What Weird Rules Have You Internalized From Your Parents?

Parents are blamed for everything! The way our noses move when we think, our aging patterns, our crippling anxiety (just because), our inability to love (why?), the weird way we say “ice cream” (just me?). It’s pretty rude of us when you consider the astronomical number of times we’ve defecated on them, literally. Also figuratively. Poor parents. They don’t deserve it.

But they’re an easy target! (Please don’t apply this metaphor to the defecation reference.) And some of the random stuff they taught us — whether they actually believed it or they were just messing with us or we misinterpreted it — lingers under the surface of our consciousness for years, like a commercial jingle we can’t forget. The crescendo of this process is the moment we realize it’s unusual or unlikely or just batshit insane. And that part usually happens later than it should.

For instance, my siblings and I spent most of college unearthing, one by one, all the “common sayings” our mom used growing up, as totally weird, completely made up or, at the very least, entirely unused in the last 50 years of the English language. There were so many that we eventually lumped them together under the umbrella of “Kitisms” (our nickname for her is Kit).

Examples of Kitisms: “chip chop” / “tired solders are pessimists” / “shave my head and send me to camp” / “tired as a pig” / armpit gauges / “rock, roll and rattle” / “wheels up” / “pleased as punch” / “if you hang around the barbershop, you’re going to get a haircut.”

Even my close friends know the term and, whenever I say something they don’t understand, look at me in confused ernest and ask, “Is that a Kitism?” We still discover them every once in a while.

I love learning about these little tidbits, so I asked Team MR about theirs and oh, they delivered. Read below and then tell us yours!

Amelia Diamond: My mom convinced me that she was omniscient when I was very young and even though, as I got older, I knew that wasn’t technically true, I still cannot help but assume she has a little tracking device on me or a nanny cam at all times. Like The Truman Show!

Leandra Medine: My mom told me that if the soles of my shoes are facing the sky it means I disrespect all the people around me and that always stuck with me. So I make sure my shoes are always right side up (when not on my feet). I think she internalized that from her own mom. Also my parents always called our boogers “shmucks”, which I learned LAST WEEKEND means a horse’s penis.

Elizabeth Tamkin: We are Russian and my dad would make up words for things and tell me they were Russian translations. For example, he’d say “kitushki” meant “cat.” Nope. Also we’d always leave for the airport absurdly early. Like, 6 hours. And this is a weird one: we’d rarely, if ever, go to dinner without a reservation. For a long time I thought restaurant walk-ins were a risky and insecure move.

Krista Lewis: My mom once told me that cold water washes away dish soap faster than hot water. In later years, she claimed she never said this but I continued to believe it. I now wash my dishes in a water temperature dependent upon the air temperature. We always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with the day as a kind of add-on celebration day with the wider family. It wasn’t until college that I realized this was a Swedish thing.

Kate Barnett: My parents instilled in me that you have to wash dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Also that you have to hit your last shots before you leave the basketball court. A three-pointer and a free throw in succession. You can’t leave until then.

Jasmin Aujla: My parents told me it was bad luck to sleep with your wardrobe doors open or opposite a mirror. I NEVER do it now and I also make sure the bathroom and bedroom doors are fully closed too. They also taught me a multitude of eating-related rules such as: 1. A cup of tea after every meal aids digestion. 2. Don’t swim or shower after eating. 3. Also don’t stretch after eating or you’ll turn into a donkey. 4. A shot of whiskey or cognac will cure all ailments.

Yvonne Dunlevie: My mom convinced me I would break my ankles if I wore heels or platforms like these, which I wanted very badly. The other thing — I’m not sure you’d call this a rule — but for some reason, in my family, we thought it was really funny to pinch each other’s butts and yell “WOO!” It was very innocent and developed into something called “the woo game” which was basically hide-and-go-seek with butt-pinching. Our whole family did it! Two parents and four kids. Then, on my little brother’s first day of kindergarten, he did it to one of his classmates and a parent-teacher conference ensued. My mom had to try to explain it was a term of endearment.

Harling Ross: My parents floss AFTER they brush their teeth which I later realized is totally wrong. They also served me and my sisters eggs for dinner as children and we were shocked to discover later that eggs are normally considered a breakfast food.

Patty Carnevale: My mom would always roll the windows down when we drove across a bridge just in case we plunged into the water as a result of some horrific event. She didn’t want the pressure to trap us in the car! I still do it when I remember and I have no idea if that’s the right thing to do. She also said that her grandmother (my great grandmother Mum-mum) washed her hair with vinegar and never had a gray hair in her life. We tried it once. It was unpleasant. And we both have gray hair.

Illustration by Emily Zirimis.


Get more Humor ?
  • Whenever a loud noise was happening (train going by, ambulance siren), my dad would turn to one of us and yell, ‘WHAT?’ as if he couldn’t hear what we said (though no one had been talking).
    I was dragging a rattly cart with a coworker recently and yelled, ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ and she was like, ‘uh, I didn’t say anything.’ And that’s when I had to say oh sorry I guess that’s just something we do in my family. whoops.

    • Haley Nahman

      Wait this is so random and funny

  • While potty training my parents must have threatened me with severe punishment if I ever peed in the pool at my grandparents’ house. To this day I still can’t pee in a body of water which makes going to the beach slightly stressful.

  • Andrea Raymer

    My parents would always get upset with me if i put my stuff on a chair so that no one can sit there. It still throws me off when my roommate puts stuff on a chair because I forget that not everyone’s parents would get upset about it.

  • tmcgee

    Owe this one to Mama McG, so every time I sat down to dinner we’d have napkins, like really nice ironed ones although napkin rings were just seen as excessive. If we didn’t have any (they were all in the wash or something) then it was taboo to put kitchen towel or paper serviettes on the table. Pretty really bizarre but I still silently judge people on their choice of napkins v serviette.

  • MMR

    My mother told my sister and I that if we went to bed with our hair in a bun or ponytail wet, when we woke up we’d find our ponytail off our heads… Even though we grew up to realize it wasn’t true…. my sister and I still blow dry our hair before bed.

    • Haley Nahman

      Actual lol

  • I still think that going to bed with your hair wet may lead to arthritis

    • Haley Nahman

      This is actually insane?!

    • Mariana

      About arthritis I don’t know, but sore throat is true for me!

    • anitacaracolita

      My mom’s was similar (scarier!) she would let us know that going to bed with wet hair there was a chance we’d wake up with our faces paralyzed forever (she now claims she never said this!!) but I was terrified for years!

    • Julie

      My Nana was horrified and would say to me, “You’ll catch your death of cold” and my mum would agree because I always went to bed with wet hair. Ain’t nobody got time for drying as much hair as I have! In college I didn’t bother getting a brush or a hairdryer. I’m not sure if it was really laziness or if I was just rebelling against their threats of getting a cold..

