Questions No Mom Likes to Hear

Questions No Mom Likes to Hear

I just saw this post on Circle of Moms about the most rude/overly personal/invasive questions strangers have asked mothers, and how they’ve responded:

Here are the worst:

1. What’s wrong with him?

“My son has a rare disability that is very visually obvious. I get so tired of people asking me ‘what’s wrong with him?’ Umm… Nothing! He’s my beautiful son! What’s wrong with you? And by the way, thanks for pointing out something that is obviously painful on its own.” -Lacey B.

2 . How much did they cost?

“Both of my children are adopted, my son from Korea and my daughter from China. I think the worst question I’ve ever been asked in front of my children (and it’s happened a few times!) is ‘How much did they cost?’ I always respond: ‘They’re priceless!’ My husband and I DO meet with couples considering adoption and we will discuss this with them, but the children are in another room.” -Joanne R.

A Note from Chana Jenny: This last offensive question isn’t so bad relative to the above, but since I have been asked this same questions at least several dozen times during my final trimesters when I am as huge as a HOUSE, I’m inserting this one as well since it’s the question I hate the very most…

3. Are you having twins?

“I think the most annoying question [I got] while I was pregnant…was always, ‘Omg are you having twins?!’ No, there was just one very large 9.5-pound child in there.” -Jennifer C

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I personally tend to think that most rude-question-askers are just clueless and well-intentioned…But that doesn’t mean it’s not irritating.

What are the rudest questions strangers have asked you? How did you respond? (Or how do you wish you had responded?)

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26 comments

  1. When I was expecting twins, we told as few people as possible, but towards the end a couple of close friends asked straight out and I did tell them, which was fine. But I was very hurt when a stranger in a shop asked me and because I knew I would never see her again, I said “yes,” to which she responded, “Poor you!” Not quite what I expected. My friends and I who have had various issues with waiting for the right shidduch, waiting for children etc have come to the conclusion that there is no limit to the inappropriate comments people make and the only thing one can do is laugh, because otherwise you’ll cry.

  2. LOL! I was asked if I was having twins. My answer: “Not as far as I know!” (It WAS twins, as I discovered after the first was born…)

    Still, I was asked if I was having twins as well with the previous pregnancy. It was one very cute 1-oz-short-of-10-lb boy.

    Funny, that question never seemed to bother me. I guess I’m one of the few that take a perverse pride in being huge at the end of pregnancy.

  3. Sharon Saunders

    I was on a bus with my daughter Ruthie (who has a genetic disease and malformed hands) when she was about 5 or 6 years old. The woman facing us leaned over and said to me, “Did you take drugs when you were pregnant? Before I could answer, Ruthie leaned forward and looking into this woman’s eyes said, “Were you born stupid?”

  4. Sharon Saunders

    My answer to prurient and invasive questions is, “Why, exactly, do you need to know?” That usually stops them in their tracks.

    • Ayalah Haas

      Sharon, you ROCK!

      XO XO XO

      • Debra Alvo

        it’s been forever and a day, and so very often we think of you and wonder what became of you, and now right before my eyes…just before I do one more ounce of my last minute of cleaning for Pesach, here you are! Please, say hello and give me an email so I can catch up and get caught up after the chag. A zizen kasher ve sameach pesach to you and all of yours.
        xoxoxo Debra & Jack in NYC

  5. I have always been close to two weeks overdue with each of my four children. If people meet me after my due date has passed, they’ll ask: Are you still around?

    I usually answer with a big smile on my face: No, I’m a square.

    Sharon, thank you for your “Why, exactly, do you need to know?” line. I think that makes a point without being rude in return. Lots of nachas from your very bright daughter!

    P.S. I’ve since learned to give out a due date of two weeks late to the general public.

  6. to the people who question how many children i have, insinuating or actually articulating that i have too many, i like to answer (with a serious look):
    “you are right. which one do you suggest i give back?”

    that stops the conversation, cold

    • G-d forbid you should even consider which to give back. May you be blessed with continued holy Nachas from all your children and may each child marry in the right time and give you Nachas from their many healthy children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

    • perfect response, thanks tamar

  7. all these stories teach us at any age is to be careful with our speach, and what we say, and stop being so nosy. it’s ok not to have all the answers.

    • right, I found this article to be a helpful reminder about the questions I ask other moms…

  8. This topic can open a can of worms. Some ask painful quesitons, some just make painful comments or assumptions. Hence the rules known as Shmiras HaLashon.

    The Torah provides an example of the son of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai meeting a man who was very ugly and commenting or asking about this fact. The man’s reply was why not make this complaint to my Creator. There is discussion on the conversation given in the Torah and also through learning further. I can look up the source if anyone is interested, I think it is a Gemorrah.

    The area of Shmiras HaLashon known as Onas Devarim outlines quite clearly that we should not be making any comment or asking any question that would in anyway be hurtful to another Jew.

