Almost every mom, at one time or another, has felt the shame and anger that is triggered by the phenomenon of ‘mom-shaming’ and I’m sorry to tell any soon-to-be moms that you will probably experience it too. So what is mom-shaming? Mom-shaming is when another mom offers some unsolicited parenting advice, adopting an unmoving stance on their opinion and slyly (or obviously) shaming other moms on opinions that differ from theirs. This often causes other moms to question their parenting style. In other words, it’s basically moms bullying other moms, and it’s becoming an epidemic!
I’d love to think that this phenomenon arises out of moms’ maternal instincts, wanting to educate other moms and improve parenting styles across the globe. I don’t think this is the only motive though. Taking a sympathetic approach and ruling out the possibility that this phenomenon arises out of pure evil though, it’s likely that mom-shaming is a symptom of the sometimes defensive nature mothers exhibit when it comes to parenting. ‘Mother bird’ emerges and we all want to prove that we are doing a good job. It also likely emerges from a place of insecurity because, if we’re being honest, none of us parents really know what we’re doing.
Parenthood is a mix of successes and defeats. It’s only natural that when we have a triumph we may want to shout it from the rooftops! And, sometimes, other moms want to hear your advice – they may have been struggling with the same issue and your motherly tip may be a lifesaver!
It’s important to remember though that parenthood is not an exact science! For every parenting hack that you swear by, there is likely a heap of books and professionals supporting the exact opposite method! I’m not (at all) recommending you throw out your parenthood books and ignore the research but different methods work for different children! As we know, everyone is difficult so every parent-child relationship will be different too! Be open to new suggestions and insights and respectful of other parents’ opinions.
If you feel you are the subject of mom-shaming, it’s important to recognize it as just that! If your medical professional has told you one thing and a mom without any medical degree tells you the opposite, it’s probably (definitely!) the professional that you should rely on. Try not to immediately panic when one parent’s style is different from yours, and if something somebody says is nagging at you, feel free to ask your healthcare provider at your next meeting. Once you have educated yourself enough on childcare, relax and trust yourself. You know your baby better than anyone so listen to your parental instincts, don’t compare yourself to other parents, and, if you are the victim of mom-shaming, just smile and nod…
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