10 Things NOT to Say to a Mom on Maternity Leave
Every mama who has to (or wants to!) return to work after giving birth knows exactly how many more days she has left at home with baby. Don't make things worse by making an insensitive comment about her maternity leave.
No matter how much a woman might love her job, having a baby makes it hard to head back to the office. Before you comment on your friend, sister, or cousin's maternity leave, read this first. Your "helpful" comment or question just might be the opposite.
1. Aren't you dreading going back to work? Maybe she is, maybe she isn't, but either way this isn't something a hormonal mother with a fixed amount of time off from work wants to hear. In the former case, it's an unwanted reminder, and in the latter, it's just plain awkward. And either way, it presses our mom-guilt button!
2. Oh, you're putting the baby in daycare? (Also see: You're letting your mother-in-law watch her?!) Not everyone has the luxury of having a nanny (or wants their child home all day). If daycare—or mothers-in-law—aren't for you, great! But remember: No new parents make their childcare decisions lightly, so please respect our choices.
- RELATED: What Makes a Great Daycare?
3. Do you have to go back to work? Again, this is an awkward question with a no-win answer. If the answer is yes, Mom is forced to divulge financial info she'd probably rather not, and if the answer is no, you just judged her big time.
4. If you don't need to work, why would you? See above. Not all women who return to work need to—some simply like their jobs. Please don't make a new mom feel bad and like she's not putting her baby first by choosing to have a career.
5. Wow, that's all the time you get? That's not very long at all! Despite the fact that we're making big strides in the maternity and paternity leave departments, not many moms and dads feel like they have enough time with their baby before returning to work. Saying something like this won't make them feel better about their company's policy. But trust us: They're cherishing every day!
6. Other countries get a full year for maternity leave! Rest assured, every mom on maternity leave is well aware of how her country compares to others in terms of time off. Most new mamas would jump at the chance to spend their baby's first year with them, knowing they had a job to which they could return. Unfortunately, that's just not a reality for most worknig parents right now. (Let's change that! #goals.)
7. You're going to be so tired. Typically, yes, women are much more tired when they return to work after having a baby. But they're also a lot of other things, too—creative, fresh with a new perspective, more compassionate. (Also: Coffee!)
- RELATED: Going Back to Work After Baby
8. You're still planning to breastfeed? Pumping is such a pain! True—but anything that helps us feed Baby on our terms is a good thing!
9. You're barely going to have any time with the baby. Please do not say this to a mother who's on maternity leave. Or to any mother who's working. Just...no.
10. I could have never left my baby when she was that young. Ouch! This could be the worst thing to say to a hormonal, sleep-deprived woman who just gave birth and who will "leave" her baby when she's "that young." Remember, every parent makes the childcare decision that's best for their family. Let's judge less, and respect more.