    • I rarely do it because my mom told me from a very young age that I would get a cold. Whenever I do, I wake up with a horrible headache!

    • ArtsDuMal

      My grandma wouldn’t let me sit on stone surfaces because she said I would get arthritis or hemerrhoids. As a child I was like “elderly people problems” but now idk I won’t sit on any museum steps.

  • kduck

    It all comes from my dad. Brushing teeth any time you leave the house. It’s just courteous to others. Squeezing the soda bottle before you put the lid on so there is less room for gas to diffuse out of the soda. We are a nerdy household. Sucking air out of ziploc bags before closing…but never with shredded cheese. Shredded cheese must be protected by a nice, cushiony air pillow.

    • Haley Nahman

      I love your family.

    • Kim J

      Squeezing the bottle actually makes soda flat. It creates a bit of a vacuum in the bottle and more carbonation comes out of the soda to fill it.
      That’s a pretty crap explanation I just gave…but it’s true.

      • kduck

        This totally makes sense. It never worked anyway, ha ha. Just something we always had to do.

  • Halle Elizabeth

    Every time we would pull into the driveway, my parents would quote “Home again, home again, Jiggity Jig” from that nursery rhyme. It then shortened to just “Jiggity Jig”. Every time.
    Now no matter who I’m with, whenever I pull into my parents’ driveway, I cannot help but say “Jiggity Jig”. every single time.

    • Haley Nahman

      That is SO WEIRD and perfect.

    • Maia

      YES. My family and I do this too! Only half the time I continue on to “to market, to market, to buy a fat pig” – somehow it’s always in the reverse order though.

      • Samantha s

        My mom said the long version as well, and would always turn around and squeeze the baby’s toes! I think it’s so sweet. I’m the oldest and there were 3 babies after me. I assume I had my toes squeezed as well.

    • Autumn

      My mom used to always say that phrase too!! Except it’s shortened to “home again, home again”.

      • MT

        I forgot that was even part of the same thing. I say that ALL the time.

    • MT

      We always said it jiggity jog but yeah, I say that after long trips a lot, still.

    • my mom says that too!!

    • Jamie Leland

      My dad always says, “Whew! We made it,” as if he wasn’t sure if we would.

    • I’ve never heard of that nursery rhyme so this is HILARIOUS hahahha

    • Elise

      When our family would pull into the driveway, my dad would say “Home, James.” And considering no one in our immediate or even extended family was called James, it made absolutely no sense!

      • Emma Jane Richards
      • Sara

        lol omg my mom used to say this too!!

      • Katie Dreskin Boonshoft

        My husband and I say “Home, James,” too! We have NO clue where it came from!

    • My grandfather would always say, right after parking the car, “You don’t have to get out, but you can’t stay here!” Also, he didn’t call children by their real names. All the boys were Nicodemus, and all the girls were Esmeralda.

    • Gregory Apparel

      My parents would say, “We’re home! Cheated death again” and giggle. They both dabbled in car racing so riding with them was a ‘hold on tight’ kind of experience.

  • Vic

    Wait… you’re supposed to floss before you brush your teeth?!

    • Haley Nahman

      I KNOW. It makes sense when you think about it thought right? I still do it backwards.

      • Vic

        Oh man, I’m going to have to try this tomorrow

    • Harling Ross

      YES!!!!!!! Because it gets all the gunk out of your teeth and then you brush it all away. Revelation.

      • Grace b

        I just…can’t. Mind blown.

    • Stephanie

      When I go to the dentist they floss after they use that toothbrush thing.

      • Sam Haley

        Yes I ALWAYS flossed before brushing but on my most recent visit the dental hygienist told me that’s wrong! Apparently you’ll just brush all the gunk back into the cracks of your teeth. You’re supposed to brush the floss then swish with water. I also swallowed all my toothpaste until I was like ten which I really don’t think I can blame my parents for.

    • Never knew that either!

  • Mariana

    I am hyperconscious about calling someone after 10 p.m. (messages not included) because “is bad manners, people may be sleeping.”

    • CDC

      SAME!!! In my house the cut-off time was 8pm, and my mom wouldn’t even let me answer the phone past that time

      • Mine is 8:30, and also coincidentally is my cut off time for cooking dinner. You want me to make you dinner but it’s past 8:30? nope, fuck you, kitchen’s closed, Uber Eats you are up.

    • Me too! 9pm was the cutoff.

    • Pamela Bruno

      Mine is between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. because “it’s bad manners to call people during lunch and nap time, people may be sleeping” haha.

      • Mariana

        “Nap time” as siesta time?! ¡Hola!!

        • Pamela Bruno

          Si siesta 🙈😂

  • Instead of saying the word “a lot” my mom just says the number 42. “It was so crowded! There were like 42 people there!” 42 isn’t always that big of a number…

    • This made me laugh so much.. Like an expression tic. Bless your ma.

    • emilyrose_tcb

      my mom always uses the phrase “really a lot” instead of …anything else, and i picked it up too, so everyone always makes fun of us ~really a lot~ for that 🙁

    • Tessa Gilcher

      That’s so funny! My go to number is always 42 too! Even when it doesn’t do a great job of expressing how many people were really there lol

  • PCE

    My parents always told me when I was little that if I ate watermelon and swallowed the seeds a watermelon would grow in my belly. My dad also says “company’s coming!” whenever someone drops a fork, and now I do that too. It was also bad luck to drop the salt unless you tossed it over your shoulder after!

    • Melissa

      My parents told me the same about watermelon seeds. haha. I still envision that happening any time I accidentally eat a seed.

    • cuffers27

      My brother still won’t eat cherries to this day because of my mum completely freaking him out when he accidentally swallowed a stone about 20 years ago…

      • PCE

        I’m with him! Seedless watermelon is the bees knees

  • maiadeccan

    dad always says (and demonstrates) that the first thing you should eat everyday is a piece of citrus fruit (orange, grapefruit – you can keep it seasonal). even on vacations we’d have to find a grocery to buy huge bags of oranges to keep this up. i 100% still comply.

  • Harling Ross

    Also just saying: I would like to meet Haley’s mom.

  • Mariana

    Krista, in Portugal we celebrate Christmas the same way 😀 must be a european thing.

  • Alejandra Buitrago

    I always hover when using public bathrooms and shower with flip flops in every shower, including my own. We are Nicaraguan, which is one of the more boisterous types of Hispanics, so when we get lost in a public place we whistle loudly ( an agreed-upon whistle) for each other as we look around. This weirds my friends out when I do this out of habit. Also, when I need to quickly express an emotion, I do this click motion with my index and middle finger to signal everything from excitement, to laughter, to anger. I was later told this expression is a way of asking if someone near has a tin of chewing tobacco in the south… Go figure.

