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Things Parents Say to Kids that They Could NEVER Say at Work

Jill Reed Siroty
Dec. 24, 2015

"Did you wipe?" -- things parents say at home (and maybe wish they could say at work!).

At some point, parents say something to their children that they just CAN'T believe they've said. Here are a handful of the things parents say at home that they could never say at work (but maybe they wish they could):

  1. "I've Had Enough! You're in Time-out!"
    The kids are arguing over Play-Doh, or whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, and they both go to time-out. Wouldn't it be nice to put someone in time-out when co-workers can't agree on deadlines or responsibilities?

    "OK, so who is going to handle the end-of-month summary? Because my staff managed it last month, and we're down a person this week."
    "Our department is already handling that other project; we definitely can't do it."
    "THAT'S IT! Go to your rooms, both of you!"
  2. "Did You Wash Your Hands?"
    Admit it -- you sometimes wonder about a colleague when he or she comes out of the restroom. You ask your kids if they've washed up ... if only you could make your coworkers show you their palms!
  3. "How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You the Same Thing?"
    This one is a well-worn phrase for parents, who often repeat themselves to get their point across. And it's likely something you'd like to ask someone at work. But unfortunately, you just can't -- when a co-worker asks the same question over and over, you just have to keep giving them the same old answer!
    "No, I DON'T think 'Casual Friday' means you can come to work in your sumo mawashi!"
  4. "I Can Only Do So Much at Once!"
    Moms are master multitaskers at home and at work. When you're cooking dinner, getting an update from the kids' babysitter and picking Legos out of the couch, and a voice comes from upstairs asking where her cleats are, you vocalize that there are only so many things you can manage at once. Imagine, though, if you could do the same at work!

    "Have you finished the annual report photography? What about your peer reviews?"
    "Really? I can only do one thing at a time!"
  5. "What Is That Smell?"
    DIrty laundry, overflowing trash or the digestive results of a child who ate too many raisins? This is a question you find yourself asking several times a day. But, unfortunately, you have to hold your tongue at work, despite the weird smell emanating from your cubicle mate's direction at lunch.
  6. "Please Tell Me You Didn't Eat That off the Floor."
    This is potentiallly among the things parents say multiple times daily at home, depending on the age and eating habits of their children. A Cheerio here and there is probably fine, but you probably don't want your kids eating, let's say, yogurt off the kitchen floor. You've probably seen someone who thought he was alone in the break room scoop up half a sandwich, dust it off and take a bite -- then have to silently slip away before he noticed you.
  7. "Put That Down. It's Not Yours."
    Again, this is likely uttered throughout the day at home if you have more than one child within toy-grabbing distance of each other. Hopefully it's not a phrase you need to share with your co-workers because it would be just awful to have to tell Jane to hand that calculator back to James (or else no coffee break for anyone!).
  8. "Did You Brush Your Teeth This Morning?"
    Even though someone's coffee breath in the office might be getting to you, manners suggest that this question is probably best left for home. Unless there's a way you can find your co-worker's toothbrush to check if the bristles are wet!
  9. "One. Two .... "
    If only we could magically get our co-workers to do what we wanted by counting to three.

    "I told you I needed to have that report finished and on my desk by the end of business today. One, two .... don't make me say 'three.'"
  10. "Please Go Get a Tissue."
    Here's another example where at home, this is something you'd say in an attempt to teach your kids good manners. Let's face it, you've probably encountered the sniffly colleague that you've wanted to offer a tissue -- but at work, it would be rude to dig around in your purse for a clean one. (Even though she's the one with the snotty dress-shirt sleeve!) For real advice about teaching your kid (and maybe a certain coworker) about manners, read 27 Essential Manners for Kids to Learn!
  11. "Shhhhhh!"
    Sometimes, you just want a few minutes of quiet. And sometimes you have to beg to get those few minutes. But really, you just can't do that in the office, as much as you'd like to ask that nice man in the cubicle next to yours if he could just take that phone-call volume down a few.

Looking for good things to say to your kids? Here's 10 Important Things to Say to Kids.

Does trying to balance all your hats make you forget what's appropriate to say when? Let us know in the comments below!

Jill Reed Siroty is a freelancer writer, blogger and college instructor. She lives with her husband and two sons, one of whom has had to be told to "stop licking the remote" on more than one occasion.

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