My Life

20 Signs When You Were Little That Meant Mom Was None Too Happy With You Right Now

1. She used your middle name when screaming from another room that you needed to report to her immediately.

2. Dead silence on her end of the line when you called her at work for the twenty-seventh time in one afternoon.

3. Proclaiming at dinner that you don’t really care for liver and onions, and your plate is suddenly whisked away from in front of you.

4. You arrive at your house two seconds after the designated time to stop playing dodge ball with the neighborhood kids, and you see that the porch light has been turned off.

5. Anything that requires Mom to consult with Grandma about the appropriate punishment.

6. Getting off the bus after school and realizing that she was already home from work.

7. Those moments when you stupidly said something like “everybody else’s Mom is buying them a G.I. Joe!”

8. You walk into your bedroom and discover that your favorite toy is missing, replaced by a mop bucket and a sponge.

9. Any conversation that she starts with “I was talking to your teacher today…”

10. She slams on the brakes for no apparent reason while you and your sister are arguing with each other in the backseat of the car.

11. You threaten to call and report the horrible injustices you are suffering within this family and she hands you the phone.

12. You are squirming around in the pew at church, all fussy and bored, resulting in the accidental dislodging of the hymnal from its proper resting place, and the resounding boom of book meeting floor interrupts the pastor’s sermon on proper child-rearing.

13. You encounter Mom sitting at the kitchen table with the next-door neighbor, the old one who never drops by just to chat or have a cocktail.

14. She walks into the den and is fully aware that you have been jumping on the couch again even though you stopped doing that ten minutes ago when one of the important springs made an anguished noise.

15. The dreaded words “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you…”

16. The fake smile she gives the floor manager at the department store after he informs her that you were caught running in between the clothing racks and knocking things over.

17. The lack of the phrase “just wait until your father gets home” when she confronts you with another ill-advised activity, thus negating the cool-down period before retribution…

18. Hearing the trash truck drive by the house without stopping, meaning the trash you were supposed to carry out there did not quite make the journey, despite multiple memos from the home office urging you to make sure such a thing happened.

19. You fail to fully appreciate the socks and underwear that were graciously wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree just for you, and she quietly marches over to the really big package that you haven’t opened yet and tears your name tag off of it.

20. That look she would give you when she was having to remind herself how very much she loved you….


Previously published, slight changes made. And yes, that’s an actual picture of me and the first of my sisters. I’m sure she’s accusing me of some type of manufactured malfeasance, one of her specialties…

Reading this now, nearly a decade after the original version, Mom comes across as possibly mean-spirited. She is not. You have to balance her reactions with my provocative indiscretions. (Note how I have not noted my own provocations, for the most part. There are still statutes of limitations that have not expired. Safety first.) I was an angel 97% of the time (and Mom will concur). But when I got in a tizzy about something, I could cross a bridge that went too far with more gusto than I should have had. You live, you learn, and eventually you take the damn trash out when you’re supposed to…


55 replies »

  1. Mom doesn’t come across mean spirited at all. She and I would get along just fine. Ask my daughters 😉

    I once threatened to sell older to the gypsies (I’ve learned that isnt a nice word) then went to the phone and pretended to talk.

    Daughters learned when mom got really really quiet, they should move out of state😉😂😂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Relax, if you noticed these signs then your mother must have been happy with you most of the time.
    And, as a mother of grown children I must ask – When did you finally learn to take the damn trash out when you’re supposed to?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Right? Such a delicately-understated way of saying “no more playing until you get your chores done”. Of course, being a young gayling with a vivid imagination, I initially thought she was telling me I should be on the Carol Burnett show, which I happily would done… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been on the receiving end of “The Look” more times than I care to admit to publicly. And I recognize myself in so very many of these Signs. But she always had the best hugs, the best hot chocolate and when necessary the best wooden spoon. For the record I still have that spoon! A treasured reminder.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We’ve had this discussion before somewhere else, but if my mother rolled her tongue and then bit it? It was best to make sure your passport was current and to get on the next plane to anywhere but where she was. There was a vague smell of death on the air. My siblings and I learned early to disappear if that tongue thing even threatened to appear. They all had that ‘evil stare of death’ thing down to a science, I suspect it was a benefit of having to parent I developed my own version, but it’s weak tea compared to the mother’s ‘evil stare of death’. Or the fathers. Either one? Chills my blood and I’m probably older than any of them… O_o You were ADORABLE by the way, egg collecting or not. And I suspect the trash gets taken out in a timely and prudent manner because (I don’t know about you, but it is true for me) that stuff begins to really STINK if it’s left for a while..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mom also had/has this little grimace thing she would do, where she would press her lips together so hard that there would be this thin little line where her mouth should be. This was a sign of her simultaneously trying to suppress what she really wanted to say but also making it very clear that she was going to have the last word in the given situation.

