55 Classic Mum One-Liners We All Heard Growing Up & Swore We’d Never Say (But Do)

It’s funny how those ‘mum sayings’ you heard growing up have a way of worming their way into your adult life. Indeed, before you know it you hear them slipping out of your own mouth.

Here’s a rundown of the sayings that were bandied about in our homes when we were little. How many do you remember and, even better, how many do you say to your own kids now?!

Here are 55 classic things mums say – and what they REALLY mean, now that we’re saying them ourselves! Much to our dismay!

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1. “Don’t make me have to get up and come over there.”

What it really means: Top of the list of mum sayings, this means I’ve just sat down and I really don’t want to have to deal with whatever is going on over there.

2. “I’m going to turn this car around.”

What it really means: I’d rather take you all home again than spend another minute in this car listening to squabbling, so STOP IT.

3. “I’m going to count to 5 and you had better be doing what I asked you to do.”

What it really means: You had better move. I’m counting super slowly to give you the best chance. And because after that, I’ve got nothin’.

4. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

What it really means: There’s no need to go around hurting other people’s feelings. Just be a nice person, ok?

5. “Don’t even think about it.”

What it really means: I know you’ve already thought about it and I think it’s a really stupid idea. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

6. “Unless there’s blood or fire, I don’t want to know.”

What it really means: I’m tapping out of parenting life for half an hour, only disturb me if someone is dying.

7. “I’ll stop this car and you can walk home.”

What it really means: Stop it. Right now. I’m THIS CLOSE to losing my shi*.

things mums say

8. “Call me when you get there, so I know you got there safely.”

What it really means: CALL ME. Otherwise, I’ll assume you’re lying dead in a ditch somewhere and I’ll start calling the police and local hospitals. So just flick me a text, yeah?

9. “Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

What it really means: I don’t need to see a cement mixer of food, thanks.

10. “Because I said so.”

What it really means: Don’t question my motives. Most importantly, just do it.

11. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

What it really means: I told you so, you should have listened to me but you thought you knew better. I knew I was right.

12. “One day you will have children, and then you’ll understand.”

What it really means: Firstly, this is the greatest parenting revenge. Sleepless nights, spilled drinks in the car and stained carpet. Secondly, this will all come back and bite you on your own asses, kids.

13. “If you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to be having any fun.”

What it really means: In other words, I’m going to make the sick day at home so boring you’ll be wishing you were at school.

14. “Just you wait and see.”

What it really means:  I’m right, you’ll see. And when you do see that I’m right, I’ll be loving every minute!

things mums say

15. “There’s no need to use all the hot water!”

What it really means: Undoubtedly, no one needs to have 20-minute showers. Seriously. #teenagers

16. “Sharing is caring.”

What it really means: Sweet baby cheeses, just SHARE WITH YOUR SIBLINGS because I can’t be dealing with the tantrums.

17. “No dinner, no dessert.”

What it really means: It’s double or nothing. No good will come from you dissing your dinner. Furthermore, there will be NO ice-cream.

18. “I didn’t ask for your opinion.”

What it really means: The ultimate shut-down for the kid who is always eavesdropping and offering his two-cents worth when not asked. Obviously.

19. “Don’t put that in your mouth, you don’t know where it’s been.”

What it really means: Ewwww.

20. “Go ask your father.”

What it really means: I don’t want to even deal with this. Also, I’m passing the buck to the fun parent…

21. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s everyone else.”

What it really means: I want to wrap you in cotton wool.

things mums say

Just when you thought you’d heard ALL the mum sayings…

22. “Don’t drive like a d**khead and look out for them on the road.”

What it really means: My kid is a new driver and everyone treats the road like a race track.

23. “If someone asked you to jump off a cliff, would you?”

What it really means: In short, don’t follow the pack, have the courage to just do you.

24. “Do you think I like the sound of my own voice?”

What it really means: For goodness sake, I’ve said it 1000 times. LISTEN will you?!

25. “Say pardon, not what”

What it really means: Pardon sounds much more polite, therefore it makes me look like I’ve invested a lot of time instilling manners in my children.

