In my younger days, I had a hot head and a quick tongue. Disrespect (real or imagined) was rarely tolerated, and I’d have a snarky comeback out my mouth before I’d even thought the situation through.
Age and experience have mellowed me — but people are pushing me to the edge with constant comments about my mothering. I wish I could say it’s strangers sticking their noses into my business, but I have family members doing it, too.
It’s exhausting and infuriating, even when it’s coming from a good place. And that’s why I came up with this list: 10 Things Not to Say to New Moms. I’ve also included what my responses would be. (I’ve retired my smart mouth, but that doesn’t mean the comebacks don’t still run through my head.)
1. “You have to have more. She’ll be lonely!” You never told me you started an account to support my family. That’s so kind of you! What? Oh, I’m crazy? Yep, so are you for trying to tell me what to do with my eggs.
2. “You’re not working right now? It must be nice to have that break.” Absolutely. Being a stay-at-home mom is a cakewalk! Up at 6:30 every morning. Going — without a break — for 12 hours. Cleaning, cooking, educating, playing, stimulating the mind of an increasingly inquisitive child. Temper tantrums. Diaper blowouts. Thrown food. Like I said — it’s a cakewalk.
3. “You look so tired.” Guess what? I am. I have a kid. You might as well say I look like death warmed over.
4. “You’re still breastfeeding?!?” Yes, and I plan to until I’m no longer able or my child decides she’s no longer interested. Here’s a better question: Why are you so interested in what I’m doing with my boobs?
5. “You should’ve put cereal in her bottle. She’d have slept better for you months ago.” Thanks for the unsolicited advice (which goes all the way against her doctor’s orders). I didn’t realize you had a medical degree.
6. “You’re holding her too much. She’s gonna be spoiled.”
First of all, that’s not possible. Second, she probably won’t be spending much time with you, so you shouldn’t worry about how she acts.
7. “What’s its name?” She. She’s a she.
8. “She looks nothing like you!” I just carried this child through winter, spring, and summer. I had my body stretched, poked, prodded, cut open, and sewn back together. And instead of just saying, “she’s such a beautiful baby,” you wanna tell me my genes suck? You might be right, but don’t say that crap to me.
9. “You’re doing it wrong.”
Guess what? She’s my kid. Let me figure out what works for us. Don’t — do not — tell me how to speak to, discipline, or feed my child. I’ve got this. And if at some point I don’t have it, I’ll ask for help — but it probably won’t be from you.
10. “You never call anymore.” That might be true … OK, it’s true. But I also haven’t had more than 7 minutes to spend in the shower. I barely ever brush my teeth without my child on my hip. Sometimes I have to pee with her on my lap (to her credit, she does roll the toilet paper off for me). Here’s what I’m getting at: I don’t have a lot of time to make leisurely “hey, what’s up” calls. (And you could call me!)
I’m sorry I’ve fallen off the radar, but I’m still trying to master adulting with a child.