Being a working mom or dad: what to say to critics

If you’re a working mom or dad, you’re used to the occasional obnoxious comment. You’ve been at the receiving end of hurtful comments (and not just from strangers).

  • “It’s too bad you can’t make it work and stay at home with your family.”
  • “Your children deserve their mother (or father).”
  • “At least you’re not letting someone else raise your kids.”

You see red with each tactless question or remark.

Here’s how to respond if someone insults your work-life balance. You have the protective gear here at Stay-in-Bed Mom Blog. If you’re a stay-at-home parent who needs help silencing the critics, then look no further. 

It’s more satisfying to be sassy (heck, snarky), but it’s smarter to be savvy!

man and woman sitting on bench
Photo by Vera Arsic on

What to Say to Critics

“I could never let someone else raise my kids.”

Sassy Retort:

“I raise my kids, you $%&*.”

Savvy Retort:

“We’re so lucky. Our nanny (au pair/my mother/etc.) is an extension of our family. We chose her carefully and trust her fully.”

“Isn’t it hard to be away from your kids all day?”

Sassy Retort:

“No, I do cartwheels. Of course it’s hard. Thanks for the reminder.”

Savvy Retort:

Answer truthfully, then begin a dialog by saying, “Why do you want to know?” Maybe the person is thinking about returning to the workforce and is wondering what being away from home is like.

“It must be good to get away.”

Sassy Retort:

“Yes, my job is like a mini vacation every day, and they pay me!”

Savvy Retort:

“Actually, I could use a real get-away from kids and work. Want to join me?”

“You must really love your job.”

Sassy Retort:

“Yes, I do!” OR “Well, I sure like having a roof over my head and food on the table.”

Savvy Retort:

“Yes, I love being able to provide for my family.”

“If you’d just cut back on things, you could afford to stay home with your kids.”

Sassy Retort:

“Wow, I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll quit tomorrow!”

Savvy Retort:

“I’m sorry, but I’m not comfortable talking about my finances.”

“I don’t know how you do it.”

Sassy Retort:

“I was feeling pretty good today, but thanks for reminding me how suck-y my life is.”

Savvy Retort:

“Thanks for the compliment. It gets complicated sometimes, but we do our best.'”

“Your child needs more attention at home.”

Sassy Retort:

“How do you know how much attention he gets? Are you saying I work too much?”

Savvy Retort:

“I’m confused as to why you would think this about my child. Did he say something to you about it? Has his behavior changed?”

“I didn’t think you’d want the promotion because you have young kids.”

Sassy Retort:

“Do you make the same assumption about the fathers in this company?”

Savvy Retort:

“We don’t need to make assumptions; we need to talk about my job performance.”

“Don’t you have any family who can watch your kids when they’re sick?”

Sassy Retort:

“No. When my kids are sick, they need their mother.”

Savvy Retort:

“When my kid is sick, I come home.”

Source: 10 Things Never to Say to a Working Mom

woman and man wearing brown jackets standing near tree
Photo by Vera Arsic on

What to Say to Champions

Thank you. Thank you for realizing that, like most jobs, being a working parent is difficult, but still rewarding.

The truth is on most days, parenthood is exhausting.

A Final Thought – From the Pillow

Remember you’re a champion fencer. Parry off rude questions and comments.

So don’t let other people’s words touch you. You deserve more.

If you’re a working parent, what’s the oddest or meanest thing anyone’s ever said to you about not staying at home with your children? What did you say back?

(You may have noticed repetition across posts. My thoughts apply to all moms and dads, regardless of their employment status.)

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