Turning into my Dad

Well, turning into my mum also. But ‘Turning into my Dad’ was a catchier title. So sue me.

Lately, I’ve found myself doing more and more what I swore as a child I would never do: repeating phrases that my parents yelled at me when I was little. Just the other day my eldest son was having a strop because I told him to brush his teeth. Without warning, I used the immortal line “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you!”

After I said it, I stood stock still, slightly mortified, like how a rabbit looks just before you mow it down with your car. Did I really just say that? It seemed to work. My son was, at that moment, slouching his way to the bathroom, muttering something derogatory about me under his breath.

That got me thinking about the sayings your parents used to have when you were little that they would use time and time again. I’ve picked a few of my favourites, along with some that you kindly mentioned to me on Facebook and Twitter:

“Because I said so, that’s why!”

Ugh. When your parent has exhausted all options and decided not to reason with you, they end up just pulling rank. They know you can’t beat them in a fight, even though you could land a sweet right hook right in the Johnsons, if you so wished.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

No, it doesn’t. But wouldn’t it be cool if it did?! Maybe we’d all look after our gardens a bit more.

This tree has dollars on it, which means it's worth considerably less than a tree with good ol' Sterling sprouting from the branches.


“I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is.”

Used when you haven’t got a clue what your child is asking about and you want to hide your ignorance.

“I didn’t ask if you put it there, I asked you to pick it up!”

Again, pulling rank. We parents love our power trips, don’t we?!


“I’m going to count to three. 1….2…”

As you’re saying this, you’re panicking inside, ‘cos you have no idea what to do if you get to 3.

“Do you talk like that to your teacher?”

This was the only question asked where I couldn’t give an answer that made me look like a winner. If I said yes, I’d get whipped* for being rude at school. If I said no, I’d be questioned as to why I respected the teachers more than my parents.

*I wasn’t actually whipped as a child, I should add.

I think the final saying should go to Susan‘s dad, whose saying is both funny and profound:

“You’ll know about it when the cold wind of reality whips up your knicker leg.”

I know exactly what you mean, wise man. Have you found yourself repeating phrases your parents used?

5 responses to “Turning into my Dad

  1. It happens to us all sooner or later, I have 3 teenagers and I do it all the time !!

    The one that winds them up the most is when they ask if they can do something and I reply with ” we will see” which is open ended enough not to be a no, but everyone knows its a no !!

    As for counting to 3 my brother in law does that with his kids, the eldest boy is 14, at the moment he has never got to 3, but as my 15 year old son says ” one day the 3 will be followed by cousin xxx flooring uncle zzzz ! ”


  2. “how do you know you don’t like it? You haven’t even tried it yet” – I was just as fussy an eater as my daughter! Dammit!!

    “what’s this, scotch mist” – always hated that one!

    “who’s the boss? Mr or You?” though this sometimes backfires when she replies “Daddy” – arghhh!

    “….. Fine but you won’t be going to Nannas” also backfires when she says “I don’t want to go to Nannas anyway”

  3. Mine are teenagers so its now sentences coming from my mouth that start with “when you’re earning your own money..” or “while you’re under my roof…” or “when you have your own house…” that make me catch my breath and think “$@#% I’m turning into my mother”.

  4. I always loved the follow up response when I was asking if I could do something that my friends were doing:

    “Well if Billy jumped off a cliff does that mean you would too?”

    …and yes I’ve used that line.

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