You’re in the grocery store and you see a young mother with a mortified look on her face as her normally sweet toddler has a meltdown in the middle of the aisle. What do you do? Do you say something? Do you offer advice? Do you stay quiet, silently judging? Do you smile encouragingly to the overwhelmed mother? Do you see if you can help diffuse the situation?
While in an ideal world we would see others offering this mother encouragement and seeing if there was any way they could help the situation, the awful reality is that most of the time such a scenario is met with glares, snide remarks, and looks of disgust. Mom shaming is a terrible reality for virtually every mother and the outlook on the situation improving is bleak. It comes from every corner, from the keyboard warriors to those we know in real life in our communities, social circles and sometimes even our own family and friends.
Mom shaming has been something that has been on my mind lately. It’s become so common that it has been defined by Urban Dictionary as a mother being criticized or degraded for parenting choices based on the simple fact that they differ from the choices of the shamer. Think about that for a second. There is little to no evidence behind the reason why a mother is criticized. They are being faulted by others for being themselves and following the philosophies that make sense to them. We can certainly agree to disagree on parenting. Not every philosophy, concept or belief of parenting that works for me will work for you. So why are we holding mothers to impossible standards?
Everyone is quick to criticize and they can always do it better *eye roll*. I’m tired of the endless chatter of “I would never let my child….,” “I can’t believe you…,” “How can you let your child…,” etc. I have found this to be true worldwide. Mom shaming is not segregated to any one particular culture. I’ve experienced it in the States. I’ve experienced it in India. I’ve experienced it in Nepal. I’ve experienced it in airports. I’ve experienced it in malls. I’ve experienced it in restaurants and cafes. I’ve experienced it in hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. I’ve experienced it from my own family.
Moms are shamed for every aspect of parenting.
Moms are shamed for their feeding choices (breastfeeding vs formula feeding)
Moms are shamed for their parenting styles
Moms are shamed for their decision to work outside the home
Moms are shamed for their decision to stay at home
Moms are shamed for going out without their children
Moms are shamed for spending too much time with their children
Moms are shamed for giving their kids electronic devices
Moms are shamed for too much screen time
Moms are shamed for sending their children to public school
Moms are shamed for homeschooling
Moms are shamed for the decisions regarding their children’s diets
Moms are shamed for using cloth diapers
Moms are shamed for using disposable diapers
Moms are shamed for traveling with children
Moms are shamed for traveling without their children
Moms are shamed for co-sleeping
Moms are shamed for using the cry it out method
Moms are shamed for their children’s bedtimes or lack thereof
Moms are shamed for their children’s schedules
Moms are shamed for their children being involved in extracurricular activities
Moms are shamed for their children not being involved in extracurricular activities
Moms are shamed for taking time for themselves
Obviously, mothers cannot get it right *sarcasm*.
Ugh! Get it together people.
This needs to stop.
Mom shaming is toxic.
We all know how exhausting motherhood is—we’ve been there. It is a 24/7 job with no sick days and no holidays. On top of that, no one really knows 100% what the hell we are doing. We are all just trying to figure out how to raise the humans that we have brought into the world.Only YOU know what is best for your family. Only YOU know your specific situation and what is needed. #StopMomShaming Click To Tweet
The first step in battling the beast that is mom shaming is to understand that it is a projection. The supposed fault that the shamer is highlighting is often something that they themselves need to work on, not necessarily something that you are doing wrong. Comments that are mom shaming often come from a place of jealousy or discontent with their own capabilities or situation.
Even if a mother seemingly brushes off mom shaming, it still hurts. But why? Knowing that mom shaming is simply a projection and not necessarily saying anything truthful about your own parenting why is it so hard to deal with it? Well, I believe it is because it attacks something close to your heart—being a good mother to your children. As much as it hurts you must remember, it’s not about you.
Only YOU know what is best for your family. Only YOU know your specific situation and what is needed.
Stopping mom shaming starts with us. We must stop and reflect on our own thoughts and actions towards other mothers. Personally, I know that I have silently judged how others have decided to parent (although I try to correct myself when I catch such thoughts). Even if we don’t say anything we should try to stop these thoughts altogether. Being a mother is hard work. Rather than judgment mothers need love, support, and acceptance. We need to build each other up rather than tear each other time.
We need to love each other.
“When you’re in the thick of raising your kids by yourself, you tend to keep a running list of everything you think you’re doing wrong. I recommend taking a lot of family pictures as evidence to the contrary.” —Connie Schultz
I know I have experienced mom shaming. What about you? Have you experienced mom shaming? If so, where and from who? How did you deal with it? Any advice for moms dealing with mom shaming? Leave a comment below.
For all you skimmers out there:
- Mom shaming is toxic
- It’s not about you–it’s a projection
- It hurts because it hits at something close to your heart
- Only You know your situation and what is best for YOUR family
- Mom shaming needs to stop
- Moms need love, support, and acceptance
- Stopping mom shaming starts with YOU