Tuesday, 6 September 2016

My Mum's Sayings

It's funny how certain people have their own expressions and phrases. I always wonder if there are any particular ones that my loved ones associate with me because I'm not very verbal. 

Although lately I  have noticed that I'm starting to repeat of few of the classics I heard when I was growing up, courtesy of my mother. 

My Mum's Sayings

Mum and I at my 21st birthday party.

What do you want me to do about it? Turn cartwheels? 

This was usually in response to being told something that was supposed to be urgent, but turned out to be completely underwhelming. It was delivered deadpan, with heavy sarcasm. Mum couldn't actually turn cartwheels. So I'm not sure what her plan was if we'd replied in the affirmative. 

I could work the clock around when I was your age!

This expression referred to the fact that Mum worked her butt off from sunrise until late. To be utterly fair, this was quite true. My Mum is a ninja. One of those capable creatures who is up at 5 am and has done some gardening, baked scones, ploughed through several baskets of ironing plus a billion other things before 9 am. She may insist that she can no longer achieve the above (working the clock around), but she still runs rings around me at age 75. 

That's as boring as a nanny goat pooping on a tin dish.

Well yes, I suppose that would be rather boring when you think about it. But do goats really poop on tin dishes? This expression actually originated from my Pop, Mum's dad. A true classic in the tradition of something being 'as boring as batshit'. Love it!

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

My poor Mum had to trot this old cliche out (pun intended) many times to my teachers. She was cornered in parent/teacher interviews about my antipathy to anything sport related. Not to mention my excruciating shyness. They advised her to drag me to girl guides or something, anything to 'fix' me. I did end up doing a whole year of jazz ballet when I was ten, but I had two left feet. At 45 I'm still shy and exceptionally non sporty. Personally I don't believe there was or ever will be any sport or activity that will change that. Yep, you can lead the horse to water but you can't make it drink. Well, this horse doesn't mind a wine...

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Because Y's a crooked letter and Z's no better!

This was Mum's exasperated answer to my brother and I's endless round of but WHYS??? I must admit I've used this on my boys. The response: a disgusted glare with a groan. 

Because I said so. 

No negotiations. All I could do was sulk or pout after this was said. But Mum meant it. She said so. The end. And who hasn't tried this one as a parent? 

He's got a head on him like a racing tadpole.

An expression used to indicate that some one wasn't very attractive. I can't say I've ever examined a tadpole that closely, so I'll have to take my Mum's word for it.  This ties in with the next expression...

As ugly as a tub full of arseholes (tossed up and down). 

Similar meaning here to the previous tadpole one, except a notch more insulting. And if you wanted to take the insult up even one more level, you tossed the tub full of arseholes up and down. Interesting. 

Five foot tall and nine foot up themselves.

This describes someone who is insufferably pretentious, fake, phony and conceited. A total wanker, in other words. 

Bread and duck under the table.

This was Mum's answer to the inevitable and dreaded question: What's for dinner? I've definitely resorted to this answer when my boys query me. There's no sensible answer to the question that can please everyone.

However, as a child I was confused about this. I actually wondered if there really was, in fact, a duck under the table, that we were going to eat with bread. If this wasn't an example of my Aspie brain and it's literal interpretation, I don't know what was. I had thought that this was just one of my Mum's unique expressions, but a quick google search reveals that it dates back to the depression era when food was scarce and you may have only had bread to eat. You learn something new everyday! 

She went mad and they shot her!

Another saying that was wailed in sheer desperation to our endless cries of : "MUUUUUUUUUUM!" It's true what 'they' say. You never understand your parents until you have kids of your own. 

I'm not Houdini!

I've found myself muttering this lately when it seems like everyone wants you or wants something all at once, just like Mum did. I'm not a great multi-tasker, so the ability to do so seems like the equivalent of magical powers to me. 

And last but not least, my absolute FAVOURITE of my Mum's sayings...

If my brains were dynamite they wouldn't blow a part in my hair!

GOLD. A rueful expression, often exclaimed when you've forgotten something you were supposed to buy or do. I say this to myself frequently.

Looking back at Mum's expressions, it strikes me that she must have been stressed and exhausted, despite giving the appearance of a Super Mum Ninja. So thanks Mum, you're a legend! I totally get what a hard job it is now. And thanks for providing me with these classic expressions. 

Mum and I on my 40th birthday.

Now I'd better go and do some housework. Even if it is as boring as a nanny goat pooping on a tin dish. 

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What classic expressions do you remember?


  1. Hee hee I love this, your mum rocks! HOW do our mums do so much though? I mean, I thought when I was an adult I might enjoy cleaning like she does. No chance. I'm another wine-loving horse. I said HORSE! x

  2. Haha hadn't heard some of these before.

  3. A number of new ones here. I got away with.. 'because I said so' for a number of years. It is no longer working with the eldest teen.... #sendwine

  4. GOLD. My mum use to say "My fluffs smell like roses" and then everyone would have a smell and run off screaming. #teamIBOT

  5. Oh yes... we all turn into our mothers or fathers I think. I hadn't heard all of those, but some were frighteningly familiar!

  6. Wow, your mum had a way with words. I didn't know many but I loved how you not only remembered them but now can look back with affection. What a woman! And as for you, what a memory!