      The photo is archaic evidence that her parents did own a working farm, and since we were there all the time, I can technically say that I grew up on one. I definitely remember chickens and cows (and a pony for us grandkids!) but all of that mess was long gone by the time I was in high school…


  5. Hilarious! I love it when you do these. Here are mine.
    Mama called me by my full name, and I knew that I was up the creek without a paddle.
    If she had rollers in her hair…I was most likely going to be killed.
    Once I questioned the deliciousness of her beans…and she smashed them in my face.
    She would call me “her highness.”
    Not only having the brakes slammed on…she put me out and I had to walk about five miles home. I was only 9 or 10. When I got home and knocked on the door, she said, “oh, it’s you.” LOLOL
    My daddy, not quite as volatile, would threaten to send me to reform school.
    As far as my motherhood…I will swear perfection, but…
    I used to threaten to have all four of them put to sleep.
    I took the bedroom door off the hinges when a little girl kept slamming it. (A few hours later, I was knocking on it. She had put it back up and I didn’t even notice.)
    Telling them that I was going to snatch them bald. Used that one on my grandson, but when he told his mom and dad it didn’t quite come out right. He told them that Mimi said, “I’m going to snatch your balls.”
    When I told them they couldn’t do something or go somewhere, they would say, “fine. I’ll just ask dad.” I would say, “fine. When he comes home at 2 in the morning, I’ll wake you up so you can ask.”
    When I wouldn’t let young son go down the street and play because it was too close to dinnertime, he said he was going to call 911 because I was abusing him. I handed him the phone and said, “fine. Enjoy your bologna sandwich and glass of water tonight.”
    P.S. I keep leaving comments on your posts and they never show up. It’s a travesty! A travesty, I say! (You probably won’t even see this one.) 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • These are hysterical (and a bit violent, just like my own childhood). The line about “rollers in her hair” set me off and I giggled the rest of the way through. As I often say with many of your comments, this would make a GREAT blog post. Several, actually. Just make sure one of the posts centers around the rollers in the hair. (Still giggling.)

      Luckily, I did see this comment, but I fully understand your pain. As I’ve mentioned, the comments I make on your posts usually vanish. It’s odd, because when I first submit them, I can see them. But if I check later, they’re gone, though not always. I have no idea what’s going on. But we’ll keep trying, because we can’t let the WordPress twits win, right? Right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I tell ya. That woman scared the hell out of me. Even when she was dead! I had to identify her body and while I was looking at her, I realized that I was terrified that she was going to sit up and slap me. Now, I don’t much worry when I open my trunk…even though she’s been in there for 13 years.
        But…I can’t write like you. You make everything so funny! It always leaves me wanting more.
        I wonder if your comments don’t show up because I’m not using that block thing. (Or at least I don’t think I am.) And, No! We mustn’t let those WordPress tits win!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. LOL. I experienced this one “your plate is suddenly whisked away from in front of you” when I screamed too loudly for a plate of pineapple chunks. Still, on the whole, love your mom. I admire all women who have to work as well as raising several kids. The job is never ending. I know several women like that. They go to work to have a rest since home is too much work for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right, sometimes mothers find a bit of solace in the workplace. I’m fairly certain that my own mother reached the point where she wasn’t in any hurry to rush home and deal with us wild urchins running all over the place… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Two bits of related trivia: One, my father chose “Gregory” as my middle name so I could go by “Greg” if I decided I wasn’t fond of “Brian”. (I suspect this is because he couldn’t stand his own given name, “Francis”, which he later legally changed to “Frank”, and he was giving me an opt-out.) Two, when I was a budding writer in my starry-eyed youth, I planned to use “Gregory Bryan” as my pen name. Luckily, as with most youthful, starry things, that plan fell by the wayside…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. This post was such a good idea, it didn’t just bring us back to times when our mothers weren’t all that pleased with us, it also took me back to the memories of the times I do want to keep close to my heart. It could help others to go back to the memories that made them happy, especially if they are in a stressful state 💕🌷 thank you for making this post 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love this post, and can personally relate to 17 or 18 of the 20. It brought back memories of my own mother, who passed away in 2014 at too young an age. She was stern, and I absolutely was not an angel 97% of the time (10% would be more like it). I suppose that’s why we banged heads so often, and why that, in turn, made us love each other so much. Great post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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