This is the situation, I spent 30 minutes singing my child to sleep and my child felt to sleep, but then 5 minutes later my mom came to the child and touched his head to check if the child had a fever, which accidentally woke him up. That action was unnecessary because she could do that later.

I felt extremely upset and I said this to my mom "You must have had a lot of free time or you must have had nothing to do. Why did you do such an unnecessary / stupid thing?" (translated literally from Vietnamese, my mother tongue is Vietnamese)

Sometimes, we have a lot of free time or we have nothing to do or we may be bored, which may lead us to do extra unnecessary things which may ruin everything you tried before.

Another example, you fed your children a lot of food. Then the child didn't want to eat. If you stopped feeding him then he would be ok. But for some no good reason, you fed him with just a small mouthful of food. As a result, he threw up everything he ate before. You went extremely upset because you did such a stupid unnecessary thing which ruin every effort you tried before.

How to express "you did an unnecessary action which ruined everything you tried hard before"?

  • We sometimes say 'you undid all my good work'. However, you should be more polite to your mother. Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 8:50
  • @Michael Harvey: True you should always be polite to everyone, but 'boomer' parents really don't know limits to their stupidity... and, sadly, as recent experience showed me, people born up to about 1962 are 'boomers' and I even know a set of parents who are much younger than that... Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:00
  • Not sure exactly what you're saying there, Mr de Silva. Please keep your ageist comments for somewhere else. Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


When I studied ISO-9001 in service engineering in 1993 I learnt a very valuable (and subtle) lesson: Never take anything for granted. I used that knowledge to raise two very nice adults and manage staff, politics, etc...

So, the best approach to your predicament would have been: 'Mom, I had a very hard time putting my Son to sleep, please do not go to the room' or even 'Mom, it is not a good time to visit'.

As for the throwing-up part,if you are a parent then your only concern was that you would rather use your child as a garbage bin rather than throw the excess food away. This is a common fault with parents and something we steered away. If our kids said enough, it was enough, but we had other food ready for them if they felt hungry... Also, if I felt they were not eating enough I would take them to McDonald's or a place they like to go play/eat... a little junk food never hurt anybody, and actually, McDonald's has helped me keep my family fed, especially while on the road, many a time...

Then there are phrases like 'Like pouring water on a ducks back'...

If I think of anything else I will update this answer...

Trust this helps.

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