    • Ashley

      My family has a whistle too! I’ve finally trained my boyfriend on it. It saves so much time looking for each other in Costco.

  • AnnieH

    My mum (passed down from her mum) is semi-superstitious about shoes being on tables, and I have been known to take shoes off other people’s tables because of it (it means someone has died), which gets me some odd looks. Also my uni housemates used to mock the way I frequently use ‘absolutely’ instead of ‘yes’, and then realised my mum does it too. I had never even noticed it until later!

    There is a card that my mum sent to her mum of the three witches in Macbeth, saying something along the lines of ‘the worst part is that I’m doing this exactly the way my mother would’, which I think sums up this article/comment thread exactly!

    • PCE

      I don’t know if it came from my parents or what, but shoes on a table freaks me out! Mostly bc I find it unsanitary (I think?).

    • Julie

      You can’t ever put shoes on a table, it’s bad luck! Also no opening umbrellas indoors.

  • Maia

    Washing and re-using plastic bags (I still despise it, but begrudgingly do it anyways), ALWAYS putting on the E brake when parking a car, immediately taking off my shoes when entering anyone’s home/apartment. Also – and this has led to roommate issues/disagreements in the past – did anyone else grow up with the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” golden rule of toilet etiquette? I’m still trying to break myself of this.

    • Aydan

      E brake & shoes are both things I do as well, thanks mom and dad! But the e brake one, I freak out if people don’t have it on, even if we’re on a flat road!

    • MT

      I’ve mostly dirving manual transmission cars so I always use the e brake, but recently found out my sister and her husband (who ALSO mostly drive manuals) only use the e brake if they’re on a perceptable hill. Which just sounds super cray to me.

    • Katie L

      I live in California and almost everyone I know follows the “mellow yellow” rule (bc, drought). I have not accidentally left my pee in the office toilet yet, but almost have many times.

  • Liz

    Mine is so weird. So instead of saying “Are you serious?/is that really true?” etc my family always says “Ruth Buzzi?” Apparently my uncle ran into her in Los Angeles and nobody believed him for some reason, so everyone asking “Ruth Buzzi?” over and over again started to stick. I didn’t even know Ruth Buzzi was a real person and not just a saying until I was in college which was pretty embarrassing.

    My grandma (who is an Irish Catholic) also used to use a lot of Jewish phrases, which I also didn’t realize was weird for us to say until college.

  • Charlotte Dallin

    If you ask anyone in my family what’s for dinner (no matter the generation), the reply you’ll get is, “pig’s feet and ice-cream”.
    Long story.

  • Autumn

    My parents use a lot of phrases I thought were normal and that everyone understood. Turns out that’s not the case. For example, when something stops working my parents say it “shit the bed”; as in, “the dishwasher just shit the bed”.

    • I kind of want to start using that one now!

      • little c

        2nd! Love!

    • Ellie

      Ahhaha in England (well at least in London) “shit the bed” is just like an exclamation you’d use in the same place as like oh no/oh shit! Never heard it in that context so it sounds hilarious!

      • little c

        I love this! I haven’t lol literally in so long at something! Stealing this!

      • I am a Yank, and that is the way I have always heard it used.

        Sometimes elaborated to, ” Shit the bed, Ethel!”

    • Morgan Davison

      My parents (and I) use that expression! But, more of in terms of someone making a mistake, or made something worse for themselves. Kind of along the same lines as “shot themselves in the foot”

    • Jessica H

      I thought shit the bed was just widely recognized as a saying for when something breaks. Wow!

    • teddy

      In our family it’s always used to express surprise at somebody being awake and out of bed early.. As in “What are you doing up? Shit the bed?”

    • Katie Dreskin Boonshoft

      Hahaha no I say this too when things break! Your parents aren’t the only ones! 👍🏻

  • Natalalaa

    I´m since ever a foodie and as a child my mother convinced me that gazing at the oven might damage my eyes. Took my me way too long to find out that that´s not true…

  • Abby

    When I was a kid, my mom was on a perma-diet and never kept real junk food in the house. Until I was like 11 I firmly believed that the only kind of cookies that exist are Fig Newtons because that’s what I was always told growing up.

    • Aydan

      oh my!! I had a college friend in a similar boat to this — except for him it lasted into university and he REALLY struggled with the endless supply of fries!!

  • This was amazing. I am beginning to question everything my Mother has ever said to me.

  • Mandy

    I believed for an embarrassingly long time that you weren’t allowed to catch a fish bigger than your fathers’, which prevented me from sharing my fish-catching-glory with the world (and preserved my father’s pride I guess)

  • MT

    When my sister was little she couldn’t say the word “horses” so she called them “torties” and I have spent my entire life yelling “torties!” whenever I pass a field with horses (as well as “mooooooo” when I pass a field with cows but I assume everyone does that).

    My mother calls slow drivers “pokey puppies” so I still do that, too.

  • shrizzyc

    My parents are indian and speak British English. When I was growing up they used the phrase “fighting cock” to describe people that were overly argumentative… which wasn’t a problem until I called one of my pre-school classmates a “fighting cock” and my teacher called home. Poor teacher thought I had such a potty mouth at such a young age.

    • shrizzyc

      Also my mom whistles with her two index fingers when dinner is ready… Didn’t realize until middle school that this is NOT normal mom behavior.

      • BuffyAnneSummers97

        Normal mum behaviour is to go to the foot of the stairs and SCREECH that dinner is ready-much worse than whistling!

  • I don’t remember this but my mother said when I was younger she never wore jeans and one day she wore them and I said “I didn’t know mommies could wear jeans too!” what an idiot i was. i also didn’t know that there were other family vacations besides Disney world. we went every year and i thought that’s just what everyone else’s family did too. OHHH my little priveldged life! But seriously, I think I was like 13 when I realized people went on like cruises and to islands or Europe or camping with their family.

  • CDC

    My best ones come from the nannies I had growing up! One of them had a theory that if you got a mattress too close to a TV screen it would explode. They didn’t have to touch, just be in close proximity.

    Another claimed that if she opened the fridge right after she’d been ironing, her face would freeze into place. You cannot go from hot to cold and come out unscathed, so I always had to pass her the milk or whatever refrigerated food she was after in case she could never again change her expression.

    • Haley Nahman


  • Bee

    My parents are the same way about washing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and I honestly don’t understand why anyone would do it any other way!

    • lucyst0ner

      when i first moved out of my parents house i thought my dishwasher was broken because my dishes didnt come out sparkling clean like they did at their house! then i realized they washed theirs prior to placing them in the dishwasher & felt like an idiot LOL

    • Senka

      My dad refuses to uses dishwasher completely even though it’s been in the house for quite some time, calling it jokingly capitalist novelty ( he’s 70 and grew up and lived in communist Balkan). If he’s alone at home he’ll simply wash the dishes he used. Both me and mom laugh about it, but he’s relentless.

