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11 Things Mom Shouldn't Do When Mercury's In Retrograde

You've probably heard the term "Mercury in retrograde" from your more mystically inclined friends — you know, the ones who seem to have an oil for everything. And any time something goes wrong, they'll groan about Mercury and blame retrograde for their problems. If you tell them something in your life has gone awry, or if you just feel "off," they'll nod knowingly and say, "It's Mercury retrograde." Then they'll say there are specific things you should not do during Mercury retrograde 2019, especially if you're a mom.

From a scientific standpoint, Mercury retrograde is a real thing (sort of) and it's happening right now, from July 7 to July 31. Basically, observing Mercury from Earth during this time, one may think that its orbit has changed, moving backwards — east to west rather than west to east. But it's just an illusion, due to the location and motion of Earth relative to Mercury. Incidentally, all planets experience so-called retrograde, but because Mercury is closest to the sun and thus has the shortest orbit around the sun (Mercury will have four orbits in the time it takes Earth to make one) Mercury's retrograde is most frequent — about four times a year.

From an astrological point of view, buckle up, folks! Mercury being in retrograde allegedly reigns down confusion, mishaps, and miscommunications galore... you know, like parenthood in general. So what does this heavenly phenomenon mean for moms? You may want to avoid the following:

Order Anything Too Important

Mercury (the planet) is named after Mercury, messenger of the gods. While we're not getting messages and packages directly from the swift-footed god himself, the planet that bears his name is in charge of messages and deliveries. And retrograde? Expect some kind of SNAFU. This is not the time to rely too much on mail-order anything, which, as modern moms, I feel like we all kind of do. At the very least this is a good time to have a back-up plan (or support a local mom and pop shop)!

Expect Your Partner To "Just Get It"

Mercury is also the planet of communication, so it stands to reason that when it's in retrograde its usual communicative powers are going to be a bit off. It's a time prone to misunderstandings and not saying things we should but rather saying things we don't mean. So make a concerted effort to be mindful and direct with your partner in co-parenting, coordinating plans, and just kind of going through life together at this time.

Get Sucked Into Neighborhood Drama

Groups of people can be hard to socially navigate under any circumstances, and when you're more celestially apt to just be bit off, that means groups of friends and neighbors might be a little more tetchy and belligerent than usual. Stay above the fray! Awareness that this could be an issue is the best defense against falling prey to it.

Be Inattentive Toward Your Child's Social Life

Keep an eye on which kids your little ones are hanging out with and keep on top of their interactions. Steer them away from that one kid they sometimes have a problem with. You want them to avoid miscommunications and conflicts, but you also want to avoid them yourself, since kids often need parents to sort of step in and handle things. When parents themselves may be ill-equipped to have constructive conversations, it's probably best to keep away from your kid's more volatile relationships for now. You know, if you can.

Let Your Kid Play With Your Phone

Mercury rules communication, but also technology, especially telecomm technology. So it just seems like telephones in this time are going to be at particular risk. And I know we often let our kids play with our phones because it's super convenient — we even got those expensive cases that make the phone indestructible, but nothing is indestructible for a child. Nothing. They will always find a way to destroy something. Now is not the time to be generous with your phone.

Take A Vacation*

Mercury in retrograde affects travel, so be wary of any vacation plans you may have in this time. Expect traffic jams, flight delays, and unexpected layovers! Bring extra coloring books, car games, and snacks to entertain the kiddos.

Attend Or Plan Big Family Gatherings

Very large gatherings of people who likely have some degree or personal baggage (to say nothing of the aforementioned travel woes which predisposition anyone to be in a foul mood) is best not done with the planet of communication is out of whack. If you're going to go viral, don't let it be because Uncle Bill made an angry, fed up speech from the roof of your grandparent's house and they had to call the fire department to get him down.

Fuss With Your Library Of Digital Photos

Now is NOT THE TIME, people! Technology can be fussy during this period — you don't want to lose all your kid's baby pictures because you got a bug up your ass to do it now after putting it off for, like, two years. Just give it another month is all I'm saying.

Enroll Kids In A New Class

Mercury, among the most clever of the gods, is a ruler of education. Its retrograde may not be the best time to have your kid start trying to learn something new.

Expect First Words

If you've been breathlessly anticipating your child's first words, now may not be the time. Communicative, chatty Mercury being out of its groove may delay baby's conversations just a bit.

Be Too Hard On Yourself If You Lose Your Cool

I mean, this is evergreen advice, but let's bear it especially in mind when we're all perhaps a little bit on edge: losing it every now and then doesn't mean you're failing or a bad mom or anything other than "this is hard and sometimes it's hard to keep it together." Take a breath, be kind to yourself, and remember that Mercury is back to normal in August.