We 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.