We live in a world where everyone has an opinion on everything. And most people like to voice their opinion to anyone and everyone. This can be okay, and has its place, but when you start believing that your opinion is fact, issues begin to arise. If you are in the parenting arena at all, you’ve heard about mom shaming. Mom shaming starts with opinions shifting into pseudo-facts and assuming your way of doing things is the only right way.
The problem is, there is no right way to do motherhood or to parent. I love the saying “there is no way to be a perfect mom but there are thousands of ways to be a great mom.” It’s so true. That one mom that does all organic, breastfed till they were three, and has millions of learning activities is a great mom, but so is the mom that allows potato chips, screen time, and running naked through the back yard. Neither are perfect moms, but both are great moms; just in very different ways.
Superiority in Motherhood
Simply put, mom shaming is superiority in motherhood. Whether they are an empty nester, a mom of toddlers, or someone who doesn’t even have kids, they think they would be superior than you at raising your child. They may not have consciously thought this as they shamed you, but it is the root of the issue. They think their way of raising a human is better than how you are currently doing it.
What they don’t realize is that this is not all of your parenting. This small snippet of the day that they are interacting with you is not the entirety of how you parent. They also don’t know your child. Parenting is not a one size fits all. Every child is different and therefore has to be parented differently. While their style of parenting worked for them, it may not work for you or your child.
Where It Comes From
Did you know that most women feel the most judged by family members? I surveyed many women in all different walks of life and the vast majority said they feel the most shamed by family members. Family has a way of thinking boundaries do not exist since you are related by blood or marriage. Therefore, they think they can give all the unsolicited advice they want to or to tell a mom she isn’t parenting right. Really, the problem typically is that you aren’t parenting the way they parented.
After family, the next biggest source of shame was from strangers and the media. Somehow when you are pregnant or have a kid, strangers lose all sense of boundaries. Either through backhanded compliments or overt statements (sometimes even just a look) strangers have the power to ruin a mom’s day.
The media always seems to have the perfect way to raise a kid. Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest; they all have the power to make us feel like we are failing at this mom thing. Whether its that mom that posts the Le Leche league badge every month for breastfeeding or the pin that claims any screen time will kill your child’s brain, it tends to have a negative effect on moms. I’m not saying social media is bad. I’m in a number of mom Facebook groups that I find very helpful. But you also have to regulate what you are taking in and what you are subjecting yourself to.
So how do we fix it? Well you can’t slap that lady that gave you the stink eye for breastfeeding in public nor can you cut ties with family members who shame you. So we just change the way we react.
Know why you do what you do.
Knowing why you parent how you do can help brush off the statements that hurt. I decided to quit breastfeeding because I hated it. I needed to quit so that I could be a happier mom. Since I know my child is better off for having a happy mom, I am strong in my decision.
Check the validity of the statement
No one is perfect. Sometimes our parenting does need a little outside input. Try to take the hurt out of what they said and see if there is any validity to their statement. Also, check who the statement is from. If they are someone who does truly care about you and your kids, I doubt they said it to purposefully hurt you.
Check your own attitude to other moms
The only way to end the culture of mom shaming is to not mom shame. Rarely do we mean to shame other moms but it happens. Check your attitude and actions towards other moms. The next time someone else’s kids are driving you crazy at the grocery store running around like maniacs, remember that they aren’t your kids. You don’t know the whole situation or what that mom is going through.
Whether you choose to bottle feed or breastfeed, screen time or not, crazy or calm house, know that this is a safe space. The Naptime Projects exists to help end the mom shaming and mom guilt in the world. I started it to help end the superiority in motherhood and to create a community of caring moms.
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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.