One of the responsibilities of parenting is teaching our children manners. These are the “pleases” and “thank yous” of life that lay the foundation for interpersonal relationship skills that they’ll use throughout adulthood.
However, learning manners isn’t just for children. Etiquette lessons continue throughout life, often when technology creates a need (cell phone etiquette, text messaging etiquette, etc), or you find yourself in a new job environment or stage of life.
While moms are usually the teachers of manners, they also need to “mind their manners” when interacting with other moms. I doubt there’s an etiquette book on mothering etiquette, however there are general courtesies moms can give to one another that make up what we could call “Mommy Manners.”
Recently several moms put their heads together and concluded that the following are important manners for moms to remember:
- When visiting someone’s house with children in tow, always help put away toys the children played with before you leave. This models responsibility for your children and it shows respect to the hostess.
- If you are in a quiet, public setting (such as a meeting or church service) with an infant or child and the child fusses or cries, always step out of the room to settle the child. This is respectful to those around you who are trying to hear the speaker or maintain focus.
- If your baby or toddler has a dirty diaper while you are visiting someone’s home, never put the stinky diaper in their trashcan. Most moms agree that you have two options when this happens: 1) Keep plastic bags in your diaper bag to put the dirty diaper in and take it back to your home to throw away or 2) Ask for the location of their outdoor trash can and dispose of the diaper outside the house or building.
- After someone has a baby, give them a call when you are at the store and offer to pick up milk, bread, or whatever they might need.
- Always RSVP promptly to invitations your children receive.
- Offer to pay for gas when sharing a ride to your children’s out of town sporting event.
- When someone is behind you in the grocery store with only a few items, offer to let them go ahead of you even though your kids are anxious to leave.
- Offer to hold a door open for a mom who is entering a store with a stroller.
- Be the first one to wave while walking or driving down your street.
- Offer to take your neighbor’s children if going to the same event, lesson, or camp.
- When your children have a friend spend the night, have their sleepover bags packed, sleeping bags ready, and shoes by the door at the predetermined time the parents will be arriving for pick up.
- When going to someone’s house for a luncheon playdate, offer to bring your own lunches or snacks. This helps take the burden off the hostess mom and eliminates picky eater syndrome.
- Remember to respect another mom’s way of doing things even if it is different than how you do it!
- Be a good listener to another mom. Don’t try to top her story, just allow her to vent!
- If you have two children close in age and one gets an invitation to do something special (play at a friend’s house, go to a birthday party, etc) do not assume that the other child can just come along. (I recently heard about a mom who dropped off her 4-year-old son at a birthday party. As she was leaving, her 3-year-old son began to throw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t stay so she asked the host mom if it would be ok for the sibling to stay, too. Don’t even think about it, mom! Our kids need to know that they don’t always get to do the things their siblings get to do and their siblings don’t get to do everything they get to do.)
Courteous, thoughtful moms usually raise courteous, helpful kids. That’s because with kids more is caught than taught.
Can you think of any other mommy manners that are important for us to remember?