The Bitch-Speak Translator [and other helpful tools]

by renegademama

Hemingway used to say he had a bullshit detector.

You know what I have? A bitch-mom detector.

No, I’m serious. Within 30 seconds I can tell if I’m next to one.

All she has to do is start talking.

Boom. MAYDAY MAYDAY!! RUN! NOW!

It happened recently at that harvest festival. Georgia, practicing her social butterfly act [and sadly lacking the bitch-mom detector I have so carefully honed] makes a beeline to the offspring of a woman who…well…let’s just say we probably wouldn’t evolve into BFFs.

So Georgie cruises up to this toddler and I notice she’s in one of those $700. hovering Euro spacecraft things. Whatever. That’s not a deal-breaker. I know some amazingly rad rich people. At least I think I do.

At any rate, ya can’t judge looks and money.

There are way better things to judge. We’ll get to that.

Admittedly, however, my Detector started quietly beeping when I observed that this woman was at a harvest festival at a FARM, in the DIRT, looking more put together than I do on my “fancy” days. Full make-up, perfect body, immaculate jeans with a perfectly ironed top, some token “country” item like unused, $400 leather boots… sipping a glass of chardonnay.

Her baby was equally immaculate.

Whatevs. I have an open mind. Open like a fucking parachute.

So she comes bounding up to me all peppy and shit, looking like something out of a BabyCenter ad, and I’m standing there with my ripped jeans and love handles,  questionable attitude and bad hair. Of course, I’m wearing flip flops, because duh. So my feet are black. I’m wearing no make-up.

A win, as usual.

My toddler is equally filthy. Her hair is insane and in her eyes (as always), speckled with various items found on the ground. She’s covered in dust and not wearing shoes. Having just consumed about 75 cherry tomatoes, she has actually managed to create mud on her cheeks and nose. When the mother says “hi” to me, I observe my offspring trying to feed her kid the rock she’s been carrying with her for the last 20 minutes.

I am sure this interaction is going to be a success.

Right.

As I’m fielding Georgia away from choking the toddler on a rock, the talking portion begins:

Her: “Oh, how old is your baby?”

Me: “just turned 2.”

Her: “Oh, wow. She’s so SMALL. I guess I forget how big my baby is!! She’s only 18 months and already wearing 3T clothing!”

And with my forced grin I realized that we were now entering what I like to call “The Female Version of ‘Who’s got the bigger penis?’”

It’s like a game show for mothers, only usually there’s only one contestant who wants to play.

I try to pull Georgia away, mumbling “yeah,” and something about finding my other kids.

She says “Oh! You have other kids here? Me too. I have an older one, but she and her friend are totally bored with all this art stuff. They go to a school where all they do is art, so they’re like ‘yeah, whatever, we do this every day.’”

And as she’s talking, I realize she’s doing bitch-speak: certain words are coming out of her mouth, but what she’s actually saying is something completely different. She’s saying “My kid goes to art school;” what she MEANS is “I’m rich and I need you to know it.”

I felt like saying “Yeah, wow. My kids think this is the best thing in the world, because they go to a public school with other poor people where they do worksheets and take standardized tests.”

But I didn’t, because that would require further involvement. I smiled and picked Georgia up, trying to book it the hell outta there before my bitch detector became audible. I said “have a good time, see you later.”

Mac saw the interaction and commented “You didn’t look like you were loving that.”

And I spent the rest of the day translating bitch-speak in my head.

Because I’m a weirdo.

But you guys have to feel me on this one…you know, those moments when mothers get all competitive, engaging in these weird, complex pissing matches, but ALL IN CODE. We do it, but we do it in bitch-speak. And this chick walks up to you all nonchalant, acting as if she’s sweet like honey, when really she’s interested in eating your young and using you as the pathetic backdrop to her own excellence.

It’s BITCH-SPEAK, and it’s REAL.

To illustrate, I made a chart. Please enjoy:

Bitch-Speak Translation Chart

And the best part is, we get so good at it, the bitch-speak translation, that we don’t even hear the actual words…our detector goes off and we’re OUTTA THERE.

