Almost from the moment you announce you are pregnant you begin to receive unsolicited parenting advice. Just ask Circle of Moms member Brandi L., who says she has been bombarded with all sorts of highly personal (and inappropriate) questions about her life as a mom.
As a mom of four, she says she's lost all patience for strangers who approach her in the supermarket, at school meetings, and in the mall with: "Are they all your children?," and, “I hope you aren’t going to have anymore!" As Brandi shares, ” I am so sick of the stares and smart comments.” She wants to respond, "Yep these are mine and I’m not done yet," or, “Why do you care, you are not taking care of them?” But, she wishes she could come up with more clever responses to these insensitive queries.
To help Brandi and others, I sought the advice of Circle of Moms members. Here's a roundup of snappy (and occasionally snarky) comebacks for deflecting the kind of inappropriate questions, comments and advice that are often directed at moms.
1. Why So Many Kids?
Circle of Moms member Janice R., a mom of five herself, says moms with large families are frequent targets. "Once you have more than three, [people think they have] the right to lecture you on contraception, sterilization, and anything else they deem fit.”
Her favorite reply has been, ‘If you had kids as cute and well behaved as these, wouldn’t you want more?” But she also feels there's a time and a place for a snarkier reponse. A friend of hers with six boys was asked at the mall if all the children were hers. "She replied, ‘No I’m just going around the shops collecting random kids.”
2. Are You Really Her Mom?
Instead of sidestepping the fact that someone has asked you a rude question, Circle of Moms members like Amy C. prefer a direct response like Why are you asking me this question? Amy, who is married to a man with much darker skin and whose three kids are all a shade in between, explains her stance: "I have been asked, 'Is she yours?;' 'Where did you get him from?;’ and 'Are you babysitting?” Yes, [these questions] hurt me, and you would think [that] over time I would develop thicker skin to these nasty rude comments, but I don't. Finally, I have decided to tell anyone from now on (since it’s none of their business if they are my biological children or adopted children), 'Why are you asking me this question?'"
3. When Are You Having Another?
When she is asked why she only has "just" one child, Susan L. asks back, are you "going to pay for the next one?” She also asked for "pointers on positions to help me get pregnant," and reports, "That shut them up because they were embarrassed."
4. Are You Really Old Enough to Be a Mom?
Like many young Circle of Moms members, Mary R. says she is constantly barraged by questions about her age. Other moms will ask, "'Is that YOUR daughter? What?! You don't look old enough to have a baby. How old are you?'" Mary expains that these questions feel like attacks, with a thinly-veiled sub-text along the lines of "How dare I look young and be thin and have a baby." Mary suggests responding bluntly, with "How old are you?" Tah D., who does exactly this, then follows up with, "You’re kidding, You look way more....well..experienced."
5. Why Are You Nursing Here?
Another situation where strangers commonly feel compelled to offer unsolicited commentary is when moms breastfeed in public. Sharon B. is fed up with the number of people who harass her and tell her it is inappropriate. “If someone is rude you can politely tell them to mind their own business, your child is entitled to a meal as well. You can tell them if they don't like to see public breastfeeding then they shouldn't be looking.”
Sometimes, as Bobbie B. shares, the best response to rude comments is to show the question asker the mirror. When other parents give her advice about her child, Jan T. responds with: "I didn't realize I was holding your child, thought it was mine." She has found that that this ends an unwelcome discussion fast! And when Lindsey D.’s mother-in-law offers unsolicited advice, she nips the conversation in the bud with: “You made your mistakes, now it is my turn.”
Or, as some Circle of Moms members suggest, “Just let it go.” Jessica J. prefers this approach, and explains, “You can't change the fact that people are going to give you advice. Smile and nod until they stop talking, then find a way to get away.”
How do you deal with unsolicited advice?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.