  • My dad taught me that it’s basically treason to call someone while they’re eating dinner.

    Nowadays, I’ll make a point of not calling people between 5-7pm, and I get irritated as f**k any time my husband’s phone goes off during dinner…because he was raised by wolves who think it’s cool to answer the goddamn phone or text away about nonsense during an ENTIRE F**KING MEAL.

    Guess that silly rule rubbed off on me after all…haha!

  • kay

    when my mom cooked or baked she would always say “if a little is good a lot must be better” and to this day i always add at minimum 50% (actually more like double) extra of whatever i think the best thing in a recipe is. and i judge all cookies harshly compared to hers.

    • Haley Nahman

      wow your mom sounds so fun

  • Christel Michelle

    My father is from the Central African Republic and told us a lot of cautionary tales growing up that his parents had passed down to him. To this day whenever I’m meeting someone new or in the beginning phase of an important relationship I remember his warning to “watch out for chameleons”. He’d also always say, “Don’t trust a friend who tells you to stick your hand in a hole that their hand has never been in” and “Don’t mix your hand towels with your napkins.” Also: stay away from voodoo of all kinds, but that feels like a separate issue lol

  • When I was really little there was a big e coli scare so when I asked for a hamburger at McDonald’s my mom would tell me that I didn’t like them so she could keep me from eating them. I didn’t find out until I was in college that I’d never actually had a McDonald’s hamburger! Still, to this day, I won’t eat them!

  • LetsEatPizza

    Not totally the same, but my family is South American and my parents did not grow up with Santa Claus, so I never believed in him. However my mom would say “Your classmates believe he is real and it means a lot to them, do don’t let them know it’s a lie. Only you know the truth.” I would be at school during the holiday season every year thinking, wow these kids are all idiots.

    • rebeccarolnick

      YES me too!

    • Melissa

      My dad grew up with no Christmas because of a religious upbringing, and because I’m the oldest, my dad didn’t really ever give me the chance to believe in Santa Claus either (my younger brother did though). My cousin believed in Santa Claus until she was like 12, so I had to be really careful not to spoil it for her. I also had a Tooth Angel instead of a Tooth Fairy. haha

      • little c

        So, does the tooth Angel give you anything for the teeth?

        • Melissa

          Yup! Haha A few dollars and a handwritten letter with Bible verses, clearly in my Dad’s writing.

  • Michaela Williams

    Since we were little, every time my sister and/or I would leave to go somewhere, my dad stands outside the garage or front door waving and says, “Have fun storming the castle!” Which is a Princess Bride reference, in case you don’t know. Now I feel like I have to say it every time we leave from visiting them.

  • Summer

    In my family, we say ‘dump the dishwasher’, meaning we’re going to take out and put away all the clean dishes. It wasn’t until college that I realized that fully NO ONE else says this!

    • Haley Nahman

      i’m going to start saying this!!

  • My dad always told me stories starting with: “when I was young and living in America” (we’re from Denmark). I always thought he was so cool for being a youngster in America. Until he told me a couple of years ago that he has never been to America. It was all a big fat joke and he thought I knew it. I was so disappointed.

    p.s it’s not only a swedish thing to celebrate christmas on the 24th. Actually almost every country in Europe does it 😉

    • Rach

      except the UK! (apart from family that celebrates with a curry… go figure)

    • In French-Canada, it’s always the 24th. We call it the “réveillon” (the party to stay up late) and you go to midnight mass.

      • Joie Grandbois

        Yes! My mother’s family is from Quebec and we celebrate on the 24th too!

  • BK

    Where to BEGIN.
    – For some strange reason, Mum always used to frown at any cake recipe that used more than two eggs. I used to get in huge amounts of trouble if I went over the cutoff! To this day I still get a little nervous if I’m making something with more than her standard number, and she still asks how many I used (I just roll my eyes at her now). As a result I always thought eggs were really expensive (Turns out she’s just compulsively frugal).
    – Whenever any of us leave the house and drive off down the driveway, we give two little taps on the horn; don’t ask me why.
    – As for sayings, we all say “I’m bushed!” as a means of communicating personal exhaustion, but I have no idea how or why.
    – Also we say “smoko” to mean morning tea – Australian slang for “smoking break” (none of us have ever smoked) and apparently my sister used to say it at kindergarten and flatly refused to believe it was actually called recess. Parents were called.
    – my dad is his own walking bucket of weird rhyming slang or roundabout abbreviations. In his world, a hat is a barrel of fat, a gun is a smoke-pole, my dog Trixie is Tibbles or Thripsilblatt. (WHAT. WHY.). He calls his favourite TV show Fingers because the host apparently waves his fingers about a lot (irl called Letters and Numbers).
    – my brother and I use the word “fungbunger” a lot as verb, noun or adjective because it sounds almost like, but entirely isn’t, a swear word

    • Julie

      My mother and the eggs. Exactly the same thing! I made an orange cake today and had to go through the ritual “How many eggs did you use in that?” and admit that I used three. Cue the sharp intake of breath and the slight feeling that I was too extravagant… Good job it was delicious 🙂

      • Jen

        Yes! What is it with mothers and their egg hoarding?

  • Emmie

    If we’ve walked home, or had a long car journey home my mum will say ‘Home James’ – no one in our family is called James.

    And my dad always picks up the phone and state our home phone number before saying hello. So I’ll do that too. It’s long and I’ll usually slur the numbers together but I can’t not do it

    • Jen

      For some reason I find your dad’s habit to be hilarious! Do people ever hang up before he’s had a chance to say hello?

      • Emmie

        sometimes! it’s usually people trying to sell you shit though

      • Katie Dreskin Boonshoft

        My dad would answer the phone, “Dreskin Bakery! Which crumb would you like to speak to?” So weird, and people would always hang up!

    • Haley Nahman

      that is CRAZY!!!

    • Sarah Tindale

      My Mum says ‘Home James’ as well! every single time! hahahaha

    • Emma Jane Richards

      it’s a UK sitcom, James is a chauffeur – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_James!

  • Sirena Abalian

    My grandmother always told me that if you don’t finish everything on your plate your fiancé would be ugly… I am praying that years of never leaving a crumb will pay off one day!

    • Haley Nahman

      my jaw actually dropped

  • Ally

    My mom really hates cats and she told me that all cats were evil. She said we couldn’t have them in the house because at night they sneak into bedrooms and suck out the souls of children with their eyes … ridiculous.

  • Marina

    My mom told me that shards were attracted to our skin or bodies, so even if I was sure I wasn’t stepping on the broken glass in the kitchen I could not go near it, cause it might jump from the floor and cut my feet.

