There will always be people that feel the need to voice their opinion on everything…it’s just a part of life. But, I swear to you, there is something about parenthood that gives people some kind of go ahead to comment on EVERYTHING.
My daughter was born in July, so when it started to get cold, she was right at the age of exploring what she could do. Her most favorite activity, was taking her socks off…I’m not sure if she really didn’t like the way they felt (can’t blame her, I hate socks) or if she just did it because she could. One day, walking through the grocery store, she kept taking them off and dropping them on the ground, so I just took them off and threw them in my diaper bag. Not ten seconds later, a lady came up to me, with the most disgusted look I’d seen on her face, and made sure to let me know that she couldn’t believe I wouldn’t put socks on my little girl and did I know “she WILL catch a cold”. Now, I’m pretty secure in myself and my parenting, but being confronted like that will shake any one up. I kindly explained that they were in the bag and I’d put them back on before we went outside. She scrambled with an apology and went on her way. I wasn’t looking for her to apologize or validate that I had made the right decision, but I certainly do hope she thinks twice before coming on in such an attacking manner.
I am pretty confident in speaking for most moms and dads, when I say we are constantly worrying about out little people and wouldn’t never do anything to intentionally harm them. But, People do not realize the weight little (even well meaning) remarks can carry. Especially to a new parent who is already worrying and obsessing over every.little.thing.
So I thought maybe I could help out a little bit, I asked my friends if they would share with me experiences or moments that made them shake their head or question their choices as parents and I’ve made a little list of those things and what you could say instead, to help uplift and support
Don’t say anything about how many children they have or do not have:
“You have 3 under 3….don’t you know what birth control is”
“You’re not going to have any more…are you?”
“So when are you going to have another”
“Wow what a beautiful family you have!”
“You’re children are so sweet”
“You are doing a great job!”
Don’t say anything about how they delivered:
Anything regarding how a baby made it here….you don’t always know the whole story…
“Oh a C-section, too bad you didn’t really give birth”
“C-sections are the easy way out”
“If you get an epidural, you don’t really get the full experience”
“You are so strong”
“You gave birth to a beautiful baby, congratulations!”
“Birth is hard, good job mama!”
Don’t comment on how their baby looks:
“I didn’t think your baby was very cute when they were little”
“Your baby is so big, is your Dr okay with that?”
“Your baby is so small, is something wrong?”
“What a beautiful baby!” (easy peasy here…that’s all you need to say)
Don’t put down how they choose to feed their baby:
“Are you gonna be one of those mom, that breastfeeds till your kids 5?”
“You probably didn’t try hard enough to breastfeed”
“You are such a good mama for feeding your baby”
“I can tell you really love your baby when you cuddle and feed them”
*even as a Lactation Counselor, I understand that every one has a different journey. I will always advocate for and support breastfeeding (if you need help, I’m here!!), but I will never make that choice for a parent*
Don’t put down dad:
“Is dad babysitting?”
“Oh, you make your husband get up at night?”
“You won’t bond with the baby if you can’t give it a bottle”
“You are a great dad!”
“You’re doing a great job”
“I can tell you really love your baby”
I could go on and on and on, but my hope is that this gets you thinking and next time you see a parent, you can be a bright spot in their day and remind them how amazing they are.
Did/Do you get any crazy comments about your parenting journey? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!