have kids and then treat then like they were a royal pain in the ass. Which is true, but big people have so much power over little people. My mother doesn't like girls either.

ortizzle, i have rarely found myself saying the things that my mother did. One of the few things she did that i have come to understand is when she used to tell us we were having poison when we asked what was for dinner. Like me, she got tired of hearing "ICK!"

hearts, Wow. That is horrible. Thank you for not passing that little gem on.

susanne, ouch is right. I know i have said some mean things to my daughter. But i also know how to apologize for them, and i do.

kelly, sorry about that. I know how you feel.

anon, that looks like it's supposed to be a link, but it doesn't go anywhere. If it's not a link, then i am sorry that this is a family portrait. Mine too.

Stucco said...

The only ones that I think sting are the ones I suspect are accurate: "You must be an only child- no one else could be so selfish" or "You can't take anything in stride".

What's so great about being selfless and taking things in stride anyway? :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes these things skip a generation. I heard some of them from my Grandmonster (and a few other lovely things), and now my boyos are hearing a few from _their_ grandfather. I think this will be our last long trip to Illinois, especially without O.

MarmiteToasty said...

I use to get *wipe that smug look off your face or I will wipe it off for you* - now thats not nice lol

Just popped over via, I cant remember lol - enjoyed what Ive read here :)...... fanks


meno said...

stucco, I wouldn't know what's so great about it. :)

nancy, that sounds like an excellent decision.

marmite, how about "Don't roll your eyes at me young lady or i'll smack you so hard your eyes will roll back on their own." Another gem.

Lynnea said...

I see you've met my mother.

Schmoopie said...

The strange thing about those phrases being uttered to you by your mother is that she would probably never say any of those things to a perfect stranger. To say those hurtful words to a child is so disrespectful. Children deserve respect and honor, even more than adults. They are vulnerable people.

Mother of Invention said...

You wait till your dad gets home!

If I've told you once, I've told you a million times.

You're going to get the flyswatter!

Stand up straight!

Don't chew with your mouth open and don't talk with your mouth full!

Mignon said...

My mom didn't say those things to me. But sometimes, when being a single mom with three kids got too hard, I remember she would sit down at the kitchen table and put her head on her folded arms and cry. That made me feel worse than any punishment I ever received.

On a bad day two years ago I did the same thing, and my daughter brought it up yesterday. "Mommy don't worry, I will never eat the frosting off your birthday cake again like I did that one time. I don't want you to cry."

That's what crushed is like, around here.

ellie bee said...

how about: "if I had know how you would be, I never would have had you..."
I was 22 and in med school, and it still crushed me...

Liv said...

"You know, if you buy some short skirts, I bet you could sell cars."

(don't bother going to college.)

meno said...

maggie, i am sorry to say that it looks like i have.

schmoopie, exactly!!! We learn much about a person by how they treat those with less power.

moi, i heard all those too, except in our house it was the belt instead of the flyswatter. *shudder*

mignon, i am unable to really imagine what it would be like to have 3 kids and no partner. Whew. The few times i have cried in front of Em have deeply impressed and frightened her. But i am human. That's both cute and poignant that your daughter remember your despair so clearly and didn't want to cause it again.

ellie, that's just inexcusable. Do you still speak to them?

liv, (you have no value beyond your looks.) Again, inexcusable. No wonder we struggle so much to not be fucked up.

amusing said...

Oh, Mignon, I worry so about that. The Eldest takes so much on himself already....

Meno: Timely post. My mother was telling me again today I should be nicer to my ex etc. and with everything else going on, I just lost it. My therapist has been giving me "gee, mom and dad" language to ease in change and today I just cried and exclaimed. Made her cry. We both felt like shit. And I can't say yet whether it's made things better or worse.


Anonymous said...

When in the thick of it, I suppose we forget that a tone, a word, or a shrug of the shoulder from a loved one is crushing. My kids will thank you for this post today. I'll be a little less crushing today. :)

Mona Buonanotte said...

