How to Parent Without Using Words – Scary Mommy

How to Parent Without Using Words

Men speak approximately 7,000 words per day.*

Women speak approximately 20,000 words per day.*

Mothers speak 2,846,325 words per day… **

And most of them are the same phrases repeated over and over and over.

Put your backpack away pick up your shoes make your bed brush your teeth stop touching your brother don’t use that tone of voice with me I’m not going to ask you again where’s your homework please finish your homework I don’t care if you don’t like it, it’s what we are having for dinner you just had a snack did you brush your teeth turn off the television put away your iTouch don’t speak to your brother that way I don’t care who started it because I’m going to finish it do I really have to ask you this again

Did I miss anything?

I don’t know about the rest of you parents out there, but I am painfully tired of talking.

And I’m willing to bet my kids are equally tired of listening to me.


So… I am going on a Word Strike.

I have decided that I will do all my parenting only using… my face.

While some might boast that the pen is mightier than the sword, I would argue that a perfectly raised eyebrow, long stare and tight-lipped smile are even mightier.

Let me show you…

face 1

Facial Expression A: The “Really?” Look…

The “Really?” look is best used when you find yourself 30 seconds from losing your shnizzit after repeating yourself over and over and having to answer questions you just explained. It’s your wordless way of saying, “If I have to ask you one more time I will explode to a level modern science can not measure. So back away and do what I asked.”

Real World Application: 1. You’ve asked your child to put away his/her shoes 17 times and still you are tripping over them every time you walk through the living room. 2. You’ve reminded your child to feed the dog 14 times, yet the dish remains unfilled.  3. Your child stands before you claiming he/she has brushed his/her teeth while the light in the room shows a thick layer of scrunge coating every surface. A condition I like to call “Sweater Teeth.”

face 2

Facial Expression B: The “Does it look like I find you funny?” Look

The “Does it look like I find you funny?” look can be used in many situations and has several translations. In our house, this look also means, “Do it again, I dare you,” “You are in big trouble when all these people are gone,” and my personal favorite, “Keep going, buddy. You’re digging your own grave.”


Real World Application: 1. Your child continues to call attention to his bodily functions, expecting you to laugh. 2. Your children continue carrying on and someone is about to laugh out of the other side of his face. 3. One or both of your children are behaving atrociously in a public place, such as a restaurant or party, and you are plotting his demise.

face 3

Facial Expression C: The “Do you really want to go there?” Look

The “Do you really want to go there?” look is best used with tweens or any child who insists on arguing with or doing the opposite of everything you say; or, my personal favorite, offering up “alternative” ideas in response to each direction you give. You’ll notice the head tilt and “bitch brow” are the keys to the success of this look.

Real World Application: 1. Any time I speak and he responds.

face 4

Facial Expression D” The “Oh my gosh, it’s a miracle!” Look

The “Oh my gosh, it’s a miracle!” look is extremely special to me.  Like my grandmother’s china and shaving my legs, it’s reserved for very special occasions and seemingly impossible achievements. It’s the Holy Grail of facial expressions.

Real World Application: 1. You ask your child to put his shoes away and he responds with, “Yes, Mom.” 2. You crack a joke and your tween laughs instead of giving you the “I’m inconvenienced by your presence” look. 3. Your 8-year-old did in fact brush his teeth… with toothpaste and water. 4. Your children did their own laundry. 5. Really, any time you don’t have to argue, cajole, explain, ask again, or yell to get your children to obey.


Needless to say… Facial Expression D is the least common of all of the Facial Expressions.

You too can spend your weekend on a Word Strike, saving your vocal chords from excessive use and your ears from bleeding at the sound of your own voice.

Because who needs words when you can work a bitch brow, a long stare and a tight-lipped smile?

That’s just my normal.

* These stats were taken from a study conducted by Louann Brizendine which was later disproven by Scientific American and Language Log.

** This statistic was pulled out of my ass.

Related post: 21 Things That Make Moms… Moms