Do you speak Parent? Chances are you do without even realizing it. There seems to be a switch in the brain that activates the second you see your first child’s face, allowing you to filter every single thing you say before it comes out of your mouth.
This is handy in a number of situations, like, say, disciplining your kids, or not telling Kim at the PTA that you’d rather get a paper cut on your tongue than volunteer for the fundraiser.
The tricky part about Parent-speak is that it’s fairly common – which means we can sort of decode other parents.
Thankfully, parent-speak includes the universal agreement amongst parents never to acknowledge it or elude to the real meaning behind it. You see, doing so would not just create an awkward environment on the playground – it would tip off our children.
In case you need some refreshers on how to double-talk like a parent, here are some tried and true examples of things we actually say and what we really mean.
“Oh, Sweetheart, kids can be mean. Just remember, it’s about them and not you.”
Where is this asshole? What is their address? I don’t care if they are ten, I will duct tape them to the wall and make them watch me destroy their toys one by one in front of them. And then I will kick their mom.
“That’s awesome, Bud.”
I didn’t really pay attention to what you just did, I just sort of glanced briefly in your general direction. This is the fifth “cool” thing you have told me to look at in the past fifteen minutes, and spoiler-alert, none of them have been cool.
“You got this!”
You probably do “got this”, but until the this has been gotten, I am going to sit here panicking that you will fail and be crushed. I am already planning how I will mend your little baby heart if this does not go according to plan, and reassure you that failing is part of life and you will get through this, and that we love you so much anyw- oh, thank goodness, you did it.
“You need a nap.”
I’m tired of your face. You are cranky, or clingy, or just generally being irritating, and it’s time for you to be unconscious for an hour or two so I can look at your sweet sleeping face and remind myself why humans don’t eat their young.
“You have until the count of five…”
You better do it, because I don’t know what is going to happen at five if you don’t. Maybe nothing. Maybe I’ll rant and yell some more and make more idle threats, or maybe you will wear me down and win. Or, maybe this is when we learn that I have the ability to morph into some kind of dragon-like super monster. Let’s not risk it.
“Eat whatever you want.”
I’m hoping you will eat enough snacks that I can call it dinner. Just try to get some fruit in there somewhere.
“Let’s watch a movie.”
I’m exhausted. You are wearing me out, but you aren’t really doing anything wrong – so let’s all just sit down together and experience this mutually enjoyable activity. If I fall asleep, just don’t leave the room.
“Tell me about it.”
I can tell you are excited about this story, so I want to support you – but it is probably about Minecraft, or every shot you took at basketball, or some show I’ve never heard of, and I am absolutely bored out of my mind. I see your lips moving, but all I’m thinking about is if my ears are detachable, and if not, why isn’t this a thing already? Still going? Great. Just know I am going to have to cut you off at three hours so that I don’t disown you.
Get the idea? I can see parents everywhere nodding their heads, like, “Yup, it’s true.” Those of you reading who are not parents may have just had their childhoods shattered. Sorry for the trust issues. We may all parent differently, but Parent-speak is universal.