As fast as we came.

And then, we call our friends, and translate together.

But don’t get me wrong. We’re all bitches too. We just don’t say it in code.

We say it outright, as it is. And then, we laugh like hell.

Cause we know who’s got the bigger penis.

AND WE LOVE IT.

 

[OMGI'mdyinglaughing. And you have to tell me about your translations. I can't be the only one who does this.]

 

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more stuff I shouldn't have said out loud:

  • Shan

    Totally had my own translations for a few of those things, but I’ll probably rely on yours because there’s chart.

       4 likes

    • renegademama

      Dude! Don’t leave me hanging. What are they????

      Although admittedly, they do appear more official since they’re in a chart.

         1 likes

  • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

    Could be wrong but I feel like this “sussing out” thing all goes out the door with baby #2 and up. Like, I was relatively put-together there for a while when I had one kid in part-time preschool and went to the gym a lot. And I really wanted to meet mom friends and set up playdates and I knew about child development charts and shit. Now? It’s really a good day if a stranger doesn’t have an opportunity to note how long my nipple hairs have gotten. (Is that just me? Oh, great….) First time moms will ask something like, “Has your son started counting to 10 yet?” and I’ll think, “Is that supposed to happen around now? Maybe I should know that! Maybe I shouldn’t have let my BabyCenter Membership lapse!” and then I remember that kids figure out how to count to 10 eventually, whether mom hovers with a dev chart or not and compares notes at the part.

       15 likes

    • Catherine

      Ha ha! Ditto, exactly!

         0 likes

  • renegademama

    I just belted out laughter at the nipple hair thing. Let’s just drop this charade and get married.

    Cause I love you.

       11 likes

    • renegademama

      Oops. That was supposed to be a response to you erica. My wife.

         1 likes

    • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

      Will our marriage involve nipple hair braiding? Because that’s really what I’m looking for in a partner right now. :D

         5 likes

  • Shawn

    I always say about myself….Does not play well with other soccer moms!
    I want people who are authentic in my life!

       0 likes

  • Jo Eberhardt

    I agree with Erica. It’s so much different when you’ve only got one child.

    Oh, and please don’t hate me, but my kids go to a Waldorf school, and they’re both really big for their age (understandable since I’m over 6′ tall), and sometimes I really do forget that other kids are “normal size” and my boys are ridiculously tall.

    But I promise I’m not a bitch!

       3 likes

  • Deanna

    Oh, here’s the one I fucking love: “Your daughter is so quiet. Doesn’t she know how to talk?” Yes, she can talk. She just had her bitch-to-human translator installed early.

       12 likes

    • Marisa

      Awesome. So does mine! ha!

         1 likes

  • jessica

    This is so true. Now that I know what its called [bitch speak] i feel better about some of my thinking yesterday. My preschooler had her first field trip (to a farm) and lets just say that my bitch-speak radar was A-RANGIN.

       3 likes

    • jessica

      That’s farm talk for ‘ringing’

         3 likes

  • Stephanie

    When people remark about Maggie being small, I just follow it up with, “Yep! She’s a peanut! She hasn’t even reached the tenth percentile yet. Isn’t that crazy?” And then I let her scale them.

       2 likes

    • Jo Eberhardt

      I wouldn’t diss Maggie in a mad fit.

         0 likes

  • J Bearg

    ¨You´re such a mellow mom, I wish I could be that relaxed¨ Translation- ¨You both negligent and uninterested in the health and well being of your child. You probably let your toddler feed herself whole grapes. I will be calling CPS as soon as you walk away¨

       16 likes

  • Marisa

    Open like a parachute! Love it. You are better than I about that, I think if I had one look at that mom, I would have run the other way, she wouldn’t have gotten a word in.

       2 likes

  • Merry Welker-Tolla

    My personal favorite is when another mom reprimands her child for something I am clearly ALLOWING my child to do at that moment.

