In April, the Indianapolis Mom’s Blog was asked to join a local TV station for a segment on mom shaming. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you are one of the lucky ones. But usually, and unfortunately, most moms have experienced mom shaming in one form or another.
For the segment, a group of women, from all different backgrounds, sat around and discussed their experiences with the topic. Some of us talked about the looks we got for breast feeding in public, others talked about the something as trivial as cutting our kids hair, and yet they were all the same. Its called Mom Shaming and it needs to stop.
Time to practice what we preach
I sat there and listened to others speak and one thing stood out to me more than anything else. Why do moms feel the need to shame others, when we already put enough guilt and pressure on ourselves? Look “mom’in” ain’t easy, folks. If you are reading this, you know it’s hard work and definitely not for the faint at heart. So maybe we can all take a collective step back and appreciate our differences rather than criticizing them.
One of my fellow contributors spoke eloquently when she said she has her tribe and that it is made up of people she trusts to not shame her for her choices. It saddened me to think that she didn’t necessarily feel comfortable revealing what she does to outsiders for fear of that look of disapproval or negative comment. She and I might have some very different parenting opinions, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sit down with her and listen. I’m quite confident I would learn something. We teach our kids acceptance daily and yet we can get over that our fellow moms are different too.
Sadly, the mom game has become likened to politics these days. Crunchy moms stay away from the structured moms. Co-sleeping moms, don’t you dare converse with the cry-it-out moms and so on and so forth.
Much like politics, I try to keep myself informed. It doesn’t matter what subject you’re on, everyone and every mom is going to have a different way of doing things. So if I don’t understand, I gather information. I have a friend that co-sleeps with her children. I do not and am pretty structured in my son’s schedule. So in attempt to understand the co-sleeping decision, I wanted to arm myself with information. I asked another mom to help me understand this option and now feel like I can relate to my friend on another level. Information is power ladies.
The World Wide Web of Mom Shaming
Social media has catapulted mom shaming to another level. I am confident our parents experienced mom shaming in one form or another, but social media has certainly caused the issue to explode. Similar to an Internet bully, the mom with a keyboard can be just as evil. Far too many hide behind a computer screen quick to judge another mom’s choices. Whether it’s a mom group on social media or your own private page, there isn’t a medium where mom shaming doesn’t exist. What happened to good old-fashioned photos where the comments ended with “How beautiful!” instead of “Cover up your bump, that is not appropriate”. It’s all too much.
Do you, but appreciate others
Bottom line is there is no handbook for motherhood. Most of us, well, at least me, just make it up as we go along and so far, so good. But what I think is so great about all our differences is that I am able to go to my fellow moms and say hey….HELP! They then can say this is what works for me, take it or leave it. It’s like dining out, check out the menu and go with your gut. (Pun intended.) Choose what works for you (or sounds good) and go with it.
During the same interview, the same mom I mentioned previously said something I will never forget. Moms are like your child’s soccer team. We each have on a different number, much like we all run the gamut on how we parent, but in the end WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM. And all too often, I think we lose sight of that point. So next time you go to say something negative to a stranger or even a friend, remember to instead cheer on that teammate instead. It could make all the difference in how we play the game.