9 Things Parents Say Vs What They Mean


We do so much for our kids because we love them to bits. We dive under them at playgrounds, let them dress us like gaudy princess bunnies while we crouch in makeshift forts, and tell them all day long how smart, funny, handsome, insightful, beautiful and awesome they are.

And, then there are the times when we’re at our wit’s end and have things we want to say, but can’t do so directly. So we say something completely different to what we’re really thinking. Something exponentially kinder than what’s dancing at the tip of our tongues.

Like these…

1. We Say: “We’ll see.” … We Mean: “Not likely, so quit asking.”

2. We Say: “No, we’re not there yet.” … We Mean: “Ask again and we’ll arrive with you tied to the roof racks.”

3. We Say: “Wanna play with my iPhone?” … We Mean: “If I give this to you, will you let me drink my coffee in peace?”

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4. We Say: “Mm-hmm.” (With eye contact) … We Mean: “How long must I nod for you to go away?”

5. We Say:  “Mm-hmm.” (Without eye contact) … We Mean: “I’m so not listening to you.”

6. We Say: “Wow, really?” … We Mean: “I have no friggin’ clue what you just said.”

7. We Say: “Are you sure about that?” … We Mean: “You are wrong or delusional. Rethink whatever you just said or did.”

8. We Say:  (Silent, blatant ignoring) … We Mean: “I’m trying not to yell at you. For your own sake, stop speaking and walk away.”

9. We Say:  “Go ask Mommy/Daddy.” … We Mean: “Go bother somebody else.”

About the writer


Kim Bongiorno is the author, freelance writer, and blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying. She lives in New Jersey with her handsome husband and two charmingly loud kids, who she pretends to listen to while playing on Facebook and Twitter. If she were less tired, she'd totally add something really clever to her bio so you'd never forget this moment.


Melissa Brown Tzan 1 year ago

Lmao…. I say all of these everyday. I love this site. Makes me feel normal.

Lisa Rittenhouse 1 year ago

The only one I have not done today is #2

Jessica Highum 1 year ago

I’ve said every single one of these today… My kiddos woke up at 4am :( please go to bed kids!!!

Divine Grace Ali 1 year ago

So guilty of #6

Audra L Dean 1 year ago

Yep. Sounds about right.

Jenny Holmes 1 year ago

All of them.

Linda Bergman 1 year ago

9/9 and today actually done 8/9.. Though at one point I lost the silent look and just burst out “I do not have a favorite soccer star, I’m sorry, now stop nagging me abt it”. He took it rather well, and started interrogating his sister about it instead.

Laura Bucaria 1 year ago

I quote every single one of them

Dallas Robinson 1 year ago

Dang it haha 9 for 9

Linda Jayne Spray 1 year ago

“We’ll see” means I give in after an hour of nagging! Lol

Kate Winebrenner 1 year ago

“Uh huh.”…wait…what?

Alyssa Crowe 1 year ago

Guilty…and mine are 12 and 14….is that bad?

Krystalli Judith 1 year ago

Grandmas too!!!!!

Heather Dunbar Sesnowitz 1 year ago

I’m actually 9 for 9…

Jennifer Galbraith 1 year ago

Guilty! lol

Rheanna Rocha 1 year ago

7 of 9

Kay Nice 1 year ago

Love it!

Virginia Barnett 1 year ago

I got an A :) (9/9)

Autumn Clark 1 year ago

So frigging guilty

Melanie Hendrickson 1 year ago

I do this with my hubby and kid. Is that bad that I treat them both the same? o.O

    Kami Fox-Varela 1 year ago

    No, you’re good.

    I’m psyched that you still do the “o.O” thing! I thought I was the only one!

Kelly McDowell 1 year ago

5 out of 9 within the last hour!!

Nicole Adalio Flegal 1 year ago

Hahaha, it’s as if I wrote this myself! Lol

Gail Cirac 1 year ago

I’m grandma and I say all the mean stuff. Its true. I use cranky Dom as my excuse and humor as my buffer. They don’t suffer at all and we get along beautifully. And I’m with them all day and at night while mom works.

Erin Tengdahl 1 year ago

9 out of 9

Becky Dowell Hall 1 year ago

I am so guilty of #1! I just can’t handle the whining when I say no outright, but it just delays it when they figure it out.

