Hello, my name is Jamie, and I am a compulsive complimentor. I compliment the barista on her nail polish. I compliment the guy in the park on his tattoo. I compliment the supermarket cashier on the name that I read off her name tag. This is part me trying to spread happiness into the universe, and part me opening up lines of communication in a way that (hopefully) puts people at ease. I always try to choose my compliments carefully, but this is especially true when it comes to praising other moms, because they often receive compliments that are actually mom-shaming.
As anyone who has been a mother for about two seconds can tell you, we are on the receiving end of a never-ending cacophony of conflicting messages. Devote yourself entirely and completely to your children or we're going to consider you a selfish hag, but be sure to take time for yourself because if you don't you're not fulfilling your duties as a woman. Be proud of your career, but feel guilty every single second you're at work. Be sexy for your partner, but remember you're someone's mother now and being too sexy is inappropriate. Honestly? It's not all that much different from being a woman without children. If you're a woman, it's pretty hard to "win."
But because of the emphasis society places on motherhood (and, let's face it, the fact that even without society telling us what we should be doing, we are deeply and emotionally invested in our motherhood and the well-being of our little ones), the backhanded compliments we receive as mothers can often be the ones that sting the most. Here are just a few examples of compliments that are actually insults, because it at least helps to know when someone is shaming you (so you can quickly ignore them).