Lost in Translation


This picture makes about as much sense as the post itself.

There are some unwritten rules in the blogging/writing world. One that I continually break is not to read the comments left on sites other than my own. I can’t seem to help it. I want to know what people think.

When I Am Not That Mom was first published here, I was amazed at the response. Then Scary Mommy wanted it. Then Huffington Post. Then All4Women. I was blown away by the comments, and I read as many as I could find. Mostly they said “Thank you” or “Me too” or “Now I don’t feel so alone.” How could I just let those beautiful words languish in internet purgatory, never noticed, never acknowledged? The people that left these comments praised me, for being brave, for being vulnerable, and most often, for letting them know that they were NOT alone. But what they didn’t know was that those comments helped me, probably much more than my post helped them.

When Huffington Post shared that piece again last week, I received two emails. One in Italian (which I initially thought was French because I am Very Smart) and one in German. I had to use Google Translate to understand what was happening. I guess U.S. Huffington Post submitted the article to their Italian and German counterparts.


I couldn’t. When I clicked on the link, Google asked me if I wanted it translated to English. Sure. Cause I can’t fucking read Italian. Or German. Or French, for that matter.

This is where things started getting HYSTERICAL. Now, I’m no linguist, as surely you’ve realized by now, and I have no idea how accurate Google Translate is, but holy shit, my word babies were torn to pieces and put back together until I didn’t even recognize myself.

I was laughing so hard last night, I almost couldn’t breathe. I ran around the house shoving my phone in any face that would hold still and yelling, “THEY SAID I KISSED AN OX!” “OMG!” and “CHRIST ON A CRUTCH, THE WHOLE WORLD THINKS I’M A FUCKING MORON!”

Seriously, I sound like a lazy, and possibly insane, asshole.

I wonder if an Italian-speaking person read it, would it make more sense and come across the way it was meant?

Anyway. For your reading pleasure, I present to you excerpts from I Am Not That Mom, in English, Italian, and German. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


ME: I Am Not That Mom

ITALY: I Am Not One of Those Mothers

GERMANY: I’m Not a Mother

Wow, Germany, that’s a little harsh.


ME: I am well aware of my failure in this aspect of parenting.

ITALY: I am well aware that you have failed as a parent from this point of view.

Yeah, you fucked up big time. Wait, what?


ME: I’m just not that mom.

GERMANY: But as a mom, I am not easy.

I can’t really argue with this.


ME: When I first saw you, I knew that you would hold my heart forever.

ITALY: The first time I saw you, my son, I realized that I’d captured her heart forever.

I’m so confused.


ME: I can still feel you, so tiny, snuggled on my chest. When I see you asleep now, I still picture you curled up in footie pajamas, all wispy hair and dark lashes against perfect skin.

ITALY:  I can still hear each of you, curled up on my chest. Even today, when I look at you sleep, I imagine squatting in your swimsuit, with thinning hair, dark lashes and face immaculate.

What the…someone, please, explain this before I laugh so hard I pee my pants. Again.

Too late.


ME:  I was the mom who kissed boo boos.

ITALY:  I was one of those moms who kissed your ox.

Oh, Italy, you’re killing me here.


ME: (safety scissors, my ass.)

ITALY: (scissors with safety, a horn.)

Scissors. Useful in any language. Asses and horns, not so much.


ME: But most times I feel like I am also the mom who is failing.

GERMANY: But mostly I feel that I am the mom who refused.

This is hurtful, Germany. Very hurtful.


ME: I was that mom who rocked you all night, patting and bouncing and shh, shh, shhing when you cried.

GERMANY: I was the mom that you all night has gently rocked, patted your Po, up on the exercise ball…

I think you and I might bounce babies differently, Translator Person.


ME: …although there have been a few notes from the Tooth Fairy instead of cash.

ITALY: …although the Tooth Fairy, instead of giving me some money, I did deliver the message of warning.



The Tooth Fairy


ME: I’m also the mom who too often hurts too much to cook dinner. I’m the mom who lets you eat an unhealthy amount of macaroni and pizza rolls.

ITALY: They are also the mother who often do not want to make dinner. I am the mother who lets you eat a huge amount and unhealthy pasta and pizza.

Translation: This woman is lazy and wants you to be fat and hungry.


So yesterday was a good, good day, because I got to read all these wonderful comments from wonderful moms, dads, grandmas, future moms, people with no intention of having children, just so many amazingly considerate people, and then I got to laugh my ass off at this. I needed a good day.

About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

38 responses to “Lost in Translation

  • A Kinder Way

    Squatting in a swimsuit. That pushed me over the edge…..hahahaha

  • Michelle

    HAHAHAHAHAHA….I love it…you awesome international star, you..

  • Jess Lewis

    Fan fucking tastic

  • The Hopeful Herbalist

    😂😂💦 always make me laugh out loud! So you are that kinda mom – go figure! 💐

  • floridatavTerri Lee

    I guess the “ass and horn” could be where our term “blow it out your ass” comes from? These foreign languages make everything we say sound dirty! “Patting your Po”? “Squatting in your swimsuit”? (With thinning hair, no less! WTF is THAT all about? HAHA!)

