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For whatever reason people have all kinds of advice when they find out that you’re going to be a Mom. I not only heard but read a lot of things from well-meaning people that did nothing but irritate the heck out of me. Here’s a list of the things that I think you should never say to a first-time Mom:
- “If you breastfeed the weight will just melt off.” – ‘Or it won’t Brenda because people are all unique and not everyone produces prolactin or burns calories in the same way. So no breastfeeding isn’t doing (didn’t do) squat to help me lose weight but thanks for your concern.’ This statement is a big thing with your “breast is best” pals. They’ll try desperately hard to convince you that if you just breastfeed you’ll be back in your size 2 True Religion jeans in no time. I can tell you that you can make yourself a human cow for months and the scale still may not budge one bit. So before you assume you know the physiological makeup of the first-time Mom you’re speaking to just skip this statement and tell her she’s an amazing Mom.
- “You should sleep train your baby.” – ‘It’s cute that you assume I haven’t if I state that my child isn’t sleeping through the night.’ Just like all Moms are unique so are all babies. You can try all you want to impose 12 straight hours of night-time sleep on a baby and that baby will still stand right up in that crib at 2am and shriek “you’re not the boss of me!” That baby does not care how hard you worked on that “routine” if that baby needs to be up that baby is going to be up. Maybe that Mom’s baby has a fast metabolism or maybe that baby is teething and has a lot more pain at night. Whatever the reason don’t assume that you can regiment an infant the same way you do an adult and certainly don’t be putting that kind of expectation on a new mother.
- “So you’re not working.” – ‘If you call spending all day chasing around an emotional terrorist whose weapon of choice is blowouts and spit up, not working, then no I am not.’ This statement is usually offensive to first-time Moms because of the tone. The tone is something between ‘you’re a quitter’ and ‘gosh how lazy.’ I’m not particularly partial to this idea that feminism should be you do the women’s work, the men’s work, and then whatever work the men didn’t want to do twice as well for half the recognition. To me, that sounds unequal as hell. So if a Mom can work out with her partner that she’s going to stay home and raise her children don’t begrudge that decision or assume that she’s taking the easy way out. She is not. Check up on your stay at home mom friends, they are NOT okay. Also don’t say this.
- “You shouldn’t let your baby near screens.” – ‘It’s 2020 why are you trying to set my kid up for failure Brenda?’ Look I know some crunchy granola Mom somewhere got this whole thing started where you should raise your child in a cave devoid of any modern technology but the fact of the matter is this technology exists and your child’s future success is going to depend on their ability to manipulate it effectively. So no first-time Moms shouldn’t pretend that televisions and computers don’t exist. They should be encouraged to use them wisely but not told to ban them from the home entirely. Plus, some Moms out here will lose their minds if they can’t do something other than just be a human milk fountain for an infant. So do what you will with your kids, my kid is going to learn how to hack before he’s 5.
- “So you’re expecting again?” – ‘Have I posted a pregnancy announcement? No, then as far as you’re concerned I am not.’ Some Moms are gonna be rail-thin .5 seconds after popping out their kid. Other Moms are going to look like they’re 5 months pregnant for about 8 months post-partum. Unless a Mom has announced that she’s pregnant again don’t assume that she’s pregnant just because you see a little bump popping out. That bump could very well be the aftermath of the last bump. And no just because she has one doesn’t mean she’s not working hard. She may be struggling with diastasis recti or she may be having a hard time losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way. And so what if she is pregnant again a few months after she had her first kid. You don’t know the family planning going on there. She may be in her 30s and wants to have as many kids as she can before the factory gets shuttered. Learn to mind your business and tell her her hair looks great.
- “You have to do baby-led weaning.” – ‘Or I can make sure my child actually ingests real food on occasion.’ Baby-led weaning is all the rage right now and while developmentally it can be helpful it’s not necessarily the answer for every baby once solids are introduced. Some Moms may do a combo of baby-led weaning and spoon-feeding. And yet other babies may not be ready for food at all until they’re actually a year old. Don’t put additional pressure on a first time Mom to have her baby eating grilled salmon before he can walk just because your kid was able to do it. Besides who has the time to clean up those floor messes every single meal. C’mon, some Moms actually want to fit a shower into their day!
- “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” – ‘I guess I could do that Brenda and just live in my own filth for the next 12 months.’ People mean well when they say this to a First-Time Mom but the reality is that when the baby sleeps Mom is going to try to feel like a human again. She’s going to want to get up and get a shower. Or she’s going to watch a show that’s not appropriate for the baby. She may also want to tackle the mountain of dishes in the kitchen or put away the laundry that’s been staring at her for a week. When the baby sleeps during the day is often the only time Moms have to get things done. So please stop reminding Moms that they have no time to do anything and are exhausted. They are fully aware.
- “Just wear the baby to get things done.” – Some babies enjoy household chores about as much as adults enjoy household chores, which is to say they hate it. They can be absolutely fine being worn when you’re out for a hike but attempt to wear them to do the dishes and all hell will break loose. So no it won’t work for every Mom no matter how many different brands of wraps she buys or how soon she starts trying to wear her baby, that baby ain’t doing housework so just drop it! Let that Mom enjoy being a Mom and stop trying to make her a housekeeper too.
- And finally “Enjoy it, it goes by way too fast.” – She knows! She feels like she just had this little person and they’re already crawling. Please stop reminding her that before she knows it this baby will be heading off to college, she’s already cried twice today and doesn’t need that kind of negativity in her life. Let her enjoy the baby snuggles without being reminded at the speed with which everything is moving. You can tell her it all goes by way too fast when the kid is a teenager and she really needs to hear it.
So there you have it. You’ve all been warned. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything I missed or any comments or advice that you have found particularly annoying as a new Mom. And remember, while the journey is hard it’s so worth it.
You got this!