Backhanded Compliments You Get When You Become A Mom (and what they mean..)

March 23, 2018

I wanted to keep things super light this Friday morning, and this blog post has been fermenting in my mind since August.  My friend and I were at coffee one morning, laughing at the rude ass shit people say to you once you have kids.  (to put it eloquently) Growing up, I had a very skewed idea of what motherhood looked like.  I actually, naively, believed in motherhood we’d all collaborate and support each other.  I believed everyone loved children and respected women who chose to dedicate their lives to nurturing their children.  I never expected to grow up, get married, and have children only to learn that motherhood is filled with passive aggressive comments about child rearing.  I ended up surveying my friends and spend weeks laughing hysterically at the back handed compliments they’d received.  Here’s a collection of my favorites, comment below and let me know your favorites.

  1. “I love how you don’t care about a mess.”  translation:  bitch, clean your house.
  2. “I am always so amazed by how clean your home is.” translation: do you ever pay attention to your kids?
  3. “My Goodness, you are such a patient mother!”  translation: you need to discipline those children.
  4. “I could never be a stay at mother. I’d be so bored” translation: I could never live your life in yoga pants.
  5. “I admire the way you are a working mother, I could never let someone else raise my kids.” translation: I see your selfish ambition…
  6. “You are in such good shape, I wish I could leave little Tommy in childcare.” Translation:  I’d never leave my kids just so I can work out. #sovain.
  7. “I love how you don’t wait to decorate.  You just go for it!” translation: This is an odd assortment of stuff.
  8. “You are such a rock star mom, seriously, your kids are so close in age.” translation: have ya’ll heard of birth control?
  9. “I think you were super smart to wait so long between kids.  I wanted my children very close in age.” translation: Poor thing, you needed a break between kids.  It’s fine.. some people can’t handle it.

I think I could go on and on with this list, but alas, I must feed my family breakfast.  These are all small examples of the bigger, much deeper, message that we have an obligation to love each other a little harder. We walk into the grocery store and are berated by well meaning passers by reminding us how full our hands are, but rarely offering one of their own.  We, despite having had a horrible morning, drudge forward to the library play date and feel the warm cheeks of shame when our kid chooses today to say his first swear word and have a blow out diaper.  Our in-laws come over and passively aggressively tell us our kids have too many toys and suggest we consider cycling our kids toys instead of allowing them to have so many.  (this of course happened two days after *hypothetically* our children’s friends inquired about why our kids don’t have very many toys.)  

A lot of times as mothers, it just feels like we cannot get this thing right.  We should be enjoying our children, but instead we let a stranger on the street allow us to question ourselves.  We have the profound privilege to do whatever is best for our family.  We also have the profound privilege of not caring at all what others think, even when it is really, really difficult.  I took my kids to the gym childcare the day they turned six weeks old.  My best friend did not.  I had kids in rapid succession.  My best friend did not.  I am actually a patient mother, because I didn’t get any patience as a child.  These days, we have entirely too much pressure to be perfect parents.  We need to stimulate our children without letting them become entitled. We need to have them in sports, but make sure it doesn’t prevent us from having family dinners, maintain Pinterest worthy homes without caring about the mess from their countless food colored sensory activities.  We need to work out, eat healthily, while simultaneously making sure we aren’t giving our children any complexes about their own weight.  We should work, we should not work.  The list truly just keeps going..

We don’t have to G.A.F. about the bizarre musings from people we have never met, but we do have to take care each other.

Compliment your fellow mothers, lift them up, and never forget there’s no one specific way to raise a family.  Above all, the next time you hear someone offer their two cents to another mom on her parenting/homemaking/employment status- defend her.  

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4 Comments
    1. I think this is my favorite post ever. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Also I think the “compliments” can mean we take things too seriously or personally. Probably many times people didn’t mean it the way it came out, but because we are so exhausted from living up to all these standards, we take it that way. Wise words!!!

      1. Hahhahaha I love this. I once had a lady at Target say. Aww you look so tired! (When I was pregnant!)

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