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10 Compliments All Working Mothers Love to Hear

Working Mother logoWorking Mother 20/3/2017 Amy Preiser
Consider using these compliments the next time you have something to say. © Photo: iStock Consider using these compliments the next time you have something to say.

Because we can all stand to lift each other up more often.

There are no three words that more expertly cut down a working mom than “must be nice”—no matter how well-intentioned. It applies to everything: that enviable flexible work schedule … that you sacrificed great insurance for. Enrolling your child in a wonderful preschool … but missing drop-off every freaking day to afford it. Being a “classroom mom” … while running on five hours of sleep because you work nights. Insert your own genius workaround that enables you to have some semblance of work-childcare balance.

The truth is those “nice” things don’t just happen: They’re a sign of progress every working mom is busting their butt for. Here’s how to properly acknowledge that, and win friends in the process.

1. “Your kid is so [happy/clever/kind/funny/insert appropriate compliment]—nice work.” What’s that sound? Pride bubbling up as they smile on behalf of their terrific kid, and their acknowledged role in producing one.

2. “Your company is so lucky to have you.” This is a twist on a faux-compliment women often get about their employers. “Wow! You’re so lucky your office lets you xyz!” Nope! They, a smart capable team of people, are lucky to have you, a hardworking person who also cares for a child and creates a schedule that makes it all happen.

3. “Your nails always look so beautiful.”Wait! This one only goes out to the working moms who really do have lovely nails, i.e. not mine. But feel free to tweak this to call out whatever act of self-care your working mom friends have expended energy on. By noticing—and admiring!—their blow-out, new shoes or whatever, you’re reaffirming that yes, they’re worth it. Because chances are they’re fighting guilt over every teeny indulgence.

4. “That’s awesome.” If someone’s kind enough to share their bizarre and exhausting mix of work-kid life, this is the best response. It’s not hyperbole; it’s actually awe-inspiring. You work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. then spend the afternoon with your kids? That’s awesome. You come home from work every night after your kids go to sleep, but manage to have a warm family breakfast? That’s awesome. No one-upping. No jealousy. Just plain old awe.

5. "It's amazing that you can manage your household and family so well while keeping up with your very demanding job." I sourced this one directly from a working mom I admire greatly and often ask myself how she “does it all.” Rather than asking, “How do you do it all?” (which can often make moms feel guilty because OMG I’M NOT ACTUALLY DOING IT ALL DIDN’T YOU NOTICE MY NAILS ARE A MESS?), just spell out exactly what she’s doing and call it what it is: amazing.

6. “You inspired me to xyz this morning!” Inspired, like awesome: not hyperbole. Ninety percent of the things I’ve learned about keeping my life running in a semi-manageable way, I learned from other badass working moms. And I let them know every little thing they inspired me to do, right down to not peeling my son’s clementine for a snack.

7. “I love the way you organized your schedule.” So your friend only works for two hours a day while her kid naps, and then in the evening while they sleep? That’s not “nice” or “easy;” that shows creativity and industriousness, and it’s practically guaranteed that mom had to fight—or give up something—for that.

8. “You are a badass.” Do you like hearing that you’re badass? So does every other working mom out there. This one wins 100% of the time with moms who are comfortable with the occasional gentle swear word. The working mom that suggested this one is a certifiable badass, just like you are. Own it, and remind others of their badassery.

9. “You're setting such a great example for your kid(s).” Another no-brainer that everyone loves to hear. And a great one to tell yourself when you’re feeling down. Seriously: You are setting a great example. Not a perfect one—that’s impossible. A great one. And that’s awesome.

10. “Hey, don’t talk about my friend like that!” I love this one as a response to your pal when the all-too-typical complaint comes up about what a “terrible” job she’s doing. Venting is 100% allowed (and often, really helpful), but don’t let a friend talk smack about herself without reminding her she’s probably just being hard on herself. Feel free to choose from compliments 1 to 9 to bring her back up.

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