What Moms SAY vs. What Boys HEAR

For all you newbie boy-moms and boy-dads out there, here’s a handy-dandy translation guide for anything you might need to communicate to your boys. You’re welcome.

What Mom says: “Go brush your teeth”

What boys hear:

“Wrestle in the hallway until the dog starts barking and won’t stop.”

What Mom says: “Go put on your pajamas”

What boys hear:

“Run naked through the house. Be sure to answer the door if the bell rings.”

What Mom says: “Please clear your dishes from the table.”

What boys hear:

“Pick up your glass and take it to the kitchen. Leave everything else. I’m always happy to pick up after you.”

What Mom says: “Have you done your homework?”

What boys hear:

“Have you looked fleetingly at one of your six worksheets, before stuffing them into the bottom of your backpack?”

What Mom says: “Did you eat all of your lunch?”

What boys hear:

“Did you take minuscule token bites of the nutritional items in your lunch before consuming the chips and cookies you snuck in there behind my back?”

What Mom says: “Please stop touching your brother.”

What boys hear:

“Stick your tongue out and make faces at your brother as soon as I turn away.”

What Mom says: “I would appreciate it if you could at least wear a pair of shorts around the house.”

What boys hear:

“Shorts around the house would be great, but underwear it totally optional.”

What Mom says: “Eat your dinner; there won’t be any snacks available later.”

What boys hear:

“Eat whenever you feel like it. I will always be ready to jump up and cater to your every dietary whim.”

What Mom says: “Please pick up your LEGOs”

What boys hear:

“Select approximately 10 pieces with which you can live without and return them to the box. Continue working with the other 4,352 pieces on the floor. Be sure to spread them out as much as possible so that I will step on at least four should I walk through this room later in the dark, with bare feet.”

And finally,

What Mom says: “Why does my car smell like stinky feet?”

The boy replies: “Because you’re a boy-mom. Stinky feet are your life!”


May grace and peace, and clean smelling feet be yours in abundance,


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Adelle Gabrielson
It’s Adelle, like the singer except with two Ls, and, let’s just be clear, it was my name first. I was raised and lived most of my life in the crazy Silicon Valley of Northern California, and I’m now a recent transplant to the Seacoast of New Hampshire. I share this life with my husband of 20 years, Gabe, and our two sons, ages 14 and 10. In order to survive, I write about our wild and crazy existence. After being a working-mom in advertising and marketing for 13 years, I’m now at home and writing full-time. (Or rather, I’m a full-time mom and I write in the meager spare time that affords.) I’m a member of the Redbud Writer’s Guild, a regular contributor to ParentLifemagazine, the City Moms Blog Network, and a featured essayist in Everbloom: Stories of Deeply Rooted and Transformed Lives, April 2017. I love great fiction, design and decorating, Gabe’s hand-crafted lattés, and shoes. Stop by my website or follow me on Facebook to read more about my messy, imperfect, boy-mom life.