    Ex:
    Katherine and Margo are taking a walk with us. Then: “Katherine! Get off of that person’s lawn! It’s not YOUR lawn! Get off right now!” Meanwhile my kid is skipping across their lawn happily with me watching. NOTE: We have no sidewalks here. There options are 1.walk on someone’s lawn. 2.Walk in the street. Um…. I’ll take #1 thanks. And if people have a problem with my kid walking across their lawn (not trampling their flowers or bushes mind you, it’s just grass) Then maybe they should have thought of that when they bought a house in a place with no sidewalks. Just saying.
    Translation: “You REALLY shouldn’t let your kid walk across other people’s property. You clearly just let your kids do whatever they want without regard to anyone else.”

       10 likes

  • Cheney

    You are certainly not the only one who does this, and also I love you and wish we could hang out. We’d be a great pair, methinks.

       1 likes

  • Kelly

    My recent favorite: “Oh, a co-op nursery school. How neat. Gee, what’s that like?” Translation: “Wow, not only are you poor, you’re not even working, and have time to slum it working down at the co-op?”

       2 likes

  • Eddie - The Usual Mayhem

    For me, having been on both sides of the fence, the worst is the bitch-speak for “Clearly you’re an idiot because you: Send your child to preschool/stay home with your child/are doing the opposite of what I’m doing”.

    It goes one of two ways:
    a) “A pause, nose wrinkle, and then “Oh, that’s so greaaaat.” or
    b) “Oh, you’re brave…I could never …..(fill in the appropriate blank)”

       0 likes

  • Julia

    my neighbor always tells me how she uses what my children do as a “teachable moment for her child” which translates as “your failure as a parent is saving me a lot time with my perfect child.” I have a girl and two boys and a husband who expects me to give him some of my time too. she has one 7 yr old girl who spends most of the afternoon at SACC and a husband who works the evening shift so they go out to dinner and then puts the little one right to bed so she can drink wine and read. so her parenting experience is like 5 star dining compared to mine as a dishwasher at a taco stand in a combat zone -

       15 likes

    • Erica / Northwest Edible Life

      It’s really a miracle you haven’t bombed your neighbor. You deserve a glass of wine.

         8 likes

    • Meriem

      Wow. Who actually talks to people like that? It must be after several of her glasses of wine.

         0 likes

  • missy

    “Ooooh, don’t you have your hands full.” Hmm-mmm. Let’s translate: “You obviously cannot handle your life, let alone your children. Your kids will be pregnant and and/or strung out on drugs by the age of 12. I’ll be spying to see if one stands up in the grocery cart, and ug, now I know who made that disgusting mess in aisle 13.”
    Now this is different from the “Oh, you have your hands full!” that translates to, “I miss those days back when my kids were little and cute and I remember how busy it was, but you’re doing a great job, I’m sure. If you happen to lose a kid while shopping, I’m happy to watch the others while you go find him.”
    The difference? It’s all in the flick of the eyes, turn of the lips, and the set of the jaw.

       12 likes

  • CSmith

    I have an excellent bitch-mom detector, and I have zero tolerance for passive-aggressive crap, so I usually just say what I’m thinking. I had a recent encounter at the mall food court when a woman herded my kids away from the arcade, saying, “oh, no you I’m sure your mommy doesn’t want you coming in here alone, run find her before she worries”(translation-your mother is a neglectful failure). There was no chance that she missed me handing them quarters and SENDING them to the arcade(20 feet away)so I could eat my sandwich in peace. Then she remarked that she didn’t see me WAY OVER THERE, and followed up with a comment about how tiny my 3 year old was, “I thought she was just a baby, she’s SO SMAll”. I looked at her chunky baby, in his $500 stroller, and said, “yes, well I try not to overfeed my children, I don’t want them to have issues with their weight their entire lives.” As my daughter remarked, “well, that shut her up”.

