Urban dictionary describes mom shaming as criticizing or degrading a mother for her parenting choices because they differ from the choices the shamer would make.
Mom shaming has become a real problem. We’ve all heard it. Standing in line at the grocery store when suddenly Susan tells a mother she shouldn’t be buying formula for her baby. Or at a restaurant when Shannon wants to tell a mother how unhealthy french fries and chicken nuggets are. Mom shaming happens everywhere and not just from strangers, friends and family subtly do it too. It’s become an unfortunate part of motherhood that shouldn’t be happening.
The list of things mother’s get mom shamed for is endless, but there are a few that are more common and more widely known. Formula versus breastfed. Staying at home or working outside the home. Timeline of losing the baby weight. Questioning your birth choices. How you spend your kid free time. Oh I could go on and on for days on the stuff people like to mom shame about. When it comes to mom shaming, nothing seems to be off limits.
Unsure if you’ve ever mom shamed someone before? Unsure if something you said came off as mom shaming? Unsure if what you want to say is going to come off as mom shaming? Here’s some quick tips for you:
- Don’t mention the baby weight. Everyone’s body is different. We all gain a different amount of weight during pregnancy. We all ‘bounce back’ at different rates. The toll on our bodies is different. Don’t ever make a mom feel bad for her pre-pregnancy body, it won’t look like it did before her pregnancy and it shouldn’t be expected to. They grew a baby, another living, breathing, human. Show respect.
- Breastfed versus formula. Is their baby eating? If the answer is yes, mind your own motherhood. Nothing needs to be said. There are many reasons why women either can’t breastfeed or chose not to. Whatever their reason or choice, their baby is still being fed and taken care of.
- You have a question about their birth choice. Is your question going to educate you on their chosen choice? If the answer is no, don’t ask it. Water birth, c-section, natural birth, medicated birth are just a few examples of birthing choices. No mother should ever be made to feel bad for their choice. We all have a preference of food, clothes, shoes, ect. our birthing choice should be no different. Sometimes our birth choice is our only option. Respect that she doesn’t owe you a reason for her birth choice.
- Parenting style. Before ever commenting on another mothers parenting style, ask yourself – Are her kids being cared for? Are they loved? Are they being put in harm’s way? If you answered yes to the first 2, respect her choices. Nobody and I mean nobody parents the exact same way. Some parent similarly, but no one parents the same and that’s okay. All that should matter is the kids are safe and cared for.
- Working versus staying home. Don’t comment. Don’t ask a mother why she works or why she chooses to stay home. Not your motherhood, not your business. She doesn’t owe you an explanation.
- Milestones. Don’t say anything. It’s not your place to say anything about a kids milestone. All kids develop at different paces. Some will walk sooner or talk sooner than others, and others will take their time. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them, so don’t ask or comment about it.
Basically don’t say anything, ever. Mind your business. Be nice. It takes less effort to keep your mouth shut and be a decent human being, than it does to question someone about their parenting style, choices, ect. If you question at all whether it should be said or asked, don’t say it. Motherhood is hard enough without everyone constantly telling you you’re doing something wrong or your choices are wrong. You can’t make everyone happy. The only people that should be happy are you and your kids. Trust your parenting style and choices. You got this mama.