Working mothers; we love them, we salute them. But – intentionally or not – we also annoy them. They face insensitive (or even downright ignorant) questions on a daily basis. They’re not always meant to hurt them, but nevertheless, we advocate them to be stopped.
A working mother has it hard enough juggling between work and home, don’t you think? Then why go ahead and ask inappropriate, uncomfortable questions when you haven’t been in her shoes? Think twice before you want to do it next time. If she’s managing to do it, then just leave her be. Or better yet, compliment her (in an honest way though, not sarcastically). Working mothers deserve praise, not doubting eyes and condemnation.
After all, why should women feel ashamed about pursuing paid work and careers they’re passionate about?
Here are seven questions to steer clear from if you don’t want to sound rude:
#1 How do you balance it all?
Leading question: Aren’t you afraid you’re not giving your full potential in either?
We can easily answer this question by saying that it’s not balance, it’s organized chaos. But, by only asking how we’re managing, you’re assuming we aren’t. So, unless you’re *genuinely* asking out of worry, or asking for advice (which we could happily provide), save it! It’s judging, especially if it’s coming from another woman. Besides, do you ask working fathers you know how they manage to handle fatherhood and work? I guess not.
#2 Don’t you feel like a part-time mom, since you work full time?
Labeling women part-time moms just because their career aspirations outside the home discomfort you is wrong (especially coming from a stay-at-home mom). On that note, why SHOULD they discomfort anyone? Why can’t we all live in peace and harmony with our own life choices?
This is the single most dreadful thing you could say to a working mother. Personally, it would hard to keep my poise and reply nicely to this comment. So, take it as a warning next time you decide to say it to another working mom.
#3 Don’t you feel guilty?
Leading Q: Does your career really matter that much to you?
Leading Q of leading Q: Don’t you think you’ll regret it?
At times I do, at times I don’t. What is important is that I know my kids are my number-one priority, and I make sure to assure them about this, too.
And yes, yes it does actually. It matters because being a mother doesn’t mean you need to let your dreams/career aspirations disappear. If anything, it’s a reason to pursue them, to show your kids that it’s possible to live the life you want and still help them build the lives they deserve. Because at the end of the day, I do it all for them. I’d only regret not doing my best to provide them with everything they need.
#4 How do you feel comfortable leaving someone else raise your kids?
Leading Q: Aren’t you afraid they’ll get overly attached to the nanny?
Not all mothers have jobs outside the home; some might work FROM home. Lucky for them for not having to hire a caretaker. But lucky for the rest of us, too, for having the possibility to do so.
Children actually benefit from being cared for by different people other than the mother, and also by experiencing different environments. This way they learn different things from different sources. Plus, the nanny is not just someone I picked from the street. If I’m trusting someone with my children, then it is with someone I trust (and have done a background check on).
#5 Are you aware of the emotional ‘damage’ you’re causing your children?
We hope you never get asked this mean comment/question that can only come from narrow minds. On the contrary, a mother’s education and financial achievements have only shown to have a greater impact on children than sheer hours spent together.
Moreover, a new study has proven that children become more persistent in pursuing a goal if they’ve just seen an adult succeed in a task after struggling. And they see their mother struggle through doing task after task every day. So, the benefits largely surpass any potential drawback which might as well be called a myth.
#6 Don’t you miss your kids all day?
Yes, I do miss them and I worry about them. I’m not some scornful mother just because I work, c’mon! A major reason I’m working in the first place is for my kids’ wellness. But, I reckon, deep inside every parent, there’s this secret feeling of enjoyment every time we get away from the baby talk and the feigned interest in their toys for a while. Some of us actually need the mental stimulation we get at the office. And yes, we do feel guilty, but we also feel pleased to be of some use (other than diaper changing and cleaning over their mess.)
#7 You look exhausted. Are you getting any sleep?
Why thank you for pointing that out! Unless you’re willing to watch the kids for a weekend so I can get my dose of sleep and self-care, keep it to yourself, will ya?
The list goes on and on, to be honest. What we suggest is for the questions not to be filled with judgment but rather with support. After all, all mothers adore their children, and whatever we do, we have their best interest in mind. We are all different and our mothering choices are personal. So, let’s support and understand each other’s choices whether it is staying home, working from or outside the home, OR some other combo that works for you.
Ujëbardha Bekolli, Mother Works
Ujëbardha Bekolli is a writer for mother-works.com. MotherWorks is a job portal designed to bring together stay at home moms and recruiters. The platform also brings helpful articles in the Blog section regarding mothers who want to return to the workforce.