Let’s Play Mummy Lingo Bingo

Image: Hownow/Flikr For those who don't know this about me: I'm a journalist.

Like most journos, I've spent time working in newsrooms. Nowhere teaches you to swear better than a newsroom. I became a prolific pro-swearer in my 20s – if there's a better compound swear word user than me, I've never met them.

But at the age of 30, something weird happened to me. I had a baby. That wasn't the weird thing (well, not the weirdest, at any rate). No – the weirdest thing was that overnight, I acquired a completely new vocabulary. I found myself using words that no sane adult uses in regular conversation.

To reassure myself that I'm not alone, I've invented Mummy Lingo Bingo – a brand new game where we identify how many of these random words we only use around our children. Like I used to say "dirty" but now I find myself using the word "mucky" on a daily basis. Seriously? Who says mucky??

How many of these words or phrases have you used this week? Bonus points awarded if you score a complete dozen.

  • "Goodness me!" (I'm sure I used to have a ruder version of that)
  • "Beddy-byes"
  • "Shoot."
  • "Jim-Jams" (oh, the shame)
  • "And what do you say?"
  • "Lovely manners"
  • "Good try!"
  • "Eat up!" (c'mon – have you EVER said that to anyone over 5?")
  • "toes-ies"
  • "shift your bottom"
  • "scootch up"
  • "We don't do that, do we?"

I'll say this though – if you ever catch me using the phrase "nicky-noo-nahs" instead of "knickers" (that beauty comes courtesy of my sister-in-law) then you have my permission to shoot me. I have some  standards, after all.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Insomniac Mummy
    23rd August 2009 / 7:46 pm

    Instead of “shoot” we use “sugar”, and “toe-sies” are “tootsie footsies”.

  2. 23rd August 2009 / 7:45 pm

    lol! full house! althought i uses ‘tootsies’ for toes and ‘bobies’ for bed time 🙂 i love baby talk! xxx

  3. Sam
    23rd August 2009 / 8:02 pm

    Briliant! Our stock phrase at the moment, whilst trying to instill some manners into our girls is “What’s the magic word?”. Cringe! And my euphemism of choice when I manage to refrain from actually swearing is “Ratbags!”

  4. 23rd August 2009 / 8:07 pm

    we haven’t used any of those, but we do say bot-bot and nap-nap and all each other mummy and daddy (I’m cringing as I type)

  5. 23rd August 2009 / 8:30 pm

    Genius!! I think I score quite highly. My own awful word du jour is ‘Sweetie’, as in ‘What’s the matter sweetie?’ – bleurgh! Oh, and ‘biccie’ for biscuit. Think I should stop there!

  6. 23rd August 2009 / 8:54 pm

    Oh, I do that in Dutch, too. But I do find it hard not to swear, especially in poo-related issues.

  7. leslieanne
    23rd August 2009 / 10:36 pm

    haha 🙂 all so true!
    my little man is still a bit too young for some of those – but I’m sure they’ll come!
    my worst is ‘have you got a stinky bum??!’ – i try to refrain from using it when there’s anyone else around, but i know i’ll slip up eventually!

  8. 24th August 2009 / 11:39 am

    I say Eat-Up every Sunday to my partner.. He ALWAYS leaves his vegetables, and yes I sound just like his mother when I say it!

  9. 24th August 2009 / 6:57 pm

    Very funny. I find the swear word alternatives particularly amusing. ‘Oh sugar plums!’ is my alternative to ‘Oh sh*t’ and ‘Floopy doopy!’ is my alternative to ‘F*ck!’ and ‘Balderdash!’ is ‘Bo**ocks!’ There are probably others, too.
    Chris and I both tend to swear like troopers when Rosemary’s out and we’re at our desks. I think we’re making up for not being able to at other times.

  10. Sally
    24th August 2009 / 9:17 pm

    I love that it isn’t just me. Although my attempts to shield Flea from swearing are doomed, I fear – Flea’s on a few days break with my parents, and my Mother told me yesterday that the family was discussing my aversion to ironing over dinner, when Flea piped up: “Mummy says she doesn’t want to buy a BLOODY ironing board.”
    She makes me so proud.

  11. 25th August 2009 / 8:42 am

    I too had a potty mouth, having spent many years in the Trade Union movement…however, as you say, having kids makes you clean up your verbal act…
    We say ‘sugar oops!’ when somehting goes wrong, as opposed to the usual SHIT SHIT SHIT…and I refer to my self as mummy, which makes the kids (10 and 16) cringe. I call them hunnybunnies and say ‘and the magic word is..? I also check their hands, front and back, before meals, which I’m sure is some kind of violation of their human rights to have manky hands…I do swear in the car, however, and was mortified when my son asked if I had my ‘sweary head’ on as we got into the car one day…busted! M x

  12. 27th August 2009 / 10:23 pm

    My pet hate is all the referring to yourself in the third person – “Mummy is not very pleased”, “Shall Mummy read you a story” etc.
    I’ve already become very proficient in keeping the swearing within, due to being a teacher. My favourite fallbacks are “Blimey Charlie!” (f***in’ hell) and “Curses!”(Oh Shit).I’m also very good at saying “I’m finding your behaviour totally unacceptable” when what I mean is “You are pissing me off.”

  13. 6th September 2009 / 11:28 pm

    I find myself saying “what’s the magic word” and “do you need a wee” on a constant loop. I’m thinking of getting them recorded and then just playing them back at random…