Becoming a parent itself is a life-changing moment in every woman’s life. There is so much that goes on. Starting from the time of pregnancy to childbirth, it is hard to be on top of everything.
The situation becomes increasingly difficult, especially when the child is born. And being responsible for another tiny little human being is no easy task.
However, these new moms still figure it all out on their own and with the little amount of help they get from books, blogs, friends and family. But what most people do not realize is that every mom has a different way of doing things to take care of the baby.
When moms hate on other moms because of not doing things a certain way to take care of the child, we call it ‘Mom shaming.’ Here, certain mothers feel like their way of parenting is the best. And if you do not abide by those pre-set guidelines, you are really doing it all wrong.
But is that really the case?
Let’s find out!
What is Mom-Shaming?
Parenting will greatly differ from one family to the other. And what might have worked for you, will not necessarily work for someone else.
Different moms have different circumstances, living situations, state of mind, health, and many other external as well as internal factors that play a part in their style of parenting.
For example, some moms may think that breastfeeding is the only right way to feed babies, while others might opt for formula instead.
How Prevalent is Mom-Shaming?
It is actually more common than most people think it is. Earlier, it used to be limited to neighbourhood gossip and judgmental looks when running errands at school.
But quite recently, people have taken it to social media to hate on other women whenever they encounter a style of parenting that may be different from their own.
However, it does not end there. You might also be a victim of mom-shaming by your own parents, relatives or even friends!
Why is Mom Shaming Bad?
The first reason why it is frowned upon is that when you ‘mom-shame’ you are simply bringing an individual down without thinking from their perspective. And “shaming” is associated with all the negative emotions that one can possibly muster.
Top that with a group of women doing it together with aggression, there could be nothing worse.
Furthermore, the whole hating on a mom fiasco can actually have detrimental effects on a mom, who is just trying to do her job the best she can. It can bother them mentally and cause depression, anxiety, frustration and hurt them greatly.
You have to understand that being a mother is not an easy job. It is a 24/7 job that requires you to do your best at every step. And while moms can’t get it all right, they improvise things to make it work for them.
If you have walked through that very same path, you should know better than to mom-shame others. Simply put yourself in their shoe and ask youself, “How would I feel if the same were to happen to me?”.
What Does Mom Shaming Look Like?
Mom shaming can vary greatly, depending on what topic a certain someone has decided to judge another mom on. But more often than not, it may depend on the following:
Plenty of women today choose to not quit their job after getting pregnant or giving birth to a baby. It really comes down to an individual’s own choice about the things she wants in her life. And that is something which should be respected.
What’s more, it is commendable to actually be able to balance out between work and parenting to the best of your capabilities. Saying things like ‘I wouldn’t have ever been able to do that, I’d miss my baby a lot,’ or ‘I don’t think I could ever give up my career to sit at home looking after kids all day,’ are two sides of the same coin.
This is one of the most common things which gives rise to mom-shaming. A mom might think that breastfeeding is the only way to feed a child. But others might just choose not to, or may have difficulty breastfeeding. This is why they may opt for alternatives like formula.
However, this does not mean that they are doing it all wrong. They are simply opting for something which works better for them.
Righting the Wrong
As we have said before, there is no right way of parenting. You simply do what seems right and comes naturally to you. You may pick up a few things along the way from books, blogs and family but you will still have your own way of doing things.
This is why when you go around saying things like ‘that isn’t the right way to do it,’ you are hurting someone’s feelings and being judgmental. As long as the baby is loved, fed, healthy and happy, there should not be anything wrong with the way things are being done.
Every baby has different rates at which they grow and develop. Some may start talking earlier while others may take their own sweet time to say the first words. The same applies to being able to walk or crawl.
So, one cannot just pass on a comment or make questions like ‘Shouldn’t you be worried that she is not walking yet?’ even if they are only thinking out loud. Calm down, Karen! The baby will walk in his or her own time.
Criticizing the Time Spent with Baby
Whether you choose to work or take a trip to the hair salon in your free time is your own personal choice. And you clearly do not owe anyone any explanation for what you choose to do during your free time.
Remember, it is always the quality of time spent. And not the quantity.
This is why moms should refrain from saying things like, ‘I would never have left my baby for hours just to go get my hair done!’. It’s toxic and narrows down an individual’s identity to being just a “mom” rather than being their own person!
Apart from the ones mentioned above, you will find more examples of mom-shaming from everyday life. Being pushy about the right choices and parenting methods that have worked for you or judging someone on their comment section on social media is all a part of mom shaming. In fact, the key to eliminating this kind of behaviour entirely is to learn to be respectful of other moms and the choices that they make.
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash
One thought on “The Toxic Culture of Mom Shaming”
Agree it is a woman’s business how she takes care of a baby unless she is treating the baby badly
Everyone has different ways of taking care of their children.
Sometimes because of medical reasons they might not be able to do it like they want.