Post # 1
Because I like asking for opinions when I read interesting articles regarding marriage & motherhood.. here’s another!
The NY Times published an article which claims that mommy shaming is at an all new high during this pandemic. The author cites concerns about education (amidst COVID-19 concerns) and the quarantine (and comparing each other’s lives via social media) as major sources of mommy shaming.
I have only been a mother for approx. 4 months and I have experience comments that I think would count as being “shamed” although I feel pretty immune to it so far since we’ve been quarantining and it’s really just me, my husband, and our baby together on a daily basis. And I don’t post much on social media.
Have you been mommy shamed? Do you think it’s a big problem? I am less concerned about what you were shamed about specifically (because I don’t want this to turn controversial) and more interested in your reaction and how you dealt with it. And your general thoughts on what causes mommy shaming and what should be done about it.
Post # 2
Post # 3
Not a mommy (yet), but definitely familiar with the concept. As far as I’m concerned, these days, as long as you and your kid are safe, in one piece and relatively sane, you’re doing fine. In general, I don’t understand the need to relentlessly put mothers under a microscope when fathers seem to get off scott free provided they spend a couple of hours with their children every day and don’t hit anyone.
Good for you for staying off social media. Honestly, I think that’s the majority of the reason this kind of shit has gotten so out of hand in recent years, everyone feels entitled to air their opinion—and COVID has just ensured everyone has more time to do that.
Post # 4
It’s hard to say because some of mommy-shaming is also about how thick skinned the mom is. People say stupid stuff, people say things without thinking…I don’t really count that as shaming. Actively forcing your opinion/view on an individual who you know doesn’t share that view and acting as if your view is superior or the “right” view — that in my mind is truly shaming.
I have definitely had people make ‘foot in mouth’ comments (whether they realized it at the time or not) and I tend to blow them off. Even my Mother-In-Law made a passing comment about any mom who puts their child into daycare needs to be OK with the daycare provider “raising” their child…umm…hello – I put my child in daycare. *foot in mouth*
On the rare times when other moms make comments, I’ll reply (without snarkiness) something along the lines of “That’s so great you found something that worked for you, I htink we’re still sorting out our approach” or “Yes that is good way, it doesn’t work for our family so we’re doing XYZ instead which has been a really great option for us”. If they don’t take a hint I may get more pointed and drop the smiles and even call them out. I’ve only actively called a woman out and told her point blank to stop being so closed minded once, and honestly it felt good (SAHM vs working mom “debate”).
I don’t engage on the facebook mom groups when those types of posts derail. I have found social media to be a wealth of knowledge and my local moms group has been (mostly) incredibly supportive. I feel fortunate that I don’t see or experience much active shaming. It’s there, but not nearly to the level that I have heard from friends / the interwebs.
Post # 5
It’s definitely a thing, and it’s really a shame, because it removes all nuance from the equation. A really good example that I see a lot online is car seat safety and water safety, and how the lack of nuance means that it’s viewed in the same equation as whether or not to wear a hat or when to start solids. Because moms are shamed for literally everything, the world seems divided in two…the “shamers of everything” folks and the “everything is a parenting choice, you’re shaming me!” folks. In a normal and balanced world, we’d be able to clearly differentiate between what is just a perfectly valid parenting choice (how to feed, where to send to school, what they wear, the list goes on and on and on and encompasses like 99% of things) and what actually is something that should have attention called to it (forward facing a baby in a carseat with loose straps, being on an open body of water without a life jacket, and other genuine life-or-death safety things).
We’re TTC, and a little hippie-dippie (in that I hope to breastfeed kids for 2-3 years each and use cloth diapers way, not in a “I’ll give birth to them in a field and let them name themselves on their 5th birthday” way), so I definitely intend to minimize what I share. I think that the current state of the world and the way our society treats parenthood (specifically motherhood), it’s become a hyper-obsessive competition, and dead god do I hope I can avoid it.
That being said, mom shaming has literally existed forever…my grandma still tells stories about her mom/aunt/cousins giving her shit about her parenting, and my grandma was SCANDALIZED at a lot of the (very innocuous) decisions my mom made. As with all things though, social media makes it infinitely worse because it gives it a much larger platform.
Post # 6
- Wedding: Malibou Lake Mountain Club
i havent heard or experienced any of this, or have heard it from fellow moms. But man, i can only imagine what people are going through.
Im a mother of a toddler, and my husband and i work in the public service world and from our view point, everyone is honestly trying to figure it out and/or doing the best they can.
Post # 7
I’ll chime in as a CFBC with a bunch of friends who are moms, because they tend to confide in me rather than other moms to avoid judgment from time to time, and everyone has had it so hard.
It has all become a giant mess where people are judging each other left and right, but I tell my friends all the time to kindly remind the questioning party that everyone’s situation is different, and that they’re happy ___ is working for that person. It is not a reflection upon them that they are making hard decisions out of necessity and what’s right for their families. As a woman without children, I can’t even pretend to understand, but I can listen. I can offer support where it’s needed. It’s sucks that mommy shaming exists in the first place and I do think the pandemic has made it worse.
Post # 8
I definitely minimize what I share via social media and just in general regarding my parenting choices. And I think that’s why mommy shaming hasn’t affected me much. No one can criticize what they aren’t aware of lol.
From what I’ve heard, you’ll be critiqued no matter what choice you make regarding the “big” issues (such as feeding, sleeping, daycare, working vs. staying home) so I just share non-controversial photos of him smiling in a cute outfit lol.
