I feel like I have seen it all when it comes to online links
touting things you should never say.
What not to say to a mother of twins
What not to say to a single mom
What not to say to a parent that has adopted
What not to say to a person with an eating disorder
What not to say to a person with an unusual birthmark
The last one I made up, but the rest are real, and I could go on
and on.  The more of these taboo comments that I came across, the more
I became fearful of hurting someone’s feelings. I recently saw one that
should have been right up my alley titled 10 Things You
Should Not Say to Moms With Multiple Children
The picture that goes along with the post is a mom with three
children and a grocery cart. Hey, that’s me! I go to the grocery store with
three children far too often. I like to joke that I am in my 30’s, but I can
still turn heads. The punch line is that I turn a lot of heads with the way my
kids behave when we are out in public. I have had at least 100 strangers tell
me that I have my hands full. It’s true though. My hands are usually literally
carrying things and figuratively juggling things.
“You have your hands full” is just one of the things
the article considered “tactless commentary from intrusive
strangers”. Another statement you are not supposed to say to me or
other moms is “lots of helpers” along with “Enjoy these
days. They grow up so Fast.” And last on the list is “the silent stare”.
If you read the article it explains why you should not say/do these things, and
I get where the idea comes from because I know it feels redundant when you
are on the receiving end. I have even vented about the cliché
statements before. 
So I came up with this idea. Instead of having all of these
“things you should never say” lists to sift through online. I have decided to
just sum it all up into one nice little politically correct paragraph.

 If you find yourself in an environment that is also
occupied by a mother with children, or a person with a disability, or
someone who has experienced tragedy, or is breathing, then you shouldn’t say
anything, unless it is from an approved list of one liners preferably
customized by each individual that would be receiving the
comment. And be especially careful of how you look at said individual.
Don’t look for too long to imply staring, or too short to suggest that you
don’t enjoy seeing them. In fact I would avoid looking at them at all. Then
again that could be the same as ignoring them, which could be considered
offensive too. Instead you might want to try not being around people.

I’m being sarcastic of course. Hopefully you can see where I am
going with this. I understand why lists like this are such a hit. Some of them
truly do raise awareness about certain misconceptions. However, more often than
not we just want people to know what to say to us because we are insecure,
tired, hurt, or fill in the blank. I even considered doing my own list of
“What to say when you see a child with a disability” because my
daughter is deaf and has cochlear implants. It’s kind of hard to miss and I can
tell that some people feel awkward around us at times. The problem with my list
is that I would encourage people to talk with me openly about their thoughts
and curiosities. I love answering questions and educating people
on what the cochlear implant is all about! However, I have lots of friends
who are parents of deaf children and some of them do not like talking about it.
Or sometimes it depends on the day! So there is no list of do’s and don’ts
because there aren’t just “Parents of Deaf Children”-period.
It’s more complex than that.
Similarly there aren’t just pregnant ladies, or women
who have had c-sections
, or biracial couples, or introverts,
or working moms. There are just people! Individual people. 
Sure we all belong to certain groups and stereotypes, but that
does not define us. We are way too complicated to be narrowed down to a list of
appropriate conversations. We are all people that will offend other people and
will be offended by other people. On the bright side we are also diverse people that get to learn from one another. We get to share space and have community together. We engage. We form opinions. We form relationships and even friendships!  

I hate the thought that people would stop interacting out of fear of offending. Sure, there are going to be some jerks out there that say ignorant things, but isn’t there a Taylor Swift song about that? Shake it off, right? Because at one point or another, you will be offended. It’s happened to me. There are also comments that I just could have done without. For example when I was pregnant with a girl after I already had a boy I would have thought the whole world joined together to celebrate the fact that this meant I was done having children. Which, obviously didn’t stop me. Still, at the end of the day, I would rather be annoyed on occasion than disconnected for life.