A mom’s day can easily be ruined by a teething baby or defiant toddler. Let’s leave it to the little ones to control the mood. Whether you’re a close friend or a perfect stranger – stop saying these six things to mothers everywhere. Our hormones thank you.
“Breast is best.”
Look, I’m not anti-breastfeeding. I understand the health benefits. I realize it’s a special form of bonding for many moms and babies. But I don’t breastfeed…I tried it with Bauer and didn’t even attempt with Kingsley. It’s not for me. It not for us. I’m 100 percent comfortable and confident in my decision that formula is best for our family. But for many moms, this is a really difficult and sensitive subject.
So, fess up. Who’s the asshole that coined the phrase, “Breast is best?” Were they considering the new mom and breast cancer survivor who physically can’t breastfeed? Or the mom battling postpartum depression that needs a little extra help from dad in the form of a bottle and Similac? Or the mom (like me) who simply decided it wasn’t for them.
Motherhood is hard enough. And we’re second-guessing our decisions and parenting choices from that very first cry, without catch-phrases like this one thrown our way. If you breastfeed, celebrate it. It’s a remarkable thing and something to be proud of. If you don’t or can’t breastfeed, I promise you your grown-child will not end up in therapy over it.
“Wait until you have [insert 1 more than they currently have] children.”
You know this person. We are all this person. Whether it’s me shutting my sisters down when they say they are tired from a long week…because how could they possibly be tired if they don’t have children, yet? Plus, they get to sleep in tomorrow. Or the mom of three saying it to the mom struggling to keep a toddler and newborn alive. This is what it means to be a “one upper” in the mom world. It’s annoying and a sure fire way to not make friends. Keep it to yourself and then bitch to someone that’s in the exact same phase of life as you. Those are your people right now. Know your audience.
“She’s (He’s) really small/big for her (his) age.”
For the most part once we’ve reached adulthood we’ve learned that people come in all shapes, colors and sizes. We celebrate diversity. So please, someone tell me why this doesn’t apply to babies. If a baby doesn’t sit squarely in the 50th percentile when it comes to weight and height why do we feel the need to comment?
Let me just save you from an uncomfortable situation – sometimes babies are smaller and/or larger because of a medical reason. A medical reason that may keep their parents up at night. So, the last thing they need is a stranger at the grocery store commenting that their 1-year-old looks 6-months-old or a Facebook comment implying they’re bragging about their daughter being petite. So many other options, people.
1. Your baby is beautiful.
2. Oh what sweet eyes.
or my personal favorite…
3. GIVING ME ALL THE BABY FEVER.
Literally advice in any form.
Ok, I’m kidding. Kind of. But as a general rule of thumb (and specifically when speaking with new moms), don’t just dish. We want advice. We want help. But, we want to ask for it. Because when you start just offering it up like BOGO our hormonal, second-guessing-selves take that as an implication that we’re failing.
“Your kid is a jerk.”
Clearly folks don’t usually come right out with this. It’s more in the form of a look…a glare. Post-ballet class and mid-parking lot was the site of one of Bauer’s most monumental temper tantrums. Fortunately for me (rolls eyes), a seemingly-perfect mother was across the lot and witnessed the whole thing. In short, her look let me know I was a horrible mother and the 3-year-old that was holding her hand was a perfect angel that never threw a temper tantrum in her life. Had I not needed both hands to restrain Bauer, I would have sauntered her way with a celebratory slow clap.
On the flip side, last week while running with both babes in the jogger our neighbor had the pleasure of witnessing me full-blown scream and spank Bauer after she purposelly scratched her little sister’s face. I thought I was alone. It wasn’t my finest moment. I was embarrassed. If I could freeze and distribute the veteran mom of three’s sympathetic look and share it with young moms everywhere I would. She simply said, “I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Toddlers will be toddlers.” Feeling safe and in a “no judgement” zone, I asked her advice (see previous subhead) and walked away with a couple behavorial book titles to Google.
“Shouldn’t your kid be…sleeping through the night, walking, reading, potty trained, speaking five languages by now.”
Gasp. I know, it’s hard to believe that people can be this bold. But they can and it’s completely mind-blowing. Bauer started sleeping through the night at 3.5 months. We did everything the exact same way (bath before bed, sound machine, etc.) with Kingsley and she was just over 8 months before she snoozed for 12 hours straight.
Steal any mother’s phone and look at her search history and you’ll see how much we obsess over hitting milestones. Rolling over, sitting up and starting to babble. We’ll search and search the Internet for hours looking for reassuring words when our baby doesn’t stand at the exact moment babies are supposed to start standing. Similar to any comments on size, babies are all different and do things on their own time. If you find yourself so inclined to inquire about a babies age in relation to what milestone they should be hitting – just turn to the Internet, thanks to worried-Googling-moms your question will yield 108,765 search results.
Memories captured by Brooke Whitney Photography.