When Talking to Moms…


I had an awkward moment on Sunday. In meeting a new person at church, I reciprocated her questions about me with some inquiry about her. Except I didn’t know how to word it.

I troll enough “mommy blogs” for my couponing habit and money-saving ideas that I eventually read enough posts on being a stay at home mom (SAHM, if you’re not up on the acronym), or how to be a working mom without guilt, or following one’s call even if it means sacrificing in a certain way. I get it all on the mom side.

[Insert sentences on why the single girl wonders why only so few moms remember what it’s like in the working/school world, all the while, NOT starting World War III: Career vs. Mom]

But this does bring me to my awkward moment. See, this woman had a small child next to her. Thanks to online mom-rants, I didn’t know how to ask in the politest way possible whether she was at home or worked. It came out, “So are you just at home with your kids? What is your training in?”

I probably should have taken out the “just” in order to appease the militant SAHM crowd. Thankfully, there was no sign of offense from her. She did work outside her home, and we had a lovely end to the conversation. But it begs in me the question: what is the best way to approach a woman whom you just met and aren’t sure how to ask the “SAHM vs. Working” question? It seems innocent enough to ask – the person knows how I spend my time; shan’t I know how she spends hers?

Or is the answer that all three sides – single girl, working mom, stay-at-home-mom – just need to quit waiting to be offended and take the question with innocence unless otherwise indicated by future conversation?

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