I really love how we human beings are so inclined to look out for one another. Why, just the other day, a perfect stranger informed me that smoking was bad for me, and another stunned me with the revelation that I’d be prettier if I smiled! People are so NICE to one another, and they are especially considerate of those members of society who are responsible for its very perpetuation: mothers.
The next time you want to perform an act of charity for a woman with children, don’t be the tactless idiot who merely offers her a seat on the subway. In that situation, it makes far more sense to diligently avoid eye contact and mentally repeat “it was her choice, it was her choice.” In fact, because kindness is most valued when it comes as a random act, you should reserve it for times when she probably isn’t expecting it at all — for example, when she is having a drink or two in your presence.
Here are a few things you can say that will make her feel really special. Don’t feel like you have to wait till Mother’s Day to whip any of these out.
“Do you drink around your kids?”
This will make her realize that you are aware that she has kids, and that she sometimes drinks, and that you care enough to have formed a definite opinion about that combination. If you’re feeling really generous, you can upgrade it to “Do you drink LIKE THAT around your kids?”
“But you don’t drink (like that) during the day, right?”
If she does, this will certainly make her rethink her ways, and she will thank you for that one day.
“Do your kids know you drink?”
It’s always nice when a friend wants to know more about your family situation. You’ll know she’s touched when she smiles and replies “Does your wife know about your girlfriend?”
“Was it hard not to drink when you were pregnant?”
Pure empathy — also, once you get that line out, it’s definitely your turn to talk about how hard it was not to drink before noon today.
“Do you ever miss being able to drink like you did before you had kids?”
Nothing makes a good time even better like a reminder of how it’s not as good as it used to be.
“Another double?? WOW! Mom’s bustin’ out!”
To show that you are as observant as you are insightful. Nothing makes a woman feel better than to know that someone has taken the time to notice what she is doing at one particular moment and to draw conclusions based on nothing more than that.
“So who is taking care of your kids now?”
Just in case she, you know, forgot she had kids, or left them wandering around the parking lot.
“You should slow down. A hangover’s no fun when you’re taking care of little ones.”
If it’s true that a judgy warning a day keeps the hounds of hell away, then you are going straight to heaven.
“Oh, you have kids. I’ll get you another one then, haha.”
That is SO understanding and non-judgmental of you — it’s such a relief for a woman to know that other people understand that having kids is so horrible it requires self-induced mental numbness just to get through the night.
“I hope you don’t co-sleep. Studies show there is a risk of smothering the child, especially if you’ve been drinking.”
You may have literally just saved her child’s life, you hero.