Ugh. I only heard a few of these growing up, but they still hurt, like burrs under a saddle.

Andrea Frazer said...

"I will love you know matter what because that means you turned out like you."

My parents.

I am officially the luckiest daughter on the planet, I know. But as I always say, it has made it harder for me to adjust to the realities of the real world where most people would prefer to treat me like your mother. Ah, life.

Mother of Invention said...

The belt would hurt a lot I imagine. The flyswatter didn't hurt...we mostly shrunk away from it because we were grossed out by the germs!
My parents were really pretty good and fair. My father told us all that whatever we did, we were still his daughters and could always come home. We had been talking about a girl we knew who had got pregnant and was sent away. Luckily none of his 3 daughters had to call him on that one.

sari said...

"You're just like your father!"

And she still hates him, thirty three years later.

Lee said...

"I'm going to call you Nasturtium, Nasty for short."

LOL! I could've used this line at the nightclub I went to on Saturday.

Isn't this also a Janet Jackson song?

Melissavina said...

Woah, this takes me to some weird places I swore I'd never revisit.

My favorite is "I know you better than you know yourself." Man, that gets me every time.

Either that or "Donnnnn't smiiii-lllle" when you're really mad.

Taradharma said...

meno, we humans have so much to learn, so much to overcome. thank you for another thought provoking and scathingly honest post.

shara said...

Well I'll have to put myself in the awful mom category, I'm afraid, I'm not a sweetness and light mother 24/7. But I do mean well, for all my faults.

Mrs. Chili said...

Wait - are you SURE we're not sisters?

My favorite was:

"When people find out what you're REALLY like, you'll end up alone which is what you deserve."

meno said...

amusing, sigh, no matter how i try to prepare for it, my parents can still make me lose my shit. It's harder when i'm already close to losing it. Courage.

reflecting pool, hell, we can all use a reminder, probably daily, to be more careful what we say.

mona, obviously i still remember them all too. And i can't remember any good stuff. Either there wasn't any or i have a selective memory.

mamap, that really sweet. Don't tell me you wish they had been meaner? Really?

moi, it is pretty gross to think of squashed fly guts. That's a great thing for your dad to say and probably one reason why none of you ever had to make him prove it.

sari, The Mister knows that to compare me to my mother is fightin' words. As it is for me to compare him to his father. Your mother must really still be filled with rage.

lee, i don't know if it's a JJ song, but i know my mother and grandmother have been using it long before JJ.

melissa, that is a horrid one. Or "This is just a phase you're going through." Talk about demeaning.

tara, it's a wonder any of us grow up to be decent human beings. You're welcome.

shara, i'm not saying that i've never said anything mean. But when i do i apologize.

mrs.chili, you gotta wonder what inside these people made them say such hateful things, to people they are supposed to love.

shara said...

Oh I didn't mean that, and I do apologize (to you for any offense, and to anyone I'm ever cranky to) but occasionally I'm horrified by my mother's words coming out of my mouth, unbidden. And my mother was a wonderful woman, but she quite sacrificed herself on the altar of motherhood, and I think she always resented it, and it slipped out now and again. I wish she had been more her own person, felt free to be, it just didn't seem to be an option she considered available to her.

meno said...

shara, no worries, i was in no way offended. I am not the perfect mom either. I hate it when i say and do stuff that is mean or hurtful, yet i still indulge in that behavior sometimes. Your mom did what she had to do, as do we all. But there are occasionally days when i long to be traveling free.

Antonia Cornwell said...

My mother was round the other day (Esme started sobbing hysterically when she turned up and only stopped when she left).

She was looking through the photos I have of myself as a child and said "You actually managed to look quite pretty in some of your childhood pictures. I don't know why you choose to show the ones where you look so awful."

This was quite tame, though, compared to when I was 16 and she told me I needed an exorcist. La la la la.

You've grown up to be a wonderful mother. When I read all the crap you had thrown at you, I wonder how, with the lack of a role model. But you really have.