       17 likes

  • colleen

    This happened yesterday:
    I took my husband and 4 year old to the antique store to look for knobs because we are too poor to buy them form Anthroplogie and was immediately attacked by an entire lifes worth of makeup on one face. She got about three inches from my daughters face and tried to become her new best friend. Obviously the smart child turned and ran full speed and looking like an idiot I said “oh, she’s playing shy kid I guess.” Haha self-deprecating laugh. The Rite-Aid makeup isle tuned to me and said “well, maybe if Mommy stopped speaking for her, she wold speak for herself.” This is not the bitch speak, but my answer was….”Oh, Do you have kids?” Which means: Unless your kid just won the noble peace prize for starting a college fund for the homeless using his tooth fairy money, I don’t need your fucking advice! P.S. you’re terrifying.

       6 likes

    • Julie

      People like make-up woman used to make me nuts when my daughter was little. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers. So when scary-looking strangers get in their faces, they sure as hell don’t talk back and most times they run or hide. DUH.

         2 likes

    • Ann

      Stores and malls were places I hated going to when I was pregnant with my 2nd. My hands were swollen, so I didn’t wear my wedding ring. I (at that time) looked younger than my 29 years (Oil of Olay?), so a lot of the older ladies looked at my pregnant self and shook their heads with audible “tsks”…oh ya, I forgot to say that I would be pushing my 10 month old in her stroller as well. Anyway, one day a young, perky, and annoying as fuck mom of a toddler came sashaying up to us; peering at me like I was made of goo-and declared, “YOU need to get a hobby!” I was stunned. Another one of her pack said something about keeping ‘that way’ to collect welfare….that was the day my bitch radar became fine tuned!

         1 likes

    • Meriem

      OMG. These people really exist?

         1 likes

  • Lizaelha

    Her:”How old are your kids? They all look so similar in size.” (translation: haven’t you heard of birth control???
    Me: “We had 4 in five years. The eldest is almost 7.”
    Her: “Wow! You really have your hands full!” (translation: can be many different things, depending on the day and the outing, and what the kids are up to.)

    I’ve had this exchange many times, and see it looming in the future until my kids are big enough to groom themselves…

    I like having a name for the translations I’ve been doing in my head for years! Bitch-speak is great!

       1 likes

  • Rachel

    Like Dwight Schrute from The Office and his weirdo “Gaydar” device, I would really like a “Bitchdar” that could scope them out from a distance before I ever had to waste a single breath on them or their high-brow spawn. Life’s too short for bullshit babble and fakedom. I’ll take your bitchy weirdness if you’re straight up and don’t act better than me. The moment you do, I will mentally wrap you in a full-Nelson and body slam your socialite ass with all the love of a WWE wrestler…

       2 likes

  • luella

    so, i have a tendency to do the opposite of “my kids go to art school’ which is where, if I have any nice stuff, I feel the urge to loudly proclaim to everyone that I got it at the thrift store/craigslist/a garage sale, so people won’t think that I am the kind of person who could/would spend $300 on a stroller.

       5 likes

    • Carey

      I do exactly the same! “Oh what a cute dress!”, remarks the mom with daughter in designer clothes. Me: “Aw thanks, it was a hand-me-down – I just LOVE hand-me-downs!” Even when I actually HAVE spent a lot of money on something (like $50 boots), I always point out that that purchase was made possible by the fact that all of the other clothing in her outfit is second hand :) Gosh, does that make me a thrift-snob???

      I have to admit I have made the comment about my baby being big, and others being small, but it was because my bald baby girl was a michelin-man-meets-pillsbury-dough-boy chub, and I had to throw in that I feel like a jersey cow (or whatever breed makes more milkfat)…. and I didn’t mean to be mean about it!

         1 likes

  • Laurie

    I have loved your blog for the LONGEST time, but finally got the nerve to comment. Every thing you said in this, I have heard from bitchy moms too! And I always wondered what the hell their deal was with the size of a baby. But you are totally right! It is a penis game! Holy shit, love it! Thank you!

       0 likes

  • Kathy

    This is one of the big reasons why we avoided extracurriculars. Scouts was the worst. The first year we had participated in the cake auction which is a fundraiser — basically the kids were supposed to bake cakes, decorate them and we buy them. So my first grader and I baked a cake. We come to the cake auction and find out every cub scout was a Martha Stewart Wannabe. We bought his cake.

