People can tend to like the idea of babies, and claim they wish the best for new and young mothers. But what happens when it comes down to the reality of things?
Sometimes, we’re chosen last for promotions. We’re not provided with suitable (or any) places to pump at work or breastfeed at the office. We’re treated with insensitivity.
It’s easy for employers (and even friends and relations, sometimes) to be all talk. When they hear that you’re pregnant, they claim to be so excited and so happy for you. They’ll do “anything they can” to help. They’ll be flexible with your schedule. It’s all happiness and sunshine.
From my experience, once the baby actually comes, this can all prove to be so many empty words. Employers and businesses will often do the bare minimum. All they care about is whether or not they are technically following the law (and they’ll hire lawyers and find loopholes to said laws) because businesses don’t give a damn. They just want to make money. That’s what they are there to do.
Thankfully, people are choosing more and more to buy from and give their business to and work for (if they can) a growing set of companies that treat people right. They accommodate breastfeeding, encourage parents to see young children during the workday, provide excellent benefits and incentives to families, and really, actually (not just because they’re supposed to) care.
It’s hard enough for moms to be away from kids while working – or to work from home. Here are 15 messed up things working moms are tired of hearing.
15 “An Office Is No Place For Breastfeeding”
I worked in an office for many years that allowed dogs – as in flea-covered, slobbery, smelly, allergy-provoking (if adorable, cuddly, friendly, and loveable) four-legged creatures to come in and wander about rather freely. It wasn’t an official policy that this was okay. It’s just that when one or two people started doing it, the trend sort of caught on, and no one said it wasn’t okay.
But the creatures the office wasn’t friendly to? Babies. There was just nowhere in that small of a business, they claimed, that it would be okay for me to do things like breastfeed my 3-month-old.
The woman who decided this? A middle-aged, bitter gal who had a tendency to think those in my position were “after her job.”
So, yeah, we’re tired of hearing that there’s nowhere in the office that it’s suitable for us to breastfeed (while covered). All sorts of accommodations are made for all sorts of people, so why the stubbornness when it comes to new mothers?
14 "Aren't You Missing Out..?"
Every family does whatever it is they need to do to make things work. It doesn’t matter how much money the parents make or receive from their families. It doesn’t matter what they do, where they live, or the type of lifestyle they lead.
We are all just doing what we can to make sure everything comes together – that everyone is reasonably happy, we are all fed and healthy and rested, and our finances are somewhat in order.
So it’s pretty F-ed up to tell a mom who works away from the home that she’s missing out on the young years of childhood. It’s maybe even worse to simply ask if she’s worried that she’ll miss milestones. It’s the worst ever to somehow imply that she must wish she could be at home and with her kids all of the time – a lot of women want to maintain their careers by working in an office, thank you very much.
13 "That's How You Feed Your Baby?"
While a mom may not be likely to lash back at you or even openly express her disapproval, she is likely to be anywhere from a bit hurt to extremely offended if you imply that she is not feeding her child in the best way possible.
Some moms breastfeed exclusively, providing milk in the first months of life every few hours throughout each and every day.
Others (many!) return to work in an office or other environment and nurse their babies once or twice a day (such as in the morning and evening). They do a lot of work and take a lot of time to pump while away from their babies to keep their milk supplies up and collect and store milk for future use.
Some use formula.
“Fed is best,” is a phrase many wise mothers embrace. So don’t put pressure on them to do it any certain way.
12 "Your Baby Will Get Sick In Daycare"
Clearly, the more people and germs a kid is exposed to at an early age, the higher the likelihood that he’ll have some minor illnesses when he’s a bitty babe. That’s just the way it is. But we all have to become acclimated to surviving in this world at one point or another, and being in social groups of other people is one (important!) way that we do that.
So don’t tell a working mom how often her baby is going to get sick when you hear that she’ll be placing him in daycare at a young age. Don’t implore urgently if she’s so worried about that.
The answer is yes. Because she’s a mom, so she’s probably somewhat worried about, like, everything related to her child.
