Do they ever stop talking? EVER?

by Janelle Hanchett


So yesterday I went out with the three kids. Mac was working (shocker), and I was feeling ambitious and altruistic, figuring “I can handle this. I’m a good mom.” Plus, if I’m OUT of my house I don’t have to deal with the mess IN my house.

I know. I’m a thinker.

So we went to breakfast. Then we went to a craft store to pick out fabric for curtains I’ll never actually sew, and we walked around the 2nd-hand baby store (where I bitched about the prices, realizing I can buy the same shit for cheaper at Old Navy and it’s NEW)…then we went to a couple other stores, then Costco.

And really the little hoodlums were pretty good. I mean they’re kids, so they can’t be THAT good, but for kids, they were alright.

But by the end of our outing I realized something: My kids never stop talking. They never, ever, ever fucking EVER stop talking.

“Mama, do you think it’s weird when girls talk about boys they like?”

“Mama, why are we going this way? Can’t we walk to the next store? Why can’t we walk? I wanna walk. We never walk ANYWHERE. Why do we never walk anywhere?”

“Mama, can we buy this wooden chest of drawers for my doll clothes?”

“Mama, I love it when I fart in my underwear.”

“Mama, Georgia has a booger.”

“Mama, you never buy us anything.”

“Mama, how do the police tell the bad guys from the good guys?”

“Mama, how did the Russian Revolution start?” (Yes, Ava actually asked that.)

“Mama, how come Hitler used gas on the Jews when  all the countries signed that agreement after World War I promising never to use gas again during war?” (and that too.)

“Mama, will I ever grow up as tall as daddy? How tall is daddy? Is he taller than an elephant? I want to be taller than an elephant. A crane is taller than an elephant. But what about a giraffe? Is daddy taller than a giraffe? A crane is taller than a giraffe for sure. Pretty much everything isn’t as tall as a crane. Right, mama? Is a crane taller than everything?”

And ON and ON and ON and ON.

And on.

And on.

And on.

Please give me a break. One break. Two minutes of silence.

Holy fuck do they EVER stop talking?

No. They don’t. They are relentless. I don’t think they breathe. They only talk.

When I’m with all three of them, there is always one of them making noise in my direction, needing me. Always.

Whether it’s whining or crying or wailing or squealing or talking…there’s always noise coming at me from the little people.

My husband can sit there and, by all appearances, not hear a single smidgen of it.

I on the other hand hear every single speck of chatter and feel compelled to answer each and every question they pose. [Unless it has to do with farts or poop or underwear. Most of those questions I let go unanswered, realizing the purpose is usually just to say the word “fart” or “poop” or “underwear” – any response being almost wholly irrelevant.]

I do okay at the beginning. But after a few hours…my Lord I’m tired of people talking at me. I’m an extrovert and all, but shit. Everybody’s got a limit.

And then I start giving one word answers and my daughter starts picking up on my impatience and I start feeling guilty so I try again but my heart’s not in it but they don’t stop because they actually physically cannot (by the way, is that some sort of ailment?)…so we just go on like that…forever….it’s all really quite a lovely little picture.

So I turn on music. Loud.

But they talk anyway. OVER THE MUSIC.

Sometimes I pretend I can’t hear them.

But they only TALK LOUDER.

Deep breaths. Mantras. “I am a rock in a stream.”

Yeah right. That shit never works.

I tried telling them once about the Dalia Lama stating that “senseless chatter” was a bad thing, clouding the mind and separating us from our Buddha nature. While it appeared promising at first, that particular strategy backfired miserably when they started accusing me of “doing senseless chatter” almost every time I brought up a subject they didn’t feel like hearing.

Oh well.

I know I’ll miss this in 20 years.


The only time I get any peace from the NOISE. Except wait a minute. Ava is not in this picture, which means she was probably with me. Talking. Talking to me. Talking to me endlessly. Shiiiiit.

  • Dee

    Hehehe. I love the quiet game, but it never last more than 30 seconds around here. Seriously. The talking is such that I changed my ringtone so that when I get a call from home, it squeals like the pig in the Geico commercial. Because that sounds exactly like what I hear all the time.

    • renegademama

      HA! This made me laugh out loud for real. That’s so awesome I can hardly find words. well done, Dee!

  • Amanda M.

    I love it! And it is so true. I have a two year old that is still figuring out words and she already talks all the time, only I can’t actually understand all of it even though I try. I’ve never been very good with silence, but since I became a mother I actually enjoy it. I think this post explains why much better than I ever could!

