Mom Shaming: What Ever Happened to it “Takes a Village?!?!”
“Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.” -Pearl S. Buck
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” -Jill Churchill
“I think we moms should pledge to never judge one another. We’re all desperately trying to do this mothering thing right.” -Lysa Terkeurst
“You are a good mom, my friend…even if like me you’ve had a few bad moments… you are still a good mom. Let’s live in that truth today.” -Lysa Terkeurst
“You cannot control the behavior of others, but you can always choose how you respond to it.” -Roy T. Bennett
I’m going to start off by saying this is a post that I have been wanting to write for a long time, but I have been praying that I find the right words. I believe mom shaming rears its ugly head at least once for all mothers, especially new mothers. Mom-shaming is real and I completely believe it is a form of bullying. According to the Urban Dictionary, mom shaming is “criticizing or degrading a mother for her parenting choices because they differ from the choices the shamer would make.”
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember feeling strong and empowered. I felt like I was doing what my body was created by God to do. I was so excited to finally be a part of the “mom club.” I wanted in the sisterhood of motherhood. I thought all mothers had this unspoken promise to help each other, even if we didn’t know each other. You see a fellow mother in need, you step up and help the fellow mother. This concept didn’t seem crazy to me. I still honor it, whether it is a real thing or not. For example, just the other day I helped a mom unload her basket of groceries so that she could console her crying child. I am not saying this to toot my own horn. I only say this because I just hope she passed it along. Pass on the mom love! However, this idea for me was fleeting. I might choose to live by this code, but it was clear to me pretty soon in my pregnancy with my first that not all moms live by this code. I joined a few different mom groups on Facebook with my first pregnancy. I was searching for help, guidance, inspiration, and friends. I was in a new town and I didn’t really know anyone. I didn’t realize how mean moms could be. They were harsh. It was so bad that I got to the point that I didn’t even want to post anything because I felt like I would be judged. I feel like we should be building each other up instead of pulling each other down.
Parenting is hard. Let’s be honest, parenting is not easy. If you see a mom that loves her children, is trying her best and isn’t doing anything that could harm her children then we should give her some support. Solidarity. You see a mom dealing with a screaming kid or two at Target, give her a glance or give her a smile. Sometimes the best words to my ears when my kids are melting down and I am feeling at a loss are “I get it, Mama. We all have bad days.” Moms NEED validation.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fail or have bad days. The good moms are the ones that get back up swinging and say “I will do better today.”
Validation is important. I just want to hear that I am doing it right, even though some days I feel like I failed. Let me also point out that I use the term “right” very loosely. What might be right for one family or child might not be right for another family or child? Here are some examples:
- Breastfeeding VS. Formula Feeding
I love it! I breastfed both of my children and it is a bond I will never regret. I was able to share some incredible moments with both of my boys. I also know that there are many health benefits for moms and babies. However, I am not going to shame another mom for not breastfeeding! We don’t always know all the information. What if a mom can’t breastfeed? What if it triggers some type of PTSD in some moms? We can’t judge a mom for not doing what we do!
- Working Moms VS. Stay-At-Home Moms
This one is big! Moms worry about if they are spending enough quality time with their children so shaming moms that work outside the home is a huge no-no for me. Again we don’t know the whole story. Some families might not have the option to have the mom stay home or some mothers might be single mothers and they are the only income for the family. You don’t know!
- Fashion Moms VS. “Sloppy” Moms
I don’t always have my hair fixed, makeup on, or dressed to the nines. Some days I choose a little extra sleep over my outer appearance. I’m not the mom that dropped all my baby weight two weeks after giving birth. I am the mom that is still trying to get off the weight and my boys are 4 and 2! We can’t all look perfect, all the time. We can’t all get weekly mani/pedis or monthly salon trips to cover up the greys! It is like high school all over again. Popular, “hot” moms VS un-popular “sloppy” moms. EEK!! It is horrible! Get over yourself already.
- Crafty, Artsy, Pinterest Moms VS. Buy It Made Moms
This one is crazy to me. It is like we just have to find something to judge other moms for. Just because I buy a banner that is already completed instead of making my own out of paper mache doesn’t make me any less of a mom.
Crib sleeping vs. co-sleeping. Cry it out method? Baby carrying? The list could go on and on……
These are just a few of the ways women mom shame each other. Being a mother is one of the toughest jobs, if not the toughest job, that you will ever have so why not make it easier on some moms and offer a helping hand and some supportive words of encouragement? Take some of the advice that we give our children, and BE NICE!
Whatever happened to it “takes a village??”