An Analysis Of Phrases Moms Use to Warn Their Kids

motherhoodWe don’t spend a lot of time being funny on this blog, for obvious reasons.  It’s hard to laugh when you’re in the midst of the despair of postpartum depression.  But during this holiday season, which can heap even more stress on the already-stressed, I thought I’d give it a try.

Earlier this year, I did an analysis of the most important and oft-used tools in any mom’s arsenal: the warning phrase.

Don’t act like you don’t have one, because I know you do.

I have two. I call them my shot-across-the-bow phrases. They are what I say when my kids are getting on my nerves and I want them to know that if they keep it up, there will be trouble. Or, at least I want them to think if they keep it up, there will be trouble, even though sometimes I’m really not all that committed to carrying through, truth be told.

My first shot-across-the-bow phrase is “Don’t peeve me.” I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve said it. I use this one when I need them to go amuse themselves, or they start doing something they know annoys me. Sometimes I add the word “child” to make it slightly more ominous, as in “Don’t peeve me, child.”

Another one of my favorites is “Don’t make me beat you.” It’s a solid step up from “Don’t peeve me.” I warn them that if they are bad, I will beat them senseless with my Senseless Beating Stick. The Senseless Beating Stick is famous in my house, and has an aura of mystery as it’s never been seen before. The kids are beginning to wonder if it even exists. I’ve explained to them that, if they’re lucky, they’ll never have to find out.

I asked a few other moms to share their fave warning phrases with me, and, when they did, I was surprised at how much each saying made me want to chuckle.

“You’re on the edge, mister.”

“Watch it, young lady.”

“Do I need to put you to bed early?”

I can picture the mom screwing up her face, brows knitted, arms akimbo, delivering her message with the utmost in HUMORLESS VOICE. Warning phrases are serious business.

As it turns out, I found through my very serious investigative research that they also seem to fall neatly into categories.

[Read more…]

Notes on Today's Press Conference Celebrating MOTHER'S Act Passage

It's 3pm. I'm sitting at Reagan National Airport. And suddenly I'm really, really hot. Like burning up. I think now that I can finally sit down it is hitting me what an important day this was. I can't believe I got to stand up at the front of that press conference and speak alongside Carol Blocker, who experienced the ultimate sacrifice of losing her precious daughter to postpartum psychosis.

I have yet to eat anything other than a piece of delish cake provided by the gracious team at Senator Menendez' office in celebration of today's event and the passage of the MOTHERS Act, and I only have 30 minutes before my plane boards to head home, so I'm going to have to write more tomorrow so I can go grab a bite.

Suffice it to say today was a very important step. It provided official validation. We exist. These illnesses exist, in great numbers actually.This nation's officials are recognizing that. That means more than I even realized until I was standing there in full view of the U.S. Capitol with the trees swaying in theblustery wind and a photo of Melanie Blocker Stokes in my hands.

We have more to do, but today was a great step forward for all of those people who have labored so long to get to this point and for the mothers who have yet to experience perinatal mood or anxiety disorders.

Maybe Melanie was making the breeze blow to say thank you for remembering me.

2nd Annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health This Sunday!

Below is thenews release for the 2010 Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health, happening this Sunday and featuring all new letter writers this year.(Also, here's a link to last year's event, which featured such bloggers as Catherine Connors from Her Bad Mother, Rita Arens from BlogHer and Surrender, Dorothy and Therese Borchard from Beyond Blue.) Can't wait!!

To join in, just show up here on Sunday and read all the wonderful letters about the importance of maternal mental health. And, if you're new here,welcome to Postpartum Progress!!



May 4, 2010 — This Mother’s Day, the 2nd annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health will be held online, featuring 24 open letters to new mothers on the importance of maternal mental health. On May 9th, Postpartum Progress will post a different “Letter to New Moms” each hour on the hour for 24 hours straight, each letter offering personal stories, humor, experience or tips on the important of mental health during pregnancy and postpartum. All of the letters will be written by survivors of and experts on postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum psychosis, as well as others who care about the emotional well-being of moms and moms-to-be. Postpartum Progress is the most widely-read blog in the United States on postpartum depression.

Participants in the 2010 Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health include:

· Melinda Roberts, author of the blog The Mommy Blog, named one of the Top 50 Mommy Blogs by, a regular panelist at and author of the book “Mommy Confidential: Adventures from the Wonderbelly of Motherhood

· Ann Douglas, author of “The Mother of All Parenting Books” and “The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby’s First Year” among many others

· Allison McDonald, author of the blog No Time for Flashcards

· Casey Mullins, author of the blog Moosh in Indy

· Marlene Freeman, MD, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Mental Health and vice-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

· “Blair”, author of the blog Heir to Blair

Postpartum Progress, founded in 2004, is the most comprehensive peer resource available for pregnant and new mothers suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. It has been ranked as one of the top 10 mental health blogs on the internet by and and has been featured on Mamapedia, BlogHer, PBS’ This Emotional Life and among others.

