Things not to say to moms: Part 1


Just this morning I was wiping the kitchen counter (hiding in my favorite headphones) while listening to the new episode of my favorite podcast… the Holderness Family Podcast (here’s a link to the podcast). The whole episode was about what to say and not to say to parents of children with special needs. It was great podcast episode and I really recommend that you listen to it for a number of reasons.

As I digested the content, it got me wondering… Are there similar things you shouldn’t say to a mom? Especially a mom you don’t really know well? Like a mom you meet at the grocery store, or a stranger, or even someone you used to work with years ago?

And so, I went on a journey to compile this working list (which I’m open to adding to by the way) As part of the process of compiling this list… I went through the quite cathartic, laughter inducing, and camaraderie building process of chatting with some of my favorite groups online friends (one of them being our WingItMom page).

So here it is… the first edition of the “Things I’d highly suggest not saying to a mom you meet at the grocery store” list. Of course this list applies to more than grocery store interactions, but you know what I’m talking about, it’s when you see a mom that you don’t know, sort of know, or are just getting to know.   

Are you having any more children?

Ok this one is especially bad when the person then eyes your post Thanksgiving gut and you know they’re probably really wondering if you’re currently pregnant (or maybe that’s all in my mind)… 

“Are you going to try again for a boy/ girl.”

Did the sex of my current child/ children offend you? Did I miss the mark by producing my current child(ren)? It’s such a bizarre question to answer. I never did personally care about the sex of my children, but if I did, would this comment be helpful in that case either?  

“Is he/she yours?” or “Are they all yours?”

Questioning whether children belong to a person is kind of a weird thing to do. It puts the mom in a weird position, it’s going to get you a quick yes/ no answer, maybe a dirty look, and really won’t fill any sort of purpose. I had people ask me this a lot when I had my first son because he was blonde and I have dark hair and brown eyes, but I carried that kiddo for 9 long months, went through grueling labor to have a C section, then woke up with him night after night, I didn’t really appreciate a stranger questioning my maternity. 

Also, consider this… most people don’t go pick up other people’s children to take shopping for fun. If they do, they probably don’t have time to stop and talk anyone, or they are a little crazy and will probably claim to be the child’s mom any way (yes I know people who have done this sort of crazy bologna).

“That’s why I don’t have kids.”

This comment really is just a weird backhanded insult to a person’s child(ren). Even if this mom’s kids are currently driving her nuts.. there is a good chance you’re going to meet her mama bear side when you make comments like these.

 Additionally… just think, what if a random mom walked up to you at the store and said, “See, that’s why you don’t have kids?” …Ouch…

“You sure have your hands full.”

We could also go with the cute “coffee mug quote worthy” rebuttal “If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts.”, but the comment really just implies that a mom isn’t handling things well.  If she’s not managing well, chances are she already knows it and is trying to flee the store/ situation as quickly as possible. Get out of her way. 

“Cherish every moment” or “You’re going to miss this”

You guys, we all cry about how much our kids are growing and how time is stealing these moments away from us… first of all, we don’t need to be reminded. Second there are things I miss about having tiny babies, and there are things I definitely do not miss AT ALL. I do NOT miss middle of the night feedings. I do NOT miss being pregnant. I do NOT miss poopy diapers. I just don’t. 

“Where are his/her shoes/ socks/ coat?”

They are in the place where shoes, socks, and coats live… which is probably a basket of unfolded laundry in my bedroom. 

In all seriousness when it comes to coats, it’s not practical to unbuckle your child, and then stand in the cold to wrestle them into their jacket. It’s literally quicker to grab them and run into the store. 

Now, let’s talk about the sockless, shoeless child… let me explain what has probably happened to this parent. Snuggle up, it’s story time!

Let’s call the hypothetical child Lucy. Lucy does not like shoes and socks. She takes them off at least a dozen times before leaving the front door.  As soon as she’s big enough to crawl, not only does she take them off, she seems to hide them on opposite sides of the house as mom is scrambling to find her car keys and throw a granola bar in her purse. Lucy then takes her shoes and socks off in the car. One of the socks is wedged between the seats. When Mom reaches her hand in she is met with something sticky, but she grabs the sock, wipes her hands on her leggings, and tries to wrestle the shoes and socks onto Lucy’s feet. 

Lucy then takes them off in the store.  Twice, she throws them at her mom, four times she drops them into the lower part of the shopping cart, and then just as Mom gets to check out, she discovers that one of those darn shoes is missing. Mom now has to spend 27 minutes scouring the floor of every aisle looking for said shoe. She rounds the corner of the toothpaste aisle to see an elderly man accidentally kick the shoe far under the aisle rack. Said shoe is gone. 

After experiencing this Groundhog Day sort of phenomenon weekly (at least) over the course of several months, several pairs of socks and , and even attempts at some tricks she saw on Pinterest to keep socks and shoes on… Mom decides this child is meant to be shoeless.

As you can see, this was a decision probably not taken lightly, but rather with the seriousness of  a parent choosing sanity over shoes.  Give her a break.


If you relate to any of these  (or have something you think I just have to add) let me know in the comments!


Oh… and I know… you are probably left thinking: 

“But wait… What about the ridiculous things my Uncle Larry says at Thanskgiving? Or how about the rude passive aggressive comments from my mother in law Gertie? And what about my know it all cousin Irene? They say things that really get under my skin!”

Well don’t you worry, that post is a whole different beast… and it’s coming soon, so stay tuned!