    Why dont we use this as a spring board for Jewish Mom’s to increase good in the world by learning Shmiras HaLashon and putting it into practise rather than perpetuating the problem by repeating what Torah highlights should not have been said to begin with.

    May we merit a year of peace, unity, Shalom Bayis, Nachas from our children and all the Yeshuot.

    Shanah Tova UMetukah. May you all be inscribed for a year of everything good, a good that is revealed, visible and manifest

    Shoshanah

  9. A few times I have had total strangers ask me whether i am having more children or if this is it. i don’t know why, maybe they think my kids are so awful i’m surely never having more 😉 i’m never sure whatto say – i usually shrug and say we’ll see – but i’ve been given a few good answers by friends recently which i’ll have to try out next time it happens!

    I should add i only have 3 children, i am not walking around with a minyan or a football team around me.

    I find this very intrusive and personal – it intrudes on my relationship with my husband nad my relationship with G-d, and i think that all personal/offensive questions at heart are hurtful because they intrude on our privacy.

  10. it’s not a question, but when I had my third girl in a row some people consoled me, “Don’t worry, it’ OK, you’ll have a boy eventually”! And I was like, “where’s my mazal tov? I just had a healthy baby!”

    Some people even said, “at least she’s healthy”, to which I really had no reply, because even tho’ it’s just as offensive, I actually really appreciated that she was healthy, since I had already had a preemie once…

  11. I guess the most painful is when your out with all your kids and someone tries to tell you your son is climbing a dangerous staircase/brick wall- or just fell off the slide and tells you in a way that says- “you can’t control all your kids so why did you have so many?” type talk- I get hurt and it also questions my capabilities to really have a handle on things when we are all out together and I’m alone with them… I know I pray a lot more at the time- just as a sense of security/insurance from the Kadush Baruch Hu who definitely saves me every time.

  12. On lighter note, not offensive, but possibly the most stupid thing I’ve ever been asked: I was waiting in the A&E/emergency room, with our 20 month old son, who had cut his forehead open. He wasn’t that bothered by this time and was playing with the toys, when someone else who was waiting said to me,”Do you know your baby is bleeding?” Well, no, I just thought I’d bring a toddler to the A&E late at night for the fun of it!

  13. I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant, B”H. This bub is our second and people keep asking me how much the age difference will be between our first and our second. When I reply that my daughter will be 15 months when bub comes, all of them say “wow, you’re brave”. In the beginning I was so stunned at this response as it doesn’t really speak of confidence. Now it differs what I respond. I usually say that all will be fine and I’m confident I can manage fine. I’m too scared to be rude back.

    I also get the twins question a lot. Last week a boy actually said that I was fat and must have at least a 100 babies in there. I just smiled and thought, I’m so glad you’re not my child :).

  14. My kids are now 27, 23 and 16 so this one happened more than a couple of decades ago.

    Seems my pregnancy and breastfeeding was a turn-on to some guys…some of whom were in my extended family!

    I’ll skip over some really gross comments made to me while preggers and focus on the following:

    Whenever I breastfed my two older kids (towel or shawl draped over my shoulder and the offending boob, the husband of my mother-in-law would invariably ask, “Any left over for me? I like it straight from the source!”

    What totally got me was that everyone tittered (yes, pun intended) and rolled their eyes, gently admonishing him.

    This guy was the VP of a major company, I was in my twenties and completely aghast at the comment and then, the lack of response.

  15. when my brothers and I were young children we did not look very much like siblings, although we did look and were very close in age. I think the rudest thing my mother was ever asked was, “are they adopted?” We weren’t, we all share the same mom and dad, and the 4 of us were born with in 6 years. well, people can be clueless and just plain rude and they often do not think before they open their mouths. sigh. being careful before one speaks is a very good policy.

  16. 22 years ago, when my youngest was an infant, I was carrying her in a snuggely. we had just move to Israel and was not yet used to the intrusive way Israelis think that they can tell you how to raise your children. I was standing at a bus stop and an older woman came up to me, and in a very worried voice asked me, “can she breath?” not knowing what else to say, I told her that I had 5 older children and had carried them all in sunggelys and they were just fine.

  17. Debra Alvo

    when I was pregnant with our first, I was hugely large and because I’m very petite, it was that much more accentuated. So, total strangers would come up and rub my belly, oh yes, more than once, and say “oh my g-d, you’re having triplets”. I had a healthy nearly 9 lb. bundle of boy. Then when I was pregnant with our daughter, people would say “you must be overdue” as if I was cooking something inside for way too long. It is astonishing what people say, mostly out of ignorance. and hopefully not to be mean. I know it hurts when they make stupid comments, but better to shrug it off and feel the pity than allow yourself to feel wounded by an ignorant stranger. Here’s wishing all the Ema’s out there the most wonderful Pesach filled with joy, and yummies too.

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