Sometimes we make a statement or ask a question that unintentionally makes other mothers feel uncomfortable. With all the pressure that society places on mothers, it’s easy for comments to make moms feel like they’re not good enough. Even if you’re just trying to be helpful, well-meaning comments can cause damage too. You can help support other mothers by gaining a better understanding of the comments that should rather be left unsaid. To avoid insulting or hurting another mom, here are five things you should never say.
When are you having another baby?
Asking the mother of a single child when they’re planning to have another baby is presumptuous. You’re assuming that they want to or should want to have another baby. Another scenario is that they’re trying to have another child but they can’t fall pregnant. They could have had a miscarriage or maybe they aren’t ready to share with people that they’re already pregnant. It’s also best to avoid making comments that make the moms of single children feel that they have things easier than you. Telling moms that every child should have a sibling is an inconsiderate and judgemental comment to make. This statement is likely to leave the moms of single children feeling guilty and inadequate.
My children would never do or say that
Comparing your children to other kids is never a good idea. All children have their strengths and weaknesses. We all have our bad days and we all go through rough patches. When you compare your children, it makes moms feel like they aren’t good enough parents. Maybe the next time it will be your child throwing a tantrum or refusing to share their toys. Rather than criticising other moms, look for ways to support them. That way when you’re having a bad day, you’ll have other moms to rely on. Not only do comparisons make other moms feel bad, they also make you seem perfect. Putting so much pressure on yourself and your kids is a recipe for disaster.
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Don’t you want to stay at home with your kids?
When you ask moms if they would prefer to stay at home with their kids it’s likely to make working moms feel guilty for pursuing a career. Whether a mom chooses to work by choice or out of necessity, it’s a personal decision that they shouldn’t have to justify. There’s already plenty of opportunities for working moms to feel guilty without you adding fuel to the fire. Likewise, when a stay-at-home mom comments how they couldn’t trust a daycare or babysitter with their kids, it often comes across as judgemental to other moms. At the other end of the spectrum, it’s not fair to criticise stay at home moms either.
Are you anxious about the effects of sending your kid to daycare?
Asking about the possible negative outcomes of day-care comes across as judgemental. Mothers have enough to be afraid of without adding the risks of day-care to their list. Regardless of your personal opinions regarding day-care, you shouldn’t impose your beliefs on other people. Likewise, asking if a child misses their mom while they’re at work is hurtful. Commenting on how the child is spending more time with a stranger rather than spending time with their mom is sure to result in feelings of guilt.
Can’t you keep your child under control?
Whether you’re in the library or at the grocery store, it’s never a nice feeling when another adult tells you to keep your child quite. Sometimes it seems like children pick the worst moment to throw a tantrum, instead of shaming other moms, let’s stand in solidarity with them. Being told that you should have rather left your children at home is also insulting. Many moms have no other choice but to take their kids with them when they visit a health practitioner or shopping centre. Drawing attention to the bad behaviour of another kid is harmful too.