Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A PSA About What NOT to Say to a Mom

Today's blog is my own special brand of Public Service Announcement-warning sarcasm ahead.  I realized while pondering a new topic that I am uniquely equipped to write a post about things not to say to a mother.  I say that I am uniquely qualified because I am the mother of 4 kids, the mother of children with special needs, an adoptive mother, an ex-foster mother, the mother of children of multiple races and have both had a miscarriage and struggled with infertility.  As such, I have been privy to more idiotic statements about a wider variety of things that are no one else's business than the average mama.  Thus, today, I offer this list of things never to say to mamas in each of these categories followed by how I actually reply in bold and how I would love to reply in italics.  Enjoy!!!

DISCLAIMER:  This blog does not refer, for the most part, to close friends and family who support us mommies and are living this stuff with us.  It is about new acquaintances and the ever present Wal-mart/pharmacy woman who inevitably feels compelled to say something really, really stupid.

To Mothers Struggling with Infertility:

  1. Just quit trying, that's when it always happens: I said, "Well, we have actual medical issues for our struggles." I wanted to say, "Look, deary, we did a whole lot of not trying before we bothered with this sweet hell that is TRYING to get pregnant!!!"  See how this will work?  
  2. Well maybe it's just not meant to be:  I said nothing.  I thought:  Maybe YOU'RE not meant to be and I'm the chick that's about to make it so!
To Mothers Who Have Miscarried:
  1. Obviously something was wrong with the baby:  I'm not sure what they are trying to make us feel when people say this.  I said, "I've spent my entire career taking care of children with something "wrong" with them, I am willing to raise an imperfect baby."  I wanted to say, "Obviously something is "wrong" with you because you think that way.  Should I kill you?"
  2. Maybe you just aren't supposed to have a baby/maybe it's time to let go:  I only miscarried once and didn't get this one but friends have.  "Maybe you should mind you're own business and shut the heck up!"
  3. There will be other babies:  "I hope so."  "That's all well and good but I'm going to mourn this one, thanks."
To Mothers with Lots of Children:
  1. Don't you think that's about enough?: "We believe children are gifts and are feel like God will make his plans clear to us."  "I sure wish your parents decided that right before having you."
  2. You do know how to stop having kids, right?:  "I actually only gave birth to one of these, so my husband and I are still well under our population replacement rate, thanks"  "You do know how to STFU, right?"
  3. Better you than me!: "Aw, they're a challenge but we are deeply blessed."  "Yes, yes it IS better me than you!"
To Foster Parents:
  1. I could NEVER be a foster parent, I love kids too much, I could never give them up:  "We feel like this is our ministry and know that God will never lead us where His grace can't keep us."  "Well, clearly, we signed up because we hate children.  Foster parenting isn't really about my warm and fuzzy feelings, moron!!!"
  2. My sister/cousin/neighbor really wants a baby, maybe you could give them this one:  "Well, it doesn't really work that way.  If the court decides that this child needs a forever home, he/she will stay with us."  "It's illegal for me to give them my baby but there's definitely a process for you to give them one of YOUR children."
  3. You get paid a lot of money for that, right?:  "I had to quit work to adequately provide for the special needs of my children and I make less per day for the three of them than I did for two hours of work as a developmental interventionist."  "Yeah, can't you tell by my bitchin' 2003 minivan, 1300 square foot home, and Wal-mart fashion sense that I am rollin' in the benjamins?" (Because snarky is even more fun with awkward sounding hip hop slang!)
To Adoptive Parents:
  1. Now, which one's your real child?:  "Laura-Elizabeth is our BIOLOGICAL daughter."  "Honey, they're all real, not a single one of them runs on batteries."
  2. (Of my sibling set) Now they're really siblings, right?  They must have a special relationship:  "Honestly, there is no difference between their relationship with each other and their relationship with the others.  They love each other dearly and fight like cats and dogs.  Truth is, any one of them would probably sell out the others for the baby."  "They are 4 and 6 year olds with brain injury.  The four year old came here straight from the hospital, their biology means far less than their history."
  3. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want him/her! (Especially horrifying when said in front of the child): "All of my kids' birth parents wanted them, they were just not able to care for them.  Giving them up was selfless."  "By the way, how many special needs kids are you in line to snatch up?"
  4. Anything using the term "real mom":  "In our house, we know that your real mom is the one who takes care of you every day.  I will answer any questions the children have about their BIRTH PARENTS when they ask."  I really just want to punch them in the face.
To Mothers of Kids of Multiple Races:
  1. How many fathers do your kids have?:  "*big smile* 5 (if you're doing the math, this is exactly one more dad than the number of kids)"  "Seriously, did you just ask me that?"
  2. Awkward stares at my kids, my husband and I followed by, "He's cute," while pointing at Isaac: "Yeah, he's the only one with brown eyes like his mommy."  I always want to finish that statement by singing "One of these things is not like the other" from Sesame Street.
  3. Oh, you must babysit!:  "Nope, they're all mine!"  "Oh, you must be stupid!"
  4. ANYTHING remotely racist:  Quite frankly, I say exactly what I think at the time because this person is not deserving of anything better.
To Mothers of Kids with Special Needs:
  1. What's wrong with his legs (substitute any obvious issue):  "He has arthrogryposis and the braces/casts help to keep his joints straight."  "What's wrong with your face?"
  2. Why does she have seizures?:  "Epilepsy is part of her brain injury." "She thinks it's tons of fun and some of her medicine tastes like bubblegum!"
  3. If my kid was acting like that, I'd spank them:  "Sorry, he/she has sensory integration dysfunction."  "By all means, come over here and I'll smack you around some."
  4. My son/daughter didn't like wearing shoes either but I just made them.:  "My child has a sensory disorder."  "Really, did you do that right after cutting out every tag, holding her down to get medicine down her, torturing her by brushing her hair and forcing her to wear the clothes she also didn't want to wear, because that's what I did this morning."
  5. Really, he/she has a disability? But he/she looks so normal:  "Disabilities with recognizable features make up a fairly small percentage of all disabilities."  "Darn it, I can't believe I let him/her out without her handicapped sign again!"
  6. But eventually he/she will be, like, normal, right?:  "Well, his/her diagnosis is a life long one and there is just no good way to know what the future holds right now.  We're hoping for the best."  "Babe, take a look at your little mouth breathers, I'll show you my normal when you show me yours!" 
I know it was long but I hope you laughed along with my little PSA.  Beware the Wal-mart momsters!  I think it's a great idea to close with some awesome things to say to the harried mommies you know:
  • I love you
  • You are doing a great job
  • Girls with vomit on their clothes/boogers in their hair turn me on
  • Here's a Starbucks gift certificate
  • Hey, I'd love to babysit for you some time:)


  1. Oh my! You have such a BIG story to tell! And you're so right, people give so. Much. Advice- all the time!

  2. Thanks for reading Galit. It means a lot:)

  3. thanks, i needed that - keep up the amazing work - on here and with the kids! michelle

  4. Thanks Michelle, I'll do my best:)

  5. Oh, this one: If my kid was acting like that, I'd spank them. Makes me want to punch someone. B/c people have zero clue what's really going on!