Why Mom-Shaming Needs to stop NOW.
The epidemic of mom-shaming is one of the main reasons I launched Unashamed Mommy. I’m beyond TIRED of being judged and seeing other moms judged for simply trying to survive motherhood. As a first-time mom, I don’t always know what I’m doing and sometimes it’s hard. The added stress of everyone’s unsolicited opinions and criticisms has had me sobbing into my pillow at times. This is what mom-shaming does to you.
Moms are scrutinized under the sharpest of microscopes for every single parenting decision they make … and there’s about 5 billion different ones to make. Having a baby miraculously gives everyone the balls to openly question your every move. Oh, and everyone is suddenly an expert! It’s inevitable that someone will disagree with you, but is it really necessary to condemn them for that?
But let’s be real for a moment …
We’ve all done it. Don’t tell me that you haven’t judged another mom at the park. Or blamed a mom for her toddler’s public meltdown. On the flip side, we’ve all been on the receiving end of it as well. You know the pain of being kicked when you’re down. You know how it feels to be ridiculed while trying to do your best.
Maybe you’ve been shamed for breastfeeding publicly.
Maybe you’ve been shamed for feeding your baby formula.
Maybe you’ve been shamed for not wanting to be a stay-at-home mom.
Or, maybe you’ve been shamed for “only” being a stay-at-home mom.
I’ve been shamed for all of the above.
The point is, you will never please everyone. Everyone is a critic, especially behind the security blanket of a keyboard and social media account. This is why mom-shaming needs to stop now:
You’re doing it because you’re insecure.
I’ve felt it, you’ve felt it — we’ve all felt it. That crippling doubt that we’re failing in some way. Sometimes, to mask our own insecurity we lash out at others. We fall into a toxic pattern of comparing and contrasting, using others as a crutch upon which to build up our own self esteem. Moms are especially guilty of doing this to each other. Maybe you stalk other moms to see how their babies are progressing with certain milestones. If your baby is ahead, you feel triumphant. If he’s behind, you mentally tear down that child for being deficient elsewhere. You don’t need to justify your strengths as a mom by judging what you see as the “failures” of another mom.
We should be supporting each other.
Motherhood is hard enough without also making it into a competition. The only people on this earth who know and understand the struggle of motherhood are other moms. It’s a powerful bond. But, be understanding when a mom has a different experience than you. For example, I stopped breastfeeding because I had complications that took a toll on me (read my story here). This was disappointing to my breastfeeding mom-friend, who lamented that I could have tried harder. I made it 3-months, she’s going on 2-years strong. What works for her didn’t work for me, and that’s OK. On the other hand, I know she’s shamed for “still breastfeeding”. What goes around comes around.
Be a Role Model for your Children
One of my biggest fears as a mom is the day Cole first comes home from school feeling bullied by another child. Bullying is a serious issue, and I firmly believe it starts at home. If your child overhears you speaking negatively, judging, criticizing, and belittling others, odds are they will mimic that behavior. We need to teach our children universal kindness and understanding. It’s OK to do things differently than others — to be different. In fact, the world’s most successful people are those who break the mold and practice open-mindedness. We could all use a lesson in this.
It’s coming from people who have no clue.
I’m talking about men, your husbands, your employers, even your immediate family. My grandmother had babies 50 years ago but still feels entitled to tell me how I should be feeling and acting with my new baby. My fiance, bless his heart, encouraged me to not get an epidural and to “toughen up” through labor pains (yes, he survived those comments). My dad was extremely uncomfortable seeing me breastfeed. You love them, but sometimes you have to kindly let them know when to shut up. They have not, and will never, experience exactly what you are. Remember, you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you and your baby.
Moms are literally superwomen
Moms are supernatural creatures. If you’re a mom, do not let anyone ever let you feel lesser than that. You created a human life and you’ve mastered every single job known to man. You’re a maid, personal chef, chauffeur, teacher, finance manager, therapist, crisis manager, doctor, etc. This is simply expected of you, and you’re OK with that. You receive little to no thanks. You survive on coffee and kisses. Your job is 24/7, and you never get to retire. You didn’t go to college to become a mom, there’s no courses to take or handbook to read. But, that little life you’ve nurtured and grown thinks you’re the smartest person in the world … because you are. You’re everything he needs, and that’s all that matters. Your existence alone is enough, and you deserve all the praise in the world … so together let’s stop the shaming!
Do you have a story about being mom-shamed? Any comments to add? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a feature.