Mia Wynters 1 year ago

9 for 9 today. Is it bedtime yet?

Kristen Thomas Pedler 1 year ago


Sarah Wahl 1 year ago

9/9 today…and pretty much every day

Stacy Turtura Thompson 1 year ago

I’m guilty of them all…. Just Today!!!

Suzanne Mills-Houlberg 1 year ago

I actually caught myself telling my 4 year old to talk like an adult. I meant to say big girl- she was whining.

mykidsaremylife 1 year ago

My kids are only 11, 9 they are always always on my phone I never am on my phone only when its dead or they in bed.im glad the others ones don’t know what phones are Lol keep it That way

Jonna Thomas 1 year ago

7 out of 9 and it isn’t even dinner time yet.

mykidsaremylife 1 year ago

My daughter is always on my phone:-(

    mykidsaremylife 1 year ago

    My kids are always on my phone and they are only 11, 9 the others ones don’t know what a phone is Lol keep it That way

Annmarie Medeiros 1 year ago

Mine do !!!!

Tari Kindervater Clark 1 year ago

3/9 so far. But the night is young.

Lindsay Terrell 1 year ago

Is it wrong I apply these same techniques to my husband too

    Kami Fox-Varela 1 year ago


Angela Carswell Holt 1 year ago

Hahaha! I do most of those daily!!

Dot Whited McCumsey 1 year ago

10 for 10. “Alrighty then” means “I have no clue what language you are speaking at this moment but it sounds important. I just hope is doesn’t involve flammable fluids & the cat.”

    Kami Fox-Varela 1 year ago


Amber Piel Yates 1 year ago

8 for 9… my kids don’t touch my phone! If there’s a way to ruin something, they’ll do it.

Christina Romanski Cates 1 year ago

I’m 6 for 9 today!

Daniela Braia 1 year ago

I’m 1,6 and 7 most times :)

Jenny Jingle 1 year ago


Lisa Walker Miller 1 year ago

We say: “That’s not appropriate language, we don’t talk like that.” We mean: “Friggin hilarious! Can’t wait to post that on Facebook!”

Wendy Provis Breedlove 1 year ago

Replace number seven with “really?”

Rhyannon Amort 1 year ago

Lol! 3 and 6!

Christine Doyle 1 year ago

#3 – Please, I really just want to go poop alone.

Tina Schnadt 1 year ago

No. 6 – Oh so often..!

Jessica Cherry 1 year ago

Lol so sad but true. I tell my daughter(who is 3) I’m gonna duct tape her to the ceiling lol

Dee Ditzy Dee 1 year ago

Shoooosh no one breathe a word of this to the kids!!!! Or we are ALL doomed

Corey Travis 1 year ago

These are dead on accurate

Elina Matson 1 year ago

I always say “know what I mean, not what I say” cuz half the time my brain is elsewhere and my tongue says Smtn totally off.

Evelyn M Davis 1 year ago

Even once they are in College!! These apply!! LOL

Hannah Stiles Quinn 1 year ago

#7 all day long

Bob Thompson 1 year ago


Emma Thomasson 1 year ago

Everything except no2. My boys are pretty good on a journey x

Yvette Gonzalez 1 year ago

Ahemmmmm 8 for 9 here!

Diana Parnell 1 year ago

“That’s awesome!” Actually means “I don’t care”.

Necia Razzano 1 year ago

7 for 9 :)

Holly Reynolds Boyter 1 year ago

All day, every day.

Heidi Bryan 3 years ago

Friggin Brilliant…of course, I think my kids have figured out most of the code, and they are only 3 and 5 :) I may need to get more creative with my responses. In fact, my son says “I don’t like it when you talk like that.” That is what he says when he thinks I am not paying attention, and I am just agreeing with anything he says. Damn these perceptive children :)

Victoria KP 3 years ago

What ever you do, PLEASE don’t tell my kids that “Wow really?” means. Because I say it a lot! :-)

Talia 3 years ago

Ha! Yes! The Mhhmm and Wow Really? Get used a lot in this house lol.

Mercy 3 years ago

Haha. I do these. Sometimes I just want to be left alone.

murphy must have had kids 3 years ago

My own mom used “we’ll see” ALL the time. I swore I would never say it but I do, on a daily basis.