  • kim

    What is it with first-borns being able to sense when we are becoming irritated? Isabella makes me feel like such a shitty mother for being able to do that. GAWD.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    Awww! I know!!!!!!!! Never STOPS TALKING!!!!

    I feel for you.

    I feel like being committed based on all the non-sensical chatter I hear ALL THE TIME.

    And, then, his teacher had the audacity to tell me, that Emry isn’t conversational with her at school.


  • dani

    I have no idea the number of things I’ve agreed to when not really listening but wanting to give them an answer just so they shut up.

    It’s really pathetic.

    • renegademama

      Guilty. Sometimes I just mumble incoherently. If it works, I’ve scored.

  • Shan

    Mad’s three. She already knows, “Is that… so?” means Mama wasn’t really listening. Not that it matters. She asks questions six times each anyway.

  • Janine Kloss

    I’m a mean mommy :/ I tell my kids that it’s quiet time because mommy needs a break and no ones allowed to talk for a while. Sometimes I seriously can’t handle all the noise… and I only have two!

  • Donna G

    I am a new reader and really enjoying your stuff. This post was particularly funny. I have 6 kids, and the youngest is now 13. I remember at his 3 month checkup that the doctor remarked that he was babbling already. I told him that it was a defense mechanism since none of my other kids ever shut up. We are now down to 2 kids at home – the 13 yo and a boomerang 23 year old, who is away most of the time. I miss the chatter.

  • mystic_eye_cda

    I call my noise cancelling headphones my “Fortress of Solitude” – they aren’t earplugs so you have to actually have loud music on to block all sound, but my kids think that all the time I have them on I can’t hear them so the don’t talk to me… as much.

  • Lucy

    Oh yes! So, so, so true – we have three, similar ages – god do they talk. Went to a parenting conference for my work and an “expert” there said a pre school child has a need every 20 seconds!

  • Christy

    I don’t think it will ever stop…I have older teens and the questions and chatter are still coming…it never ceases to amaze me.

  • Bunny

    I so relate to this…I’m such a great Mom I actually say “I CANNOT possibly answer one more question…sorry, but you’ve hit your limit for the day. No more questions until tomorrow.” It actually works..they just say “ok”…

  • Grrlyq

    Holy shit your husband is my husband’s doppelgänger. If the tattoos weren’t different I would swear he has a double life!

  • Valerie

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I have 2 sons, 8 and 12 and it never ends. I feel bad for the way I feel but I honestly feel like an unpaid, unappreciated maid. The noise NEVER stops with my 8 year old from the minute he wakes until the minute he ges to bed. And he is soooooooooo clingy. I spent ALL day with him Sat and almost ALL day Sun and when I tucked him him in at bedtime Sun night he starts crying his eyes out that he wants to spend time with me and wants me to lay with him until he falls asleep in his twin bed and I am beyond exhausted and just want to go to sleep. I feel so guilty but he is almost 9 years old but it feels like he’s a 2 yr old that is smothering me to death.

    I do love them and I chose to have them both because I really did want to have kids but to be honest with you if I had the choice to do it all over again I wouldn’t have children. It just has not been a good experience for me. I’m praying that someday I will feel different

  • LadyTremaine

    OK, just gonna put on my targets real quick by saying first that I am a stepmom – fire at will.

    I really don’t care.

    It’s not that I don’t like the kid, or even that I don’t love him. But what I do not like or love is the incessant sound of an 11 year old with hygiene so awful he smells like a dirty baby diaper baby-talking in my ear for up to 16 hours a day. I hate that I feel this way, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I grin and bear it as well as I can, but there’s a point at which I have to slip off and hide out someplace, or send him outside to do chores just to get a break from it.

    Sidenote: I could STRANGLE my DH and MIL for raising this kid with no rules, manners, or sense of cleanliness. Had I known what I was walking into, I would have RUN LIKE HELL. But they sold him like a used car salesman, and by the time I figured out I’d bought myself a lemon, it was just too late.

  • Erika

    Lord, help me! At times I feel like my ears are so overused, you should see smoke coming from them. I go to th e “bathroom”so much for a 5 minute break, my 8 year old thinks I have some serious intestinal issues! I feel like I can’t make it through at times and then I google to se if she is normal or if she needs some kond of therapy, and O find blogs like this. Thanks for letting other parents know they aren’t alone!