    • Haley Nahman

      this is something out of a horror movie

  • Hannah Dylan Pasternak

    My mom’s rule that has by far destroyed my subconscious the most is “only kiss boys you like,” which has shaped and affected my entire outlook on love and relationships because I really, really, really believed in it in a tooth fairy sort of way for a very long time. Like, man, this was a RULE. But it’s hard because I’m also a feminist, and I feel like I should be able to enjoy dating half as much as Taylor Swift does (at the very least) without worrying about my mom judging me. Also, my grandpa always told me that if I didn’t wear slippers around the house I would be pneumonia and die, like Coach Carr from Mean Girls style.

  • ArtsDuMal

    My mother claimed that you could get an STD from wearing flip flops during winter. She has a very scientific explanation involving something called “microlesions” to support this so I believed her and shared this wisdom with my boyfriend. He laughed but then shortly after, while wearing flip flops. he slipped on ice and tore his ACL. So I guess you can get some sort of illness from them?

  • Hannah

    HALEY! This is hilarious because my dad’s name is Howard and I have a running list of “Howardisms” in my phone of all the nonsensical shit he says on a daily basis. It mostly involves confused idioms and cliches but most of all nonsense haha Here’s a sampling: “chacootery” (instead of charcuterie), “Ate her lunch to smithereens”, “shot across the brow”, “foo paux”, “flaws in the ointment” and the list goes on and on since 2009 I think. The worst part is that I’m starting to say the same goofy shit but at the same time I kinda like it haha. Great read 🙂

    • Haley Nahman

      Omg I love howardisms!!!!! lollll

      • Hannah

        : ) me toooooo

  • Gdrd

    I would say that most of mine are very basic Ex-Yu mentality rules:
    If you sit on the edge of a table you won’t ever get married.
    Lighting a cigarette with a candle kills a sailor (??).
    Going to bed with wet hair gives you a “brain infection”.
    Sitting on a public toilet can get you pregnant.
    If you sit on a cold surface you won’t be able to have children.
    And of course: drafts pretty much equal death

    • Senka

      Hey, which part of EX-Yu are you from? This is all very familiar. Especially the wet hair and draft part 😀

  • Greer Clarke

    Elizabeth!!! My dad does that too!! He grew up in Rabaul, PNG and speaks fluent Tok Pisin but felt the need to tell us that “cats” are called “poooshee” in pidgin, which is absolute maus wata (bullshit) but clearly he thought it was quietly hilarious.

  • Jolie

    Growing up, my mom would try to stop me from picking up random things on the ground by telling me that “a dog could’ve peed on it.” Pick a bunch of dandelions for a wildflower bouquet? “Put that down, a dog might’ve peed on it!” Find a ring on the supermarket floor? “Put that back, what if a dog peed on it?!” Inside a supermarket? Okay, mom.

    The sadder thing is that I’ve caught myself saying it to my boyfriend more than once.

  • Ellie

    Haley!! Armpit gauges? I’m so intrigued..my definition would be when you’re getting into cold/hot water and you get to your armpits and you can feel the true temperature e.g. Holy shit my armpit gauges are telling me this bath is too steamy

    But several of the other phrases are fairly commonplace in England!

  • This may be a Russian thing, but my mom was always very strict about indoor and outdoor clothes. I saved my nice clothes for outdoors, and as soon as I got home I had to change into my indoor clothes (think pyjamas/sweats). Even now I always take off my ‘outdoor clothes’ as soon as I get home. I like to think it helps to prolong the life of my clothes.
    Also when it’s cold, my mom taught me to wear tights underneath my pants. Again pretty sure this is a Russian thing because I was also told if I don’t keep my ovaries warm all my eggs will freeze.

    • little c

      Same! But we are Irish, and I was never told the part about the ovaries …

    • Senka

      Same here, which might be the communist childhood or just part of slavic mentality. I still do it, and as soon as I cross the door clothes have to be changed or I’ll feel really uncomfortable. Tights are still something I argue with my mom about whenever she visits 😀

      • Haha I still wear tights under my pants, but only because I have a terrible cold tolerance. Pretty sure my eggs are fine.

    • LEM

      My husband’s family does this with the outdoor clothes, too. Apparently the patriarch thought outdoor clothes had a lot of germs on them and if you even made a move toward sitting on the bed he would freak out. And they’re Hawaiian! Guess it’s a global thing.

      • Interesting! I don’t think my mom ever cared about germs though, it was more like save your nice clothes for going out and wear your boring clothes at home where no one sees you.

    • Pamela Bruno

      Same with the indoor and outdoor clothes. Now there is no way I can wear jeans inside my house for more than 10 minutes after I arrive.

  • Julia

    my dad once told me that steps with a shallow rise and a longer run (essentially, less steep stairs) were called “women’s steps.” i believed it for years until one day my friend’s dad looked at me funny when after a particularly exhausting journey i shouted in relief, “yay! women’s steps!” at the sight of some shallow stairs.

  • Oh gosh, so many from my Chinese immigrant parents: I never drink anything cold during my period (best of all to stay away from cold beverages 24/7 according to Chinese medicine), don’t face your bed to the door (feng shui), don’t talk about spirits, etc.

  • Liz

    Looking straight into the microwave would blind you, apparently? It freaked me out, I just wanted to see the popcorn pop! Also my mom speaks in some sort of pseudo-Dutch phrase sometimes? My grandma did too and my brother and I can’t figure out if any of it’s real Dutch? But we all say it anyway. They are pretty handy for reacting to gross stuff!

    • Kim J

      I wasn’t allowed to stand in front of the microwave either. I was told it would give me brain damage. I still avoid using microwaves and if I have to, I back up a safe distance while it’s on.

  • My parents immigrated from Ireland, but, growing up, I never realized that this meant they had different sayings than my friends’ parents. In rural Ireland, there are gypsies/”travelers” and I grew up being told “not even a blind, deaf gypsy would take you” whenever I threw a toddler tantrum. You were also told you “looked like nobody’s child” when your hair was too long or you were underdressed for an event. The rest of the sayings were pretty harmless, but I learned just this week from my boyfriend that “hunger is sweet sauce” is not a common saying. Who knew?

    • little c

      Lol, yep, I heard these. My mom is from Ireland, and my grandparents who I also lived with, and we also always had tea at the end of EVERY meal and again at bedtime. Even now I often make tea in the evening before bed, the evening seems incomplete without.

  • Hannah

    My boyfriend of three years asked me early this summer why I spend so much time rinsing dishes when I am washing them by hand, something he’s apparently always noticed but never asked. It occurred to me then that my grandpa had convinced my dad, who in turn, convinced me that if there is soap residue (even a single little bubble) on a dish that is not rinsed off, you will most assuredly consume that soap the next time you use that dish and end up with diarrhea.

    I really know it’s not true but I also really, really can’t help but live this life.

