the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Featured community question wherein we get to blame our parents

This one comes from member CurlyCat:

And the reason I’m featuring it is because some of the responses are just too good.

For example, the quip of a concerned mother:



Lesson learned. If Leta does something weird with her hair, the proper response is, “I see you did something interesting with your hair!” Not, “Was it your intention to look like you’re on the verge of death?”

And this one from a concerned father:



If my father ever said this to me I don’t think I’d ever get in a car again. Or even leave the house because CARS ARE EVERYWHERE.

This next one should win an Academy Award for Awesome. And I may actually try this one on my kids:



This mother obviously hadn’t ever heard of the five-second rule:



The best part of that one is the waiting… like, THANKS MOM. I could have enjoyed my summer, but I was waiting to die AND IT NEVER HAPPENED.

And this final one is just so mean that now I’ve got a serious fear of going to the bathroom anywhere:




When I was a kid my dad told me that if you cross your eyes and someone comes along and knocks you in the back of your head that your eyes will stay like that forever. To this day I have to leave the room when someone is joking around and crosses their eyes, because I’m not sure I could resist hitting them in the back of the head just to see, you know, what if?

  • Rlymoody

    2011/05/17 at 1:38 pm

    My mom always told me “Jello is made out of Horses Hooves” . I haven’t eaten it since.

  • ronnagail

    2011/05/17 at 1:43 pm

    My dear, sweet, mother told me to never cry in front of other people because I look ugly when I cry. Thanks mom!

  • jenwilson

    2011/05/17 at 1:49 pm

    Okay, those are HILARIOUS.

    This wasn’t a parent, but still traumatizing: I had a should-have-been-fired band teacher once who wanted us to play a certain note as if we were sitting in an outhouse and someone reached up and pinched our bums. I am terrified of outhouses to this day, and sometimes even on the toilet at home I’m scared that someone’s going to reach up and pinch me.

    Irrational, yes, BUT STILL SCARY.

  • GingerPeach

    2011/05/17 at 1:58 pm

    This didn’t traumatize me, but I was in my late 20s until I found out it was a bold-faced lie:

    My dad, every time we drove past the SYMS clothing store the town over: “See? An educated customer is their best customer. They only want the most educated people to shop there, so you should go to college.”

    Tenuous logic, and a complete fabrication of what the term “educated” means in that context, but, I’m telling you, I was years out of graduate school until someone informed me that “educated” had NOTHING to do with graduating college. And to think, I wasted ALL THAT TIME in school just so that SYMS would let me shop there!

  • fuzzydot

    2011/05/17 at 2:03 pm

    When I was about 13 my parents decided to give me “the talk”…and apparently a long car ride was the right time. My mother was very careful to use the appropriate terms, delivered gently, with lots of mentions of waiting until I was in love. (Sorry mom, I waited until I was drunk, but close enough…) My father’s only contribution to that already horribly awkward discussion?

    “If a guy tells you he’ll pull out, don’t believe him.”

  • The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful

    2011/05/17 at 2:10 pm

    I tried to get a hug from my 7-year old as I was leaving on a mommy-daddy date and when she was too cool for school and wouldn’t do it I said, “What if I get hit by a car and die and the last thing you did was NOT HUG ME?” Take THAT Appropriate Parenting Police (she still didn’t hug me so I chose not to get hit by a car)

  • MsMegan

    2011/05/17 at 2:12 pm

    When I was a teenager, I asked my mother why my curfew was earlier than my brother’s (who’s just 15 months older than I). Her reply?

    “Because girls get pregnant.”

  • yvanka

    2011/05/17 at 2:13 pm

    My dad told me to avoid, AVOID empty-looking bags or boxes in the road at ALL COSTS, because they might be filled with kittens.

  • slappyintheface

    2011/05/17 at 2:22 pm

    Jello isn’t made from horses hooves … but it is made from bones … either way … I am NOT eating it!

  • TheAndreaK

    2011/05/17 at 2:24 pm

    My Mom told me to not wander off while we were shopping, that I could get stolen or lost.

    Well, I kept doing it.

    So, one time she decided to hide in the store where she could see me but I couldn’t see her. I freaked the eff out.

    To this very day, and I’ll be 39 this year, if I lose sight of my Mom while shopping, I will lose my cool.