26. “‘She’ is the cat’s mother.”

What it really means: To this day, I don’t understand this mum saying, but I say it all the same. Also, use people’s names, guys.

27. “What did your last slave die of?

What it really means:  I’m not doing that for you. No way José. Get off ya butt and do it yourself.

28. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”

What it really means: Warning: the play risk factor is high. Wear glasses when firing Nerf guns, throwing rocks, ditching various objects at your siblings.

things mums say

29. “It’ll all end in tears.”

What it really means: In other words, this mum saying means that no good will come of this. Plus, this is absolutely the best opening monologue to any Monopoly game ever.

30. “Were you born in a barn?”

What it really means: A mum saying for “shut the door!”

31. “Don’t sit too close to the TV, you’ll get square eyes.”

What it really means: Sit back from the TV. Like riiiiiight back. Besides, you don’t need to be able to count pixels.

32. “The wind will change and your face will stay like that.”

What it really means: Don’t do weird things with your face, like crossing your eyes for example.

33. “There’s no such word as can’t.”

What it really means:  Try and try again, peeps.

34. “Eat your carrots and you’ll see in the dark!”

What it really means: Just eat your carrots, damnit.

35. “You won’t get curly hair if you don’t eat your crusts!”

What it really means: Well, this mum saying assumes everyone wants curly hair. Basically it means “eat your crusts”.

things mums say

36. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

What it really means: Ignore what I do and listen to what I’m telling you to do, just to clarify.

37. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

What it really means: This classic mum saying essentially means I’m definitely not paying for that random toy you want this week.

38. “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules.”

What it really means: I’m having the last word and there’s nothing you can do about it.

39. “If you were really hungry, you’d eat a piece of fruit.”

What it really means: That bruised apple really needs to be eaten and if you were TRULY hungry, well…. #thingsmumssay

40. “Stop crying before I give you something to cry about.”

What it really means: You’re crying over nothing. Absolutely nothing. Plus, you’re kinda getting on my nerves!

41. “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.”

What it really means: Don’t slip those newly learned swear words out in front of Nanna. In other words, I’m warning you.

42. “Butter wouldn’t melt..”

What it really means: You’re totally adorable, I’m completely besotted with you and you can do no wrong.

things mums say

More things mums say…A LOT

43. “You cut your nose off to spite your face”

What it really means: You totally brought this on yourself.

44. “You’ll live.”

What it really means: You’ll be ok, you really will! I’m also not in the mood for handing out sympathy today.

45. “One day you’ll laugh about this.”

What it really means: It might seem like the world is ending right now, but in time it’ll be laughable. I hope.

46. “If you want to act like a child, I’ll treat you like one.”

What it really means: Grow up. It’s what every parent will find themselves saying to their teenager at some point.

47. “I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.”

What it really means: In other words it’s not negotiable, doooooo it.

48. “I didn’t come down with the last shower, I wasn’t born yesterday.”

What it really means: You ain’t fooling anyone, kid.

49. “Over my dead body!”

What it really means: Absolutely not happening. Like seriously. Nup.

things mums say

50. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

What it really means: Not a question at all. That is to say, pull your head in, also rethink very quickly how you’re talking to me.

51. “You’re not going out like that, go put some clothes on!”

What it really means: Clearly this meant put MORE clothes on.

52. “I don’t care who started it.”

What it really means: I’m completely over it and I just want it to end. NOW.

53. “I’ll smack your heads together if you don’t stop it.”

What it really means: I’m not above threatening violence if it doesn’t stop right now.

54. “There are children starving around the world, eat your dinner.”

What it really means: In other words, I’m going to guilt you into eating your dinner, no matter how much you don’t like it.

55. “I’ll love you always”

What it really means: I will smother you with my love for the rest of my years, so much so, you might beg for breathing room.

So tell us, how many of these mum sayings do you hear yourself muttering to your kids? Only a few or have you definitely turned into your own mum?

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Avatar of Lexi Klaebe

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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