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9 Things You Can Totally Say to Moms

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According to the Internet, there are a million things you shouldn't say to moms. Here's a list of things you should say:

1. Hey Mom, your boob is hanging out.

You wouldn't believe how often this has happened to be (and to preserve my self-respect I need to believe it happened to other moms, as well,) but I'll come home from the store, a walk, or a doctor's appointment, and somehow, someway, by boob is showing. Luckily I tend to wear neutral colors, so I can pretend that it blended in….

2. Aren't kids a hoot?/That's actually kinda cute!

Kids are wired to explore, test boundaries and get into trouble. Put yourself in their shoes: They are young, and they are discovering all these amazing things, like screaming, running full steam into things, eating bugs, licking their reflections, and getting lots of attention for throwing anything and everything. It's all part of shaping their understanding of the world, and sometimes it's appropriate to tell them what works and what doesn't, it's always awesome to cut a mom some slack for putting up with these little deviants.

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3. Hey, I'm in the neighborhood. Want me to watch your kid so you can get some Me time?

Telling a new mom she should shower, dress better, make time for herself, relax, clean the house, or to do anything that she obviously doesn't have the $%^*^ time to do is just shitty. We may create tiny miracles, but that does not mean we can bend the laws of time and space to magically make time to live up to unreasonable standards. Instead, if you see a mommy friend who might be struggling to catch up, drive over, surprise her, and give her some time to actually do these things.

4. Oh hey, here's a safer way to do it.

Now, let's be clear on what's life threatening and what's not: GMO foods, sugar, vaccines: no scientific proof of harm to children. Car seats that aren't buckled right, Cheetos (choking hazard), leaving toddler in the tub, and giving them sedatives to help them sleep: these could be very dangerous! If you see a parent who is making a safety mistake, don't be afraid to chime in. You could be saving a life, and while they will likely be defensive at first, the sting will wear off and you could save a life!

5. It's ok. My kid had fresh dirt and crayons for dinner last night.

Kids are either super picky eaters, or anti-picky eaters, and it's easy to make "useful recommendations" to a mom who doesn't want to wage the dinner wars tonight. If you catch a mom beating up on herself for a kid that hates vegetables or just wants Cheez-Its, hold your comments. She knows it's not the best option, but rather than making her feel bad for losing the battle, how about giving her some ammunition to win the war: "Hey, kids will be kids. I just try to set a good example myself and hope they'll outgrow this phase."

If a fellow mom looks or feels like she's not doing well (trust your gut, here!), make sure you offer her shoulder to cry on, and giving her a place where she can speak about her feelings without shame.

6. Not all kids develop the same way.

Think your friend's kid should be talking already? Maybe that one mom's kid ought to be walking by now... But before you chime in on what everyone else's kids should be doing, consider this: children develop new skills at different times, and because their brains are still growing, they can't really develop skills at the same time. That's why some kids stop talking when they start walking, multilingual kids learn to speak at a later age, etc. Not only that, but the nerve endings that allow kids to feel pain, walk, and manipulate things with their hands have to develop, and can take longer depending on size and other factors. So the next time you want to encourage a family to push harder or overhear a mom shaming herself, feel free to say: "You know, not all kids develop in the same way. I bet Mother Nature has a plan."

7. I'm sorry. That's really awful.

Bad things happen to moms, and when they do, rest assured that they have Googled up and down how they could have prevented it from happening. While moms are awesome at helping and supporting one another, our insecurities can prime us to misperceive helpful advice, so play it safe, and leave the talking up to mom with a simple: "I'm sorry that happened, do you want to talk about it?"

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8. Parenthood sucks sometimes, doesn't it? It'll get better.

Drew Barrymore, Hayden Panettiere, Gwenyth Paltrow, Courtney Cox, Brooke Shields, and numerous other celebs have suffered postpartum depression, and many moms suffer in silence. If a fellow mom looks or feels like she's not doing well (trust your gut, here!), make sure you offer her shoulder to cry on, and giving her a place where she can speak about her feelings without shame.

9. I'm sorry, that's not how I meant it.

It's easy to put your foot in your mouth as a mom, and come across as condescending or unintentionally arrogant. If you say something and you feel that it may have been misperceived, don't hesitate to apologize. Chances are, she will gracefully accept or reassure you that you're just being overly cautious, but either way, you've just forged a stronger relationship with a fellow mom, which is priceless.

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