Mommas. You’ve fought for that title because pregnancy is hard and babies are disrespectful. They have no regard for your sleep, your clothes, your schedule, your boobs or anything else. 4 things not to say to new moms
I joined your ranks late last year and, boy, do I understand so much more about all the things than I did before. I remember the girl who wrote the last installment of this as passionate and a little naive. She wasn’t wrong, but there is just so much she assumed she understood when she didn’t. She thought she knew, but she had no idea. At all. Even still – I stand by everything I wrote.
So, in this edition of “Things not to Say,” I’m coming from the other side of the fence. It’s quite interesting to have the two sides to compare. New mom’s, back me up (and add to the list as you please. I’m sure there’s some stuff I forgot). Folks w/ out kids, trust me, I was you. And I realize I have interacted with new moms in my life in vastly unhelpful ways – just out of simple ignorance. Just take my word for it. Here are 4 things not to say to New Moms on Mother’s Day or, ya know, ever.
You Look Tired
Why anyone says this to anyone – I’ll never know. But yes, it has been said to me.
Please don’t come to a new mom with the head tilt and quiet voice to alert her to the bags under her eyes.
We are tired. We are trying not to look tired. We don’t need to be alerted to the fact that we failed at that. And, speaking for myself and maybe some others, I’m probably already insecure about some aspects of my new, post pregnancy appearance and trying to reconcile them daily. This is wildly unhelpful.
If the new mom in your life looks tired, the proper responses are as follows:
-buy her coffee
-ask if she needs help with something
-ask her how she’s doing and actually listen to the answer
-tell her she looks amazing and is doing great at this whole mom thing (do this one, always)
That’s it. That’s the end of the list. There are no other options you should be considering. The end.
Oh yea, Me Too / I know (in response to a new mom telling you she’s tired – unless you are also a mom) –
Listen, as someone who spent most of her adult years without kids and didn’t even know if she was gonna pop any out, I understand how annoying it is when you (as a childless person) say “I’m tired” and someone with offspring tells you you are not tired and that you don’t know what tired is. They don’t know your life. It was super annoying to me, anyway.
I will also say this.
They don’t have a right to tell you you’re not tired, but I now understand what they were trying to say.
This mom stuff is a whole ‘nother stratosphere of tired. I mean, I have not slept through an entire night in over 9 months – that’s no cap (as the kids say) and no hyperbole (maybe the kids say that too?) – and that’s after 9 months of having a human live inside me – therefore, though both ‘tireds’ are valid, they are not the same. I know, I’ve been both varieties and this one is built different.
As annoyed as you may be when you are told you don’t know what tired is, a mom is equally as annoyed when you say you’re the same kind of tired. And there’s no way to truly understand that unless you choose one day to bear an heir. You don’t know. I sure didn’t get it, but that’s just the way it is.
If a mom tells you she’s tired – just nod, listen. Das it.
You Know My Dog …(in response to anything about her baby)
I know you love your dog. Your dog or cat or ferret or whatever is amazing.
Your dog is not, has never been and will never be a human baby. It is not the same. It is NOT the same. At all. Just don’t. Don’t do it. Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Thx. Mgt. 4 t
hings not to say to new moms
When are you having another one?
As a new mom – I’m simply trying to understand how to get my life into some recognizable format while everything continues to constantly change around me, in me, and on me.
Don’t ask me when I’m putting another inhabitant in my womb. If we have the type of relationship where we discuss such things, that’s one thing. If you know we don’t…and you know if we don’t…then. You know. Don’t.
Maybe I have exactly zero plans to do so. Maybe I’m working on it. Either way, please let me live in this current season – don’t ask an already tired mind to do the acrobatics of trying to fit a hypothetical child into a life where the real one is still wrecking havoc. Also – as stated in the previous installment of this series…ya’ll, please stay out of people’s wombs. If you really are concerned about it…just talk to Jesus on my behalf. He’ll tell me. We’re cool like that.
ANYTHING about her weight
This is number 5, but I had to put it in.
I can’t believe I have to say this, but – as I’ve experienced over the last almost year – I do. Don’t say it. Don’t comment on her weight. Don’t comment on people’s bodies. Why do I have to say this? I am perplexed. Don’t be that person.
So what should you do?
New moms – as we describe our experience, that does not give us license to unload on poor, unsuspecting childless people about how they are going to hate it here. Certainly, tell the truth, but resist the urge to saturate it with your frustration. That’s challenging sometimes, if I’m being honest (and, I am. Always). If you are having those feelings, whether it’s due to baby blues, post-partum depression, or just the jarring adjustment to motherhood, make sure you talk to someone who has the space for it and the capacity to understand. I’ve come to learn there’s little more infuriating than thinking you can finally let go of some of the hard stuff only to find out that the person on the other side is not in the place to handle it with care. 4 things not to say to new moms
As you talk to the new moms in your life – give them grace. A ton of it. They are doing their best to learn all the things at a neck-breaking pace while sleep deprived and encountering a new situation almost daily in pursuit of keeping a whole human being alive and thriving. Tell her she’s beautiful. Encourage her. She needs it. Engage with her/ask her genuine questions. Listen to her. She needs it. Buy her caffeinated beverages. She NEEDS it.
Here are some responses to use if you feel yourself about to launch into any of the above problematic statements:
-Oh wow. That sounds hard, you are doing a great job.
-Hmm I can only imagine. You’re handling it all really well.
-Nod. Smile (not like a maniac, you know…like a normal person).
OK – thoughts? Anything I missed? Sound off below: