Let’s talk about working moms for a minute. Some working moms choose to work full-time because they want to, and some do it out of necessity because of bills. Regardless of why working moms work outside of the home, though, there are lots of things they hear on a pretty regular basis. While often meant with good intentions, they can come off as self-righteous and/or hurtful to the recipient. We’ve all read articles about things you shouldn’t say to [insert people category], so instead of just telling you what not to say, here are some alternatives. Variations of all five of the statements/questions below were said to me by (hopefully) well-meaning ladies while I worked full-time and they have stuck with me.
Once, while lamenting about the woes of how toddler dance classes in my area weren’t conducive to my schedule, someone very close to me said something to the effect of how I needed to figure it out soon because my daughter (not yet 4 at the time) would be the “inflexible 5-year-old” in dance class if I didn’t get her enrolled quickly. Ouch. All of a sudden I became more stressed that my young child was somehow already behind. A supportive alternative would have been, “That sounds so stressful. I’m sure you’ll find something soon and she’ll catch up to the other girls easily.”
Whether you’re a work-away-from-home-mom, work-at-home-mom, or a stay-at-home-mom, the key is to be supportive to everyone in your mom-community, regardless of their occupation. Judgment and oversimplification don’t make anything better.
– Ask your friends what you can do to help.
– Show empathy.
– Be there, even if “being there” means being on the other side of a text message.
– Think about how your words may stick.
Motherhood is hard for everyone.
The day-to-day grind is real.
Let’s lift each other up.