If you have both a child and the Internet, then you've probably seen the list of 49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child come across your feed. Forty-what-now? Who's got time for that? Everyone knows one of the biggest sources of anxiety in a parent's life is another long list. So, for the good of stressed-out parents everywhere, The Second City would like to offer up this abridged-for-your-pleasure 33 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Parent.
1. "Can you sip it through one of those teeny cocktail straws?"
"Or do I need a regularly-circumferenced one?" Sipping, quaffing or chugging in reaction to anxiety provides parents with an outlet for their feelings when they can't always just eat them. But really, sometimes eating works just fine.
2. "I love you. You are safely in a different time zone. Alone."
Remember, anxiety makes parents feel as if their mind and body are in danger. Because they literally are. But not when they're holed up in a hotel in Miami solo for the weekend.
3. "I will say something and I want you to say it exactly as I do: 'I can do without this Nate Berkus Square Gold Accent Table with Marble Top." Do this 10 times at variable volume inside Target.
Who are you kidding? Get dat table in dat cart.
4. "Whatever happens next can't be as bad as what Nicole's kid did."
If a parent is anxious about their miscreant's latest caper, help remind them that people are really all still talking about Nicole's kid, Jack P. Maybe text Nicole to see if she's doing okay.
5. Have a battle cry: "I am a suburban warrior!" or "Look out, 'RHOBH,' here I come!"
Yell this really loud while wearing a Korean sheet mask oozing with snail goo.
6. "If how you feel was a monster, would it look more Gavin Rossdale-y or Ben Affleck-ish?"
Giving anxiety a characterization means picturing men who allegedly cheated on their hard-working, butt-kicking wives with the nanny.
7. "I can't wait until my kids call me in 29 years at 2 a.m. because their kid won't sleep."
(And.... click.) Excitement about payback is downright infectious.
8. "Let's put your worry in the washing machine, and while it's there, I might as well do that load of towels for you. And move the whites into the dryer. Say what? There's a little more worry I can go grab for you off the bathroom floor? Okay, I guess."
Instead of just talking about it, set aside a parent's anxiety by physically doing something for once to remove a literal mountain of damp, terry cloth stress.
9. "Just take one more step than before. To the front door of hot yoga."
Anxious parents sometimes need to be literally pushed--or at least escorted in a Honda CR-V--into trying a fitness trend that isn't so much a trend anymore as it is a punchline in a lazy comedy writer's joke about what moms like to do.
10. "Let's learn more about...the family that just moved in three houses down."
Let parents explore their anxiety by asking as many questions as they need to and by doing as much Googling as it takes to find out how much the Randalls paid for their 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath Cape Cod. After all, snooping is power.
11. "Let's count ______."
Most parents will fill in the blank with "how many f*#&s I give." This particular distraction work every single--huh. That was fast.
12. "I need you to tell me when two years have gone by."
Time is a powerful tool when it comes to growing out bangs and children. By picturing the moment when kids can clean up after their own bowel movements, a parent has a focus point other than what is happening. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING???
13. "Close your eyes. Take a nap."
14. "I get anxious sometimes too, baby. It's no fun. Wanna talk about it over a drink?"
This is the quickest way to remind the co-worker whose bad day you're trying to take advantage of that what they've got at home, stress and all, is pretty damn great. Move along.
15. "Let's pull out our 'What Would Michelle Obama Do?' checklist."
Do everything amazing. Check. Advocate for the 62 million girls around the world who do not attend school. Check. Have the cast of "Hamilton" perform in your living room. Triple-check.
16. "You are not alone in how many times you have have had to be Princess Anna."
Not getting to be Elsa is universal.
17. "Tell me the worst thing that could possibly happen."
Really, this won't help anything. It's just kind of amazing to let a parent verbalize the complex, multi-layered and probably emergency room-related scenario that has been playing on repeat inside their head for the last three to fifty-seven nights.
18. "Worrying is helpful, sometimes."
Say that to the parent referenced above in #17 just to give their cranium permission to actually explode.
19. "What does your Facebook news feed say?"
By replying to comments about their worries with acquaintances from junior high who moved away after 7th grade or, even more helpful, friends of friends of friends, parents can be appropriately judged. And by judged, I mean receive a constipated-looking little angry face, as there is no reaction button that signifies passive-aggressiveness. Yet.
20. "Let's find your iPhone."
The source of 99.99999999999% of a parent's anxiety.
21. "Let's not have a debate."
Just let the parent have their way. Just this once. Just for this one Monday, cause no drama right before Samantha Bee is on. Please. That show is so good.
22. "Let's list all of the people who look older than you."
It's so shallow, but it helps sometimes.
23. "We're going for a walk. Without you."
The anxious parent stays at home, ass firmly planted on the grass-green accent chair, so that sorta counts as going outside. Bye. Zzz.
24. "Let's not watch your career pass by."
Guess what? You can be a parent and continue take over the universe. Just ask Chrissy Teigen, because even though she's not technically a mom yet, you know she's gonna be so damn good at it. Your kids are the most important thing, sure. But don't forget they're not the only people who need to grow.
25. "I'm going to help you by __________."
Often phrased as a question, help is best when it's just straight-up delivered. Would it kill you to shovel Mark's driveway, too? (If it actually would, don't do it.) Or tell Alicia to send her kid over to your house after school for a couple hours so she can catch up on her emails. When in doubt, send pie.
26. "Sniff this baby's head."
Just once can't make you addicted, can it? Better get one more hit just to see....Can you vape baby smell?
27. "Let's go to your happy place, as long as it's not one of those places where you paint a picture of a sunflower while drinking bad Chablis."
Support has its limits.
28. "This feeling will pass."
Remind this particular laboring parent that relief is on the way... as soon as the damn epidural guy gets here. I mean, Chrissy Teigen isn't going to have to wait this long. Someone call the nurse again.
29. "I know making homemade playdough is hard."
No matter how many Pinterest posts claim to be the super-duper easiest, it's an impossible feat. It's sticky. Or crumbly. And why does it always come out the color of ground poultry/human tongue no matter how much red food coloring you add?
30. "You are so brave for bringing your six-week-old on a nonstop flight to New Zealand!"
Affirm this parent's choice. Give them one moment of strength. Because one second later, they will remember they left all the diapers in that cute monogramed holder-thing on the changing table in the international terminal's family restroom.
31. "Which calming strategy would you like to use right now?"
If you are the one asking this question, there's a better-than-good chance the answer involves you not using the phrase "calming strategy."
32. "We'll get through these next 32 years together."
Remember when raising a kid meant sticking it out for only 18 years? Stuff has really changed. Can you set a calendar reminder on your phone for the year 2048?
33. "Let me hold your butt."
Whether it's high or low, wide or narrow, give the anxious parent in your life a good old fashioned goosin'. Because it's nice to be reminded you're something *other* than a parent once in awhile, even though they-- YOU-- wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Except maybe that Miami hotel room, but only if it has a bathrobe, the really thick kind that you fantasize about stealing.