The Most Idiotic Things Said to Parents

One of the most irritating things about having lots of children is that I start to hear the same comments over and over. Many of them are incredibly stupid and inane. Mostly they’re just things that people say because they don’t want you to know what they’re really thinking.  Here is a handy translation guide in case you’re clueless enough to take people’s comments at face value.

“You sure have your hands full”.  Translation (if you have 1-2 children): “Your kid’s a total spaz. I’ve heard good things about Stratera.” (If you have more than two children) “Would you mind shutting your kids up? I’m trying to shop/checkout books/sit on the beach in peace and quiet. The world is all about me, me, me and not your noisy brats.”

Of all the phrases I hear, this one irks me the most. What am I supposed to say? Some parents chose the passive-aggressive “better full than empty”.  Nice parents opt for a sweet smile, hoping to preserve enough self-control not to rip the person’s head off.  I like a simple “no friggin’ duh. So why don’t you help me unload my grocery cart?”


“She’s a keeper”. This phrase is strictly limited to newborns. Translation: (if said by a woman): “What an ugly baby.” (If said by a man): “All babies look the same to me”.  If you really do have a cute baby your friends and relatives will use words like “gorgeous”, “adorable”, “perfect” or “cutest baby I’ve ever seen”.  The only thing worse than “she’s a keeper” is a simple “awww.” (translation: “ewww”).


“They grow up so fast”. Translation, “I know that every day seems like a hundred hours. But eventually you’ll wish they were little again. Not until you’ve developed Alzheimers, though. In the mean time, try not to kill them.”


“Are all those kids yours?” Translation: “That is a hell of a lot of kids, you crazy woman!”  The proper response is: “no, I just love taking kids to the grocery store/airport/science center so much that I brought all the neighbor kids too.”


Honorable mention: “You just had a baby!”  Said in response to a postpartum woman’s lamentations about being fat. Translation, “I can’t believe you’re not on Weight Watchers already! I was way thinner than you by this point.”  Even if the woman had a baby three years ago, this is always the given response.


Readers, if I ever hear you say any of these phrases you will be instantly denounced as my friend. Consider yourself warned.


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8 thoughts on “The Most Idiotic Things Said to Parents

  1. I too am so friggin’ sick of “You sure have your hands full”. I have heard that so many times it is unbelievable, and I don’t even have as many kids as you do.

    Loved this my dear!

  2. I promise it’s worse if you have a set of twins in the mix. Especially ones that are two. Really sometimes I want to punch people in the face when they say such things as I am wrangling them in the carts while trying to keep the others from running amok. Drives me nuts. Really? You think my hands are full? THEN HELP ME! Amen, sista.

  3. You have to wonder what my Mom and Dad did when they took 8 out of 10 of us grubby kids to Reams at once, with 4 of us pushing carts, the toddler twins and whatever latest baby plopped into various child seats. Onlookers didn’t ask my parents if these were “all theirs,” They ran screaming from the Invasion of the Weird Family.
    Then we all gathered in a train at the checkout with carts full of 100 lb bags of flour, sugar, oats, & powdered milk, and full cases of beans, carrots, corn, peas, and beets. Strangely, nobody ever pulled their cart in at the end of our train. It took half an hour to check out.
    But we kids got to pick the pattern of cloth on the flour and sugar sacks, from which Mom would make our next blouse, pajamas or window curtains.

  4. I have a perennial favorite that only the truly appalled ever mention, “You know what causes that don’t you?!” Of course it can be said in so many other ways but the meaning is still the same, Only someone who is completely ignorant of the workings of her body would subjugate herself to get pregnant that often and have All Of Those Kids. Fun stuff.

    Of course maybe they really are in earnest and have our best interest at heart, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t fail Health in high school. Hm, or maybe they want to know how? I’d never thought of it that way. Sex ed in the check out line. That might get the lines moving more quickly.

  5. I could write a book just on what people say to moms of twins.
    I’m currently pregnant and have toddler twins. I swear that EVERY person has asked me if I’m having twins again. Many with a “did you DECIDE to have twins again” tone, most simply with the same curiosity that attracts them to all freak shows.

    I like the “better full than empty” comeback. I hadn’t thought of that.

  6. I had so much fun meeting you today, Hildie! Funny post! I received a number of those comments when my four children were all very young. The funniest thing was when I was pregnant with my third child. I couldn’t believe how many people would ask if it had been an unplanned pregnancy since I already had a boy and a girl.

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