A mom shared her story on Reddit of a random acquaintance telling her that she couldn’t keep working after her third baby was born and the responses are cathartic.

By Libby Ryan
June 10, 2019
pregnant woman sitting at work
Credit: Loreanto/Shutterstock

June 10, 2019

Another day, another story of a mom taking to the Reddit forums to let off some steam after being told how to manage her own work/life balance. This time, the mother explained that she dropped by her husband’s office and his coworker gave her a “lovely piece of information.”

"’Sorry to break it to you, but you can't keep working after you have three kids. You'll have to quit your job.’ Uhhh....?” the mom posted on Reddit. “I wish I could have said something pithy in response, but all I could think of was ‘Uhhh I have childcare...’ Was she implying I would be a bad mom because I'm juggling too much?!”

The mom went on to explain that she loves her work and questioned, “Why do people need to interject like this? Obviously, I should just brush it off because people make intrusive and bossy comments to pregnant women all the time, but it's just rankling.”

Other folks agreed in the responses. “Why do people feel the need to comment on other people's reproductive choices?? WTF?” wrote moncoeurquibat. “I'm sorry that happened to you, that's BS.”

“Using the word "can’t" implies there is some force of nature or law that will prevent you from working after 3. Considering 80 years ago women were popping out 10 kids in some cases (my grandparents on my moms side each have 9+ siblings) and working the fields, I think we can rule this out. Also my mom had 4 and owned / ran her own business for over 35 years, so another knock there,” wrote Reditter yeahbuddybeer. “She needed to use the word "shouldn't," which is an opinion and means she is a butt. What someone should or should not do in this situation is not up to anyone but the parenting people involved. It involves more factors than could be listed and is frankly nobody's business. Roll on, mamma. She is just a butt.”

“Does she think your thrice-used uterus is gonna short out the punch card machine?” wrote user 5RabbitsInALongCoat.

Some shared personal stories.

“When I was in college and applying for my first corporate job, a male interviewer implied I'd only be around a few years anyway because "people like me want to go and start families, and focus on that,"” user coffeebaconboom shared. “I knew it was wrong at the time but I never complained to his company since I was young and didn't know what to do—I did decline to continue interviewing with them when asked to go to the next round. It's amazing what people will say and assume.”

“The CFO of my company has 6 kids. I'm in a male dominated field and she managed to make it up to CFO level with 6 kids,” wrote user EVC34. “People need to mind their own business.”

But as epic as these commenting clapbacks are, the reality is that the choice to be a working parent or a stay at home parent (or a work from home parent or a part-time working parent) is a super personal choice. It’s not your boss’ business, much less a random coworker or acquaintance’s business.

If you are deciding what’s right for you and your family—between financial concerns, career goals, child care requirements, and general family happiness—keep in mind that what works for you might look different than what works for your busybody coworker’s friend’s daughter. There’s no one-size fits all. You could find child care that suits your schedule and needs, you could work with your employer to figure out flexible hours, you could aim to work remotely, you could go freelance, or you could be a full-time stay at home parent. Whatever works for you and your family.