1.”Isn’t it so worth it though?”
I don’t know, maybe? Ask me in 18 years! It’s not the point. Of course he’s worth it, but being a new mom sucks a lot of the time. It’s like telling a kid who won’t eat that there are starving kids in China. True, but I still don’t wanna eat your stupid broccoli or deal with this screaming child.
Try instead: “It gets better. For example…” I used to hate when people said this to me. Specifics are key. Don’t vaguely tell me it will get better. Tell me it will get better because one day he won’t poop 8 times a night.
2. “Cherish these moments. You’ll miss them one day.”
No. I will not cherish all of these moments. Sure, I love when he’s all sweet and snuggled up to me. I don’t love the meltdowns and being trapped under my baby for half of the day. And you know what? Babies are supposed to grow up. It’s kind of the point of RAISING a child. My baby is sweet and precious and I enjoy a lot of the things happening in his life right now, but some days I also can’t wait until he’s five. Or 20.
Try instead: “He is so sweet right now. What an exciting time in his life!” Live in the present. Don’t dwell on what will one day be the past.
3. “Don’t you miss him when he’s gone?”
Nope. He’ll be back soon. The rest of the time I’m with him 24/7. Getting a break from him keeps me sane. Don’t make me feel guilty about that. I make myself feel guilty enough without your help.
Try instead: “It must be so nice to have a break and then get back home to him.” It is.
4. “Are you getting any rest?”
Why ask this? You know I’m not. Thanks for the reminder. See also: “You look tired,” “Is he sleeping through the night?” and “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Hahahahah. Okay, I’ll just immediately turn my brain off as soon as the baby goes down and not worry about the fact that he might (probably) wake me up as soon as I enter a sleep cycle. I’ll also make sure that I’m doing chores the same time the baby is.
Try instead: “Can I come watch baby for an hour or two so you can nap?” So many people did this for me. You know who you are. THANK YOU. Other ideas would be to ask if you can bring dinner or do the dishes. I would recommend staying away from “Is there anything I can do?” Although there definitely is, I will politely tell you no. On the other hand, if you just text me and say you’re bringing pizza over, I’m not going to stop you.
5. “Poor baby!”
The baby has an army of people doing literally anything they can to keep him happy, safe, and healthy. Not poor baby. Poor mom. See also: (ignoring mom) “How is the baby?” Babies are incredibly important to look after, but so are mothers. Don’t ignore them.
Try instead: “Is there anything I can do to help you calm him down?” There probably isn’t, but it’s still kind to offer.
6. “Just wait until…”
Until what, I go insane? This is dangerous to say to a depressed mom. I have to work constantly not to think in absolutes. It feels like everything is never-ending, so the idea that there’s always going to be something driving me nuts is overwhelming. I know there will be pros and cons to every stage of life, but there’s no need to fill me with dread over it.
Try instead: “They are always learning new things. It’s so exciting!” They are! Even when I’m depressed it’s still exciting to see my baby reach a milestone.
7. “Don’t you wanna have a couple more?”
No. Maybe I’ll change my mind in three years. But right now, please don’t bring up painful memories of morning sickness, swollen ankles, back pain, contractions, and waking up every two hours with a newborn. No.
Try instead: Minding your own business. 🙂
8. “He’s hungry!”
Oh, really? Please tell me more things I might not know about my own baby. Do you know his schedule? Does he eat at your boob? Do you know the last time he ate? Do you think I might not feed him if you don’t say something? No? Kthxbai.
Try instead: “Does he need something that I can do for him?” If he’s crying, it’s probably because you’re holding him in a way that he hates. Ask me, and I can likely show you a position in which you would both be happier.
9. “Did you tear?”
Again with the painful memories. Even if you didn’t tear, your lady parts are still a mess after childbirth. I am a gossip. I understand wanting all the yucky details, but you have to get them in the right way.
Try instead: “Do you mind if I ask- How was your labor and delivery? How are you recovering?” Let’s let Mom decide how much she wants to share.
10. “I did X, Y, and Z, and my babies turned out fine.”
Good. I’m happy for you. Still don’t want your advice.
Try instead: “Do what you need to do. This is what worked for us.”