  • Angela

    1. In my family, whenever you’re out of toilet paper and are indisposed (on the toilet), you yell, “FLORENCE!!” And someone will bring you a roll. No idea where it came from but fairly certain its been said for at least four generations.
    2. My grandpa has a really weak stomach (his nickname at hunting camp is “Retch”) so whenever someone starts to talk about something unpleasant, he always says, “Let’s talk about Christmas.”
    3. My Great-Grandpa Ira was hard of hearing and wore a hearing aid. When he didn’t want to listen to the conversation anymore, he would just turn it off. So in my family, when someone says, “huh?” or asks you to repeat yourself, you respond with, “Turn up your hearing aid, Ira!”

    • Melissa

      Omg i love your grandpa. Totally stealing that second one. Without fail, every holiday or almost any time I eat a meal with her, my grandma has some kind of story that deals with bodily functions and I can’t deal. (I have a v low tolerance for anything gross.) I usually just let out an annoyed Oookay, but I like your grandpa’s line much better.

      • Angela

        Good luck! It works like a charm in my family so hopefully it will do the same in yours (and you get to actually talk about Christmas sometimes, so it’s double the fun)!

    • Ashley

      Obsessed with “Florence!”

  • Melissa

    This is the funniest thread ever. Whenever I would yawn as a little kid, my mom would stick her finger in my mouth and say “Oh caught a fly” and we’d try to close our mouths before she made it in. Now every single time, I see someone yawn I have the urge to do the same. Also as an adult I did it to my brother, and he was shocked, thinking he made that up because he did it to all of his friends. I had to remind him that our mom actually did it to us…every. single. time.

  • Kim J

    My dad puts baked beans on everything. The first time I ever went to a restaurant without my parents I couldn’t figure out why there were no beans on my food. This made no sense because I had been out to eat with them plenty of times and there wouldn’t have been beans on my food at restaraunts, just at home. I expected them on hash browns and in salad for a long time.

    • little c

      Weird, but healthy I guess…

  • Kim J

    We believed anything could be cured by walking it off if you caught it early enough. Cold, flu, sprained ankle? Walk it off. Problem solved.

  • Ai-Ch’ng GB
  • Morgan Heuer

    My parents keep every single plastic grocery bag they take home. Which is a lot. They come home, unload the groceries, and put all their bags in this one cabinet that is literally overflowing with them. And there’s this whole charade after the groceries are put up where mom or dad has to open said cabinet, (which cannot be done without bundles and bundles of bags falling out) and they shove more in. My siblings and I have only been able to come up with two uses for these bags which are 1. bathroom garbage bags and 2. dog poop and the numbers just don’t add up. We don’t need all these dang bags.
    I now live on my own and do my own grocery shopping and I save all my plastic bags… (I have one bathroom and no dog).

  • Ai-Ch’ng GB

    Thanks, Mum, Dad, Grandma and Granddad… (For less of odd phrases, than odd – and at times – sound advice)
    1. After a meal, don’t swim (you’ll get a stitch- it’s true, I did), and don’t shower (I tried it after a huge dinner and almost passed out in the hot shower, as all the blood has gone to my stomach to digest, but the hot shower dilated my blood vessels, which dilated what little blood I had left, away from my brain – cue fainting).
    2. Don’t sleep opposite a mirror.
    3. Don’t accept a meal, or favour from someone, unless you are sure you can return that favour one day — soon!
    4. Don’t wash your hair late at night and leave long and wet around your neck, or sleep with wet hair (makes pillows gross- mould etc) as it give you a crook neck (I don’t know, but I makes Ayurvedic sense!)
    5. Always leave a place in a better state than when you arrived there/found it (probably not advice related to discovering a remote nature spot or heritage listed site).
    6. Never sleep until at least one hour after you’ve eaten (so hard after some meals I’ve eaten, which seem to induce almost immediate sleep).
    7. Don’t cut your nails at night.
    8. Don’t point at the moon; she’ll cut your earlobes (?! That used to terrify me when I was about to have a haircut, as I was sure the moon would dispel retribution through the one wielding the hair scissors – usually my Dad)

  • Penelope Sarah

    My mum once told me that you shouldn’t wear sequins in the day… Of course I rebelled against this and still, at the age of 28 tend to look like Elton John’s wardrobe threw up on me.

  • MJ

    My dad told me if I slept with my hands on my stomach I would be predisposed to getting nightmares- but hand on heart was totally okay.

    Oh and to never sleep with a gust of wind in the room (fan, or open window) or else it will blow my mouth crooked. Yup.

  • Trishita

    In an effort to to make sure I would never get a sugar high, my mum only allowed me to have 2 of anything at any point of time, 2 tiny bites of chocolate, 2 chips, 2 biscuits, 2 gummy bears, you get the point. Till this date, I just can’t go on a binge if I want to.. which is good, i guess, but i would have liked to have got the chance to be violently sick after eating whole bags of candy.

  • Nina

    My dad is very strict about saving on electricity – using the tumble dryer is practically a sin and you when you boil water on the kettle only use the exact amount of water you’re actually gonna use. Therefore at the office I always boil just enough water for one cup of coffee and my (male) co-workers think it’s the dumbest most egocentric rule ever.

    • Nina

      btw really great post! and the comments are just gold. i love reading about everybody’s weird lovely parents <3

  • Katrine Loris

    9pm was always bed time. Not necessarily “go to sleep” time, but wind down time. That has stuck with me into adulthood.

    • lucyst0ner

      my mom put me on a 10 pm “tuck in time” as a high schooler and it is my best habit in my late twenties

  • Teresa

    My mom was obsessed with how much sodium was in packaged food. It is still the first thing I check when buying groceries.

  • Marley Arviso

    My grandma was a hair dresser when I was younger so she would always cut my hair. But she wouldn’t let me get out of the chair until after she was done sweeping because she said the little pieces of hair would cut my feet. I’m pretty sure she just said that so I didn’t step on all of the hair and get it everywhere, but to this day I won’t go to a hair salon without closed toe shoes on JUSSSSTTTTTT incase I cut my toe on some hair haha! She also caught me watching MTV at her house when I was like 8 and The Thong song (by Sisqo) music video was on. She proceeded to tell me that every time I watched MTV I was “taking a bite of the Devil’s cookie” so now every time I hear The Thong Song I have flashbacks of my Grandma saying “Devil’s cookie” lololol

  • I only just realised the other day that I’ve inherited my mother’s randomness. It involves dancing like an idiot whilst trying on shoes, laughing like a loon when crashing a push bike and Making friends with random strangers. People are often agog at behavior that I don’t consider unusual ?

  • Andy

    My grandma told me that if I start drinking coffee from a young age I would grow whiskers and a tail. Proved that one wrong!

  • ash

    Love this topic!!