    Down South they have more code — I’m pretty certain “bless your heart” means “fuck you Yankee bitch”.

       6 likes

  • Kris

    It’s even worse when you are the parent of a child with autism. I have a child with Asperger’s autism, and proper social interactions are, well, rare occasions, especially in public. My son also is brilliant and has a sense of humor that could allow him to be a stand-up comedian, if he, didn’t immediately insult the audience with his straight-up, honest observations. This combination is never a good thing when a child is used to being given the stink eye by every parent who obviously is a better parent than me, within a 50 mile radius, and qualified to judge me and even try to tell me how to parent my child, because he’s throwing a tantrum due to his Apple stocks taking a nosedive and it’s Thursday and the sky is blue. Meltdowns are normal for us; and it is also judgment day for us as well in the eyes of anyone who happens to witness one of my son’s meltdowns. Bitch-speak bypasses code-speak when the object is a child with autism who doesn’t fit in the expectations box. Assholes just speak their assholic asshole judgmental statements out loud and in your face. My son has developed a rather unique way to deal with people inflicted with assaholism judgmentalitis.

    My son has no clue about filters and personal space. The last time he was basketball-defensing the holy fuck out of my personal space, all waving arms and legs with his face about 2 inches from mine howling about how I bleached his underwear bald and he needs new underwear NOW, some entitled bitch declared, quite loudly, how disgusting and out of control he was. That was all he needed. He turned like a rabid fox, got in the entitled bitch’s face, and said, “I HAVE ASPERGER’S AUTISM! DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT?” The look on her face was priceless as she turned to walk away quickly. He winked at me and followed her equally as quickly, screaming, “DO YOU HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM WITH MY AUTISM? I HAVE TOURETTES, TOO YOU FUCKING FAT BITCH! WHO TAUGHT YOU TO DRESS YOURSELF? YOUR BEARD IS FUCKING THICKER THAN MINE IS AND THAT’S THE ONLY DISGUSTING THING HERE!!” He followed her for a short distance, yelling, and he said his work was done when she abandoned her Wal-Mart cart and literally ran out of the store. I doubt this bitch will be commenting on anyone’s behavior any time soon. :)

       6 likes

  • Tracy Hilliard (@LynxBlade)

    Oh good GOD, I can’t ever help myself by outbitching them.

    “My kids go to ART SCHOOL…blahblah…they’re bored here…”

    “Oh, that’s too bad. You’d think that with all the colors and the unique environment that they’d be able to find plenty of inspiration!”

    Translation: “You’re a stuck up bitch, and I don’t believe your children go to art school, let alone draw.”

       0 likes

  • Courtney

    You’re fucking amazing. I laughed so hard I almost peed. Maybe I should go do some kegals…. or however the hell you spell it.

       1 likes

  • Melinda

    I just discovered this blog and I have laughed more today than any other day in recent memory (of course with four kids I’m lucky I remember my name most days.) I get the bitch-mom speak a lot when I am at school functions with my oldest son. He’s 14 and a freshman this year and I can see the older moms (I’m 32) quickly trying to do the math in their puny little brains when they say things like “wow you look so young? What’s your secret?” Which translates to “holy fucking cow, you got pregnant at 18 so you must be a loser.” I simply answer that there is no secret, I am still young and you’re not.” What I really want to say is “quit being a bitch, yes I had a child at 18, yes I graduated from high school and college with a BSN in nursing, yes my son is the product of a teen pregnancy but he can stomp circles around your kids ass since he is a stellar athlete and is 3rd in his class with his GPA, so stuff your condescending tone up your ass.”

       2 likes

  • joan baret

    The next time someone asks you if your kid can do something yet or not just reply “how the fuck should i know, i just stole this kid” and walk away.

       1 likes

  • Amber

    Brooklyn mom bitchspeak:
    What do you do for school? = You live on the wrong side of the tracks.

       1 likes

  • Meriem

    I literally just copied this from a pregnancy forum:

    “I can wear most of my pre-pregnancy clothes during my entire pregnancy (or could prior to twins) I don’t get big bellies, and my breasts don’t get gigantic and I don’t get fat. I gain some in the booty and hip area, a cup size or two, and that’s about it.

