10 Things It’s Not Okay to Ask Other Moms At the Playground…

10 Things It’s Not Okay to Ask Other Moms At the Playground…

Mom Jeanine
November 8, 2011


10 Things..., Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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As much as I love seeing my daughter have a blast at our local playground, I also secretly dread going there. I’m sure the other moms are well-intentioned, but they ask the most inappropriate questions. Maybe I’m just a private person–or overly sensitive–but I just met you and I don’t think it’s any of your business whether or not I have a husband and if we’re trying to have another baby.

So before you plan another playdate or make small talk at the swings, consider the ways in which you’re probably stepping way over the TMI line.

1. Are you trying for baby #2? Because what your’re basically asking is whether or not I’m having sex. And that is very freaking weird. I don’t even talk to my mother about having sex, let alone a complete stranger. If you must know, ask whether or not I’d like another child.

2. Are you married? I will admit I am extra sensitive about this because I am a single mom, but even still, if there’s no ring, you probably have your answer. If you ask, I just feel like you’re rubbing in the fact that you’re happily married or that you’re pitying lowly ol’ me and then we’ll never be friends.

3. How old are you? Yes, I look young, but that doesn’t give you permission to ask my age. And no, following my response with “Oh my goodness, you look so young. You look great.” doesn’t make it better. I have a kid, you have a kid, we’re both here. That’s all you need to know.

4. Are you doing IVF? Actually, anything related to fertility is off-limits unless I open the door. It’s an uncomfortable, sometimes painful conversation as is which means it probably shouldn’t be going down at the playground.

5. Is that your kid? You just saw her hop out of this stroller I’m pushing, right? Then yes, that’s my kid. I will initially take it as a compliment that I look so good and there’s no way I could have pushed a baby out of this svelte body, but don’t push the issue. She may not look like me, but she’s mine.

6. Is he/she autistic? I get that moms whose children suffer from certain ailments are looking for moms who can relate, but if you ask me this and my child isn’t autistic, how can I take it as anything but an insult?

7. Are those real? This also applies for “is that real?” It’s just always in poor taste to question the authenticity of something someone else owns, so don’t do it. Yeah, I may be a young, single mom, but that doesn’t mean I can’t buy my own diamond ring.

8. Can you watch him/her for a sec? NO. No I absolutely will not watch your kid while you go make a phone call or get a pretzel or talk to your friend on the other side of the playground. I’m stressed enough making sure no one kidnaps my own kid, I simply cannot be held responsible for your child, too. Sorry.

9. How do you manage without a nanny? Whoopdy-friggin’-do you have a nanny to wipe your kid’s snot and push your double stroller for you. Awesome. Good for you. If I could afford a nanny, obviously I would have one. So please, don’t rub it in. Just enjoy your hired help and leave me alone.

10. Are you the nanny? This is typically offensive on so many levels because you are essentially implying I’m not ______ enough to be this child’s mother. Not old enough, not wealthy enough, the list goes on. All you need to know is that the kid came here with me which means I’m responsible for him/her. End of story.

Anything else annoy you on the playground or other places you interact with moms you don’t really know? Share in the comments.

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  • Lela
    November 8, 2011

  • So true on number 10. Me and my husband are both brown skinned and our daughter took after my mom’s side and paternal grandfather in that she’s pretty fair. And although we did a double take in the delivery room (lol), I don’t appreciate the stares and the comments, like am I the nanny.

  • Cathy
    November 8, 2011

  • Don’t forget the rude comments about the number of children a mom has. I have 5 and I am SOOO tired of cracks like, “Don’t you have a tv?” or “You DO know how that happens, right?” Umm, yes, yes I do and my husband and I feel very blessed to have each and every one of our children. And if one of them wasn’t planned, I wouldn’t tell you anyhow. Seriously. If you have nothiing nice to say, then be quiet.

  • Alicia @MommyDelicious
    November 8, 2011

  • Never got number 10, but… ouch! that one would hurt. Ditto on number 2, 3, and 9… so freakin’ annoying!!!!

  • ENS
    November 8, 2011

  • Jeanine, you really need to loosen up a bit. While some comments maybe somewhat insensitive/impolite, the rest – you are way to sensitive or too insecure. I feel that once you have a child,you become less judgemental of other people amd more accepting (not time or energy for extra drama). Grow up!

  • Hannah
    November 8, 2011

  • Uhh, disagree with ENS!!! If someone came up and asked me, “Hey, is your kid autistic?” DO I KNOW YOU?? Because if I knew you well enough for you to know the answer, you already wood. I can’t believe people ASK that!!!!

  • Tara
    November 8, 2011

  • I would not ask if someone had autism or other. Feeling “insulted” means you are coming to a judgment yourself. There is a difference between inquiry / possibility which is uncertain vs a judgment which is a conclusion.

    If a person said your kid looked smart. Would you be insulted? Why? When someone asks if your child is autistic (an inquiry) you say you are insulted. You assume a judgment was made (which I assume you can not read minds to know whether it was an inquiry or judgment).

    I am calling you out here since you posted the words…why are you insulted? Why would you be insulted? What judgments have you made about autistic children?

    There is no need to be insulted, becuase children with autism are still human’s with feelings. They are no less then you.

