9 things no Mum wants to hear... an alternative perspective

I'm not a big fan of the '10 things you shouldn't say to...' lists that often spring up on the internet. When it comes to those that advise on what you shouldn't say to someone who is grieving, suffering or unwell, I think they miss the point - no one wants to say the wrong thing, they just want to say something and I'd rather a friend picked up the phone and said something a bit stupid than not call at all because they're too scared after reading one of these sanctimonious bullet point lists.

The same goes for parenting. If you need to remind someone to refer to you as 'pregnant' instead of 'fat' then I'm pretty sure they won't be the sort of person who would read these lists anyway...

That said, some remarks from well-meaning colleagues or random little old ladies should not be taken to heart. Not everyone can understand what you are going through, many will not have gone through it themselves and even if they have, their experience will still be different. C'est la vie!

Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth, smile politely and move on, probably dragging your screaming toddler with you.

But before you hold it against them, bitter and raging until the end of your days, it might be worth thinking of these alternative meanings behind the one that they blurted out in the first place.

And before you ask, yep, these have all been said to me and the first response is my own at that time. The alternatives vary depending on how nice I'm feeling on any particular day (or how much sleep I have had) but you get the idea...

"Is your husband babysitting?"
Nope. Yes, the children are with him but he is a DAD not a babysitter. Equal rights. Men can parent too!


"If only my husband spent more time with the kids."
"What other word could I use for keeping the kids alive and nourished for a short period of time?"

"Enjoy your day off"
You never get a bloody day off when you have kids. You're on the go. Non-stop. They don't understand the concept of sleep, let alone a weekend. Enjoy your day pretending to work whilst looking at FB you dickhead.


"They're not in the office tomorrow, that's a day off, lucky bugger!"
They might be wrong, but there's a big difference between being wrong and just being a dickhead.

"Darling so-and-so is sleeping through at 4 weeks"
Well isn't that great for you Miss I'm-so-bloody-lucky-to-get-enough-sleep


"I'm finding this so hard but I can't let anyone know so I'm just going to go on about the good bits so people don't think I'm a bad Mum."

Piss off. This is not enjoyable. Only a sadist would enjoy this right now.


"Well, maybe not this exact moment but still treasure the times when being a parent is the most wonderful thing in the world. Your mind will filter out the awful bits and in time you will look back at this stage with nostalgia and just want to hold your baby in your arms again"

She doesn't think I'm going to be a good Mum. Am I going to rubbish at this? How does she know that I won't be a natural? How can she say that? What a cow. Who says that to a pregnant, emotional wreck?

"I really want to reassure this expectant first time Mum but I have no idea how."
"I never felt like a natural, I really want to let her know that it's OK to have mixed feelings."

"Oh dear, is somebody tired?"
Yes! Me! And the screaming three-year-old lying on the floor screaming at the top of their lungs. We're all bloody tired Sherlock!


"I want to offer some support to that stressed-out woman but I don't want to look like I'm judging."
"I remember that stage, it was hell, poor woman."

"Wait until they're teenagers!"
Is that supposed to make me feel any better? You are essentially telling me that there is more crap to come. That is not helping in the slightest.


"Parenting is hard all the way through but it has it's good points and there will be times when your teen is screaming that they hate you and you'll wish they were two and just screaming nonsense instead"

"Wow! Your boobs look huge!"
That's because they are huge. And sore. And leaking. Please stop looking.

Someone has looked past the messy hair, under-shadowed eyes and baby vomit and wants to compliment you!

"Are you expecting another?"
No. I'm just fat. Thank you.


Actually, there is very little to excuse this. Unless you know for sure, don't ask if someone is expecting a child. It might just be a food baby and no one should be made to feel bad about carrying the weight of a small baby when they're trying to juggle the kids they have.

So, next time someone turns round and says something utterly stupid. Try and give them benefit of doubt, maybe they're trying to be nice but just get it wrong. We all put our foot in it sometimes with a ridiculous comment, but at least we're saying something, and I'd like to think that counts for something.
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