  • melissa_anderson725

    2011/05/17 at 2:25 pm

    When I was in elementary school I mentioned something to my parents about growing my bangs out. My dad said ‘your forehead is too big’. And I didn’t grow them out until I was in my mid-twenties. He also says that eating raw cookie dough will give you worms because of the raw egg, but all of us (me and my three siblings) were always willing to risk it. Never once did anyone get worms.

  • CorrinRenee

    2011/05/17 at 2:25 pm

    My grandparents used to tell my mom that Mountain Dew came out of the windshield wipers. Which was okay until she tasted it.

  • lilybillz

    2011/05/17 at 2:26 pm

    Have you heard about this guy? The toilet story reminded me of him… Japanese parents use this guy to get their kids to sleep at night WTF>

    “As water monsters, kappa have been frequently blamed for drownings, and are often said to try to lure people to the water and pull them in with their great skill at wrestling.[10] They are sometimes said to take their victims for the purpose of eating their livers or their shirikodama (尻子玉?), a mythical ball inside the anus”

  • angedi

    2011/05/17 at 2:38 pm

    My parents told me that I was not really very smart, that people just pretended that I was so I wouldn’t feel bad. Unbelievable. Oh, they also made fun of me because I wasn’t very good at finding Easter eggs. Bring on the therapist please.

  • ChristineQ

    2011/05/17 at 2:42 pm

    I had a real live toilet frog!!!

    A toad, actually. Went to sit down and THANK JEEBUS I looked first because there was this little toad staring back at me. He crawled up through the septic system, which I know because only my daughter and I were home that weekend and I know neither of us would have put him in the toilet. Also, we always leave the toilet seat lids down to keep the cats from drinking out of there.

    Needless to say, I jumped around like an idiot and called my (then) husband (who was about 200 mi away) to see what I should do. I TAPED THE TOILET SEAT LID DOWN so I wouldn’t accidentally open it in the middle of the night when I had to pee. And then I fretted over whether or not to feed it until the husband could come home and remove it.

  • sherylwx4

    2011/05/17 at 2:44 pm

    My Mom would take any instance that was annoying to her or grossed her out and would tell us if we did so and so something terrible would happen…


    If I put my finger in my belly button, my legs would pop off…Still have not tested this one, too chicken.

    Or, if I kept my tongue out of the space of a newly lost tooth that I’d grow a golden tooth…I thought only pimps had THAT much self control…

    If a picture fell off a wall that that was an omen someone was going to die.

    if you tell your saturday night dreams before you ate sunday breakfast your dreams wouldn’t come true…

    she told me that fever blisters was proof you had lied about something….

    Oh, I could go on for hours about this subject….

    Yes, my mom is obviously effed up….

  • ruffian2

    2011/05/17 at 3:01 pm

    Ok I am youngest of 3:this dissed my siblings and put lots of pressure on me:

    My mom STILL says this (I am 56 yo)-

    How to have the perfect child? Have 3 and throw the first 2 away……

    She really said this all our lives

  • lemonchess

    2011/05/17 at 3:01 pm

    Oh, there are so many…

    When I developed early, and my mom made fun of my big boobies. Then, when they stopped growing shortly after they started, she made fun of my tiny boobies.

    She once told me that I was chubby and looked like the letter “C” when standing in profile. (I’m still coping with the trauma of that one.)

    She made fun of my occasional zit.

    She made fun of my near-sightedness.

    She never ever got me a Magic Eight Ball.

    I got her back for some of it, though. Once, she pulled over and put me out of the car because I was “sassy.” I was pretty sure she’d drive around the block and come back for me, so I hid. She freaked out when she couldn’t find me. I don’t think she ever did that again. Ha!

  • dooce

    2011/05/17 at 3:14 pm

    OMG @ChristineQ TOILET FROGS EXIST????!!

    I’m never using a toilet again. I don’t know what I’m going to use instead, but I have at least an hour to figure it out.

  • guavagirl

    2011/05/17 at 3:28 pm

    My mom called me her “little chunky” one time when I was a kid. I became offended (I was in fact overweight and the subject of merciless teasing at school), and she tried to cover by telling me that it’s the name of a candy bar that comes “with raisins or without.” To prove that she meant no harm, even though we both knew it was a Freudian slip, she kept calling me her “chunky – with raisins or without” into my young adult years.

    Way to go, Mom! You really showed me.

