Thanks to a judgmental and patriarchal society, women are somewhat (sadly) used to having damn near everyone - from friends to relatives to perfect strangers - comment on their life choices. If you choose not to have children, someone will be quick to point out your inevitable future regret. If you do choose to have children, someone will tell you how you should have kids and when you should have kids and what you should do with your kids. If you choose to work after you have a kid, chances are someone will have plenty to say about that life decision, too. Which is why, sadly, there are things every working mom would love to never hear again.
Honestly, the differences between a mother who works and a mother who chooses to stay at home aren't all that significant or noteworthy, but our society seems hell-bent on dividing its citizens by any means necessary which, it turns out, includes speaking to working mothers differently.Whether it's a sincere inquisition about how a working mother balances her schedule, or it's a condescending comment about how much time a working mother spends with (or away from) her kids; people appear to be entitled to expressing their opinion of another's life decisions, ad nauseam and with little-to-no-regard of the potential consequences. Seriously, motherhood is hard enough and, I'd argue, it only gets significantly harder when you have to spend your time justifying your choices. How a woman decides to mold parenthood to fit, sustain and enhance her and her family's life, is entirely up to her. Sometimes, that looks like staying at home. Other times, it looks like working. Regardless, it's really no one's business.
So, with that in mind, here are 12 things people say to working mothers that we'd all love to never, ever, hear again. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal: being the best parents we can possibly be for our kids. The difference? How that look varies from person to person.
"Don't You Miss Your Kid?"
Never mind that it's condescending to assume that anytime a woman isn't around her children, she's pining for them; there just isn't a supportive aspect of this question. If a working mom does miss her children while she's away, you've oh-so-slyly reminded her of that, so thanks? If she doesn't, you're implying that she is somehow defunct for not wanting to spend every waking moment around her kid.
"It Must Be Nice To Get Away"
I'm sorry, but most wouldn't consider work a vacation. The idea that a mom who works outside the home is getting a break from, um, work, is just ridiculous. Whether you're at home with your children or you're in an office with your coworkers, you're busting your ass.
"Are You Trying To Have It All?"
Honestly, can we just not? What does that mean? What are you implying? Does "have it all" mean being a person, capable of functioning in multiple, varying environments and finding various areas of self-fulfillment? Because, then yes, because mothers are humans and don't digress into single celled, one-track-minded organisms the moment they successfully procreate.
"Do You Think Your Kid Will Resent You?"
This is ridiculous, only because, well, of course my kid is going to resent me. Your kid is going to resent you. Kids resent their parents, usually because they will inevitably hear "no" when they want to hear "yes" at some point in their adolescent life. However, when it comes to working, a recent Harvard study shows that kids benefit from having working mothers. For example, daughters of working mothers earn 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home moms.
"How Do You Do It?"
I'd like to think that this question is asked with the best of intentions, but it just comes off as mildly insulting and somewhat judgmental. A working mom "does it," just like any other mom: with a lot of support and little sleep and probably an established routine and however else she has figured out how to make parenthood work in her own unique, healthy and successful way.
"I Couldn't Imagine Being Away From My Kid"
Well, I mean, good for you, then? For some mothers and/or fathers, working isn't financially necessary and, therefore, not something they want or choose to do. But for others, whether it's a necessity or it's a choice, (because not every working mother is working because she's forced to) a career fulfills them in a way that parenthood simply can't and, you guessed it, there's nothing wrong with that. Suggesting that "being away from your kid" is inherently "bad" or "wrong" or something so atrocious it borderlines on unimaginable, is just judgement wrapped in a self-serving sentence that gives someone validation while simultaneously condemning someone else.
"I Couldn't Let Someone Else Raise My Kids"
Working mothers are constantly bombarded with accusations of someone else — whether it be a nanny, a daycare, a babysitter, another partner, you name it — doing their "dirty work" for them. Never mind that there are plenty of SAH mothers who enlist the help of others. Never mind that when our kids head off to their respective schools, they'll end up spending (arguably) more time with a teacher or a coach or a music teacher or dance instructor or all of the above, instead of their parents. Never mind that, honestly, you are teaching your kid valuable lessons when you also have a job; lessons about individuality, work ethic, financial independence, passion, and the fictitious nature of gender stereotypes.
"Why Don't You Just Let Your Partner Work?"
For some families, they can't support themselves with only one steady income. In fact, the average family with two full-time working parents makes $102,400 a year, while a single working parent family makes $55,000 a year. Clearly, it will depend on where you live, but $55,000 a year isn't a lot of money to raise a family on (at least comfortably).
And then, of course, there's plenty of women who work not because they have to, but because they want to. Again, women can want more than just the ability to procreate. Shocking, I know.
"At Least You Get To See Them On Weekends"
Yep, on weekend and before work and after work and sometimes during work when we work from home and in the middle of night during a nightmare or an accident. Honestly, a working mother isn't automatically a weekend-warrior and suggesting otherwise is just rude.
"Do You Ever Feel Guilty?"
There isn't a mother in the world that isn't thoroughly in-tune with her guilt. Mom-guilt doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter if you're a working mom, a SAH mom, a single mom, a happily married mom or any other type of mom you could possibly identify as; motherhood turns the guilt up to a sometimes overwhelming level.
Unfortunately, since a SAH mom's choice parallels the choices of our patriarchal society, mothers who choose not to work aren't asked if they feel guilty about their life decisions on the regular. But make no mistake, and just any other time our guilt rears it's ugly head, there's no reason to feel guilty for choosing to work.
"Think Of All The Things You're Missing"
We do, but then we think about all the things we're not missing, like a career and a sense of purpose and self-satisfaction and fulfillment that parenthood simply does not give us. It doesn't matter what you decide to do — stay at home or work — you'll be missing something. When you pick a side of the fence, it can be easy to look at the other side and see everything you may have missed, but trust me, you've gained just as much (if not more).
"Maybe If You Budgeted Better, You Wouldn't Have To Work"
Again, a mother who chooses to work isn't always making that choice out of necessity. Plus, don't talk to people about their finances, or assume anything about their ability to balance a checkbook based on how much they're working. That's none of your business.