Of late I have begun to notice the kinds of remarks people – in my position as a mom I notice this more – moms make to each other. Quite often it ends up being advice that is either patronizing or irritating or remarks that are purely thoughtless and insensitive. I wonder if people think before or after they make such remarks to other mothers.
- Woman with two children telling another who has been trying for a child and going through IVF wanting her own child “You know, you can adopt, why don’t you think about that?”.
- Woman with two chubby kids telling another who has a child who is naturally not the weight gaining type “ My god, the child has not grown at all since the last time I saw him five months back!”
- Stay at home mom telling a working mother without having any clue as to why she may have chosen to keep her job “ You know I would never allow anyone else to take care of my baby”
- A friend telling another breast feeding mother “You mean you are still breast feeding your daughter?! She is probably not even getting enough milk from you!”
- A working mother to another one who stopped pumping milk after 3 or 4 months: “Oh, I pumped and pumped for a long time. I just would not allow even a drop of formula for my baby!”
- A working mom with an older child to one about to deliver and has taken a break from work to have children (because her job involves field work) and is very nervous about labor pains: “Well, you know I was very active and working at my job till the day of delivery – so I did not have any problems with labor (this is a software analyst who always sat at her desk and often worked from home).
- One mom to another who’s child doesn’t like to eat Indian food often “ Oh, my children – at school they can have pasta or pizza, but at home, I insist, only rice and dal”
- Mother of a rambunctious toddler telling the mother of a rather mild mannered one “My child is very active and energetic. You saw how in one second he broke that candy bowl”
- One mom who took epidural during delivery telling another who didn’t “Oh, that’s a no-brainer – you should have taken it!”
- One mother telling another mother of a rather picky eater “I trained my kids from when they were young to eat all kinds of food”
Examples of this nature abound. I too was guilty of making a judgemental remark just a couple of days ago while talking to my good friend. She told me about her colleague who sent her second child to her parents place in India for a little while. I told my friend immediately “God, why do people have kids and then send them away with grandparents, why bother?!”. My friend then told me that her friend’s husband was extremely controlling with money and she was afraid to lose her job trying to manage two kids and become completely dependent on him. Now it is easy to say walk out in that case, but such decisions are personal and not simple. I realized that I was quick to judge and felt bad about it. I wish we could all give each other space and know that especially when it comes to children, every mom tries her best. And even if not, it is really not our business unless it is a case of abuse. Many of these remarks either annoyed the person at the receiving end or really hurt the person and made them feel guilty needlessly. There is no need to feel one up by taking jabs at the other person. To each her own…