As moms go, I am far from perfect. I love being a mom, and I work very hard at doing my best. However, perfection is very elusive. I can say that I am a good mom. This is something I know in my heart, but that does not mean that I am perfect. I once caused my toddler’s public meltdown and then there was the froggy potty incident in Target. Nobody is a perfect mom, but mom-shaming is awful and it needs to stop right now.
The Trend of Celebrity Mom-Shaming
I recently came across a mom-shaming news story about Hillary Duff. She has recently been blasted on on social media for kissing her son on the lips in a photo. That is right, people are up in arms because a mom gave her son a kiss. The act of giving her son a kiss has been called both “disgusting” and “inappropriate.”
New mom Chrissy Teigen was mom-shamed for going out to dinner with her husband shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Can’t moms go out to dinner? Is this real life? By the way, Chrissy’s husband, John Legend, received no backlash. He candidly shot back on Twitter saying, “Funny there is no dad-shaming.”
Then, there is the hot-button topic of mom-shaming for breastfeeding in public. Moms like Mila Kunis and Alyssa Milano have taken quite a bit of heat for breastfeeding their children in public. I have breastfed in public numerous times and received my share of nasty looks. They are boobs, people. Can we get over it?
Why We Mom-Shame
I can only speculate, but I think the reason why we mom-shame other moms is due to our feelings of inadequacy. No matter what we do as moms, we seem to always struggle with trying to do it all. It constantly feels like what we are doing is not good enough.
These feelings of inadequacy spiral into jealousy. If you scroll through social media, it seems like everyone is out there doing it better than you are. You might think that all the other moms are rocking motherhood with their gourmet meals, Pinterest-perfect crafts, and beautiful family vacations. But, nobody is that perfect. Nobody.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes I tend to lose my filter out of pure exhaustion. Being a mom is both thrilling and utterly exhausting. When you are sleep deprived and hopped up on caffeine, you may lose the ability to choose your words carefully. It does happen to the best of us.
For seven more reasons why you might be mom-shaming, check out this post on Scary Mommy.
Why Mom-Shaming Needs to Stop
Mommin’ ain’t easy and we need all the help we can get. We need to stop mom-shaming!
I kind of figured that this whole parenting thing would be pretty tough, but you do not realize how difficult it really is until you are in it. You agonize over every decision and scrutinize every choice. It is not just the big decisions we worry about either, like whether or not to co-sleep or how to discipline. It is the little things. Like, did they eat enough vegetables today?
We moms have enough worry on our shoulders to last a lifetime. The last thing we need is to worry about what other moms think about our parenting choices. We also do not need to spend precious moments of our busy lives defending said choices on social media, either.
What moms do need is a tribe. We need to support one another and resist the urge to judge. You do not have to agree with all of the choices another mom makes, but you can be respectful.
How to Stop Mom-Shaming Today
Let’s assume we have all mom-shamed another mom at some point. Even if you really did not mean to. Maybe you just accidentally raised an eyebrow or two instead of giving a warm smile. It happens. But let’s try to do our best to be better! Here are some things we can all do right now to stop the cycle of mom-shaming:
Be Positive. Whether or not you agree with another mom’s parenting choices, believe that she is doing what she thinks is best for her child.
Give Compliments. Do more than simply liking your mom’s friend’s post on Facebook. Tell her she is doing a good job or that she looks pretty.
Offer support, not criticism. Instead of criticizing, ask if your mom friend needs some help. Maybe she needs a break or just a sounding board. Just be there.
Remember that there is a person on the other end of that screen. It is so easy to click “post” on social media behind the safety net of your smartphone or computer. But remember, that there is a real person on the other side with real feelings.
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. This old adage is still relevant today. If your opinion is less than kind, keep it to yourself.
When to Speak Up
There are times in which you should speak up. This is not mom-shaming. These examples are times in which you feel either the safety of mom or child is compromised. For example, if you think your mom friend may be suffering from postpartum depression, speak up and let her know you are there for her.
There are many ways you can help a friend with postpartum depression just by reaching out. She may need someone to talk to or someone to drive her to the doctor. For more ways to help, check out this article.
If you ever feel like a child is in danger or being abused, you must speak up. I am not suggesting confronting the parent and endangering yourself, but rather involving the authorities. You can call and make a report to Child Protective Services in your state. These are tough calls to make, but trust your gut and make a report if ever you suspect a child is in danger.
A New Mom Mission
Instead of mom-shaming, let’s try something different. Let’s try supporting each other and building our mom tribe. How about we have each other’s back instead of talking about each other behind the back? Instead of blasting each other for giving our kid a kiss, or dining out with our husbands, or feeding our hungry babies, let’s say, “You go, girl!” or “Good job, Mama!”
We can actually help each other survive this mom life. Not only that, if we feel supported, we might just start feeling more confident and less stressed. If we work together, we can rock this motherhood thing. So, let’s do it!