All of us moms have been there. It’s the very moment that your best friend, neighbor or even just an acquaintance met while shopping at the local grocery store utters one of those simple phrases to you about how your children are behaving that make you go instantly from a pleasant person to something straight out of a horror movie in a matter of seconds. It may simply be a small suggestion that they thought would help at the time or a tip for the future. Either way the sentiment did not help. As a parent that is trying her hardest just to remain sane on a daily basis, while also trying to keep her children alive, you do NOT need tips from others, especially those who do not even have children of their own. The following is a list of a few things that should not be said to a mom (unless you want to be punched)!
- “You probably should have left your kids at home.” This was one of my favorite sayings while my kids were growing. Be it at the grocery store, or while I was having some dental work done, I hated when someone would tell me that leaving my kids at home would have been a better solution. Just because the three of them have split up and are currently destroying the entire area in one sweep, leaving them at home would not have been an option. Do you really think that I wanted to have my kids in the office as my teeth were being cleaned, no. But since leaving them home alone under the age of five is not only frowned upon by the public and also against the law, I had no choice than to bring them along.
- “My kids would never do that.” Really? I used to think the exact same thing. I had a whole list compiled in my head of all of the things that ‘my’ children would never do. But then the day came when I was watching my three toddlers at the park and suddenly all of those dreams were washed out the window as I watched my youngest squat down and urinate by the tree. We all eventually all eat those words.
- “Did you see what your daughter just did?” Probably one of the sayings that made my skin crawl the most. While my kids were young we went to several different types of play groups at the library and other community centers to keep busy. I always loved when I was busy changing the diapers of one child, or cleaning the mud off the hands of another, when someone would approach me to ask if I had seen what my daughter just did. Obviously, since I only have one set of eyes (although they may be in the back of my head), I missed whatever obnoxious activity my other daughter just participated in. I would always just apologize immediately, knowing that it must not have been good. This was usually followed by an eye roll.
- “Can you quiet her down?” Whether it be during story time at the library or movie time at the park, as luck would have it, this always seemed to be the time that one of my children would either break out into the loud screaming sessions that can’t be tamed with all of the energy in the world, or my oldest would find it appropriate to need to use the bathroom. Both of these activities would usually be regarded with a “shhhhh”, from the surrounding mothers. Nothing makes you want to fill your water bottle with vodka more than being quieted down by another adult.
- “You have to buy that first.” More times than I can even count, while we were shopping at the store, one of my kids would suddenly find themselves completely and utterly starving. It’s amazing how a toddler that refuses to eat his or her snack at home, while watching cartoons, can instantly suffer from hunger pangs so severely that they think they might actually die. These of course were the days that I would desperately dig through my purse and diaper bag only to find that all of the snacks were gone and all I could find was an old, slimy jelly bean and three tick tacks. Neither choice was something my child would go for and the very suggestion usually made them crash to the floor of the store in an angry tirade. The solution? Grab a box of fruit snacks off of the shelf and open them up for instant consumption. This usually caused many glares from passersby’s. If my child was quiet for a few more minutes, then I was the one winning. And of course I paid for the snack while purchasing my other groceries, so no harm was done.
There are just so many things that can irk both a young mother just starting out to the experienced veteran mom singlehandedly raising her fourth child. If you are in public and you see these women struggling with their children, my best advice is just to keep your mouth closed. We are trying the best we can and unless you want to be injured, or find yourself instantly responsible for a handful of children, we don’t need your tips or suggestions (even if we do think about them later)!