Apparently as women, we are remarkably skilled at not saying what we really mean in order to achieve a desired end result. Mums in particular, are exceptionally proficient in the art of cryptic conversation and it is a wonder that our husbands haven’t pissed off and left us, and that our children can actually converse at all, given the myriad of mixed signals and reverse psychological indicators hurled at them on a daily basis.
Otherwise referred to as Talking in Code, it is an advanced mechanism that women have developed over centuries, enabling us to get what we want, when we want it, often by surreptitious means. Call it the shorthand of conversation, it is an unspoken protocol reassuringly intuitive to all women and tediously translated to and interpreted by our men and our children, over a lifetime of exposure.
In this post, I shall reveal an exclusive insight into this curious, coded language. We will explore its euphemisms, nuances and complexities. If you have any personal favourites to add, please do so in the comments. Needless to say, there should be no need for translation.
My Top 10 classic phrases:
1. Because I said so! When faced with the trillionth masterful variation on “Why should I?” “Why can’t I?” “Why not Mummy?” of the day, it is highly likely that we are no longer resourced to come up with a response to match the “why”. But don’t be outsmarted. For “I” am Mummy and Mummy is The Boss of this house and if you didn’t already know it, Mummy is always right. So don’t attempt to argue, debate or negotiate this one out. The dialogue ends here, because “I” sodding well said so.
2. I’m coming in a minute! Really? I don’t think so. Call it delay tactics, procrastination or whatever the hell you choose, I have no intention of going anywhere in a hurry. Because I am busy doing something else. And believe it or not, there is such thing as “something else” in my life. So actually, I am not coming in a minute. Nor am I coming any time soon, for that matter.
3. Maybe later. Cleverly disguised within a tenuous glimmer of hope, this is a double-pronged, softly, softly approach towards REJECTION. “Maybe” precludes any commitment and “later” avoids any imminent discussion. And the reality is that whatever the hell The Terrors want this time, it is not going to happen later or ever.
4. We’ll see. Similar to above and just as evil, this one fools The Terrors into believing that Mummy is actually considering topping up her supermarket bill by a further £60, in order to watch us unravel neon pink, plastic surprise balls of hell, when the truth is, that we will in fact NOT see. Nor will the shitty plastic dolls inside them EVER see the light of day. Is that clear?
5. Go and ask your Father Let’s shake things up a bit and give The Men in our lives some parental responsibility for a change. Because I don’t feel like shouldering the blame for yet another “NO! For the thousandth time, you cannot and will not become a tw@tty tween influencer on YouTube, aged 10!!” Better leave the really serious and important stuff to The Men. Apparently they are useful for something….?
6. Life’s not fair. You heard it here first kiddo. Life’s a bitch. So it doesn’t matter how many million times a day you pull out the “injustice” card, I will simply throw it right back at you. Life sucks, so get used to it.
7. Fine. If ever a woman utters the word “fine,” you can be sure of one thing: SHE IS NOT FINE. IT IS NOT FINE. NOTHING IS EVER FINE. “Fine” is not “fine.” “Fine” is shit and should be banned from the dictionary. Whoever defined “fine” as “excellent, exceptional, outstanding, splendid, magnificent, sublime and wonderful” was seriously not fine at the time. “Fine” masks a multitude of unspoken ills and should be treated with extreme caution and care. In other words, give the poor woman a hug.
8. I don’t mind. Women are natural born givers. So when deliberating Chinese over Indian or GBBO over Match of the Day, we will often bestow upon our Significant Others the gift of choice. How utterly selfless we are! When actually inside, all we want to do is scoff spring rolls whilst bitching about how we could pull off a better Showstopper with our eyes closed.
9. For crying out loud! is what we call a minced oath, expressing annoyance or impatience without wishing to cause offence. Designed to threaten The Terrors with the very literal horror that is: Mummy is about to CRY OUT LOUD in the middle of the sodding supermarket, unless you stop charging down the aisles in three different directions showing me up to be the useless sodding parent that I am. When actually no one is crying out loud, instead we are crying silently inside but the message is clear: whatever is going on, STOP RIGHT NOW.
10. I’ve got a headache The most classic euphemism in the book. Leave me alone. Don’t come near me. I’m not interested. Say no more.
And whilst all of the above offer short snippets of reprieve from the joys of being a Woman and/or a Mum, it can also be argued that this ingenious Mum Code actually teaches our loved ones a thing or two about life, such as how to decipher, decode and interpret hostile or difficult situations and how to (#cliché alert) “think outside of the box.” All useful tools in preparing them for what’s to come in life, don’t you think? #alwaysgiving