    • Steph

      Blow it out your ass! I never thought of that. The rest of it…omg, I almost died laughing. I really, really wish I knew someone who was fluent in Italian or German, to see if it sounds that crazy to them.

      • Shannon

        I totally loved the original, but these excerpts of translation had me lmao! Seriously hysterical! I do have a friend fluent in German if you wanted to see how it translates. Although, it may not be nearly as fun!

        • Steph

          I was laughing SO HARD when I read the translation. If you don’t care, ask your friend about it. I’m sure if you spoke the language, it would sound better. Right? RIGHT? Lol.

  • onegirlbreathing

    Omg!…..does that translate? So funny and something I needed this morning. However, I did use the exercise ball to bounce both of my children. I didn’t have a rocker or glider and the gentle bouncing helped them fall asleep and gave me a little extra movement and core workout each day. 🙂

  • Margot

    I’m surprised it was even printed in German when they retitled it “I am not a Mother.” That’s not only harsh, it’s also very misleading. You’d think it was about a woman who’d made a firm decision not to have children.

    Thanks for sharing this—it was hysterical! Also, I’m so pleased to hear that your blog post was picked up and shared so widely. I still remember crying when I read it, and how *so* many other mothers could relate.

    • Steph

      I know, right? And there are NO comments on the German article.

      Thank you! I’m pleased too.

      I haven’t been checking my email (or blog or anything really) but today I found an email from someone else who wants to republish. YAY!

  • Ali

    That was hilarious. Thanks so much for sharing. I took a couple of Italian classes in college and some Spanish in high school. Should probably try getting into the translation business. Apparently it’s pretty lenient.

  • donofalltrades

    Creepy and fun and creepy! I read all the comments I can find too. Anyone who says they don’t is a liar. We’re attention whores.

  • Jana

    This is hysterical – I would love to have someone fluent in Italian or German read it and see if Google Translates was even close. On one hand, I can’t imagine that someone would translate your words so badly. On the other, I’m all, “Yeah – it could happen.” I cringe to think what I’m actually saying when I attempt to speak Spanish – I probably offend someone every single time.

  • ghostmmnc

    So funny! Glad you got to see the comments translated. I’m with you…I read all comments 🙂

  • cracTpot

    always always looking for places to score a laugh…thanks for being my new dealer

  • ercatalano10

    That’s priceless! The threatening Tooth Fairy was awesome!

  • mommatrek

    OMG. Was having a flare day because I forgot to take my stupid meds and this made me laugh so hard I peed.

    Thank you. 😀

    • Steph

      That is awesome–not that you wet yourself–but the first thing I thought to say on The Bloggess was, “I swear you’ll pee laughing!” But then I decided maybe that wasn’t, you know, the *best* way to lure people here. Lol! I’m sorry you’re flaring! I am too. It’s complete bs.

      • mommatrek

        It’s been a shitty few days. I’ve been seeing a new dr since November and now, because I have to switch medications (Celebrex is too expensive, so I have to switch to Meloxicam), he won’t fucking call me back or even speak to me because I refuse to pay for his bullshit private insurance that ONLY works at HIS practice on top of the insurance we’re already paying for which is expensive AF. No..he won’t talk to me over the phone, he wants me to come in for an office visit which is going to cost me $150 bucks because we haven’t come anywhere NEAR meeting our stupid high insurance deductible yet.


        • Steph

          Oh, do not even get me started. Same deal here. It’s awesome to hear, “this medicine will work best, but you can’t get it bc it’s $700 a month.” And I finally found a couple doctors I like (this is rare) but they don’t take my new insurance. So, it’s 100 bucks a visit. Love it.

          • mommatrek

            That’s why I’m not on Viibryd for my depression and anxiety..I can’t afford $700/mos. So I’m on Lexapro which works OK but Viibryd has worked best for me out of all the meds I’ve been on over the last 30 years. I was only on it for a short time after my miscarriage but oh god. I remember that drug and how good it made me feel. I miss it.

            • Steph

              Yes. Ugh. That’s why my mom is hospitalized every year. She has a liver disease, and is supposed to take this med like 3x a day, but it’s $1200 a month. So she takes 1 a day at most, or saves them until she starts feeling sick. It’s ridiculous.

  • barbaramullenix

    I hate to butt in on something clearly not my business, but I’ve heard that if you contact certain drug manufacturers directly, they sometimes have programs that aid the consumer in helping pay for their drugs – or offer a huge discount. Might be worth an e-mail to find out if you can qualify.

    • Steph

      No worries! Good call on pointing that out! It’s kinda funny you did, bc yesterday I spent the morning online and calling places about a med for my son, and ended up getting it paid for! My mom’s med didn’t work out like that, for one reason or another, but it definitely works on some.

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