Full Participant List:

  1. Melinda Roberts, author of the blog The Mommy Blog, named one of the top 50 mommy blogs by, a regular contributor to and author of the book “Mommy Confidential: Adventures from the Wonderbelly of Motherhood”

  2. Meagan Francis, author of the blog The Happiest Mom

  3. Casey Mullins, author of the blog Moosh in Indy

  4. Blair, author of the blog Heir to Blair, an editor’s pick at

  5. Sarah Visbeek, author of the blog In the Trenches of Mommyhood

  6. Allison McDonald, author of the blog No Time for Flashcards and contributor to

  7. Ann Douglas, author of “The Mother of All Parenting Books” and “The Mother of All Baby Books”

  8. Victoria Mason, author of the blog The Mummy Chronicles

  9. Suzanne, author of the blog Pretty Swell

  10. Sera, author of the blog Laughing Through the Chaos

  11. Tamra, author of the blog Surprisingly Sane

  12. Julie Hersh, author of the book Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope

  13. Jessica Zucker, PhD, psychologist and contributor to PBS’ This Emotional Life

  14. Marlene Freeman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health

  15. Meeka Centimano, LCSW, social worker and founder of Postpartum Resource Center of Kansas

  16. Teresa Twomey, author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness

  17. Alison Palmer, RN, Elliot Hospital Postpartum Emotional Support Program (NH)

  18. Adrienne Griffin, founder of Postpartum Support of Virginia

  19. Alexis, author of the blog Depressions and Confessions

  20. Amber Koter, author of the blog Beyond Postpartum

  21. Ninotchka Beavers, author of the blog Cease Cows, Life is Short!

  22. Amy Gagliardi, MD

  23. Katherine Stone, author of the blog Postpartum Progress, guest editor on postpartum depression for

Annual Mother's Day Rally

The Postpartum Progress Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Mom’s Mental Health was started in 2009. It is a 24-hour celebration of the importance of emotional health for new mothers. Each year on Mother’s Day I post one letter each hour for 24 hours straight. These letters to new mothers are written by survivors of and expertson perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, as well as by others who care about the mental health of moms. Many arenationally-recognized, award-winningfemale bloggers and parenting authors. This event is always an inspiration and source of encouragement and hope to current sufferers and survivors alike, and is another service of our nonprofit, Postpartum Progress Inc.

You can get some encouragement any day of the year by clicking the links below to read any of the Mother’s Day Rally letters!

2011 Rally Team:

My intro (video)

Kimberly, All Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something

Maria Lianos-Carbone, AMotherWorld

Jacqueline Green, Great Parenting Practices

Joey Fortman, Real Moms Media

Sonia Murdock, Postpartum Resource Center of New York

Emily Elling, DesignHerMomma

Molly Balint, Mommycoddle

Kate Kripke

Molly Shalz, A Day in Mollywood

Morra Aarons-Mele, Women and Work

Susan Petcher, Learned Happiness

Sharon DeVellis, The Yummy Mummy Club

Heather King, The Extraordinary Ordinary

Nish Weiseth, The Outdoor Wife & A Deeper Story

Rebecca Odes, The New Mom Blog & Babble

Grace Parson, Our Arms Wide Open

Becky Harks, Mommy Wants Vodka & Band Back Together

Katie Sluiter, Sluiter Nation

Kristen Howerton, Rage Against the Minivan

Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress

Morgan Shanahan, The 818

Janice Croze, 5 Minutes for Mom

Arianne Segerman, To Think Is to Create

2010 Rally Team:

My introduction (with video)

Amy Gagliardi, Lily’s Kids Inc.

Sera, Laughing Through The Chaos

Meeka Centiman, LCSW, Postpartum Resource Center of Kansas

Julie Hersh, Struck by Living

Teresa Twomey, PSI Connecticut

Ann Douglas, author of “The Mother of All” series of parenting books

Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia

Victoria Mason, The Mummy Chronicles

Meagan Francis, The Happiest Mom

Alison Palmer, Elliot Hospital

Allison McDonald, No Time for Flash Cards

Sarah Visbeek, In the Trenches of Mommyhood

Mindy Roberts, The Mommy Blog & Momversation

Ninotchka Beavers,

Suzanne, Pretty Swell

Marlene Freeman, MD, MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health

Alexis Lesa, depressionsandconfessions

Tamra Hood, Surprisingly Sane

Blair, Heir to Blair

Jessica Zucker, PhD, PBS’ This Emotional Life

Casey Mullins, Moosh In Indy

Amber Koter, Beyond Postpartum

Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress

2009 Rally Team

Sophie in the Moonlight

Sarah Pond – Mama2Mama

Julie Green – UpUp the Blog

Catherine Connors – Her Bad Mother

Diane Sanford

Adrienne Martini – martinimade

Therese Borchard – Beyond Blue

Deb Arora – Missives from Suburbia

Katherine Stone – Postpartum Progress

Vicki Glembocki – Blunt Force Mama

Ann Dunnewold

Rita Arens – Surrender, Dorothy

Lauren Hale – Sharing the Journey

Karen Kleiman– Postpartum Stress Center

Leslie – Mrs. Flinger

Tara Mock

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – Baby on Bored

Dora Thorn – Spin Me I Pulsate

John McManamy – Knowledge is Necessity

Trisha Ashworth & Amy Nobile

Ivy Shih-Leung – Ivy’s PPD Blog

Sue McRoberts – Totally New Moms

Susan Stone – Perinatal Pro

Erika Krull – Psych Central

Rally Kickoff

If you have any questions or comments about the Mother’s Day Rally, or would like to join a future team, please email me at