Stop Mom Shaming
Because the “perfect mom” does not exist
“That’s not how you hold your baby.” “Your baby should NOT be sleeping in the same bed as you!” “The car seat buckle needs to be higher.” “Breastfeeding in public is just a cry for attention.” And on. And on. And on. STOP mom shaming! I and countless others have been the subject of “mom shaming” on the internet. Mom-shaming is when someone judges, shames, or scolds a mother for something that they are doing with their child/children. But why?
When it comes to social media, sometimes a picture is simply a picture. We only show what we want other people to see. Most people, like myself, post pictures of our children because they’re adorable, and we want to share our child’s adorable-ness with others. They’re either playing, crying, learning how to do something new, or just having fun. But usher in the mom-shamers inundating the comment section with unsolicited advice, opinions, and general nastiness. I know the saying goes, “if you put it on the internet, then anyone can have an opinion.” But the other saying goes, “if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
For example, I posted a picture for my boyfriend’s birthday. It was a picture of him and Jax sleeping together in the same position. It was a recent picture from Thanksgiving morning. I quickly snapped a picture and a few weeks later, posted it online. What most people saw was a beautiful picture of a father sleeping with his newborn son. What a few others saw was a newborn sleeping in a dangerous position, with a fairly large man next to him also asleep. The important part is what happened behind the scenes.
How I was Mom Shamed
Long story short, I had just finished dressing Jax in his new onesie. My boyfriend was asleep, and I laid Jax next to him, took the picture, then placed Jax back in his crib. It is hard to explain that when you are being told how you’re putting your child’s life at risk. I have spoken with Jaxon’s pediatrician about bed-sharing and co-sleeping (sleeping in the same room). As a mother who nurses, it is easier for him and me to be next to each other at night. That was then. Now, he is sleep trained and rarely wakes up during the night. There is no need for him to sleep with me anymore, but before this glorious, sleep-filled fantasy, he was sleeping with me and I felt comfortable letting him. I would never recommend that to anyone else, but that is the decision that I made.
I notice mom shaming the most on pages dedicated to mothers and children. Some women will condemn you for teaching your child how to swim as an infant, even though knowing how to float will save their life if they fall into a pool. Some will rip you apart for showing off new clothes or shoes you’ve bought for your children, stating that it is materialistic and you should buy the child books instead. But, they have no idea if you’re buying books or not. (Seriously, people?! That’s an invalid argument). Some mothers even shame other women for breastfeeding in public! Crazy, right? I guess all nursing mamas should just let their child starve in public so everyone else can be comfortable.
As a mother, and definitely as a new mother, it is discouraging to hear that you are doing something wrong when you’re more than likely not. Everyone raises their children differently. It’s tough enough having to deal with work-life balance, taking care of your family, and feeling tired 24 hours out of a 24 hour day. We do not need, nor want, to feel shame from our peers. We all should uplift them instead. “You’re doing great, Mama!” Those four words can change a mother’s entire day and hopefully, brighten her mood. So don’t be the mom-shamer.
Here are some things to think about next time you think about commenting on someone’s picture to mom-shame them:
1). Are you the parent? (Answer: probably not)
2). Are you a perfect parent? (Answer: probably not)
3). What does mom-shaming accomplish? (Answer: Nothing)
If you have any questions about something involving the safety of your child, the best thing to do is ask a professional. If you’re having a difficult time establishing what is the best way to raise your child, talk to your partner or someone you trust. Include the people that are important to you in the daily dealings of your children, and ignore the shamers.
Stay strong, Mama, and don’t get discouraged by the mom shamers!