Ashley 3 years ago

Oh my gosh my mom used these all the time! I hear myself using them with mu husband even now.

Garrisu 3 years ago

My favorite is “Not right now.” Translation–No and never. My feeble attempt at preventing a meltdown from a toddler that’s just heard No.

My preferred response to “can I have another juice box (candy, cookie, etc)?”
“I’m not offering that right now. How about water or milk?” Another way to say no, and again for the very same reason.

Kathy at kissing the frog 3 years ago

We’ll see is my go-to response. One time Hubby busted me by actually telling the boys, “That means ‘no’.”

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Your husband deserves a time out for that.

Kim 3 years ago

My kids definitely know that, “we’ll see” means “no”. While “are you sure about that” means, “you’d better rethink what you just said and/or did before I throttle you.”

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Throttling threats without using the word “throttling” are the very best kind.

Denise 3 years ago

I use go ask daddy all the time, but then they come back to me because he is clueless. Then I usually resort to one of the other responses. You know now that I think about it, these responses are pretty true for husbands as well as kids.

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Say Go Ask Daddy THEN HIDE. Problem? Solved.

Nicole(Whole Strides) 3 years ago

This is so true. Especially, “We’ll see.” My husband and I use “We’ll see,” all of the time. My kids should really have it figured out by now. But alas, no. Well, at least not the younger one.

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    We’ll see = No way, Jose.

Melissa 3 years ago

“Wow…really?” Hahahah! That is life with my son right now as he’s still learning to talk.

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Yes! My 5yo has had this alien-chicken voice for years (she was a early talker) and half the stuff she says sounds like it’s from another planet. We’ve Wow/Really’d her a gazillion times.

Meredith 3 years ago

Yes, yes, yes! To all of the above. Crap, I hope they don’t figure out what I really mean when I say all of these things. Especially with the iPhone b/c I really need my coffee!

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    The iPhone one is stellar, and pretty much will always work EVEN if they figure out our game!

Jen 3 years ago

“we’ll see” and the “mhmm” without eye contact get used a lot here, but right now a great one for me is “Once i get your baby brother settled in and get done everything i need to, then we can….” lol they’ve learned that there is no such thing as everything is done, when i start listing everything i need to do they just walk away!

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    “Once I do…these thousand things…” yeah, I so know that story, lol!

Mom22Tweens 3 years ago

“Sweetieface” = “You are really bugging the $%^# out of me right now, but I’m too good a parent to lose my temper over it… for now.”

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    LOL! I love how syrupy that term is, and how angry it actually is.

Melissa 3 years ago

I really need to start using “Wow, Really?” instead of “Oh, that’s great” when I have no idea what they said. Sometimes they tell me things like “My brother just hit me.”

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    This is why I changed it to a more neutral response!

Audrey 3 years ago

I say “we’ll see.” about 10 times per day. You think they’d have it figured out by now, but no.

    Keisha 3 years ago

    Mine have! After the traditional “we’ll see”, one of them says, “That means no”, followed by “so, can I?” REALLY?!? I just say “I answered you.” and ignore them when they continue.. :)

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    My daughter’s friend told her & her brother in the car once “When your mom says “we’ll see” it means “no.” I know that because that’s what MY mom means when SHE says it”
    Smart kid.

      Jessica 1 year ago

      My son has said the same thing to me. I say we’ll see and he said oh that means no. One time he asked me something and the said “and don’t say we’ll see cause then you just mean no” lol kids are to smart for their mo my own good lol.

monica 3 years ago

i just used the blatant ignore. my kid got detention again and he is trying to convince me that he didn’t laugh at the teacher when she told him to stop talking. i may beat him yet today lol

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    The blatant ignore should come with some sort of flashing warning light for our kids. Seriously.

Jane 3 years ago

My kids are totally on to me. Did you clue them in?! :)

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Ah, finally! Perceptive kids! My sincerest apologies.

Kim 3 years ago

So, so true!!! Don’t let the kids find this!

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    Or maybe they SHOULD know when to walk away?? Hmmm….

Anna @ My Life and Kids 3 years ago

I just used this one:

“Mm-hmm.” (Without eye contact)

While taking the time to read this post. LOVE IT – and so so true! :)

    Kim at Let Me Start By Saying 3 years ago

    See? It’s like a reference tool. We should all hang cheat sheets of it in our kitchens.


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