Have You Experienced Mom Shaming?
You’re unable to breastfeed, and a cadre of women tell you that you’re compromising you child’s attachment, development, and intellectual potential.
You sleep apart from your infant, and they say you child is lonely and scared. You co-sleep, and they say you will crush or asphyxiate your baby.
You go back to work, out of choice or necessity, and they say you’re selfish and un-attuned. Why would you even have children just for someone else to raise them? You stay at home, and they say you aren’t really working.
You feed your little one nuggets and cereal and yogurt, and your child’s teacher suggests that you are providing inadequate nutrition. But this is all your child will eat.
You allow your children screen time, and there’s someone in the wings explaining how you’re ruining their lives.
You take time for yourself, and they judge you for your escape. You spend all your waking time with your child, and they say you need to integrate self-care.
Everyone loves to judge a mom.
And here’s why this is such a problem:
1) Most mothers are doing the best they can with the resources they have available at the time. You never know another woman’s load without carrying it yourself. The mom who’s ignoring her tantrum-ing child? Maybe that’s that child’s 24th tantrum of the day and the mom is withdrawing rather than acting out her rage? That mom you see scrolling through her phone at the park? Maybe she’s distracting herself from pain or anxiety or trauma. You never know.
2) Mom shaming hurts all women. In one of our most basic, yet profound roles, it’s frustrating that we can never get it right. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if women could support one another, each other’s choices, and our natural diversity? Refraining from judging each other’s choices and actions is a natural start to support and respect.
3) Shaming mothers teaches shaming behavior. Do we really want to be modeling judgment for our children?
4) Judging doesn’t solve problems. If you really are interested in the socio-emotional developmental of a child, how about providing the mother with resources to take better care of herself and her brood?
They say that raising children takes a village. Don’t stand there judging and criticizing. Help, support, and lift each other up. Be the village.