There are benefits to every situation. Kids who stay at home in the early months and years may skip some colds, but they also skip some friend making.
11 "This Is What You Missed While You Were"
This is a tough one. Because it’s not like working moms want you to hide your activities and pursuits from them to protect them or something – but it is still something they might, really and truly, be tired of hearing.
What I’m dancing around here is that it can be really hard to be stuck in an office or working at home and hear about all the activities and play dates and outings other moms are enjoying together. (Thanks to social media for that one.)
It’s not necessarily that working moms wish they didn’t “have” to work – it’s just that no matter what, it can look like a lot of fun to be out connecting with other new moms, helping your baby to socialize and make friends, and enjoying the early days in general.
It’s hard to see and hear about all the swim lessons, mommy fitness groups, music classes, and enrichment activities that you just aren’t involved in or can’t participate in.
10 "And The Promotion Goes To..."
Let’s be really straightforward and get right to the point with this one. Working moms are tired of being told someone else got the promotion. Working moms are tired of hearing they are not invited to attend the conference this year. Working moms are tired AF of people assuming they will not be just as present, motivated, flexible, professional, and awesome as any other person.
Having children does not change who we are. It does not change our skills, our background, our fortitude, our commitment, or our motivation and drive.
You know what? I take that back. It does change our fortitude. It makes us even stronger and more focused, in all likelihood, than we already were. It builds our people skills. It makes us more compassionate and patient and understanding.
So if you pass us up because you know that we’re moms, you’ve just made a big, big mistake.
9 “Hope Something Better Comes Along”
As I write this, my adorable, sweet, smart, magical toddler is periodically coming over and affixing stickers to my typing hands, babbling about numbers and letters, and playing pretend.
For some, this would be an unimaginably difficult situation. For me, it’s pretty much my dream.
That’s why it really, really offends me when anyone (especially someone close to me) tells me they hope some better opportunity or situation comes along for me.
See, I don’t want to place my children in daycare. In fact, I (and this is just me, because it works well for my situation and my career and my family), would do pretty much anything to be able to stay with my girls throughout the day while they are young.
When someone recently assumed that I was actively searching for some other employment, it really pissed me off. How dare they belittle my situation. How dare they take a dump on my dream.
I’ll say again, we’re all piecing it together in the way that works for us. It’s not for others to judge.
8 "Haven't You Had Enough Time With Them?"
How is any one person able to know whether or not any other is spending “enough” time with her kids?
How exactly do you qualify and quantify that? What made you the expert on that particular mother, baby, family, and situation?
People tend to have strong ideas about the “right” way to raise children. These ideas may have been implanted by a person’s own upbringing, or picked up along the way based on what they found appealing as they observed their way through life.
But the thing is everyone’s idea about what is best is different. So how about each mom does what she thinks is best for herself and her family, and isn’t made to feel bad or like she’s not spending enough time with her young (or any age) kids because she is currently working.
7 "You're Letting Someone Else Raise Your Baby"
Some moms who work pay money to some other individual or group or center to care for their child or children while they are doing said work.
This is not having “someone else raise their baby.”
This is having someone else provide care, meals, and enrichment for their child for a certain number of hours each week. That’s all.
Working moms go through a lot. They plan and pack and prepare and worry and work, as all people do, but to quite an extreme degree. They are superheroes. They are amazing. They are, first and foremost, strong.
They are not absentee moms. They are not letting someone else “do all the work.” They have made a decision (probably not an easy one) and are doing their best to live the best life they can.
6 "Aren't You Being Selfish?"
So someone has decided they think it’s “selfish” for a mother to return to work. Really? Just, what?
I’m sorry, I thought that mother was making money and earning benefits for herself and her family, the better to provide a comfortable life (or afford necessities like housing, clothing, and food…).
Oh, is that selfish? I thought she was keeping her foot in the door of a career she’d spent a large portion of her life working toward, and pursuing an important dream. Didn’t see it that way?
