5 things you should never say to a Mum FULL STOP

Ok, I’m calling it. This working mum vs Stay at home mum stuff is bullshit. I’m so sick of seeing lists and ideas pitting one against the other. It doesn’t help any of us. Or dads for that matter. You don’t see them copping this kind of shit. Let’s think about the psychological upheaval having kids does to one’s mind. It’s crazy. One day you feel in control, next you feel like you’re not cut out for it. One day you feel so grateful and blessed to be in the position you’re in, the next you feel ready to tear your hair out with the mundane and the Groundhog day. BOTH working mums and stay at home mums feel this. Doesn’t matter the location, doesn’t matter where the kids are. This is an intrinsic thing within us all. So let’s clear a few things up:

No, working mums don’t get to enjoy coffees in peace. Because often they are running around so madly trying to cram in so much extra work into a shorter time frame so they can get out the door to get to their kids. They too suffer from the cold cup syndrome.

No, stay at home mums don’t lounge on the couch eating bon bons and go have fun coffee chats and playdates every day. It’s a grind. A big grind. Of cooking, cleaning, keeping kids alive, running errands, keeping everything in line. There’s no let up.

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UNIVERSAL PAIN. We’re all in it together, sistas

There’s been a ton of these articles getting around late, espousing what not to say to a working mum, or what you should never say to a stay at home mum. For fucks sake. Let’s just stop it all now, shall we? We are our own worst enemies sometimes, perpetuating this division. So I propose let’s make a list- 5 things you should never say to a Mum. That’s it. A MUM. With no caveat about being at home or at work. Because that is irrelevant. Or you know, we could even stretch out on a limb and say things you should never say to a Dad. Ooooh errrr… taboo!

  1. Don’t ask a Mum what she does all day. Whether that be ‘lounging at work’ or ‘lounging at home’. Mums are freaking busy. No matter where or what they do, they are busy. There is no let up. The job just continues around the clock. Whether it be working outside the home and then rushing home to work in the home, and then having to take outside work home with them. Or whether it’s working in the home, from 6am until 10pm. We ALL work non-stop.
  2. Don’t tell a Mum she looks tired. No shit. She will be tired. Whether she’s at home all day (no she doesn’t get to have a rest) or whether she’s at work all day (no she can’t use her lunch break to rest. Because often she doesn’t get a lunch break), she’s going to be tired.
  3. Don’t say to a Mum “I don’t know how you do it” Whether working, or choosing not to work, coping can be tough either way. Being at work for a lot is a necessity. How do they cope being away from their kids? They do it bloody tough. Even when women work because they need that for themselves, they still don’t escape that feeling of sadness and guilt at missing their children. Being at home is also a tough gig. Giving up a career, walking away from a job which gave satisfaction and an income? That too brings its own guilt at times.
  4. Don’t bring up choosing career over kids, or choosing kids over career. Either way the decision is a hard one. And often not done flippantly.
  5. Never ask “don’t you feel like you’re missing something” Erm. No. No no no no no. Working mums ARE missing their kids and stay at home mums ARE missing that previous career. For the most part. There are some working mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal, and there are some stay at home mums who feel like they’ve got the best deal.
Mum funny
Uhh huh

We all come from different walks of life, with different values and different priorities. But no matter what our own values and ideas are, you know something? All of us are just trying to do our best for our kids. If we feel that’s us going out and working, then we’re out there doing it. If we feel that’s us being at home, then we’re doing it. Can we just cut ourselves some slack here? One type of mum is no more superior than the other, our kids are going to thrive regardless of our decision to work or stay home. Wanna know why? Because whatever we’re doing, we’re doing for THEM. And they know it. They don’t know any different- they see us working in the home and out of the home. It’s about quality, not quantity. And ensuring they know they’re loved, they feel secure and safe and they’re happy. That’s it. Happiness comes in many forms.

mum meme
Again. Universal truth

For all the studies that show children are better off with a parent at home, you’ll find an equal amount of studies showing children thrive when parents work. Research is a ridiculous thing. You can skew data to show you almost anything you want it to. Don’t be fooled by ‘scientific’ studies and ‘experts’. Truly. It’s all smoke and mirrors. There are often many caveats in their research and when it comes to human functioning there is no precise, hard and fast rule. What works for one might not work for another.

So what does it come down to? Respect. Simple really. Respect for others’ choices, or necessities. Respect that others’ situations work for them, and we have no right to go raining on their parade. And where do we think our kids learn respect from? If we can’t show it to other Mums, what hope do our kids have?

  • Bravo! You’re spot on as always. Now I’m frantically mentally analysing my memory bank hoping I’ve never said any of these things to any mum I know. Even if I have had a momentary lapse of reason in the past, I won’t be making any repeat performances in the future!

  • Bahaha, right… who pissed you off!?!? The one thing I really do hate is this need to justify myself all the time. Like I need to prattle off a list of all the things I’m doing on top of being a mother. Like I’m going to get in trouble if I’m not pulling my weight or something. I’m constantly asked “have you gone back to work?” or “what are you doing now?” or “do you work?” like being a mum isn’t enough and I need to prove my worth with all the other things I’m doing. What I’m doing is juggling way too many balls and dropping them all constantly and feeling like shit because I’m not doing any of my jobs to a high standard (or at least, my usual standard). There’s just so much pressure on mums. On women in general I think. Men are totally allowed to go to work and come home. That’s it. That’s enough. Women have to work, manage the house/ family, raise the children, become frickin mumpreneurs…. it’s just expected of us, while men are given a huge pat on the back for ‘helping out’ if they take the kids for half a day or cook dinner more than once a week.
    The day I know I’m truly sharing the load 50/50 is the day my husband comes home and tells me he’s taking my son to the doctor for the rash on his leg (without my making the appointment) or that he’s signed him for swimming lessons or something….

    • Yes – why are women consitantly asked ‘when are you going back to work?’. Maybe I don’t want to go back to work. Maybe I enjoy being a Mum and want to have more children. Maybe?

  • Hugzilla

    Testify!!! Let’s all STFU and just get on with it, shall we.

  • LOVE this. So spot on. Like everything, I don’t know why we care so much about what everyone else is doing. Another awesome post lovely lady! x

  • Omg I want to work with you! Could you come to France and we’ll work together in our own office! We would have a lot of clients and be very popular! And drink a lot of wine dear! Good french wine I swear! xx cathy

  • You sing it girl. Couldn’t agree more. <3

  • Some women are obsessed with bringing other women down. It’s freaking sad and a massive reflection of their self worth. It’s happening all over- mums circles, fitness/health circles, corporate life. Sad really.