Enough with the {What not to say} articles ... - Baby Steps in High Heels

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Enough with the {What not to say} articles ...

It seems like the ‘What not to say to a mom who ….” articles are everywhere.

What not to say to a working mom. What not to say to a stay-at-home-mom.

What not to say to breastfeeding mom, a mom who bottle feeds, a parent of a child with special needs.

What not to say to a young mom or to an older mom. Or to a mom who has nine kids. Or only one. Or twins, or all boys, or all girls. Or to a mom who wears yoga pants to the grocery store. 

Honestly … enough!

We live in a society that is quickly embracing a culture where we do not interact at all for fear of offending somebody. When I read those articles, I am not looking for a guideline. I am looking for times where I might have said something wrong.

You see, that is why I am here, on this blog. Writing.

In person, I am fairly good at sticking my foot in my mouth. Often. Things just don’t come out the way I meant for them to, and I end up feeling badly about the whole conversation.

So, often I find myself holding back instead of interacting. I don’t offer help {or even an “I get it” smile} to the mom I see struggling in the check-out line. What if I offend her? What if she thinks I am judging her? I am not. But, what if?

So, my suggestion is that you DO say what is on your mind. Be kind, always. But, by all means, reach out.  

Because, what if we don’t? What if we all stop talking to each other just in case? What if that mom really could have used a hand or even just a friendly a nod of the head?

We see it in politics and parenthood: if you do not believe/live/experience exactly like me, you must be wrong. You must be judging me. You and I can never relate.

To borrow a term from my southern roots … hogwash!

Some of my favorite friends have taken parenting approaches that are exactly the opposite of my own. Some of the best conversations I have are with parents who have completely different experiences than me. I love learning from them. I love the balance that these experiences provide.

And for those of us who are approached with comments that grate just a little on our nerves, let’s keep in mind a few things …

Human interaction is not just important; it can be actually be nice. Despite what the makers of mobile devices might want us to believe.

People comment from their own perspective and experience. It is not always a judgement of you and your life. Share your own perspective and experience, and you both might end up seeing things in a new light.

Be gracious. It’s not always easy for people to come up with the perfect thing to say. Appreciate their effort, and see where it takes you.

In fact, Shell over at Things I Can’t Say has some great advice on navigating these conversations, and I encourage you to visit her if you are looking for a better guideline than my humble opinions. 


  1. I am loving this. I don't share those articles; I think they're dumb and they're just looking to make others feel bad about things they've said before. What if we all just show kindness, no matter what? You're right on target with that. Just be kind... That's the most important message!

  2. This is so true. I do find some of these uplifting if I can relate to them. But most times I find it unnecessary, also some of these what not to say articles end up insulting the other crowd by trying to defend their own agenda. It is all messy, just do you and relax!

    1. Totally agree. Some are great articles, but there are the spin-off ones that are just trying too hard. :)

  3. You hit the nail on the head. I actually said pretty much the exact same thing a couple months ago http://www.messymom.com/2015/02/how-to-never-offend-anyone.html Great minds think alike!

  4. Great post! It is very annoying reading all those negative articles on what not to say! You can always tell when someone is giving you advise or talking to you to be helpful or because they really care over those who are outright rude or don's care! Weed out the bad ones and focus on the positive! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, I agree. There is a difference and SOME of those articles are really good. It just seems like all of the spin-off articles are trying too hard and take it too far.

  5. I really enjoyed this! I love what you said about "what if we all stop talking, just in case", because I feel like we're already starting to do that! You made some good points that I hadn't really though of before, thanks for sharing Jenn.

  6. Love this! I put my foot in my mouth all the time and feel bad but hey at least I'm talking!
    I hate that we have to hide who we are instead of having a balanced conversation and at the end we can just agree to disagree If that's the case. No biggie!!
    :)) It's the differences make the world so exciting to me!