It’s common knowledge that being a
new parent, is challenging. Not so common knowledge is that comments from family, friends, and strangers (the baby gurus of Google) can make parenting seem so much harder— but only if you let them.
Even with an obstructed view, in the form of rudeness and unsolicited advice, I try to see the good intentions behind odd comments. This practice doesn’t make them any less annoying, but it often saves my mood.
I know many parents can relate and I wanted to share this (and mostly vent) because you’re not alone.
Here, the five rudest things I’ve heard as a new mom and how I responded:
1. “Aww I’m not used to seeing you with extra weight!”
A week had not even gone by since I gave birth… I responded with, “Yeah, I was even bigger a month ago. Crazy how growing a human can do that.”
2. “Wow, [the baby] he’s so dark…” A few months later that comment was followed up with, “Aww, he’s lightening up!”
Colorism is a damaging, worldwide issue rooted in racism that apparently even newborn babies aren’t safe from. I responded with, “Yes. He is brown and he is also healthy.”
3. “You look terrible/exhausted.”
I don’t think anyone ever likes to hear this— parent or not!
I ignored this statement.
4. “When are you going to try for baby #2?” // “Why’d you wait so long?”
There are many journeys toward parenthood. Some are easy. Some are difficult. Some cause permanent emotional and/or physical pain. Some never happen. I know people usually mean well when asking about having children but I’ve learned to let others bring up the subject on their own, whether it’s their first or fifth.
I responded with, “No clue.”
5. “So you just stay at home with the baby? Don’t you have hobbies?”
I receive versions of this a lot from people who don’t bother to ask how I am feeling or adjusting in parenthood and people who have never helped out in any way.
How I respond depends on who I’m speaking to but sarcasm is typically my tool of choice. As immature as that may seem, eliciting consistent and well thought out responses (that are somehow also kind) is something I haven’t quite mastered. But I’m working on it!
I responded with, “I don’t have hobbies. I plan to let my pre-baby life, interests, goals and relationships die completely. I’m actually thinking about legally changing my first name to, “Mother,” that way no one will think I’m anything more than just that.”
What are some things you’ve heard as a new parent and how did you respond? New parents, hang in there, you’re doing great.