Apparently when you become a mother you also become the perfect target for unwanted comments or advice. I’ve always gotten comments here and there about how young I look for my age. But once I became a mother, it seemed like any stranger on the street could make really rude and sometimes just weird comments to me. Here are the top 5 comments I do NOT want to hear anymore and I’m sure most mothers with little ones would be happy to never hear again.
When are you due?
Oh man, this one is great. This is the one I get the most often and it’s harder to ignore than I’d like to admit. Yes, my stomach is stretched from having four babies, one somewhat recently. I’ve always been prone to carrying extra weight in my stomach, even before I had kids, and now it’s ten times worse. I don’t feel very good about it. You know, like how you probably have that part of you that you don’t like so much? It’s not fun having a closet full of clothes that don’t fit right. I’m working on it but I’m also kind of busy. So please keep your thoughts to yourself and unless I literally say the words “I’m pregnant” to you, do not assume that I am. (By the way, even if I was pregnant again, why is that your business?) When did it become the norm for women to have perfectly flat stomachs unless they’re pregnant?
Looks like you’ve got your hands full.
I get this one when I’m at the store with the kids, usually from someone who’s watching cluelessly from afar as I try to hold a door open and push my double stroller through it at the same time. I don’t know if you’re trying to point out how much space my family is taking up or how I frazzled I look but neither is helpful.
Are you done having kids?
I know, four kids is basically the same as twenty kids these days. We may as well be the Duggars, right? Just because I’ve had more than the average 1.5 children that most people in the U.S have doesn’t just give you the right to ask me personal questions. Unless I know you well, I don’t feel like discussing details about my family plans.
You look so tired.
Mothers of young children are usually exhausted. Most aren’t getting a full night’s sleep and haven’t gotten one in quite some time. (I don’t think I’ve slept through the night for at least three years. I wish I was kidding.) On top of that, children are relentless and have what can seem like unlimited energy. We know how tired we look because we know how tired we feel. Please keep this one to yourself.
Enjoy every minute!
It’s said with the best of intentions, but that doesn’t make it a nice thing to hear. “I wish my kids were little again. Enjoy it now because it goes by so fast.” I don’t doubt that I will miss this time of my life, with my kids being young. And I do really really love my family and I love watching my children grow.
That being said, taking care of young children is incredibly draining and pretty much impossible to enjoy every minute of. Motherhood can be so physically exhausting, like when you have to carry your screaming, thrashing two year old across a store in one arm while pushing your heavy cart with the other because they keep jumping out and you don’t want them to get hurt or when you are breastfeeding your newborn every thirty minutes and you just want to go to sleep.
Motherhood can also be emotionally difficult, like when you’re trying to reason with a four year old about why they can’t bring their entire stuffed animal collection to pre-school and you’re already running late. Telling us to enjoy every minute of motherhood makes us feel bad when we don’t. And we don’t need any more mom guilt. We just need more support. Speaking of support…
Here’s a few things you SHOULD say to mothers with young children that they might actually like to hear:
Do you need a hand with that?
Hold a door open, pick up a shoe that fell off my baby’s foot, grab a shopping cart, whatever. Instead of commenting on my situation, help me if you see that I am struggling.
I love your haircut! (Or shirt, dress, glasses, whatever!)
Mothers are still humans. It’s nice to get a compliment once in a while or feel noticed for something other than how many kids we have or how pregnant we are (or aren’t!)
You’re doing a great job.
Maybe the mom who’s toddler is having a tantrum in the middle of Costco needs to hear this most of all. Instead of judging a mother if her child is acting up or getting annoyed at her children for being in the way, put yourself in her shoes. I’m sure you would feel embarrassed and frustrated too. Side note: If you don’t have any children and you’re thinking something like, “Just discipline your child. How hard could it be?” Hard. The answer is very hard, almost near impossible at times when they are worked up and just need food/a nap/to cry/a cuddle/etc.
Nothing at all.
You might have heard the phrase from your own mother “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” Take it a step further. Even if you don’t think what you want to say to a mother is offensive, it might be to them. We don’t like being told how we look, if we look too old or too young to be a mother, if we have too many or not enough kids, or if our kids are misbehaving (we already know if they are.) And please people stop asking if we’re pregnant because there’s a pretty good chance we’re not and then you’ll just feel stupid.