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 to parent my children using only… 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…
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.”
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.
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 with each direction you give. You’ll notice the head tilt and “bitch brow” are the key to the success of this look.
Real World Application: 1. Any time I speak and he responds.
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 disproved by Scientific American and Language Log
**This statistic was pulled out of my ear.
this is so great. During my kids’ tween years, I used to stop talking to. I would announce “you know what it is you need to do” and then just shut up no matter how much they kept trying to a) get me to change my mind b) convince me to grant permission c) tell me all of the reasons my advice is preposterous d) how it’s not fair!
The best part was, sometimes they would put their shoes away, do the laundry/dishes, pick up the living room, etc… even if that was not what the discussion was about. It’s like they were trying to cover all of their bases. 😉
Lisa Newlin says
I’m not sure I’ve ever done the Facial Expression D. Granted, I don’t have kids but I do have a husband, which is pretty much the same thing.
And I’m now going on a word stike….
Funny you mention this today. Yesterday my son told his mother that he listens more carefully to what I say because it is scary when I yell and her voice is easier to tune out.
After I thanked him for creating a new issue for me to handle I got to spend half the night reminding someone it is not my fault that my voice is substantially deeper than hers.
Fact is, it is not like Barry White but it is often deeper than other men. Don’t know how that relates here but when you have ridiculous arguments sometimes it is fun to throw out meaningless crap.
Anyhoo, part of the deal is I rarely have to yell because my normal voice carries pretty well.
And the other part that is worth mentioning is my almost 11 year-old daughter did a perfect eye roll about all of this and said that she didn’t care that my voice is scarier she just likes that I yell less.
I bet you can’t guess how that helped my night as well. The saving grace with all of this is mom agrees I support her position and we parent from the same page.
Parenting is a blast.
Bitch Brow is my new favorite facial expression and I’m going to practice the shit out of it until I get it perfect.
Regan Love-Campbell says
this had me rolling on the floor!!! Love the pictures doing each face! My son is almost three and already “going there” with me. Can’t wait to use these. Great post!
Getting the looks down is the best. It’s like yelling at you children in public, without the whole world knowing. We used sign language when my children were little and the “no” sign has been a lifesaver. I sign it along with one of the looks and it works wonders!!
Your photos are great, I love it!!
At church one time, I gave my kid “the Look” from about 20 feet away, and she straightened up. Adult men standing nearby saw it and shuddered in their boots and joked that they were glad I wasn’t their mom because I scared the crap out of them.
You nailed it. I’ve mastered my teacher facial expression which work wonderfully with my 5 year olds. Now I’m going to work on them with the boys. I’m so sick of hearing myself say the same things and I imagine my kids are too!
Robin Bobo says
And don’t forget that added bonus some of us have…. “the teacher look”. Works pretty well on your own kids from time to time, too!
Robin Bobo says
Oh, and I shared this on your FB post, but I’ll share it here for your readers, too..
The Mom Song by Anita Renfroe Watch it!!
Tracy Willard says
Love this! I may have to practice in the mirror a bit. I’ve never mastered the scary stare. I did just learn this fact… you might find interesting. What has the most impact when making connections: words, voice or body language? Words 7%, Voice quality 38% and Body language 55%! You are definitely on to something!