You could say this list applies to humans in general, but we moms have an extra dose (or five) of hormones ruining our emotional stability, so take extra care not to say these three things to us:
- Comments on our appearance. “You look tired,” says the grocery store cashier. YOU DON’T SAY. Wow. You, sir, are clearly headed for a career in law enforcement, where you can exercise your finely-tuned detective skills. What gave it away: the fact that I was wearing two different shoes or the pair of screaming children in my cart?
- Comments on our appearance. “Look how skinny you were!” says my husband. He doesn’t mean to insult me. Apparently, he thinks digging up old honeymoon photos before my tummy skin gathered more wrinkles than Betty White’s forehead will “remind me of the good times” and make me forget about my post-partum squishiness. He is wrong. Very wrong.
- Comments on our appearance. “You look great! You’re only, what, 37?” says the teenager at church. Now, this one cuts the deepest, like a big fat knife to my aging, brittle bones. Having a 16-year-old age me by a decade forces me to confront the hard reality: in the eyes of young people, I’m old. I’m now grouped in with those who wear fanny packs and socks with sandals.
The lesson here is to keep your giant mouth shut if you have anything to say about the external features of any woman who has ever grown a person inside them. That entire process is essentially what happens to the Nazis in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” except after everything is sucked away from our bodies, we remain to walk the earth fueled only by large amounts of coffee.
Next time you see a mom, don’t tell her that she has goldfish crumbs stuck to her butt. Just smile.
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer and mother of two boys.