    My mother forbode us to say “lie” or “liar”… we had to say “story” (for example, Maggie told a ‘story’ to her parents and is grounded). No clue why, but she still gets made at me when I say someone is a liar. I also wasn’t allowed to say ‘fart’…so I’m a 27 year old who still says “toot”.

  • kellymcd

    I didn’t learn until almost college that I said bagel incorrectly. I would “bag-ul” instead of “bae-gel” because of my mom. I blame the trickle down effect of my grandmother’s Midwestern accent for that one. My mom still tries to tell me this pronunciation is correct.

    My dad taught me one that isn’t so much weird, as it is a solid piece of life advice (albeit a slightly depressing one). He would constantly remind me when I was younger that “if everyone is special, no one is.” I weirdly find myself repeating this one often to friends when they complain and then I feel like a dick

  • My father did not allow us to cut our nails after dark saying that this would upset the “Goddess of Money” – yup, we Hindus have “Gods & Goddesses” for everything. While I dont believe in a lot of stuff, till date, I fear cutting my nails after dark and I have religiously followed it for my daughter as well!

  • Tanya

    >My mom chills a towel soaked in cheap vodka and then applies it on the injured body part. She also rubbed vinegar all over us when we were sick as kids. She said my grandfather swore by it.
    >My parents only use our dishwasher as a drying rack. Have to say I do the same. I always forget that a lot of people don’t hand wash and actually use the appliance for its intended purpose.
    >The first thing we always do when we get home is take off our shoes & wash our hands. I can’t imagine not doing this.
    >My dad used to always honk his horn the entire time we drove through a tunnel.
    >We always sleep with the windows open. Every season. (My parents do live in CA though…we’ll see if I can manage this during a DC winter).

  • lily

    My mom told me that leaving a hat on the bed is bad luck and that if my palms ever itched it meant I was going to get money. Or if I dropped a fork during a meal it meant someone was going to come over.
    My little sister would never say the word “butt” when she was in grade school for some reason? She would only ever say “bottom” and she wouldn’t say “fart” she would say “wind” but she would use it so casually????? like, “I just winded!!!” or “I saw your bottom!”

    • lily

      my sister is not my parents but these are weird rules she made up for herself?????????

    • PCE

      My dad says the same thing – when someone drops a fork, he yells “Company’s coming!”

  • Growing up, my mom’s told me a lot of weird Thai sayings, like:
    1. If you hold a boy’s hand, your hand will turn purple (I was terrified of playing ring around the rosie in kindergarten)
    2. If you sing while you eat, you’ll end up with an old boyfriend – this may explain my love for older men.
    3. Eating while lying down will cause you to grow an alligator’s tail (!!!)

  • AlteDani

    When I was very young and stayed the night at my Grandparents house I would sleep in their bed inbetween them and if I woke up in the night they would bring a M&M dispenser down from a shelf above the bed and give me a few candies to eat. Now as an adult if I wake up in the night I crave chocolate!

    • Basil

      for 5. did you ever think that maybe your mother was just trying to eat all the ice cream? Was the “burnt” ice cream not fit for consumption other than anyone but her?

      I decided to try out this whole “turn banana into ice cream” thing you see all over pinterest, entirely convinced that it will be like a healthy alternative to Ben & Jerry’s. My husband laughed at my naivety, but let me do it anyway. It was rubbish, but it did give me the idea of making rubbish banana ice cream for small children and telling them that’s what ice cream is like, and saving the good stuff for yourself

  • Basil

    Now that I am a parent, I feel bad about all the defecating on mine but – I kind of get why they might mess with kids deliberately. I mean – if you only got to sleep in 15 minute intervals for three nights in a row, or had someone literally throw up on your face when you were just being nice to them, you would want some revenge (also bearing in mind the person who’s doing this is very small and has little control over their vomiting capabilities, but still). I’m getting a lot of inspiration from here …

    When I was little and refused to get out of the bath, my mother would take the plug out and then say that if I didn’t get out the peanut in the pipes would come and get me and it would freak me out. It was all very weird.
    Not my parents, but my cousin convinced me that there was an evil rabbit called Monty who could shoot lasers out of his eyes. Monty the evil rabbit was around for around a decade and scared the living daylights out of me (and all younger cousins)

  • Chandler Roberson

    I feel as if this article could’ve been written about my own mother!! Some of my favorite sayings of her’s include but are not limited to “what’s the scuttlebut?” as in what’s up?, “HELLo kitty” when she wanted to use the word Hell but couldn’t bring herself to do it such as “what the HELLo kitty is this?”, and in response to “where are you going?” Her response usually being “crazy, want to come??”.

  • Valentina De Napoli

    I live in Argentina and nap time is kind of a big deal here. My mom would tell me that there were iguanas in the garden to convince me to stay inside and not go out to play during summer afternoons, that way, she could take a nap without worrying about me. I didn’t knew what iguanas really were so inside I stayed!

  • I was told that if i ate the crust on my sandwiches I would have shiny hair. I ate sandwiches every day of my life for like 18 years and still to this day I eat my crusts every single time!

  • Rach

    My parents told me to never got to bed angry at someone just in case they died in the night. I shit you not. I remember being told this as a really small kid. This hasn’t stopped me going to bed angry with people but it does mean I have to call the poor fuckers early the next day to check if they are still alive.
    I also have anxiety issues as an adult. I don’t want to blame my parents but this sort of crap really didn’t help.

    • Jaclyn Schmidt

      I was told this too!! I literally can’t sleep if I’ve gotten into a fight with anyone in case one of us dies!

  • Adriana

    I´ve always been known to make weird faces and gesticulating, at some point in my childhood my mom wanted me to stop making faces and told me that if a wind passed as I had a werid face it would get stuck like that for the rest of my life. I was very little and this traumatized me, the faces diminished over time!

  • earlyholo_scene

    1. Going to bed with wet hair leads to death
    2. Noxema cures every skin ailment (windex/Big Fat Greek Wedding-style)
    3. Never walk barefoot after taking a shower
    4. It is rude not to roll the chapstick back down after using it (even if its your own)
    5. There is nothing an espresso at 9pm cant cure (except insomnia, it turns out) – Italian family

  • Danielapf

    I never wear shoes at home. Either i’m barefoot or wearing socks, but never slippers or shoes. And this has happened since childhood. My mother used to tell me my feet would turn out ugly once I grew up and that they would look like Donald Duck’s feet.
    Now i’ve grown i don’t have pretty feet, because I don’t believe in pretty feet. But they certainly don’t look like Donald Duck’s.

  • Jennifer

    When I was a kid and my mom took us to school, she always had a really hard time waking up and getting her brain to find the right words in the morning. She’d say things like “put your feet on” and “brush your breath”. One time as we were all running around late she kept yelling “where’s my — where’s my –” but the word never came to her, and she yelled “BOOBIE CATCHER!” Bras are forever boobie catchers for me.

