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10 Things Not to Say to a Working Mom

When my husband and I decided to start a family, there was no question about it: I would be a working mom. In fact, if we could ever financially afford for only one of us to work, my husband would become the stay-at-home dad while I continued to further my career. I guess you could say it's in my DNA. What baffles me, though, are the things people say to me or other working mamas.

Whether it's a choice for a woman to work once she has children, or if it's more out of necessity, certain musings should just never be uttered to a working mom. Here is a sampling which, frankly, make me cringe.

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1. Who raises your kids?

Um. Last time I checked, that was me and my husband. Do I have a village helping out? Well, sure, don't many parents? My children are the perfect product of my husband and me. We teach our girls kindness and compassion and of course sarcasm. My almost-5-year-old is not getting that from her super sugary-sweet pre-K teacher, is she? The bigger question is, would you ask that of my husband if I was staying home while he worked? Is he not raising his kids because he's working? I didn't think so. So stop asking me who raises my children.

2. I could never trust someone else to take care of my child.

Great. Good for you. Stop trying to make yourself feel better about your trust issues by backhandedly telling me you can't believe I send my child to daycare.

3. I don't know how you do it. (Translation: I could never work full-time and have small children.)

You know what, some days I have no flipping clue how I do it either. But at the end of the day, my children are happy and healthy, and that's a win in my book. There's no magic to working full-time and parenting small children. It's all about routines and balance and a whole lot of letting go of perfection. I'm sorry you couldn't fathom working while your children were younger, but I can, and I do it—very successfully, might I add.

4. You're still pumping/breastfeeding?!

Um, was that a question, or shocking revelation? Why do you sound so stunned? Is it inconvenient at times? Sure. Is it an emotional roller coaster? Yep. But is it what's best for me and my family? Absolutely. And no, I don't view myself as a martyr. Now excuse me while I go pump so I don't have to continue this conversation with you about the status of my boobs.

5. I'd be upset if I missed a baby milestone.

I have enough self-imposed mom guilt, and I don't need you adding any to it.

Well, that sucks for you. But please don't place your negative thoughts on me. I have enough self-imposed mom guilt, and I don't need you adding any to it. It's not like I'll never see my baby take some new wobbly walking steps. I'll still get to see her drunken sailor walk even if I miss those first couple of steps. Remember, I'm raising my children, right? Nothing gets past me.

6. Don't you miss your children?

Of course I do. Don't you? But some days, if you could possibly imagine it, my career fulfills me in ways my children can't. And honestly, for me, having some time away from my girls makes me a better mom. I know that not all moms feel this way, but if you could just respect my feelings, that'd be great. Mm-kay?

7. They're only little for a short time.

As my oldest is about to turn 5, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm in huge denial about it. And I think any parent feels that way about time. But contrary to popular belief, time would NOT slow down if I choose to stay home. There's 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. Working or not, as the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short.

8. If you didn't have such high standards for your lifestyle, you wouldn't need to work.

Huh? Last time I checked, I wasn't driving a fancy car nor did I live in a huge house. I'm not living paycheck to paycheck, for which I'm fortunate about as so many working moms do struggle to pay the bills, but that doesn't mean I'm rolling in the dough and get a daily latte from Starbucks on my way into work each day. I only treat myself on special occasions, like making it to Friday with my scruples intact.

9. I'd prefer for my wife to stay home.

Oh, yes, I've heard this. Twice. From the same colleague. Well, good for you that your wife gave up her teaching career to fulfill your desires of landing Suzy Homemaker. That's not me, and you sure as shit aren't my husband.

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10. I'm so blessed to be able to stay at home.

Great. Good for you. And I'm so blessed to be able to work in a profession that I'm passionate about as I help educate the youth. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Oh, and if you're saying this to a working mom who works out of necessity, rather than choice, know you are just making her feel even worse. Can we not do that, please?

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