I thought she was providing a strong and confident role model for her children, showing them that you can be a working professional and raise a family and ______ (fill in the blank with ANYTHING YOU GODDAMN PLEASE).
Yeah, moms don’t want to hear that they’re being “selfish” because they’re working.
5 "I Guess He's Not Making Enough Money"
We’re just not sure why someone would be comfortable making so many assumptions. If a woman has returned to work, is it necessarily because she “needs to” – because her husband or partner doesn’t make “enough money” to support the family on his salary alone? Nope.
Please don’t go ahead and assume that because a mom is working, her husband must not be making enough money.
Please don’t think that they must be struggling if she is employed either within or outside of the home.
Please, oh please (and this goes for you, too, grandparents and other family members), do not suggest that the husband should go out and look for a “better” job.
You just never know what others are thinking, what their motivations are, or what will work best for them.
4 "What A Waste..."
Some moms choose not to work outside of the home, at least in part, because they’d end up spending almost all of their earnings on childcare (please picture me smiling and raising my hand here).
But for some, they look at the pros and cons and examine the budget and decide that for whatever reason, it is worth it for them to work outside of the home, or to employ someone to watch their children while they spend time working.
So don’t tell them they are wasting their money on childcare.
Even if a mother makes the exact same amount (or less than) what the family spends on childcare, she’s working because it’s worth it to her. There are other considerations, other markers of value, besides the bottom line.
There’s wanting to keep your foot in the door of a career that’s important to you. There’s maintaining contacts and connections. There’s feeling happy and fulfilled. The sky’s the limit…
3 "You're Missing It!"
Know this: When I say, well, I figured I’d only get one chance to be around my kids while they’re little, it does not mean that I’m implying anyone else needs to make the same decision that I have made.
I understand, to be sure, that it can be super rough on a mom, especially a new mom, to be made to feel like she’s missing her one chance to be around her babies while they’re still babies.
Because we all feel like we’re missing out in some way.
I worked full time from home while also watching after my first, and I felt like I was missing the chance to just focus completely on her and enjoy her. I felt like I was watching the world of play dates and mommy groups and music classes pass me by.
See, no matter what our situations are, there could always be something better about them. Can any mom every really get enough of her own child?
We’re doing our best to make the most of the time we have, and it can be hard.
2 "Why Don't You Just Move?"
Has something to this affect ever been said or at least implied to you, dear mamas? “Why don’t you just move somewhere that you can afford?”
As in you must not be able to adequately afford living where you do if you have to work in some capacity.
As in you can’t possibly be happy with this current situation.
As in someone else knows better what work / life / dwelling situation is best for you, somehow.
I’m not sure if this one will hit home for moms and families everywhere, but mothers in my neck of the woods will know exactly what I’m talking about.
We’re college-educated. We have established careers. We’ve been careful with money and made smart choices. Our spouses are similarly educated and similarly (though with higher pay – because that’s how the world tends to go for some reason -- still) employed. But we all still feel like we’re just barely hanging on, because it’s so GD expensive to live here.
Nonetheless, it’s the choice that we’ve made – because we think (or hope) it’s worth it. Whether it’s staying close to extended family, providing a good setting for our children to grow, or more, we’ve made this choice intentionally.
1 "Are You Putting That In Our Fridge?"
Have you ever seen posts from moms who were told they were asked not to store their expressed breast milk in the fridge at work after pumping?
I can’t even believe this.
Sure, moms make due with coolers and cold packs, but just, what? If it’s for people’s lunches and condiments and sodas and snacks and coffee creamers, why in the world would it not be okay to put sealed bags or bottles of breast milk in there?
Man, I’d be more than “tired” of hearing this after hearing it just once! How absolutely ridiculous!
Here’s hoping that parents become people of influence and power. Having been through the many joys and multiple challenges involved, perhaps they’ll be more inclined to be compassionate and understanding people – people who don’t say things that, quite frankly, working moms are tired of hearing.