  • Tina

    Gosh, yes. I only have two and it is endless. “Mama this….Mama that” – sometimes I think I’ll just walk out and not come back. And now that I’m pregnant with number three I’m thinking “Bitch, you just added another 15 or so years of that to your life…” *sigh*

  • Rachel

    My 4 yr old has a speech issue and she talks non-stop. This is good, but we can only understand about 80% of what she is saying. Non-stop, all the time, in her sleep, all the time. 24 hours a fucking day, this kid talks. And now my one and half yr old is starting to talk. Non Stop. Mama, mama, mama. Thank god the 12 week old is a fabulous baby and never cries, or I think my brain would leak out of my ears. Never ends!

  • Christina

    This is truth right here. If I hear “Mama, you know what?” one more time… and then they talk over each other, on and on and on, until it’s just endless noise!

  • Jen

    MAN i love these posts. So true. Sometimes I want to pull my brains out because it would be less painful than the endless stream of chatter. We recently moved and now in the car I tell them I can’t talk b/c I HAVE to concentrate on my driving. They think driving here (LA area) is SUPER complicated. Which is fine with me.

  • Jason

    So obviously I’m not a mom but a step daddy to a awesome 9 year old boy who I wish was mine, however, my dad told me, just wait till you have kids of your own. Now I know they never shut up! Girlfriend had to goto school today, I drive school bus, yet, when I have seventy kids yapping at once it don’t phase me a bit but while Steph was at school, I had Anthony and we were at the laundromat, I couldn’t get much done without being followed by my boy who I swear is a lost puppy dog. Ladies, you’re good,

  • Amber

    I made a rule, if I ask you to be quiet and you don’t you leave the room. This of course works best on kids over the age of 4. I was lucky, I’m not a talker myself and my son grew up with basically just me and for his younger years didn’t babble constantly. Oh he made noise but, honestly I never even noticed it. Then I met my step-kids, who were raised just the opposite. I still uphold the same rule, only one with an issue is the 7 year old. She literally can’t be quiet. EVER! This child has a serious lack of self regulation in all aspects of her behavior. She spends a lot of time outside or playing in her room because she refuses to stop. Call me whatever you wish but I’m a stickler for respect. If you asked to stop or to do something you say yes ma’am and do it.

  • Mary

    Sometimes I tell my daughter mommy clocked out for the day, call me by my first name! I’m a single mom to a high energy talkative 6 year old and between her full time work and a 58 yr old complainer of a mom some days I want to be the one throwing a fit on the floor whaling and screaming

  • Nikki

    Mary, you tell your child to call you by your first name? That seems harsh. What good does that do? You still have to be a mother all the time whether you feel like it or not.

  • say it

    I am daddy. N I aaaam soooo tired of answering questions to this almost seven year old!
    I can no longer hear what the questions are and I have no guarantee on the nature or quality of the answers I am giving!

  • Zarita

    And then you send the non-stop talkers to school and while you are cheering, I am in my classroom watching them arrive. And they’re already talking non-stop, as they exit the bus, as they walk down the hall, as they enter the room and ESPECIALLY when I teach.
    Is it this generation? I know teachers who have given up. They write the directions on the board and point. It doesn’t matter the grade, it doesn’t matter if you are seated in a circle on the floor or they are at desks. They all want to talk at once. Teachers have gimmicks to quiet them – clap, turn off the lights – oh please, don’t say “Raise your voice” because they just keep talking over you and tune you out.
    Sorry, just had to vent. 5 years to retirement, 5 years to retirement…
    Seriously, what’s going on?

  • Jason

    There is two methods to solve this problem its all in distraction
    Chewy foods work well

    The other is encourage it listen to them and discuss life hold debates
    What they are actually doing is trying to relate to you the less we answer the more they talk silence is horribleto the human brain treat them like your friend ask their opinion

    The more you talk the less they will want to talk back.

    Scenario mum walking answering question fired from all directions going crazy

    Other mum discussing with her child world affairs in controlled structured convo

    My.son is 6 he used to chat from 6am_9pm
    Now he only chats when he wants some thing

    Ohhhhhhh i just remembered

    Playstations and computers shut them up too

    If you want an hour allow 1 hour playing time all ur get is mum look look look

  • Brandi

    I fucking feel this so hard. I think my brain might actually explode. I know I’ll eventually miss this, but not today.