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Lost in Translation: A Side Effect of Rushing Around for Hockey

Written by Emily Erson

Today was one of those days where my nerves were shot from the instant I got out of bed. This was most likely the result of being one of those busy hockey moms–3 different hockey practices for three different kids in three different corners of the county the night before.

Never the less it was pre-dawn, and my four-year-old was talking non-stop about his hockey scrimmage game scheduled for this evening. Too much talking before coffee–especially for one of those busy hockey moms– is a bad omen for what is to come for the day.



Busy Hockey Moms-A Side Effect of Waking Up Too Early

For some reason, waking up early made me much more alert. At least I thought it did. I started to realize that I was talking to a house full of kids, but they were not understanding what I was saying.  Was it me, or was my body just not adjusted to the start of preseason hockey?

I decided I was going to pay attention to the things that go on around my house when it was not the time to be one of those busy hockey moms.

What I noticed was that every time I said something, my kids translated it to mean something else.

It was like we were speaking two different languages. All. Day. Long. So, I spent the day trying to decipher what they were hearing in hopes of bridging this communication gap that is plaguing our home. I think I figured it out.

Here are few different scenarios where I clearly understood what they were hearing. And, in their defense, it was definitely not what I was saying.

One of Those Busy Hockey Moms Tries to Break Down the Language Barrier

What I said: Ok guys time to eat breakfast. What do you want?

What they heard: Turn on the TV and ignore everything mom says.

Here’s another.
What I said: Guys, I have to make a phone call to set up a fundraiser for hockey. Go in the other room and try to be quiet for a few minutes.

What they heard: Follow mom around and ask her for a drink every thirty seconds. The shushing and the hand waving means talk louder and more frequently. We need to get her to flip out, so the person on the other end of the phone thinks she’s bat shit crazy.

This one struck me as odd because I told them to go outside and shoot in the driveway. They stayed inside and put their roller blades on and played hockey in the kitchen. I am puzzled here.


What I said: Ok, guys. It’s time to get into the car for hockey.

What they heard: Pick up the closest toy and make a huge mess while mom runs around frantically looking for our hockey stuff. Then, when she goes outside to look for us, act shocked at her frustration and rage. See if you can make her say that nasty swear word loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

Husbands are No Exception

Apparently, it wasn’t just the kids either. I am not sure if I am not speaking standard American English or what, because my husband was not interpreting clear instructions. I even used short sentences like the marriage books say to when you want your husband to pay attention.

What I said: We have to get the little ones changed as soon as they step off the ice. Johnny is at a pool party. He has to be picked up by 7. The game should be done at 7. The girl who is hosting the party said we could be 15 minutes late getting him.

What he heard: Stop and talk to every person you see on the way out. Make sure it’s meaningless small talk about why you and I disagree about downloading Kodi onto our Amazon FireStick. We want to make sure we impose on the family who said we could be a few minutes late so that Johnny is never invited back to see that girl he thinks is cute.

Needless to say, we were more than 15 minutes late, and I fussed the entire ride there about how pirating movies, regardless of the ethically gray area, is not worth viruses and fines. I wonder what he heard me saying there?


If I had to guess, it was probably something along the lines of Go ahead and do it anyway, and when it screws all of the TV’s up, I’ll sort it out, don’t worry.

Only time will tell on that one, but it will most likely be another blog post entitled, “Hockey husband goes crazy because he broke the TV and can’t watch the hockey game.”  Subtitle, “He should have listened to his wife, one of those busy hockey moms.”

It Gets Worse At Night

Another thing I noticed about this language barrier is that it grew more pronounced at night. I am not sure if sleep deprivation or if it’s just getting used to running around again after the summer hockey break. Or, it could be like a fever, and it naturally gets worse at night. It’s hard to say, but one thing was certain, my kids did not hear anything I had to say.

The oldest was struggling the most this evening. We might need to see an audiologist.

What I said: Dogs need to be fed.

What my oldest heard: Make sure you keep your SnapChat streaks, don’t worry about pitching in. That arbitrary number beside a person’s name you barely know is far more important than taking care of our pets.

What I said: Put your laundry away.

What he heard: Only pay attention to your phone.

What I followed up with: Please empty the trash and put a new bag in the can.

His translation: Take out the trash, but do not put a new bag in the can. Mom wants to clean out the fridge and accidentally throw smelly leftovers into a bagless can so she has to scrub the trash can at 8:00 o’clock at night.

A Temporary Fix–AKA an Empty Threat that Worked


I did manage to find a phrase that bridged the language barrier with my teenager today though.

What I said: If you don’t put that phone down and stop doing things half-assed, I am going to take it from you and post, “I love my mom,” all over your SnapChat.

(Side bar–Breath if that got you worked up. We do not humiliate our kids publicly. It was a joke. )

What he heard: Oh no, she’s serious; I better pacify her for a bit.

When Peace of Mind is within Reach

So with rancid leftovers clinging to my flesh, a teenager with a list of chores and the focus to complete them, I decided I was hiding in the bathroom. I stated this loud and clear.

What I said: I am going to get a bathroom, locking the door, and taking a bath. Does anyone need anything before I go in there?

What they all heard: Wait until she settles in and peace of mind is within reach. Then start fighting with one another really loud. One of you should hit one of your siblings to make them cry. Then move the chaos you created directly outside the bathroom door so mom can mediate from in the bathtub.  Busy hockey moms aren’t allowed to relax.

Where was my husband during all this chaos? He was hiding outside, talking on the phone about buying a boat. Are you kidding me? Buying a boat? At the beginning of hockey season? Especially after we talked about it last night, and I said it wasn’t in the budget, and we play hockey (like that wasn’t enough of a reason).

Apparently, everything I say is lost in translation. Here’s what he heard, Go ahead and look for a boat, we will figure out how to pay for it.

So, sorry kids, they don’t offer scholarships for the kind of bilingual household we have. And, dad is blowing your college savings on a midlife crisis. So, this communication breakdown we have going on is going to result in student loan payments until you are 50.

No worries, you can just move into my basement. No hope exists for me to be heard in this lifetime anyway.

About the author

Emily Erson

I am a full-time teacher, mother, driver of children, cooker of dinner, washer of laundry, sayer of whatever is on my mind and hockey mom extraordinaire. In my free time --like that exists--I blog in order to vent the frustration that comes with raising 3 kids. My mantra, blogging and ranting are better than a drinking problem.


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