Okay ladies!!! Don’t we have enough to worry about in this life? Why are we adding to each other’s burdens with mommy shaming?
Mommy shaming is a real thing. I was inspired to talk about this issue after a conversation with a young mother who no longer wanted to participate in some mommy groups due to mommy shaming on how she is mothering her child. I find this very disturbing. These groups should be for support and not judgement. As human beings, we seek each other out for support. When we don’t get this, we isolate ourselves, which runs us the high risk of becoming depressed. Many mommies do.
Here are some statements you may be expressing and not realizing that they’re mommy shaming. As my husband often reminds me, “don’t assign malice to what can be attributed to ignorance.”
- “I would never do that.”
- “Why would you do/say that?”
- “You have to breastfeed. It’s just selfish not to.”
- “You must breastfeed for one year.”
- “Why aren’t you vaccinating your child!”
- “Vaccinations are harmful to your child.”
- “You should stay home.”
- “Circumcision is barbaric.”
- “Homeschooling is the only way to go.”
And the list goes on and on, but hopefully you get the point. There is no perfect way to raise our children. A very wise woman told me when I had my first child that as long as my children knew they were loved, they would be ok. I hung on to that advise. I knew I was never going to be a great housewife (cleaning is not my thing), a great career woman (not interested at the time), I wasn’t the smartest person in the room, nor the prettiest, not the wittiest—sometimes I think I can be outright boring—but I knew I could love my children and family with all my heart.
These little comments that we say to each other are not supportive. They’re not helpful and put a divide between us as mothers and as women. They get in the way of true communication. I would love to see us supporting each other’s decisions. Each family has their own dynamics that work for them and have a philosophy about how they want to be.
At the core, we want the best for our children. We want our children to grow up to be loving, caring, productive human beings in society. The things we are criticizing are first world problems. Instead of judging what someone else is doing, offer support and encouragement. Wait to give advice until asked. Remember, if you ask someone’s opinion, it’s only their opinion and not necessarily a judgement about you. When you are in your groups, it is okay to disagree, but let’s do it respectfully and without shaming someone because their views and lifestyle veers from you.
In my perfect world, women would be supportive of each other and feel safe living and expressing themselves without judgement.