Etiquette: the phrases not to say to a mother who returns to work

GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY'- Being the target of unhappy phrases and questions is by no means limited to the period of pregnancy ("How is intestinal regularity?") Or post-partum (on the topics "episiotomy" "hemorrhoids" "stretch marks" and other amenities); the return to work of the new mother is another of those occasions that lead some people to make inappropriate comments or ask equally inelegant questions.

Here is a short list of phrases not to say to a colleague or friend who is returning to work after a shorter or longer period of full-time maternity.


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  • "I'm so sorry for you"

Not for everyone returning to work is a burdensome and painful obligation, indeed. There are those who, for various reasons, choose to go back to work without needing to; maybe new and brilliant opportunities have opened up, for example. If we really feel compelled to comment on the news, let's do it in a positive way, congratulating ourselves and asking our friend to tell us about the new adventure she is about to undertake. Even if getting back to work wasn't her plan, feeling sorry for her will only make her feel worse.

  • "Do you have financial problems? "

No level of confidence can legitimize a comment of this nature, even if driven by total good faith or by the will to lend a hand. Plus, it's by no means the only motivation for new mothers to return to work.

Also read: 10 phrases a mother-in-law should never say to a daughter-in-law
  • "I would prefer / I preferred to make some sacrifices and enjoy my baby"

This sentence is wrong in a million ways; it is such a personal and subjective choice that it is impossible to generalize or, in some way, to compare. Let's not forget that taking care of one's children also involves guaranteeing their material and economic well-being; and also having a mother who is gratified and satisfied from all points of view.

  • "Who will take care of your children?"

If a new mother has chosen to return to work, it is obvious that she will have already made all the necessary assessments on this issue, weighing the pros and cons and making sure that her children are entrusted to trusted people or structures. It is a question that lends itself particularly to a sarcastic answer ("Nobody: just close them in the closet with a bowl of food and some water"), obviously said with a smile on her lips.

  • "Can't your husband work for both of us?"

It is true: in many cases, a salary alone is not enough, or you have to live in the uncertainty of a fixed-term contract or an expiring collaboration; in any case, it is nowhere written that the man must necessarily support the family. And there are also those who, even if they can, do not feel comfortable having to ask their partner for every penny.

What not to say to a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown

There are so many "whys" that push a mother to return to the job market. Maybe she's ready to take hers back career; perhaps he is missing out on important opportunities for her; maybe you have ideas or enthusiasm; or perhaps she has to do it because it is the only way to ensure economic stability for her family.

Whatever the reason, the best behavior is to be supportive and encouraging, whether it's a friend or a colleague - it's a big step for a mom and extra support can be of great help.

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