Post # 9
I have definitely experienced it, but I also think that your kids are probably the most personal thing to any mom. And if you’re anything like me you’re constantly scared and worried about whether or not you’re doing right by them. So admittedly I am way more sensitive to any perceived shaming when it involves my kids or my parenting.
That’s not to say genuine mom shaming doesn’t exist!
Post # 10
Aw, my mom was your kind of hippie dippie—cloth diapers all the way, breast fed for like ever WAY before that was widely accepted. Also encouraged me to eat dirt to build up my immune system, lol. But I was born in a hospital (probably wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t been), kept in the NICU for jaundice and got all my shots, and no way in hell was I going to be permitted to name myself, thank you very much. Your comment about nuance is dead-on. Even in the days before the internet, my mom got shit from both sides: She breast-fed for three years, therefore she was a crunchy hippie-freak who was somehow judging other moms for using formula (which she would never do); she had me in a hospital and vaccinated me fully, therefore she was over-cautious and too “Westernized”. She let it all roll off her back, though, and I hope you do too 🙂 . No mother or child or family can be expected to be able to follow an exact “prescription” for how to live their lives beyong basic health and safety measures.
Post # 11
that’s such a good approach to have in general, though. I realize how ironic this is in a thread about mommy shaming, but I do think there’s a lot to debate on what should be shared versus what shouldn’t when it comes to kids who can’t consent. An entire generation of kids are going to have every tiny detail of their lives, including embarrassing/naked photos, on the internet for all of eternity. Compare that to those of us who are 20-45+, who all got to make our own choices about what we share. Sticking to cute photos and avoiding anything too in-depth/detailed is doing your kid a big favor!
Post # 12
Definitely! I think many mothers would say their children are the most important part of their life and that being a mama is something they have to “get right” even if they get everything else wrong. So I think that’s why it can be so hurtful to be criticized on that front.
I also think that’s why it’s so crucial to adopt the attitude of doing what’s best for you and your child(ren) because no one knows the best choice better than you (the mom). And also being open to making mistakes and knowing that in the grand scheme of things you and your kid will still be alright.
Post # 13
Your mom sounds like my kind of person, LOL. I want the epidural and vaccines, but also hope to be able to be crunchy in other ways (like hopefully breastfeeding into toddlerhood if it works out, and cloth diapers). But, I’ve learned already, just in the TTC phase of things, that it’s good to have hopes/aspirations, while keeping an open mind. It’s a good thing to think about and be aware of pre-kids, I think, because I know that once you’re in it, it all seems so much higher-stakes and sensitive, which is why I think that people are so primed to be defensive…they’ve just already been so worn down by the constant judgement that seems to be everywhere!
Post # 14
One of the only times I recall being clearly shamed was when I had my pram on a busy bus. A man yells at me saying that I’m stowing it wrong. The right way involved making two people get off their seats so that it could be stored forward facing. I thought I was being considerate in taking up as little room as possible.
He calmed down when he realised that I was just truly clueless (never taken a bus with pram in that city before) and I calmed down when I realised he was just trying to look out for my child’s safety.
I think I’ve gotten plenty of silent judgement though on all things imaginable. Breastfeeding is usually a big one, sleep, whatever. And yes, I’ve definitely judged too. But like the article says, you can just keep quiet and get on with your day since it doesn’t really affect you.
With that said, I don’t believe that just because we are parents that we are beyond reproach. There’s a wealth of wisdom to be gained from those who have child rearing experience. It’s just important how you say it or give that advice.
I don’t live in the US so our coronavirus instincts are not as heightened. But you can absolutely be assured that if I knew someone who was crazy reckless (like attending coronavirus parties so their kids can get it like chicken pox) then we would be severing ties because of their stupidity. And if that person feels that I am shaming their choices, then so be it.
Post # 15
The people I’ve seen who are most concerned with this kind of stuff also tend to be susceptible to other opinions people have about other aspects of their lives. I think anyone can be susceptible to criticism about things they don’t feel secure about or where they feel like they should be doing more or better or different than what they are. So the times where I’ve felt mommy guilt were really about the ways that I already felt that I wasn’t doing as well as I should have been.
I don’t personally find that I’m impacted by mommmy shaming because 1- I don’t really give a shit what other people think about my choices. My response is generally “Are you offering your money, time or resources to make that happen at my house? If not, kindly shut the entire fuck up.” Because this is my perspective on pretty much everything in my life, the people around me are less likely to be bullies and people who offer their unsolicited, unkind opinions to me (which is what mommy shamers are- bullies and busybodies).
And 2- I was extremely fortunate, as a new mother, to have experienced mommies around me who were open about how they navigated their own paths and there was so much diversity in their experiences and perspectives, that I got to see that we are each navigating as best we can and we each need to figure out (and honor) what works for us.
Folks on the internet can just as easily be lying about what they do or don’t do as telling the truth so I give a lot less weight to those opinions than I do to the women around me. The women around me are generally awesome and loving and supportive and supported me so beautifully that I committed to supporting new mommies in the same ways.
I’m going to say that what is most important, in my opinion, is that we offer ourselves grace. Every day. And throughout the day. We are doing the best we can under whatever circumstances we are navigating. We need to give ourselves credit for that and take time to rest and recharge whenever possible and remember that our kids need us to take care of ourselves, too. You can’t give from an empty cup.