  • My mom was so averse to any kind of swearing, we had to watch everything we said. Years later, my brothers and I still laugh at how we say “piece of junk” or “piece of crud” instead of piece of crap.

  • Lynn Di

    it isn’t really a rule, more of a game.. i grew up in Greece and in the summer after a meal we often ate watermelon. i don’t know how it started but my sister spat a seed at my dad once (he was shirtless because of the heat) and it stuck to his chest. even in public, everytime we have watermelon in the summer we spit seeds at eac other and laugh ourselves silly!

  • Ashley

    This is the greatest thread and I am sad to be so late to the party. These aren’t really weird sayings, but this seems to has devolved into sharing familial inside jokes and traditions, so here are mine:

    ~ In my family, whoever is cooking will yell “chuck wagon!” when the food is ready.

    ~ To wake my brother and me up early in the morning, my dad would recite this poem, “Mother, mother, come and see / It’s not a bird, it’s not a bee / but up it comes and down it goes/ and now it’s landing on a rose!” The “landing on a rose” bit would coincide with a slap on the butt. FYI it’s really hard to pretend to be sleeping while you flip on your back to protect your booty.

    ~ My family has a special whistle we use to find each other in big or crowded places. If you hear it, you’re supposed to whistle back and hustle over. Our dogs all know it too. Most commonly heard in Costco.

    ~ If you drop a utensil on the floor, my mother will yell, “Pisa la cola!” until you step on the handle of the spoon to ward off bad luck. It’s a Mexican superstition.

    ~ Whenever I slouch, my mother tells me “NTS!” It stands for “nipples to the sky.”

  • Zoë

    My mom convinced us that if one of your ears gets hot and red it means someone, somewhere, is talking about you

    No shoes on the counter or you’ll have bad luck

    When apologizing, we would all say “sorry lorry”

    My mom wasn’t overbearing when it came to my appearances growing up. She didn’t (and still doesn’t) care if my hair was done, what I was wearing, anything. EXCEPT she would always have something to say if my nail polish was chipped. Needless to say I’ve been a gel polish devotee ever since I could afford it!

  • EmmaGabrielle

    These are all amazing and I’m crying reading them. From laughter. My mom taught me to “clean as you go” re: cooking, and you’d be shocked how many people don’t! She thinks that I didn’t learn anything from her cause I’m often too lazy to separate my laundry (whoops) but uhhh I learned to clean as I go.

    • Senka

      Cleaning as you go, while cooking is the best advice ever. Meaning that after all is done I usually don’t face a huge pile of dishes, and mess which is a good thing.

  • Senka

    Being born and raised in Balkans means that I have been repeatedly told I will get my face distorted if I fall asleep with wet hair, by my mom, grandma, nany or any older lady. Also leaving the house with wet hair unless it’s the peak of the summer. My father defeats the rule succesfully for 70 years now. Draft is considered very dangerous, and so is showering with the water heater on ( I do it nonetheless because with hair this long limited supply of rinsing water isn’t an option). Being Balkan also means hearing that rakija (fruit brandy with at least 40% alchol content) cures everything, whether it’s a shot to drink, for stomach pain or rubing it on the area that hurts for rheuma or both in the case of cold.

  • LEM

    My parents also do the faux-foreign language phrases. I was in my early-20s by the time I met an actual Polish speaker and I told her about all the Polish slang I knew and she looked at me like I was nuts. “You know, like putzer for fart.” Turns out my parents literally made up a word for “fart” because they thought the actual word fart was vulgar. We also call lint “foozils” and my husband has finally jumped on board. “I think you have something… oh no. It’s just a foozil.”

  • Robin

    Pleased as punch is not just your mum Leandra, people say that where I’m from in northern England.

  • enC

    My mom always says “get on our sticks”, as in “let’s get on our sticks and clean up this mess, get out the door, do the dishes etc….My sister and I still laugh.

  • Sonya Williams

    My mom’s from Sweden and would refer to certain objects only in Swedish, unbeknownst to me. I didn’t know the English word for cucumber until I was like 10 and called it “gurka” (which is pronounced exactly how it looks) at a friend’s house. I also thought penis was “snopp.” Nope.

  • linzarg

    My mom actually has OCD, so there are a lot. The one that seems weirdest is the juice thing. If you opened a bottle of juice and she wasn’t in the room to hear it ‘pop’, nobody was allowed to drink it. She would return it. If you did drink it, you were in trouble for poisoning yourself. I think she heard about that murder case where someone tampered with Tylenol and got freaked out about it. I still worry a tiny bit if something isn’t sealed ‘right’. The cute things were the songs, we all had little personal jingles, and the adults would narrate us. My grandma used to sing a little song when she smacked our butts like drums. The song went, “Must be jelly ’cause jam don’t shake like that!” I still think that’s hilarious.

  • linzarg

    This post is giving me flashbacks! My grandma always said that if you faced the wind it would ‘take your breath away.’ I never knew I had curly hair because my mom always made me blowdry and brush the hell out of it before bed or leaving the house. If I was out swimming she would douse it in No More Tangles and comb it.
    My sister is 12 years younger than me, so I made up a lot of shit for her. I told her dandelion seeds were fairy eggs, and if she didn’t blow them all over the place, the fairies would never be born. I think that stressed her out, so much responsibility for a 3 year old! I used to use those tiny seed beads to make bracelets and stuff, and my mom warned me not to let my sister ‘choke to death’ on them. So I told her they were alive and they bite. Even after I told her I made it up, she was nervous about them, poor baby.

  • Judith

    My mom had so many of them. She also used to tell us a tale of a newlywed couple who had just moved into their first home together. The young husband was baffled by his bride’s habit of sticking cotton balls on the screen door. He asked her and she said she had learned from her mother that was how you kept flies away.
    He went to her mother who told him the same thing. Cotton balls on the screen door kept flies away. She had learned it from HER mother.
    Completely frustrated he went to Grandma and told her about the odd habit of his wife and mother-in-law. After she got done laughing she told him: When his mother-in-law was young they were poor and their screen had had holes in it. They couldn’t afford to replace it so she stuck cotton balls in the holes to keep flies out.

  • Lori M

    Yikes, the “shave my head and send me to camp” is very disturbing.

  • Marta Millere

    My grandma fake spits 3 times to avoid bad luck. I can’t help but do the same and always explain why I’m doing it 🙂

  • Kitti McConnell

    Yvonne, our family did that too! I thought it was normal until my sister got married and I pinched her new husband. I was maybe 13 at the time? LOL

  • Mary

    My late grandpa once told an old woman relative of my grandma’s (not sure which) to “put your titty up, Aydell” (also not sure how it’s spelt so I spelled how it’s pronounced). So now, if someone in my family feels that someone else has too much skin showing they’ll say it. It’s always really funny to see people’s reactions when I say it to them and they don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.