  • civic483

    2011/05/17 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t know if they were everywhere, but I remember mannequins in a department store (Macy’s perhaps?) that had small televisions (about 9″) as heads. My mom told me that was what happened to your head if you watched too much tv. Every time after that when I watched tv for more than 30min, I’d feel the back of head and I swear to god I felt corners and thought my head was turning into a square (and on its way to a television). Thanks Mom!

  • JillFarr

    2011/05/17 at 3:42 pm

    My answer to this question is two-fold, and all about how my dad can be a bit of a douche. First, when my older sister (EXTREMELY blond) was around 7, my dad and mom were chatting about something, and my father shook his head grimly and said, “There’s nothing more unattractive than a fat platinum blond.” My sister is currently a size 2, and a gymaholic.

    Then, to compound the trauma, we were all laughing about this with my dad years later; shaking his head, he smiled beatifically at me and said, “Bet you wish I’d said something like that about brunettes, huh?”

    Love you, too, Dad!

  • luv and kiwi

    2011/05/17 at 3:44 pm

    Oh my the frog one seriously cracked my shit up. I told my kid sister once that those toy trolls would come alive and bite her if she didn’t do what I said as a kid. One time we were in our van waiting for my mom to come back out. She wasn’t doing what I wanted her to do so I started in with the troll voice and she started beating bloody murder on the window. A cop came up thinking I was murdering the little weirdo. To this day if someone says troll in her presence her ass twitches. ♥ Warms my heart.

  • tidw0516

    2011/05/17 at 3:54 pm

    I was traumatized by Highway To Heaven when I was little. There was an episode where a woman didn’t go to the bathroom for days because every time she lifted the toilet lid a huge snake started to come out. I still watch the toilet for a few seconds before I sit to make sure a snake doesn’t come up.

  • Fifi Coon

    2011/05/17 at 3:56 pm

    There were three of us girls – all two years apart – growing up together………we – my next sister and I – used to tell the youngest one that she was adopted from the weird family three doors down.

    Didn’t everyone tell the youngest child in the family that??

    I don’t know if she has ever forgiven us – it still comes up in an occasional conversation 50 years later :o)

  • abi

    2011/05/17 at 4:13 pm

    My mom gave me The Talk when I was eight years old. She did pretty well — there were library books involved — but when she got to the “When a man and a woman love each other very much…” part, I must’ve looked rather appalled, because she blurted out, “Oh no, it’s not gross — it’s fun!”

    Scarred. For. Life.

  • klovescoffee

    2011/05/17 at 4:19 pm

    I’ve also encountered frogs in toilets. Granted, it’s only been at my grandparents’ ranch in Northeast Brasil, but they’re there. Also sometimes in the shower. They’re rather tiny, but if they jump on you, they’re very cold. I always check the toilet before using it because I’m afraid I’ll end up with a cold little frog on my butt.

    Also: your car CAN blow up if you don’t change the oil. Not blow up Hollywood style (well, maybe, but mine didn’t), but it can cause your engine to throw a rod and shut off and turn on all the warning lights and billow smoke and leave you stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night. I did change the oil regularly in my old car, but apparently the people we bought it from didn’t. It’s lovely to call the state’s roadside assistance people and have them tell you 2 people just called in to report your location because they think your car’s on fire. (It wasn’t; just smoking. Still scary.) So please do get the oil changed regularly. You don’t want to replace the engine. Really.

  • kturney

    2011/05/17 at 4:21 pm

    Seriously. This was laugh out loud funny. You should do this all the time. Just what I needed!

  • Squeaker

    2011/05/17 at 4:23 pm

    FINALLY.. my mother’s weirdo parenting came in handy. Thanks for the feature! :)~

    I am quite disturbed that toilet frogs exist though. LOL

  • sugarleg

    2011/05/17 at 4:24 pm

    when I got my braces on, my dad loudly laughed in my face and said I looked like the back of a radio.


    PS, he now has dentures. yay karma.

  • Linka72

    2011/05/17 at 4:30 pm

    When I was 7, my mother told me that if I kept sitting with my legs open, she would “throw a damn bomb in there”…good lawd, that shit messed me up for YEARS!

  • courtney.m

    2011/05/17 at 4:38 pm

    my dad told me if I made weird faces it would stay that way (not so weird), but he also told me he knew this was true because it happened to his sister Pam. I had never met his sister Pam, so I believed this– at least to some level– until I met her at my grandpa’s funeral when I was 14.

