Everyday, the list of things we shouldn't say to #moms grows longer and longer. But could these mom rules be more hurtful than helpful?

The Long List of Things We Shouldn’t Say to Moms

Everyday, the list of things that we shouldn’t say to moms grows longer. These are things that, on the surface, don’t seem at all controversial. But uttering them could send a mom into an angry tirade. They range from comments on sleep to busyness, and they are on the conversational blacklist that only moms seem to know about. There is definitely insensitivity in some of these comments, but I think these things should be handled with a little more grace.

The Secret Mom Code

During the last few months of my pregnancy, I experienced comments from strangers, and sometimes friends, that made my brow crinkle. From, “You’re waddling!” to “When are you going to have that baby?” I probably heard it all in the course of three pregnancies! My first instinct is to get angry and defensive.

Then I realized- who makes these rules of things to not say? Moms. Does the 80 year old man at the grocery store hop on Pinterest for a list of things he shouldn’t say this week? What about the lady who has never had any kids of her own? No and no.

We’ve made this secret mom code of what’s okay and not okay, that only moms could possible know. The result is a generation of moms who walk around angry at the world for daring to say to them what is on the blacklist. That is NOT how I want to live!

Grace for Others

There’s another mom message out there that says we need to have grace for ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to take breaks and make mistakes. Yes- so true! But in these messages of mom self-love, we completely overlook grace for others. Instead of memorizing a list of retorts when someone tells us our hands are full, what if we smiled and said, “I’m so thankful for that!” What if we responded by making someone else’s day, instead of implying that they’ve ruined ours?

Everyday, the list of things we shouldn't say to #moms grows longer and longer. But could these mom rules be more hurtful than helpful?

Things We Shouldn’t Say to Moms

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find lots of lists of things that we shouldn’t say to moms in different stages of motherhood. I included this list not to perpetuate the idea of blacklisted phrases, but because I think it shows how super-sensitive we’ve become.

To a stay-at-home-mom

What do you do all day?

Will you ever go back to a real job?

To a working mom

Do you feel guilty leaving them all day?

I could never leave my child like that.

To Any Mom

You look tired.

Your hands are full.

How is your baby sleeping at night?

Aren’t you worried that… (insert any comment about something that could go terribly wrong but most likely would not happen in a million years)

I never did that with my child and they turned out okay!

When are you going to have more kids?

To a Pregnant Mom

You haven’t had that baby yet?

To a C-section mom

You didn’t actually give birth, then.

You got a free tummy tuck!

To a mom of girls

When are you going to try for a boy?

To a mom of boys

When are you going to try for a girl?

You’re outnumbered!


Basically, Don’t Say Anything

Some of these things are rude. Some can just be down-right annoying. But could this extensive list of social rules be more isolating to moms than uplifting? 

There are basically two things that are “okay” to say:

  • You look great! (Although that one is sometimes disputed since it’s making a comment about someone’s appearance)
  • You’re doing a great job!

These comments quickly shut down conversation. When I’m out with my little ones, I want to (need to!) connect with other people about things that are real. If I get any of those trite comments, I don’t feel like there’s much truth behind them. I know someone is just following the rules. If I get a blacklisted comment, at least I know someone is trying to connect.

The Point

I don’t like to tell people what to do or think, but I do feel strongly kindness towards others. I don’t want to model snappy responses and under-the-breath groans to my children. Instead, I want to be a mama full of grace and love for others.











  • Candice October 23, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Oh I love this list. Its amazing what you hear as a parent from strangers!

    • leahbmartin October 30, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks, Candice! It really is! I think some people just don’t have a clue 🙂


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