12 Backhanded Compliments Every Mom Has Received

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I recently went to a party and ran into someone that I hadn’t seen in a long time. As soon as I saw them, they looked me up and down and said, “You look great considering you’ve had three kids.”

As I smiled and said thank you, I immediately felt self-conscious about what I was wearing. Could you see the pooch that’s left over from having the kids? Was this outfit not appropriate? I felt beautiful as I left the house this morning, but that was regardless of having kids. What did she mean by “… considering you’ve had three kids”? What did she expect?

As moms, we’ve all received the backhanded compliment. Whether it’s about the way we look, how we parent, or decisions that we’ve made as a parent, we hear them way too often. Here are some that my fellow mamas have heard too:

“Wow, she’s so cute. I can’t believe you let her wear that.” — Me 

Why wouldn’t I let her wear it? She felt beautiful and confident and that’s exactly how I wanted her to feel.

“You look great! Don’t worry, you’ll lose the baby weight before you know it.” — Me

Because I wasn’t already concerned about my body image while pregnant, you just have to confirm that I look fat.

“Well that’s an interesting choice for a name.” — Me

I’ve gotten this a few times for both Harlan and because of the way we decided to spell Macks (it’s his nickname). I’ve always been confident in their names and truly love them. Our names might not be for everyone, but no need to point it out if you don’t agree with it.

“You look sooo tired.” AKA “you should have put some make-up on.” — Kristen W. 

I’ve gotten this one a lot. It’s definitely a round-about way of telling a mom she looks like crap.

“I can’t believe you have a baby, you must work out all the time. I wish I had time to work out, but my kids come first.” — Carly W.

Ouch. I go to the gym during the week and put them in childcare, and my kids come first. But it’s also nice to take some time for ourselves so that we can be the best mom for our kids.

“Three boys? But you seem so calm.” — Amanda R. 

Are all boys supposed to be wild and crazy and make their moms go crazy too?

“Wow, you are brave! I wouldn’t have that many children because they would never get enough … attention/time/love/resources etc.” — Robin S.

As a mom of three kids and one of four children in my own family, I love having a big family. I never felt starved of attention or love and I hope my children feel the same.

“You look more like the babysitter than their mother.”  — Lilibeth C.

I got this one with Harlan when we first moved to NYC. Not sure how to respond to it other than a generic, “thank you.”

“Well, you just had a baby.” — Julie M.

So? Is that the nice way of telling me I look like crap, but it’s okay because I can blame it on my baby?

“I can’t believe how good you look after all that!” — Kerri T. 

What did you expect me to look like?

“You look great for being pregnant.” — Amanda J. 

Because pregnancy really makes you look horrible.

“Wow, you look great for six weeks postpartum.” — Mariana L. 

How am I supposed to look six weeks after having a baby? I think people look at celebrities and have unrealistic expectations for how women should look after having a baby.

Do you have any to add to the list?

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