When Are You Going To Lose That Baby Weight? & Other Things You Shouldn’t Say To Your Mommy Friends
Children, aren’t they awesome? You see them playing and running around, all carefree, and occasionally you’ll see a stressed out parent running behind them trying to keep that child in line. You might forget about that parent once they leave your sight, but when you have friends that have children it’s a little harder to forget.
Though you love your friend and her child you might get a little annoyed by her interrupting your vent session while she starts gushing about how cute her child is while he/she eats. Or you might not understand why she’s so stressed out about the type of diapers she buys. Now, for the sake or arguing, let’s say that said mother is an attentive, but not obsessive, caring and loyal mother. Not the ones where you second guess about calling DCFS on her. The woman is trying her best.
For these women, no matter how close you are to a person and how you two like to keep it real with each other, saying these things could bring you into a real life “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong” fiasco:
Your baby is ugly…
Now, this should be a given, but honestly, it’s not. Though it’s become a trend to bash celebrity babies through online comments, you’d like to think that this trend doesn’t happen in real life, in face to face situations. However, I’ve witnessed the foolishness. People bragging about how ugly a family member’s baby was that they didn’t even want to pick him up to that mother’s face, or a person just repeatedly telling a person: “Lisa*, your baby’s ugly! That’s an ugly baby!”
No mother wants to hear that! I don’t care if the baby looks like freaking Joseph Merrick, either say something nice, or don’t say anything at all.
You’re not that fun anymore!
Before your friend had her bundle of joy, she was a bundle of joy. At any given moment she was up for a trip to a club, party or random road trip. But once she had her child you hardly see her. When you do talk to her she’s distracted by her baby’s actions, or constantly bringing up the little one.
You wanna know why? That baby has now became her main focus. It’s hard having something incubate in you for a number of months and not have an extreme attachment to it (unless it’s a parasite, but you know what I’m getting at). That little baby trumps everything now; the midnight movie showings, the clubbing, the wine tastings; because the mother might feel like she needs to be on alert if her baby ever needs anything. Now, there are women who still do the things while their babies are young, but don’t insult your friend who is trying to be a good mother for not doing these things anymore or not doing them as often as you’d like.
When I have kids I’m going to…
No matter what you do there’s going to be a freaking armchair coach who’s going to say: “I could have done that better,” and it’s always annoying. Everyone’s always an expert and saying what they would have done better. But it begins to get hurtful when you have a child, and the person who’s criticizing you only babysat… ten years ago.
People can always say what they’re going to do, but it’s a whole different ball game when you’re experiencing it. You don’t know what that mother is going through. Though you might not agree with how your friend is handling their child (as long as it’s not in a harmful way), and you know your way is 100 times better, criticizing and talking about your fictitious children is only aggravating her.
Can’t you just get a sitter?
You know how you don’t begin to notice things until it pertains to you? Like, when you were a little girl and had no idea what menstruation was and then when you finally got it began to think: “Oh my goodness! There are so many ads for this now!” No, the ads were always there. So were the scary stories of abusive babysitters, shaking nannies, and neglectful daycare attendants, and since your friend has had her child, she’s seen the stories.
So when a friend is trying to pressure another one who has a baby to “just go out,” they don’t realize that the mother in question is now going on a mental field trip of reliable people in her head. The baby isn’t just a baked chicken that can be tossed on the counter and dealt with whenever the person feels like they don’t want to deal with salmonella. (I don’t really cook, but… that’s how salmonella gets people, right?) So saying something passive about just handing your child off to someone so you can do whatever is usually not an easy option for some mothers.
Hey! Let’s do [insert last minute extravagant plans here]…
So in high school, college, or at work, your friends saw a movie that depicted a group of friends meeting up yearly for a fun and expensive trip somewhere and you vowed to do it when you got older. However, for the friend who included a baby into their fold, that’s something that might have to be put on hold. You’ve gotta give your friend a little bit more notice than a day, a week, a few weeks, and in some cases a month.
Things need to be planned, sitters (trusted ones) and family members need to be lined up to see if they are even interested in dealing with your child for more than a day. A lot of things need to be taken into account and that planning and sometimes bribing might take a while to negotiate. So a little heads up, please!
Is being a parent really that hard/Does it take all of that?
I feel like the media is finally starting to get real with how tumultuous child raising is. At first you used to see these fresh faced, thin women taking care of these silent, well behaved babies, and then people would think: “So that’s what child raising is like.” But (and not knocking raising my daughter, because she’s the best thing to ever happen to me) raising a child can sometimes suck!
There are so many random things that go on that even those stupid baby books don’t alert the pregnant readers about. Then, when those moments come, there are things that you might have to do to help you deal. So if cooking a bunch of meals on Sunday night and freezing them so all you have to do is heat them up to feed your child is what she needs to do, then let her. If crying in the shower is a way to get the frustrations out, then give her a kleenex when she’s in her towel.
The thing I’m trying to say is, even if what your friend is doing is seemingly “a whole lot of nothing,” or “too complicated,” it’s what she decided to do to make parenting easier for her. Trust me, no parent is interested in making the already difficult job of parenting more difficult. So even if what they’re doing seems archaic to you, it’s soothing for her. You don’t have to understand it, but accept it.
Wow… you really let yourself go. When are you going to get back in shape?
A note to those that don’t know, but when you’re overweight, most of the time you’re aware of it. Either by the mirror, a picture, or the fact that your clothes don’t fit anymore. But when you’re a parent, and you’re pretty much running on fumes, and worried about why your child won’t eat the food that took you a long time to prepare (…sorry, just had a flashback, but I’m good now…) the last thing that’s on your mind is trying to work out.
Now, I’m not blind to the fact that you might be worried about your friend’s health and want them to get back in shape, but insulting them in an already sensitive area while they’re in a sensitive time in their life is not the way to motivate some people.
Well, [insert name of a seemingly perfect supermom] can do it, why can’t you?
Able to rock baby to sleep while vacuuming? She can do it. Able to train for a marathon and cook a nutritious meal that her children are going to eat and enjoy? She can do it. Take a “Mommy and Me” dance class and also have time to teach the class how to pop lock and spin on their heads? (“Who has the cardboard? Jimmy?“) Oh yes, she can do it? We’ve all heard about these types of moms, but the important thing is: If she can do it, why can’t you?
“Why can’t I? If you don’t get out of my face…” Now, I’m not knocking the Supermom, I think that they are amazing to be able to do all that they can, but for the moms who haven’t been bitten by that radioactive spider, or bombarded with gamma radiation, they might have to struggle to get the hang of mothering; and comparing them to someone who is doing all these things while simultaneously curing cancer and fixing the holes in the ozone layer isn’t helping.
No matter if you feel like a person should be able to reach that perfect category in motherhood, it’s impossible because perfection can’t be attained. Parenting is a hard enough job as it is, and making a person feel inferior by comparing them to someone else is uncalled for. As long as your friend is perfect for her particular child, that is the only thing that matters.
Kendra Koger is a mother and a twitter account holder. Tweet her at @kkoger.
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