  • Betty
    November 8, 2011

  • Take control of the conversation instead of just getting steamed. Anytime a question floats your way that you consider off limits, reverse the question and ask them. See how comfortable they are when you respond with ‘oh – how old are you?’ or ‘oh – are you doing IVF/married … whatever’
    Actually I can understand the nanny question. Small talk is different if you are talking to another mother or if you are a nanny looking for another nanny to chat with. These questions may be coming from very self-centered people who need to think before asking — but seldom are they meant to specifically put you down. Some people like to chat and some don’t.

  • Lou
    November 8, 2011

  • While i agree that it is rude to ask “are those real” or ” is your kid Autistic”, most of these are harmless questions. You seem really angry and resentful for the most part. If i ask questions to a mom that we see often on the play ground or play gym, i am just trying to see if we could be compatible as friends because if our daughters get along, it would be nice if we had similar backgrounds/interests and therefore we could possibly be friends. Let’s just say I won’t have much in common with a 23 year old mom since i am 38! plain and simple.

  • Tasha Sharp
    November 8, 2011

  • Wow you think being asked if your child is autistic is an insult? What a judgemental, uninformed person you are! Personally I wouldn’t want to hang out at the playground with you anyway, knowing that you would be judging my autistic son with all your uninformed notions. How stuck up can you get? Oh you have a neurotypical child? How wonderful for you. I wouldn’t bother asking you questions at the park because I wouldn’t want my child hanging around such a judgemental person.

  • Caroline
    November 8, 2011

  • Geez, talk about being resentful and self conscious…. You are apparently not comfortable with being a single mom. I don’t think other moms judge you negatively for being a single mom the way you think they do. Lighten up!

  • Chris
    November 9, 2011

  • The asking of the age is what gets me. I look very young for my age and people always make comments on how I am far too young to have all those kids. You don’t know anything about me so please keep your comments to yourself.

  • mary
    November 9, 2011

  • I agree – i get so tired of reading all of Jeanine’s lists about her reason’s for being paranoid, or this and that b/c she is a single mother. everybody has issues!! get some new material!! Farah doesn’t post stupid stuff like this.

  • Josy
    November 9, 2011

  • wow..you seem very insecure. Based on this it seems as though you are very uncomfortable being a single mom around other mothers, it seems to be a button easily pushed. Most of these questions are harmless and it’s just the other moms trying to start up a conversation, maybe looking to relate with you.

  • Samantha @ Rich Single Momma
    November 10, 2011

  • Wow! The comments really turned kind of sour on here. Criticism all around. But don’t worry about them or the moms at the playground. Fortunately we all have a right to express how we feel.

    You did prefaced your list with how it might come off, but the others probably missed that part. Keep doing what you do. This is your spot to say what you want. Life experience may change the way you feel and your responses will reflect that.

    It may be a cultural thing as well. Some people don’t get how some questions could be offensive or inappropriate because no one has ever said anything to suggest they shouldn’t ask that question to everyone.

    I say change the subject or just tell them you don’t feel comfortable answering that question because you don’t know them. Talking about the weather or how great kids are is a much better way to start a conversation. In essence, you do you, and follow your instincts.

  • Lisa
    November 18, 2011

  • What about the “Oh you’ve got your hands full.” I have a 3 yr old and a 1 year old both planned and loving it. I’m 39 and yes we waited 13 years before we had our kids. NO I don’t have my hands full. Both my kids are well behaved, know how to share, say please/ thank you and are well taken care of. UNLIKE your 1 whiny brat with the runny nose, wreaking havoc on the playground but you wouldn’t know because you’re to preoccupied texting and gossiping with your like-minded teen mom girlfriend. Nothing against teen moms, these particular two just made you all look bad.

  • Jennifer
    November 19, 2011

  • Wow. Questions like “Are you married?” or “How old are you?” seem like your average, I’m trying to get to know a possible new friend, questions. Damn.

  • Kelly Groves Scott
    January 20, 2012

  • As the parent of 3 boys with varying degrees of autism, I would never ask if your child was on the spectrum. I’d already know. When you’ve lived with it, you can spot it a mile away.

  • Kate
    January 23, 2012

  • I think it’s hilarious that you are willing to tell the entire internet that you are a young single mom with a child who doesn’t look like you, but heaven forbid someone asks at the playground. To all the first-time Moms out there, please don’t take this list to heart. Most of us are easy going and happy to chat!

  • Kelly
    January 23, 2012

  • As the mother to an autistic boy, you have turned me off from reading your articles or this site ever again. Sorry if you have been “insulted” by someone asking if you have an autistic child. And I doubt that even happened, because guess what? Parents of autistic children would never mistake your neurotypical child for an autistic one. We live with them every day and can spot the symptoms a mile away. Next time you go to the playground, wear a name tag so everyone knows to steer clear of you and your judgmental bitchiness.

  • Jenny
    January 23, 2012

  • What I find annoying is when I bring my 3yr old’s power wheel to the park & sum kid is trying to take over & mom don’t say anything but got the nerves to be pissy when I politely tell the kid no

  • Pam
    January 24, 2012

  • Tara: “There is no need to be insulted, because children with autism are still human’s with feelings. They are no less then you.”

    Amen. I’m insulted that you think 1 child/person is less deserving than another because they have a developmental/neurological disorder or any other diagnosis for that matter. My son is just as important as any other child and just as good of a person, perhaps more so since he doesn’t judge or discriminate as you so blatantly have.