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Ten things you should never say to a mum

Yahoo Lifestyle
21 March 2012

There are certain points in your life when you discover that what you had considered to be your private business suddenly becomes a topic open for public discourse.

Your wedding plans, the name you choose to give your child, or the way you raise your offspring are all apparently exempt from normal privacy rules.

Everyone’s got an opinion – and they’re not afraid to give it.

 We asked parents for the worst things that people have said to them over the years, and we got back some brilliantly rude responses. Make sure to share yours with us in the comments so we can share in your suffering.


1. “So you haven’t got a proper job then?”

According to Jannism, it’s mainly childless friends who say this to his wife, before they realise what they’ve said and hastily backtrack with a panicked look in their eye.

2. “This has gone down hasn’t it!”

That little chestnut popped out of Leah D’s father-in-law mouth - while he patted her wobbling tummy! She had given birth three weeks before.

Meanwhile, Joanne Mallon, author of “Toddlers, an Instruction Manual”, recommends you never ask when the baby is due, “unless she has told you she is pregnant or is actively giving birth in front of you.”

[Related feature: Seven ways to find some 'me' time]


3. 'At least he's grown into his ears'

“My son’s ears never looked too big,” huffs an indignant LadyKarenB. Parents always think their children are perfect, but even if they’re not, it’s hardly polite to point it out.

4. “Are you worried about his speech?”

Believe it or not, parents don’t really want to hear what you think of their child’s development. Caroline B’s son was two when she was asked about his limited vocab. Rest assured, a few years on it’s all she can do to get a word in edgeways.

Sally Whittle, writer and mummy blogger, says, ‘a friend once tipped her head to one side and asked me if I was worried that I was turning my child into a freak by allowing her to be an individual. We’re not friends anymore.”

As a rule of thumb, if you’re about to start a sentence with “are you worried”, you’re probably about to say something offensive.

5. “You’re creating a rod for your own back”

This is one of those phrases you rarely hear until the day you have a child, then suddenly everyone’s saying it. A midwife said it to me a few hours after I’d given birth because I hadn’t put my brand new baby down in her cot yet. As Gillian Edwards points out, “it’s not really very helpful when you're a sleep-deprived mum doing all you can.”

6. “It’s not the money they remember”

Elissa P regularly sits through speeches from her “otherwise lovely” colleague informing her that “studies show” children do better in 1:1 care environment until the age of five. “My daughter has been at nursery since the age of nine months.”

Meanwhile, Sally Whittle has someone who regularly tells her, “It's not the money they remember, it's the time you spend with them. As though I'm working so I can buy my child designer boots and plastic surgery, instead of to pay a mortgage and keep the heating on.”

7. “Be kind to your granny”


Alison McClintock, tired mother of twins, was enduring a tantrum from her son Danny in the supermarket when a woman walked past and said, “now son, be kind to your granny, you know she loves you”. Ouch.

8.  “She wants boobie milk, mummy”

No woman wants to hear that from a male relative, but that didn’t stop Sam V’s father-in-law. “I’m not sure what was worse, the mention of my breast, or the fact that he called me ‘mummy,’” heaves Sam. 

Mamacook’s father passed this charming comment: “Of course he’s happy, he’s always got a t*t in his mouth.” 

9. “Right ladies, I want to see 10 star jumps!”


“My aerobics teacher has no respect for my feeble pelvic floor,” laughs Ruth T, trying not to wet herself.

10. “Oh no, I think it’s dead!”

This eye-popping comment was made by a student midwife to a pregnant Maggie G. The student was struggling to listen to the foetal heart through her Sonic Aid. Turned out the batteries were low.  “Luckily,” says Maggie, “I didn’t panic – she’d already announced that she couldn’t find the baby’s head after feeling my stomach. I don’t hold out much hope for her midwifery career.”

At the heart of Team Mum is the video series Raising an Olympian, sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, profiling athletes from across the world, their dedicated efforts to make it to Olympic Games, and the mothers who had tremendous impacts on their lives. Watch the videos on Yahoo! Lifestyle Team Mum.

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