Why do people think it’s okay to Mom shame? Here is just one example of a Mom Shaming Story – when in reality there are too many to list.
Why do people think it’s okay to Mom shame?
I recently read an article explaining why Mom shaming is a natural instinct for so many people. I was not bewildered – but more enlightened by the reasoning. According to Yvette Mitchell, LCSW for Monarch Wellness, judgment harkens back to basic survival instincts. Judging others is a natural impulse that we use to topple feelings of insecurity and bolster confidence in our own instincts (source). If moral judgement is innate, does it make it right? No – not when it comes to mom shaming.
Mom Shaming Happens Every Day
I don’t recall my first mom shaming encounter, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with breastfeeding in public. Thankfully I joined a breastfeeding group of Moms who told me how totally normal it is to breastfeed my baby outside of the home. Their encouragement instilled a sense of self-confidence I would need to ignore any future disapproval from strangers.
Mom shaming happens every day to new Moms, old Moms, seasoned Moms, and even Dads. From breastfeeding to bottle feeding, sleep training to co-sleeping, working moms to stay at home moms – the topics parents are shamed on are endless.
My Latest Mom Shaming Story
Last week I shared a particularly sensitive and personal story about my daughter. My intentions for telling her story are the same as my goal for writing anything on my blog. I want to provide an honest account of my experiences with the hopes of helping others going through the same thing. I never expected to experience Mom Shaming for publishing it, but negative comments found their way into my inbox.
“Our Child is Going Through Early Puberty” was mostly received well by my audience – so well I lost count of the supportive messages. Mothers, and one father, thanked me for bringing awareness to the signs of early puberty. Some parents shared their own daughter’s experiences, that I in turn shared with Annabelle. She was so happy to hear she is not the only girl in the world whose body started to change too early. I even spoke with women grateful to learn there was a way to stop the condition, as they unknowingly experienced precocious puberty themselves.
Mixed in with messages of support were messages of opposition. How could I discuss my daughters’ private condition with the world? Why did I think it’s appropriate to talk about something so personal for a child? Puberty is normal – why would you stop it in a child? Followers told me they were unfollowing me and blocked my account. One person even went as far to tell me my post was disgusting and how I was inviting child predators to seek out my “developed daughter.”
Why do people Mom shame?
Why do people think it’s okay to Mom shame? Sometimes, the unrealistic expectations moms put on themselves and others are at the root of mom shaming. Some people who engage in mom shaming genuinely feel like they are trying to help. Others get a boost to their own ego when they put others down (source).
Parenting is a difficult journey filled with highs and lows, mistakes, rewards, and learning experiences. Every parent cares for their child differently – and this is normal. Unfortunately, we live in a society where parents, who believe their parenting methods are superior to others, often offer unwelcome unconstructive criticism.
I grew up with a very important lesson on my heart – spoken by a cute little rabbit named Thumper in the classic Disney film Bambi. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Many times when Moms (or Dads) cast judgement on others, they forget Thumper’s golden rule. And those words hurt – even if they come from a place of care or concern. Mom shaming can result in self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity – and ultimately become a source for Mom Guilt.
How do you respond to Mom Shaming?
I’ve lost count of how many times I have experienced mom shaming since I became a Mom nine and a half years ago. My response has not been consistent – sometimes I try to defend myself while other times I react with silence. The lingering effects of mom shaming are always the same regardless of my reaction. I am left feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and sometimes disappointed in myself as a Mom.
My big question is this: What’s the best way to respond to Mom Shaming? “Carly Snyder, MD, a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist, says, While you might feel angry or hurt, remember one key truth: Being mom-shamed isn’t indicative of anything beyond being in the company of critical people. Often, the best thing to do is disconnect from the conversation. You don’t have to justify or explain your parenting to anyone—you’re doing your best!” (source).
Even though I am not required to justify sharing my daughter’s story – I will tell you why I stand by my decision to do so. Precocious puberty is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should it be whispered about. My blog post was not only written with my daughters’ permission, but also her support. If we can shed light on an unfamiliar topic like precocious puberty, then maybe other parents and children experiencing the rare condition will feel less alone. Or perhaps, this post will bring awareness to the topic so parents recognize the symptoms of early puberty in their daughters before it is too late.
At the end of the day, if you feel inclined to tell a parent your thoughts on their parenting style – think before you speak. Check in on this article – 10 Ways You Might Be Mom-Shaming – before you hurt someone’s feelings.