    Also, one time I told my mom I wanted to dye my hair brown, and she said, “well good. at least it won’t be mexican blonde anymore.” wtf?

  • ThePeanut

    2011/05/17 at 4:56 pm

    Haha! My Dad is full of traumatizing stories. Crazy dude. He’ll be happy to see that one of them made it to the interwebz for everyone to take heed of.

  • leeshapwnz

    2011/05/17 at 5:03 pm

    Toilet frogs DO exist!

    A few years back I went to the bathroom at my parents’ house to pee. After finishing up, I went to close the lid and flush, and saw a frog staring back at me. A big one. I peed on a frog.

    I can’t use the bathroom now without looking into the bowl first.

  • HereWeGoAJen

    2011/05/17 at 5:13 pm

    I have also had a toilet frog, but he started as a sink frog. We lived in Florida, which is full of rogue wildlife. One day, I went to brush my teeth and there was a little frog face peering at me from the sink drain opening. I took apart the sink to rescue him. He declined my rescue and retreated into the pipes. I spent a week brushing my teeth at my husband’s sink, so not to drown/poison the frog, then I told him to get out because I was going to use my sink again. He lived in my drain, apparently existing on toothpaste, for a couple of months, I think. Then one day, my college roommate who was over for dinner, went in to use the bathroom and came out screaming that there was a frog in the toilet. Apparently he became sick of my sink drain and decided to relocate.

    I got revenge though. I caught him in a jar and took him to school (I was a teacher) and let my second graders play with him and release him on the playground.

  • mrstilly

    2011/05/17 at 5:15 pm

    My parents told me when I was 5 or 6 that 9 of my great grandfather’s siblings died from eating wild mushrooms. Haven’t eaten another one since.

  • CathyJean

    2011/05/17 at 5:19 pm

    Oh yes! I was about 13, doing my favorite thing: singing my lungs out, while washing dishes one day. I think the song was “I am woman,” and my mom says to me from the other room, “You don’t sound as good as you think you do!” Ouch! I know she meant to be funny (mostly), but I NEVER forgot it.

    And she’d also throw out little gems like: You swing your arms too much when you walk. You talk too slowly. Wow, your nose is really big. What’s with that hair? (always the hair!) Don’t crinkle your brow (meanwhile hers is crinkled to the max. She bought me a box of “Frownies” to *help* me out with this).

    Another favorite was when my sister and I were both with her and she’d introduce us as “the smart one and the pretty one.” That’s just a no-win for everyone involved.

    She never hit us or yelled at us much, but sometimes I wonder how different life would have been like for my sister and I if we’d had a mother who said kind things to us. (My mom probably wonders the same thing sometimes.)

  • The Phonz

    2011/05/17 at 5:19 pm

    My dad used to tell me that the red hazard button was a seat eject button in case of an emergency (where I would need to be launched from the car, what would qualify!?)

  • chronicole

    2011/05/17 at 5:24 pm

    Before there was Go the F**k to Sleep, I was once so frustrated with my child during bedtime that I told her if she got up one more time from bed I was going to take away all her happiness forever. I quickly followed it with “I can’t really do that but you’re driving me nuts!”. I think I’m still on the hook for the therapy bill down the road.

  • babysister

    2011/05/17 at 5:52 pm

    i was taught about and learned to fear the Do-As-Your-Told-School. my parents made up MANY awful things they would do to you to get you to listen to your parents…toothpicks under the fingernails, tie your hands above your head and cut little slits in your skin til you bled all over…uh huh.
    turns out it was a church and nuns lived there, next to the hospital. I HAD TO GO THERE FOR A SCHOOL FIELD TRIP.

  • FairlySilly

    2011/05/17 at 5:58 pm

    The toilet frog most certainly does exist!

    When I was about 5 I went to the toilet at school. THERE WAS A FROG IN THE BOWL!! Dear god, the trauma! To this day I still check the toilet before I sit down.


