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5 Things You Should Never Say to a Working Mom

By Monica Bielanko |


You don’t need me to tell you that being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Tack on a job outside the home and you’re basically talking about super-human strength just to make it through the days. And yet, it’s how a majority of women are making ends meet within their families.

“Women at home with their children represent only a small percentage of families in the U.S.,” Dr. Beth Anne Shelton, professor of sociology at University of Texas at Arlington, tells Shine from Yahoo.

Still, just as stay-at-home-moms face a certain amount of weird social stigma, working moms are also often victim to the idiotic stuff that comes from stupid people’s mouths. Sure people are mostly well-meaning but there are some things you just don’t say to working moms.

Shine recently featured a Woman’s Day article from Dawn Papandrea detailing 9 Things Never to Say to Working Moms and I thought I’d share a few with y’all.

1. Do you really have to work?

Firstly, someone’s financial situation is SO none of your business. That should be reason number one that you shouldn’t ask this question but I’ve definitely heard this asked of moms before. But yeah, people, most of us work because we have to pay the bills. Some of us really love what we do, sure, but in the end we’re there for the paycheck so we can pay the rent and buy groceries at the end of the week or get some kind of a health benefit plan. As Dr. Shelton explains, even if someone’s family can survive on one parent’s paycheck they may use the second income for saving for college or family vacations or some other thing that is, again, none of yo bidness. And even if someone works because they need to get out of the house and feel good about themselves in a setting other than on the home front, well, then she still have to work, just for different reasons than you.

Terri Bly, a small business owner and mom from St. Paul, MN, tells Woman’s Day, “I love my children more than my job, but I need the combination of intellectual stimulation, pursuing my own goals and raising two amazing little girls,” she says. “My brain lights up when I have a balance of career and home.”

2. It must be nice to get a break from the kids.

Oh, for you working is work but for a mom working is a “break”? Stop. Just stop already. And it isn’t like being at work is a break from the kids. Mom is still on duty whether at home or work. In fact, I could argue that parenting from work is even more stressful because you have to try and stay focused while coordinating daycare/school pick-ups/extra-curricular activities/dinner/possible sick kids.

3. Aren’t you concerned about not being there for your kids?

Of course mom is concerned. Concern is probably a mother’s main emotion so way to hit her where it hurts, jackass. And just because she’s at work doesn’t mean she’s not “there” for her kids. One could argue that by working she is being there for her kids by bringing in much-needed income or getting adult time that helps her be a better mother at home.

As mentioned previously, “Even when a mom’s at work, the ultimate responsibility for her children and their care lies with her,” says Michelle LaRowe, author of Working Mom’s 411: How to Manage Kids, Career and Home tells Woman’s Day.

If someone offends you with this statement simply tell them that you’re happy to surround your children with people who are adding value to their lives and supporting your ideas of how they should be raised.

4.Why have kids if someone else is going to take care of them?”

Yeesh. Not everyone, in fact, a majority of women don’t have a choice when it comes to staying home full-time with their children. Also, this comment suggests the parents didn’t fully plan out their decision to have kids. As Shine reports, “a family friend recently chastised Laura Perez of Newark, NJ, for considering having a second child when she was already a working mom of one. “It’s horrible to think that you’re not caring for your child properly. But just because you’re a working mom doesn’t mean you care for your child any less. You just need to find the proper balance,” she says.”

5. Did you hear about that study on children of working moms?

Everyone is Dr. Google nowadays. Everyone’s read an article, seen a Dr. Phil or gleaned some nugget from some other such annoying “research”. But Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a service that helps people find flexible and telecommuting career opportunities says it best, I think: only a mom knows what’s best for her family…Plus, studies flip flop. “In other words, best parenting practices are always changing. So instead of second-guessing yourself, avoid the Debbie Downers as best you can. And when people share the latest findings with you, try ending the conversation with “thanks for sharing” or Fell’s go-to response: “I’ve read that there are lots of benefits for children of working moms.”

If you’d like to read the rest of the 9 tips on what not to say to a working mom click on over to Shine From Yahoo.

So, what’s the worst thing someone said to you about being a working mom? Did you have a good response or not come up with one until the car ride home from work when you were still stewing about what they said?

 Photo credit:

Read more from Monica on Strollerderby:

The Pump and Dump Explained: ‘I Could Be Tanked By Christmas’

Photos of Military Moms Breastfeeding in Uniform Cause Controversy

The Most Spoiled Kids in America Live in…

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.


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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Never Say to a Working Mom

  1. Jen says:

    I love my kids and my job. I’m the third generation in my family to work and have kids, and the women before that were mostly farm wives. I spend as much or more time with my two kids and working 30 hours a week as my great grandmother did. She was a farm wife with eight kids, and my grandmother, aunts and uncles were left to their own devices a lot. Yet they still loved their parents and grew into successful and healthy adults. My brother and I were in daycare or were latch key kids at different times, We love our parents and are successful adults. Same with my parents. Both of my grandmothers worked full-time. It is nothing new. Kids have survived and thrived with working parents for a long time.

  2. Marie says:

    I get irked at the “gosh I wish I got a break from the kids!” from stay at home parents. Yep, you choose it, you live with it. I get to ask to leave work early to go pick up my kid on time from daycare sometimes. Life happens, we cope as best we can, let’s all support each other. I also get fed up that working fathers don’t get the same commentary, and yet I think that it’s hard in all the same ways for them (missing kid things during the day, worrying about what happens if childcare goes wrong, etc). No double standard please.

  3. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    Eh. For me working IS a break from the kids, so that one doesn’t offend me at all!

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