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5 Things Not to Say to Moms of Toddlers

I'm not generally one to take the things people say too personally. In fact, I like to think I am usually pretty good at recognizing tone and intent when people are talking to me. I go through life pretty convinced that most people have the best of intentions and never want to hurt with their words, so I don't make a point of calling them on it when they say something stupid or insensitive.

But seriously, there is something about being a mother that causes the shackles to go up. You can say just about anything about me and I won't take offense, but as soon as the topic of conversation turns to my daughter? It's probably best if you watch your words. Because I have far less patience for stupidity when it comes to commentary on her.

Go figure.

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As my daughter gets older, I have found myself genuinely surprised by some of the things people will say about her and her behavior—usually total strangers or those who don't have children themselves. They're the kind of people who honestly shouldn't be commenting in the first place. Here's a list of things you should just never say to the mom of a toddler. Because mommy wrath isn't something you want to mess with.

1. "Is she always like that?"

Give her, and me, a bit of a break.

This one usually comes mid-fit, as I am right in the middle of trying to corral my screaming child. Because that is totally the best time to interject your questions about her behavior.

My kid is almost 2. You know what they say about the terrible 2's, right? No, she isn't always like this. In fact, 90 percent of the time, I would say she is one of the sweetest and easiest children I have ever come across. But she is a toddler, and by the very nature of being a 2-year-old, she is sometimes subjected to a rush of emotions and thoughts she can't quite control. When that happens, she's probably going to erupt into a fit. Because that's what toddlers do when they can't think of any other way to express themselves.

Trust me, I'm dealing with it. And I'm not enjoying the outburst anymore than you are. But I also recognize that this is just one moment in time. It is not a reflection of who my daughter is, and more often then not, I actually hold at least some of the blame—usually for not getting her fed or to bed in time. Haven't you ever been "hangry"? Or experienced a bout of road rage or inappropriate behavior? Well, now put yourself in the frame of mind of a 2-year-old who has no real way of understanding or expressing those feelings. Then give her, and me, a bit of a break. She's an awesome kid. She's just having an off moment.

2. "Isn't she potty trained yet?"

Depending on who is asking, this one doesn't really bother me too much. In fact, I could talk with my parenting friends all day long about potty training. But from a total stranger, it just feels off-putting, especially when their tone implies that she totally should be.

The answer is, no, she isn't potty trained yet. And I haven't really done much to get her there. We're getting close, and she has been asking lately to go to the potty, and then actually going (which is exciting). But she's not even 2 yet, and if you know anything at all about kids, you know there is a range of potty training that can sometimes go all the way to 3 and beyond. So don't look at me like she's behind just because she's still in diapers. She's not, and you're a jerk.

3. "You know, it's never too early to start spanking."

Oh really? Is it ever too late? Because I would much rather hit you than my child.

4. "Why is she always sick?"

This is a question that makes me want to slap the stupid off just about anyone who asks it. First of all, she isn't always sick. Right now, in fact, she's totally healthy. Not even a runny nose to be seen!

But she is a toddler. And she is also in daycare. Those two things kind of go hand-in-hand with illness. In the last six months alone, we have had two bouts of Hand, Foot and Mouth, the flu, pneumonia and countless colds. Even if she weren't in daycare, she would probably be exposed to all these illnesses in kindergarten. One way or another, most kids deal with their share of illnesses as they build up their immune systems.

Still, as normal as I know this is, there is something about another person suggesting that she somehow has an inferior immune system that really annoys me. If I knew how to prevent her illnesses, don't they think I would be doing it? No parent likes to see their kid sick, but it's kind of just part of the job. So by asking this question, you are really only making it very clear that you have no idea what raising a child entails.

And you aren't helping.

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5. "You should really …"

Stop. Just stop. If I didn't ask for your advice, don't give it. I have plenty of people in my life I consider trusted advisors, and if you are interjecting your opinion without my requesting you to do so, you probably aren't one of them.

So shut up. Before I unleash my unruly toddler on you.

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