Honestly, I had no idea that becoming a new mom would warrant so much unsolicited advice, questions, and judgements. If you’re a mom, you’re probably nodding your head because you know it all too well by now. Get ready to keep nodding along. Here’s my list of the most triggering things people say to new moms.
“Enjoy this stage, you’ll miss it later.”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this…okay, I wouldn’t be rich but you get the point. I still hear this today from other moms. It’s really hard to enjoy the newborn phase. I was both emotionally and physically a wreck and so tired. So tired. Really tired. Every time someone told me this, I cringed because I was worried that I was missing out on “the best time” as people kept reminding me. I thought, was this really the “best part” of parenthood? Feeling lost, exhausted, emotional, and sore? Was a fussy baby that barely slept and needed more milk than I could sometimes make, the best part? It doesn’t feel like the best part of parenthood for a lot of us, and that’s okay. I’d rather it get better from here on out than to be told the best part was fleeting.
“I’ve never had that problem.”
There’s always that one mom, or maybe two, that will brag about their easy pregnancy and recovery. Or about their baby that practically slept through the night from the moment they were born, had no issues with breastfeeding or formula, and never ever cries. And they’ll happily point out that their easy postpartum life is because of organic kale and yoga (insert eye roll). Postpartum life is different for every woman. For some, pregnancy and motherhood is easier than for others, can we just be honest here? We’re all dealing with something! If you can’t relate to a mom having trouble breastfeeding, fine. But I’m sure you can both find something you both have had issues with that you can discuss. Sometimes new moms just need to vent and to hear that other moms have had difficulty too but found a way through it.
“You should have another baby.”
Please spare me the pitch about having children close in age. Please stop talking to my uterus like you own it. There’s no magic number of children a woman should have or a magic time frame in which to have said children. There are way too many variables. And please stop telling new moms that they should try for another baby or when they should start trying. Can a new mom just be a mom of one at the moment?
“We never used that.”
Okay so pacifiers and formula can cause a mom-war. You’ll be judged for doing “too much” or not enough. Using a cart cover will have some saying you’re too much of a germaphobe or not using one will make you look like a terrible mom. You can’t win. There’s absolutely no reason for anyone to make a mom who’s trying her best, feel worse for using something (as long as it’s safe) to soothe her child or to make motherhood easier. There are so many things every single parent has said they’d never do or use and we all have things we’ve changed our minds about. Let it go.
“I could never do that.”
“Oh, you’re a stay-at-home mom? I could never stay home all day long.” Or “You send your child to daycare? I could never do that.”
Sound familiar? We’re all doing what’s best for our families and doing the best we can. Can we stop shaming stay-at-home moms (I’m one by the way) and stop shaming moms who choose to or have to return to work? Can we stop fighting over “the right way” to parent?
“You look tired.”
The f*ck I do. I look like someone who just had a baby. I look like someone who is terrified to poop because my insides feel like they’ll fall out and I look like someone who’s breasts have been chewed on by a piranha. I’m well aware that I don’t look my best, thank you.
So what can you say to a new mom? How about:
What can I help you with?
Do you need anything?
You look amazing.
You’re doing the best you can.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
I’ve been there, you’re not alone.
I brought food.
What else would you add to the list?