    The rest is mostly baby/water weight and I’m back in pre-pregnancy clothes with in a couple weeks of birth.

    I’ve gained about 10lbs so far with this pregnancy. If my goal is about 10lbs per trimester (or a little more since it’s twins.) I’m right on track – and since I normally gain 40lbs with my singles, if I only gain 40lbs with twins, I’m gaining LESS then I normally do and will be at a lower weight after babies then I normally am.

    Unless you plan on gaining 40-60+ lbs, that dress would not fit you, no matter how big your belly got.”

       0 likes

  • Monty Wildhack

    Here’s some:
    (Read them all with an affected accent. There’s more to bitch-speak than just the words themselves.)

    YOU SAY: “Oh, wow, you don’t look pregnant at all!”
    I HEAR: “You’re -already- giving your daughter an eating disorder!”

    YOU SAY: “Oh, wow, you’re -still- breastfeeding?”
    I HEAR: “At what point does it become molestation?”

    YOU SAY: “I breastfed until (preschool/grade school/high school)!”
    I HEAR: “Try to top my unselfish, totally-altruistic, this-is-for-them-not-me dedication.”

    YOU SAY: Well, really anything about my off-duty hobbies (music, tattoos, whatever).
    I HEAR: “I’m bitter that I bought into the ‘life ends where kids start’ shit so I’m gonna make sure you buy into it too.”

    YOU SAY: “You’re going for natural childbirth? Don’t be a hero.”
    NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH: “It’s okay to ask for an epidural.” (Seriously it is.)
    I HEAR: “Clearly all vaginas are created equal, and mine got scarred tf up.”

    YOU SAY: “I don’t understand how women can have epidurals when it makes labor longer.”
    I HEAR: “Clearly all vaginas are created equal, and mine is made of kevlar.”

    I have a lot. The only thing I seem to relate to other moms on is how 100% of my mom choices are bad.

       0 likes

  • Jenny

    First of all, I love commenting on really old posts.

    Second, yep, this rings all sorts of bells for me. But let’s not forget that girls/women do this to each other way before any of us become mothers. It’s like some kind of twisted female-specific language / cultural exchange that we are made to learn immediately post-birth. Or possibly we had a class on it in middle school, because that’s when I remember cluing in to what other girls were *actually* saying to me.

    I have spent many hours trying to translate/explain to my husband why what my neighbour/colleague/sister-in-law said to me was actually bitch-speak and not genuinely nice/supportive/charming. For example:

    “I just LOVE how you can pull off the natural look. I have to spend hours doing my make-up and hair before I can leave my house.” Translation: “You look like a sack of shit. Please continue to stand next to me because you make me look EVEN HOTTER (if that’s even possible).”

    Now that I am officially a grown-up (what a relief!) I notice way less of this talk in my general life. Maybe this is because I have finally established a decent sense of self-confidence and decided I have no time for that bullshit and do not find myself in the places where these people hang out.

    HOWEVER, motherhood has foisted me into a whole new territory where I am forced to socialize with a bunch of people I would otherwise have no voluntary contact with. We are all standing around together in the playground/library/emergency room because we made/acquired babies and now we have to find something to talk about with each other or else it is weird and uncomfortable. Yay. So now I once again find myself having conversations like the one you described above.

    “Ugh, we had the hardest time figuring out what to do with the kids this summer. We finally found a combo scuba-diving, snowboarding, horseback riding place in Costa Rica where the massages, yoga retreat and Spanish cooking classes are offered on-site, but I know the kids will just complain the whole time we are there. It’s just so hard to find something that suits everyone! What are you doing this summer?”

    Yes, my child is dirty (always), wears hand-me-down clothes, and may say the word “vagina” too loudly and frequently at social functions to be completely appropriate. However, I choose to believe that this is because my priorities for her include having fun, learning about the things she is curious about, and saving on clothes money in favour of things like paying the mortgage and occasionally flagging down the ice cream truck.

    But that’s just me.

       0 likes