When I was a new mum I copped these questions a LOT. Even though they usually come from a good place, they made me want to scream “rack offff”.
So here’s my handy little guide of those questions you should never say to a new mum. M. x
1. “So what do you actually do all day?”
(Usually asked by childless peeps) This question is always accompanied by a confused screwed up face. The kind of expression you would enjoy removing with the back of your hand. It naively flies out the mouths of pesty people who assume your day is spent sipping tea and getting your nails shellacked.
If I’m being totally honest I’ll admit, some days can be pretty cruisy. I might sit on my derrière and watch a few episodes of The Housewives of Beverly Hills. I may cram in a nap, and I’m partial to a little Facebook stalking. But let’s not forget that I manage all of this WHILE KEEPING MY BABY ALIVE!
Explaining what you do all day as a stay at home mum is almost impossible. If you actually listed off every feed, soiled nappy change, and load of washing you did, you would bore the bejesus out of the questioner (and possibly send yourself into a slight depression).
The worst thing about this question is the insinuation that spending your days raising tomorrow’s future generation is somehow not enough of a contribution to society. Yes I know, very dramatic but I think you get my point. This question sucks!
2. “So, do you want me to babysit?”
(Asked by the baby’s father.) “Ummm, nah, how’s about you just parent your child?” I won’t throw my boyfriend under the bus here. Fortunately he knows when our sons are in his care he isn’t pocketing $17 an hour. However, there are some fathers who think looking after their own child, by themselves, is somehow doing their partner a ‘favour’. I’d like to make it clear that babysitters usually come in the form of 18-year-old girls who need the extra cash to buy Passionfruit UDL’s on the weekend. Fathers do not classify as babysitters, just men raising their own offspring. I hope we have cleared this one up.
3. “Are you getting much sleep?”
(Asked by morons) It could possibly be the excess hormones wildly rushing through the body that make this question so unpalatable. Although I’m sure you’d agree, this is the most ludicrous thing to ask a new mum.
Sleep deprivation starts off during pregnancy, when you suddenly need to spend more time on the toilet having a tinkle than in your own bed.* It then gets dramatically worse when the baby arrives. You find yourself shoving your boob, or a bottle, in a tiny mouth approximately 153 times a night.
I’m told tiredness eases up a smidge when your kid hits their teen years. Although many Saturday nights are spent lying in bed wide awake with worry. Your young adult is oblivious to this while out gallivanting around town, pashing anything with a heartbeat.
That beautiful, indulgent, uninterrupted sleep apparently doesn’t return until the nest is empty. For some reason by this age it seems like a wise idea to get up at 5.30am just to “get a full days gardening in”.
So basically that beautiful, nurturing, loving friend called ‘sleep’ turns into a back stabbing moll.
* My record was NINE times in one night. Too much information???
4. “You look amazing for having just had a baby.”
(Technically this isn’t a question, but an infuriating comment all the same)
I haven’t studied at the Ponds Institute, but I’m pretty sure growing a human being inside your body, and then enduring 10 hours of labour, is not the perfect beauty regime. I know this because I resembled a bloated puffer fish after having my baby.
If people feel it necessary to comment on the state of a new mothers appearance why not just say just “you look amazing”. Full stop. Don’t add “…for just having had a baby”. It turns what could have been a lovely compliment into a reminder that you have wet patches where your nipples are, fish n chips could be fried in your oily hair, and you have bags under your eyes that put John English to shame.
I hope this announcement has been received loud and clear. If you have the need to ask a new mum a question make it “can I get you a cup of tea?” or perhaps, “would you like me to rub your swollen feet?” Otherwise it might be best to just zip it.
What was the worst question you got asked as a new parent?
Nadia Bartel tells Monty On The Couch about surviving as a new mum:
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