Working moms are like superheroes, juggling family and career while still finding time for some solitude. But while it may look like they have everything under control, many people still ask questions that often leave these women frustrated. Well-meaning intentions aside, these unsolicited opinions mostly sound rude and judgmental.
So if you don’t want to incur the wrath of a working mother, it’s best to keep these statements to yourself. If any of these questions/statements are on the tip of your tongue, take a deep breath and just hold back. Why? Because these are possibly the worst things anyone can tell a working mother.
“I think your kid misses you.”
What sort of response do you want to hear after imparting that kind of a statement? It’s a red flag because, 1) it’s a personal matter, and 2) you’re strongly implying that the child may be emotionally damaged for life just because her mother chose to work.
“I could never let someone else raise my kids.”
Nothing will make a working mother resent you more than telling her that you are allowing other people to make decisions for her child. Because, really, that’s what that statement suggests. It’s saying she, as the mother, doesn’t really have anything to do with birthdays and homework and doctor’s appointments. It’s being absent for parent-teacher conferences and play dates. It’s telling a mom that after carrying her child for 9 months, she is allowing another person to tuck him into bed, have fun with him on picnics, kiss and cuddle with him.
Just because a woman chooses to work doesn’t mean she no longer has anything to do with her child and that she isn’t actively a part of the child’s life.
“I don’t know how you do it. I would feel too guilty.”
Yes, a working mom may feel a twinge of guilt for not being there every second of every day for her child. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel good about being able to provide for the kid and having a career at the same time.
“You must really trust your babysitter… right?”
Well, what do you think? Does anybody just pluck a person off the street to look after the children? You bet she checked credentials. But a question like that will make her more paranoid and suspicious about leaving her children while she works, so you better not go there.
“Congratulations for being able to put your career first!”
Just because a woman chooses to work doesn’t mean her career means more to her than her family. She may be working because of her family and for her family’s well-being.
“I’d be happy to be away from my kids even for just one day!”
Do you think a working mother is actually on vacation from the children? A working mom works. She’s not enjoying a relaxing day at the spa and getting her nails done so she can get a breather.
“I’d miss my child too much if I’m away all day.”
Working mothers have feelings too!
Working doesn’t mean they’re unfeeling monsters with no maternal instincts. Sometimes, there’s just a need to work. That doesn’t mean they don’t think of the children at all. If you don’t want to leave a mom in tears don’t say something like this.
“It must be so hard to balance everything. I don’t know how you do it.”
It is hard. Many working moms have to sacrifice something to make time for everything. If her child needs to go to the doctor’s tomorrow, this might mean a few extra hours at work tonight so she can get off early the following day. This basically equates to losing a few hours of sleep for her, too.
So yes, it is hard. But consider the fact that not working may just be harder for the mother and her kid both. How do they do it? With sheer force of will, determination and love.
Working mothers don’t have it easy. But whether they chose to have a career and a child at the same time, or are forced by circumstances to work, it’s their life. Have this in mind and always be supportive and understanding, but not judgmental.
Oh and here’s a bonus. “You look exhausted.” They look exhausted because they probably are. Unless you’re willing to volunteer a few hours of your time to look after her children while she gets a few precious hours of sleep, better skip this remark.