While being bombarded daily with small-talk questions about children and parenting may be an inescapable fact of motherhood, there are certain questions that no mom wants to hear. Circle of Moms members say these are 10 of the worst questions you can put to another mom. Ask them at your own peril!
1. Are you sick?
Unless a mom has a horrible hacking cough, bite your tongue on asking about her health. The obvious implication of "Are you sick?" is "You look ill." Mother-of-two Corrine T. vents: "[I] hate: 'Are you sick?' No, I look like a sack of pounded poop because my son thinks it's a scream to wake me up at 5 a.m. asking for breakfast!" Bottom line: No woman wants to be told she looks bad. Ever.
2. Why don't you want more children?
Often asked by someone who thinks you should want more, this question is worse than the more neutral question, "Do you want another child?" As Lacye says in the Debating Mums community, "I'm not you and I just don't want anymore!" Deciding how many children to have is a personal decision that moms shouldn't have to justify or explain to anyone.
3. Is she a good baby?
This question is especially irksome after a challenging day. "Umm, what do you (want) me to say?" responds Laura H. "No? No, she's not a 'good' baby. She's challenging, complicated, intense, frustrating, sensitive, loud, demanding, etc.! Thanks for forcing me to admit she isn't good."
4. Is he your brother?
Young moms are particularly irritated by questions that reveal strangers' assumptions about their age. Laura H. recalls: "I've gotten asked, 'Is he your brother?' and at an OB visit the lady at the front desk asked me, 'Where are your parents?' Argh, so annoying!" Equally maddening for older moms are questions that assume they're Grandma.
5. Is he yours?
Questions related to the nationalities or ethnicities of the baby and parents are also liable to cause offense. As Kristina T. explains: "I am Caucasian and my husband is Chinese. Our 8-month-old son looks exactly like his father. I get the 'Is he yours?' or 'Is his dad Asian?' all the time. Like it matters, first of all . . . but seriously, I don't go around asking mothers if their babies are theirs or wanting to know the nationality of their father. It's just rude, and doesn't matter at all."
6. Did you have IVF?
Chatting with a mom of twins? Steer clear of this one. As Kathy S. shares, moms of multiples are seriously peeved by questions about fertility treatments: "My daughter told me this one — when she was pregnant with her twins, EVERYONE asked, 'Did you have IVF?' She hated, hated, hated it! She said she was always so angry she couldn't think of a smart reply."
7. Is it a boy or a girl?
He's dressed in blue, she's dressed in pink . . . isn't it obvious? Melanie S. shares: "The whole 'Is it a boy or girl' question has made me laugh since the first time I took my oldest to church. Dressed all in blue, sitting in a blue carrier with a pacifier that said 'I'm a boy!' people still had to ask . . . really? really!"
8. Did you give birth "naturally"?"
"I have to say the most annoying/invasive question I get asked all the time is 'Did you give birth naturally? Or was it C-section?'" Jaime S. shares. "Um, I don't know you!" Amy G. agrees: "I still don't know how to respond. Whose business is that?"
9. When will you try for a boy?
Questions that imply a mom should want a child of a certain gender are also bound to ruffle mama birds' feathers. Holly, a mother of three girls, shares her frustration: "What bugs me the most is [that] they always say WHEN, as if we NEED to have a boy or there's something wrong."
10. Don't you know what causes that?
Posed to moms with large families, this rude question is one of many that imply you shouldn't be having more than 2.1 kids. We love Heather H.'s suggestion for a tongue-in-cheek response: "If you met my husband you would understand."
What's the most irritating question you've been asked as a mom?