I’ll be the first to admit it, I’ve been mom-shamed. What’s worse is that I’ve also been the one shaming others. Mom shaming is worse than high school drama, in my opinion. And sadly, sometimes, you can’t help but do it. It’s how you recover and change from it that makes the difference. This way you’ll learn to respect others, and not do the same thing to your fellow moms.
Shaming other moms
I’ve shamed other moms for mostly food-related things. I dislike seeing kids fed unhealthy items (i.e. snack cakes, juices, lots of sugary foods, snacks with food dyes, etc). But I’ve learned to focus my poor judgement on more optimistic things. Things like telling myself that hey, maybe that’s all the parent can afford at that moment. Or maybe they just aren’t informed or educated on the best food choices. Or maybe it is truly none of my business what another person feeds their child. It’s their child. There are tons of reinforcements that I put into my mind to remove the thought of shaming another mom.
Who is to say that mom isn’t judging me for my food choices, or the fact the I let my four-year-old dress herself. Or that I rarely, if ever, brush my daughters super fine curly hair during the day. I’ve learned to accept the strange glances from others and brush them off because my baby girls hair makes her who she is and fits her spunky personality.
Shaming and the role of social media
I’m writing this post mostly because the shaming happens all too often. I certainly don’t think social media helps in any way, and quite possibly, it has made the mom-shaming one hundred times worse. After all, isn’t that what social media is? You see a picture and instantly, and instinctively, judge that other family, person, or child. I mean come on, people have been set up to judge how we raise our children every second of the day. If a mom shares a picture of someone feeding her child a bottle of formula, people are so quick to question why she isn’t breastfeeding? What we share on social media gives everyone the opportunity to question our choices, which in turns, leads to us as moms feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed, and questioning our own parenting.
I know I am guilty of this, and I’ve also been shamed for MANY things. Those who know me well know that I have no filter and I tend to have an “I don’t care what others think” mindset. It takes a lot, or certain triggers, to get through my thick skin. But at some point, something will get to you and I recently reached that point.
Shaming and breastfeeding
My shameful moment happens to be about breastfeeding. My daughter, Rowen, is seventeen-months-old and she is, to put it simply, addicted to the boob. She still nurses roughly five times during the day, and 2-3 times throughout the night. She’s never taken to bottles or pacifiers, and yes, she eats a ton of food throughout the day (more than her four-year-old sister).
She tends to want to nurse at the most inconvenient times mostly because for comfort, and she certainly will not stand for having me try to cover her (who can blame her in the SC heat?) Recently, I was given a very hard time for sharing a picture of myself breastfeeding Rowen on Instagram when I wasn’t covered. It was blatantly obvious what I was doing and people (my own distant family members) were quick to shame me for it.
“That’s disgusting and disturbing that you put your whole boob out for everyone to see. You need to do that in a private place. Isn’t she too old for that? Don’t you feed her food?”
Those were just a few of the hurtful comments that were thrown my way.
This moment (that lasted over days) haunted me, and although I was quick to defend my choices, as a MOM, people still don’t see my side. Every time Rowen wanted to breastfeed, I rushed to leave the room or cover her, instead of feeling proud of our long-lasting breastfeeding relationship. It got to a point where I felt embarrassed. Every glance in my direction was one of “Oh no, is she going to do that again?” The discomfort was felt throughout the room.
It ended when the family members left, but whose to say it won’t happen again? I LOVE breastfeeding my daughter and will continue to. That moment may have made me feel bad, but it was simply a moment and it gave me the strength to know that what I’m doing is right and move on. I will hold no ill-will towards them because I know, deep down, they don’t get it and probably never will. And that’s okay. No matter what judgment you pass or what judgement is passed upon you, it is your choice on how to react to it. Other’s judgement or problems with what you’re doing is not your problem, it’s their own. Stay true to who you are, and be proud of your choices as a mom.