Whether they come from friends or well-meaning strangers, these euphemisms and so-called terms of endearment irked the moms we polled most when it comes to parenting.

By Maria Carter
January 14, 2020
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Call it the opposite of music to our ears: We've all got certain words and phrases that bring out the worst in us.

The moms polled for this article repeatedly expressed a dislike of variations of "wifey" and "hubby," being told "every baby is different," and hearing their kids referred to as "littles." And that's in addition to annoying input from other parents and all sorts of antiquated advice from friends and strangers at the checkout line alike.

The next time you find yourself annoyed by one of these platitudes or euphemisms, know that you're not alone in rolling your eyes.

Credit: Illustration by Sarina Finkelstein

"Working mom"

"No one ever says 'working dad.'"

— Rebie L., Denver, Colorado

"Adulting"

"Everywhere I go, I see messaging that 'adulting' is hard. Why are we making adulthood out to be something negative that our kids don't want to attain because it's 'hard'? Young adults are failing to launch today; could it be because we are setting them up to not believe that they actually can?"

— Amy Carney, author of Parent on Purpose, Phoenix, Arizona

"Littles" (to describe children)

"It's very infantilizing, not of the children but of the person caring for them. It sounds like the collective noun for some kind of cute animal. You're not taking care of some tiny thing, you're raising a human being, and the phrase is just belittling and grates my nerves."

— Amanda N., Richmond, Virginia

When people say a man is "babysitting" his own children

"Uh, he's not babysitting them, he's parenting them."

— Chrissie J., One Hangry Mama, Dallas, Texas

"Honey Do List"

"The phrase feels helpless and a bit manipulative."

— Lynda C., Fix Your Chit podcast, St. Paul, Minnesota

"Wifey"

"This drives me bananas. It's so condescending."

— Angela H., Decatur, Georgia

"Million dollar family"

"I just had a baby boy and already have a toddler girl, and now everyone tells us we're a 'million dollar family'—implying the perfect family is two parents plus a boy and a girl. It's such an outdated saying and basically insults every other type of family."

— Christina Bell, Mom in the Six, Toronto, Canada

"FTM"

"Initially, I was confused by this abbreviation—I thought there were just a large amount of female-to-male transgender parents in my moms group, which I thought was great. Eventually I found out it means 'full-time mom.'"

— Carrie O., Charlottesville, Virginia

"Tweens"

"Ugh. I loathe this word like the Grinch loathed people. They're pre-teens!"

— Robin N., Statesboro, Georgia

"Mommy juice"

"I'm sober so 'mommy juice' and 'mommy's little helper' bug me."

— Lynda C., St. Paul, Minnesota

"Every baby is different"

"It seems like any advice we get from any medical professional always ends with '...but every baby is different.' This is why no one has that perfect answer to how to get your baby to sleep, how to get your baby to eat, and all the other mysteries that we're constantly trying to solve related to our babies. At this day in age with every answer at our fingertips, how can none of us get our babies to sleep or eat?"

— Kelly Doyle, The Exploring Mama, San Diego, California

When someone refers to raising kids as their "job"

"It's not that it's not a ton of hard work. It's that raising kids and having a job aren't the same, and I think it starts to feed into the narrative about what's 'appropriate' for women, for their work and their family."

— Jen B., Richmond, Virginia

"Precious babies"

"I have no problem when people talk about their babies, and none at all when they refer them as 'precious,' but when they talk about their 'precious babies,' my eye twitches."

— Mary T., Loganville, Georgia

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