Mom Shaming: We're All Guilty, Now Let's Stop
The other day I was in Target and overheard a conversation between two moms.
Mom #1- "Look at me buying frozen pizzas! Cheryl would say I obviously don't love my kids."
This is when my ears perked up and I continued lurking in the frozen food section so that I could hear how this conversation would play out.
Mom #2- "Oh yes...you are a horrible mom! Feeding your kids things you can't even pronounce. Seriously, if I have to deal with Cheryl and her condescending attitude anyone more I'm gonna lose it. We're all happy that you are perfect and feed your kids only organic everything. We can't all be perfect moms like you. Someone should slip her poor kids some Totino's pizza rolls. "
Mom #1- "She's seriously a mom-shamer. It's not ok"
I stood there in the frozen section of Target contemplating this epidemic of mom-shaming. Maybe it's not an epidemic, maybe it's always been around, but social media has just made it much easier for moms to judge other moms more openly. Whatever the case...I felt sad.
What struck me most about this conversation was that, without realizing it, they were actually mom-shaming themselves. You could hear in their voices the disdain for Cheryl and her perfectly organically fed children. Cheryl quite possibly had mom-shamed them for the way that they fed their children, but they, in turn were mom-shaming her for the same thing. I stood there in Target and thought, "What the hell are we all doing to each other?" This mom thing is so freaking hard. It's the biggest responsibility any of us will ever have. Remember the feeling of leaving the hospital and it becoming very clear suddenly that there was a life that you were now responsible for and feeling terrified and ecstatic all at the same time? We all felt that. We have that in common. We all want what's best for our kids. When did we start letting our insecurities prevent us from helping each other do the hardest job on earth?
Here's the truth, whether we care to admit it or not, we have ALL mom-shamed. We let our insecurities get the best of us and we judge other moms for the decisions that they're making. Usually we are judging because deep down we are petrified that we may doing something wrong or that we aren't making the right decisions and seeing moms that have made different decisions than we have makes us feel the need to justify our decisions.
Somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten that every child is completely unique with their own special set of physical and emotional needs and every mom has a unique connection with her children. There is no one size fits all perfect parenting model. As moms, we all bear the burden of making decisions based on what we feel is best for our unique child. It's a heavy burden and it comes with sleepless nights, insecurities, anxiety and oftentimes guilt. The last thing any mother needs is another mother adding doubt and guilt to the decisions she made out of love.
Cheryl feeds her kids all organic and apparently makes other mothers feel inadequate for the Totino's pizza rolls. Is Cheryl a bad mom? Nope. Are Mom #1 and #2 bad moms? Nope. Do they all have insecurities of their own that have led them to some mom-shaming of each other? Yep. Are we all guilty of this? Absolutely.
As mothers, we are all part of an unofficial community. We have the potential to be the greatest support system ever for each other. I truly believe that a woman's strength is insurmountable and together we can move mountains and raise amazing humans. We have the potential to build each other up and, in turn, have a generation of children who saw their mother's confident and supported by each other which would lead to children who are confident and supported. We are all loving our kids differently because our kids are all different. The sooner we all recognize that, the more we will be able to support each other and the stronger we will all be. Let's give each other a break. Let's be the generation that stops the mom-shaming. Let's build each other up and high five each other for loving our kids the best we can. And let's all acknowledge that there's no one "right way" to raise a child.