We are all worried as parents. We all wonder if we are "doing it right." We don't always know how to handle all the situations we are faced with. It's the same if we have one child or we have six children. We worry about every one of those kids, or our only one. We all have insecurities and we are all trying to "do it" the best we can.
Most parents just want to feel connected, special or that they are doing it right. Sometimes in the process of sharing with other parents, our comments become slaps in the face. Sometimes it might be intentional, but most just aren't thinking before they speak.
5 Things We Should Never Say as Parents
1. "That's the difference between one and [any number above one] kids."
As a parent of one, I am totally aware of the difference between one child and more than one child. I can see that parents of more than one child must split their time between their children. They are required to make sure all of their "more than one child" are accounted for in public situations. They have to ask their older children to help them monitor the rest of the children. I am totally aware of this and the only thing the comment does is demean me as a parent of one child. I am a capable parent, just as you are (whether it's one or four children). A parent of one is no less of a parent than a parent of more than one child.
2. "That's the difference between the first and the last kid."
I only have one child, and I still find this statement odd, uncaring and offensive. What about your last kid? Wow. The last child must mean nothing then? This statement implies there is little to care about after you have your first child. If that were the case -- why did you have more than one child? You are only demeaning yourself by saying this. No matter who you say this to, you are saying you care less about the children that came after number one. Don't do it. All your children are important to you, that's why you have them all.
3. "When are you having your next one [kid]?"
Does it matter to you when, or if, this parent is having more children? Do you know this parent's story about having the child(ren) they already have? Perhaps they struggled for years before achieving pregnancy. Perhaps they adopted this child and didn't give birth. Perhaps they spent every penny they had with loans up to their eyeballs to fund this one perfect child. Maybe they can't afford to get another child. Did this mother struggle after giving birth with her health? Is the child she already has sick? Is the child she has already enough for her family? Maybe they just don't want another child.
There are so many things that can go wrong with this statement, it's best just not to ask. It's a guarantee that whatever the struggle or choice, asking the question can cut them like a knife.
4. "It's funny how moms of only children are helicopter moms."
All I have to say here is that the term "helicopter mom" is awful. Being a mother is about interacting with your child. It's a mother's job to be sure her child is safe and playing with others appropriately. Even if you are a WM, WAHM or a SAHM -- or just a mom -- it's your right and job to interact with your children when you want to. There is nothing "funny" about moms interacting with their children. It's beautiful. Go moms! Interact with your children if you want to. If you don't, then don't. It's all choice. Once again, by making this statement one mother is saying the other mother isn't "doing it right." She is somehow failing her child by interacting with them at public events. It's just not true.
5. "Wow, that must be so great to stay home all day [or go to work all day]."
Either one of these statements is demeaning to the other person. It's H-A-R-D to go to work and manage your children and home life. It's also H-A-R-D to manage your home life and your children while you are all at home as a SAHM/WAHM. Bottom line -- everyone works. Yes, that's right. We are all moms and we all work. We work in our home with our children, or we go to a job and work there. At the end of the day, we are one-on-one with our kids and we are all working to achieve the same thing. We want happy, healthy, responsible children. It doesn't matter how one mom chooses to do it or if another one chooses the opposite. We are all working for the same result.
Each mom wants the same thing for her children. She wants them to be happy, grow up to be responsible individuals and wants to enjoy the process along the way. It's hard enough to feel good about what we do without other people questioning how we do it. Just don't be that mom questioning another mom's motives. Instead, grab a cup of coffee and talk about ways to help each other out! It's time for an "it takes a community" mentality to come back in style.