As moms, we are prime targets for judgment. It just comes with the territory. Pop that baby out and wait for everyone to tell you the right way to be a mom. All the “shoulds” and “should nots” that demonstrate the level of love you have for you children. From how you should feed your kids, to whether or not you should be drinking, or leaving the kids with a sitter to enjoy a night out, to my least favorite, “You will miss this stage when they are older,” I am just so over the perfect parents’ parade, especially when some card-carrying members secretly (or not so secretly) don’t even have kids.
Have you ever noticed the people who know best about parenting are the ones who don’t actually have kids to parent? Well, you know what they say about opinions…just like as*****s, everybody has one.
There needs to be a handbook that magically gets delivered to every adult on the planet (including all the mamas), with a comprehensive list of all the things you should never say to a mom. And there are A LOT of things.
So, to start us off, I decided to go to the place where I’ve connected with thousands of non-judgy moms who share my belief in the necessity and power of empathy, honesty, support, and community. I asked them to help me compile a list of all the things. Yes, of course I’m talking about Instagram.
After you’ve read the list, which I’m sure will make you see red, and I don’t mean my favorite kind (pinot, cab, or Rioja), please add your own in the comments. Maybe together, we can get that book written. What a great stocking stuffer for the holidays.
When it comes to her parenting choices:
- Isn’t that baby up kind of late?
- Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?
- Are you getting any sleep?
- You aren’t breastfeeding?
- You’re STILL breastfeeding?
- Isn’t he too old to breastfeed?
- You’re letting your kid eat that?
- He’s having ANOTHER cupcake?
- You really shouldn’t yell at your kid.
- You're sending your kid to daycare?
- Is this normal? (Referring to your kid)
- You’re doing that wrong.
- Your first mistake was letting your child sleep with you in the first place.
- Your first mistake was having a baby without being settled down first.
- You let him wear and have toys from thrift stores or consignment sales?
When it comes to the size of her kids:
- Wow, he’s really small!
- Your 34-weeker was 5.6 pounds? Well that's not really a preemie.
- She’s awfully small. Are you sure she’s getting enough to eat?
When it comes to how many kids she has:
- Are you SURE you only want one child?
- I think you should have another baby.
- That poor baby. You’re not going to give him a sibling?
- You NEED to have another.
- Are you going to try for a girl?
- You should be ready to have another one by now. You want then to be close in age.
- You don't want to have to "start all over." Do it now. It's not that difficult.
- You have 3 daughters? You should have a son, so you know what real hard work is like.
When it comes to her appearance:
- Why is your stomach still that big?
- You look so tired.
- Are you still wearing maternity clothes?
- You look more exhausted now than you did when you were pregnant.
When it comes to unsolicited opinions:
- You know what I think you should do? [Insert pretty much any advice here].
- You really should…
- Can’t you just [insert whatever seemingly normal activity that you are just too exhausted to deal with]?
- You’re having a glass of wine?
- Why can’t you just get a sitter?
- When are you going back to work?
- Wow you sure have your hands full.
- I would never have handled it that way.
- If that were my kid…
When she just needs to vent and hear in response, “Yeah, it really sucks. I understand.”:
- Enjoy every minute! It goes so fast.
- This is just a phase. It will pass.
- One day you're going to miss this. Cherish it now.
- Just you wait.
- Well, I hate to tell you, but it gets worse.
- Oh, it'll get easier…
- Oh, it gets better.
- Don’t worry- another year and you can send her off to school.
When they are so judgy they need their own category:
- What do you have to be sad about? This should be the happiest time in your life.
- What do you do ALL day? Must be nice staying at home and NOT working.
- Why are you complaining about how hard it is to have children? It was your choice.
- My kid doesn't act like (insert any type of bad behavior). He knows better.
- We don’t really do date nights because we work all week and want to spend time with our kids whenever we can.
- You’re so lucky your husband is willing to help with the kids.
- Oh, I’m sorry we didn’t invite you to [lunch, drinks, girl’s night out…]. We know you have five kids.
- It can’t be that hard. Look at all the women that have done the mothering thing before you and weren’t overwhelmed.