  • colormeroutine

    2011/05/17 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve been reading this blog for years but only just made an account to post this one:
    I was 8. It was early morning, and I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting to have my tonsils removed. I asked my mom how they removed one’s tonsils and if it would hurt. She responds with: “Don’t worry honey, they won’t have to cut you open or anything, they just reach down your throat with a pair of pliers and *yank* them out”
    And yes, she DID a yanking motion when she said it

  • hollyfish

    2011/05/17 at 7:06 pm

    Sometimes when I’d come downstairs after being put to bed, around age 4 or 5, I’d find my dad sitting in his chair watching TV. I’d ask, “Where’s Mom?” and he’d answer, “She fell down, broke her leg and we had to shoot her.” Luckily Mom appeared soon after but I always worried for a second if he’d ever say it again, even though I knew he was “kidding”…

  • twilightli

    2011/05/17 at 7:15 pm

    When I was seven or eight, my aunt told me that I had been born a boy, but my mom wanted a boy, so she cut it off. “Haven’t you ever wondered why you always wanted to try peeing standing up?” I kid you not.

  • krislee98

    2011/05/17 at 7:17 pm

    My 11-14 year old self was pudgy with bad skin and weird wavy hair that cut in super unflattering layers. And I knew all of that and was very self conscious, which was painfully obvious to everyone around me. Except to my grandmother, who one day saw me moping around and offered this wonderful bit of wisdom, “Someday your outside will catch up with your inside.”


    So not only are you acknowledging that I’m super unattractive but you’re also suggesting that I should look forward to growing into an insecure maudlin adult.

    25 years later, I still remember that look.

  • The Fabulous Mrs. Chevy

    2011/05/17 at 7:24 pm

    The first time we ever traveled on a plane was a family vacation to Florida in 1992 (I was 8 and my sister was 6). My dad told us before the trip that if we went to the bathroom on the plane, the altitude would cause our asses to suction to the seat and we’d have to stay there for the whole flight.

    And he wonders why we’re always so skeptical when he tells us ANYTHING.

  • duck_jb

    2011/05/17 at 7:41 pm

    I will share two of many similar things I have stored away to be shared with a future therapist. My mom used to mess with our heads all the times, she syas she did it to make sure we didnt grow into “weak minded” adults. I think it just made us wierd. Anyway, she told me as a young girl that little girls who play in the back lane, too near garbage cans, can catcha fungus that makes all their hair falls out, even their eyebrows. Fast forward a decade and I was yelling out our back door at my two much younger sisters to “get away from those garbage cans or your hair will fall out!” I was 15 and my mom told me there was no such thing. “How was I suposed to know you would take me seriously??” the second, at the end of our street was a dentist whos name was bird. As a young child my Mom told me that at the end of our street it was a Bird dentist. So for years when we went by the place with the sign;
    I wondered how they got the birds to hold their beaks open for so long. Again, over a decade after that first conversation I mentioned to my Mom that sadly the Bird dentist had died. She stopped what she was doing “What?” I told her agians and she burst out laughing, “Birds don’t even have teeth!!! His NAME was Bird!!!”

  • The Fabulous Mrs. Chevy

    2011/05/17 at 7:43 pm

    I just read through all of these and was losing my shit. I think fuzzydot takes the cake though. If my dad ever said that to me I’m sure I would have died (I already have issues with sex, so I have no doubt I’d be celibate for life had I heard that from him).

    Also to Fifi Coon — I think that happens in every family, but in my case it was my younger sister who always said it to me. She was a real tool as a kid (kind of still is) and would actually tell OTHER PEOPLE that I was adopted. Once she said it to her doctor, and my mom laughed nervously and said “oh she is not”. But the doctor said “you know, there’s nothing wrong with that…”

  • msfixit

    2011/05/17 at 8:16 pm

    Because I only ate bologna sandwiches with the crust cut off and cheerios, my parents told me if I didn’t eat more I would turn into a skeleton. So I laid in bed waiting for the transformation. I am doing Weigh Watchers now, so I guess they lied.

  • jan001

    2011/05/17 at 8:19 pm

    When I went to college I abandoned the rules I had learned from my mother in my teen years about never ever leaving the house without full hair and makeup, not even to the grocery store.

    When I came back for Thanksgiving, my mom could only tolerate me without makeup for a day or two before she told me I needed to put on some mascara.

    I have grayish blue eyes and, I guess because I’m also light-skinned, my eyelashes are very pale. I’d never thought anything of any of that till Mom, in aggravation with my refusal to put on mascara to go out somewhere, blurted out, “Without any eye makeup, your eyes just look like two piss holes in the sand!”


    Fast forward years and years to present day and we see that I now pay about $50 a month to have my eyelashes professional tinted by an aesthetician. Sigh.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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