Before I had a baby, I heard the term “mom shaming” thrown around by a lot by my friends and on social media. I’d nod in agreement at how awful it was, but never fully understood the extent of it until I got pregnant.
And at the same time, before I had a baby myself, I would judge moms without ever saying a word. I’d judge moms for letting their kids watch an iPad at lunch. I’d judge moms for formula feeding. I’d judge moms for co-sleeping.
Everything changed when I had a baby. I realized quickly, as every mother does, that sometimes (or usually) it’s just about survival mode and you’re just trying to do your best, all day, every day. I feed my baby formula (gasp!) and I have a feeling she’ll watch an iPad at lunch in the not so distant future, too.
I still feel guilty about the judging I did before I became a mother. So, one of my goals as a blogger and influencer is to do whatever I can to combat mom-shaming and help end judgment without knowing all the facts.
After years of blogging, I had gotten used to a certain amount of criticism and snark from readers, but when I was pregnant and someone commented that I would be “an awful mother”, it shook me to my core.
The comment was in response to me talking about how my doctor said it was ok to have a small glass of wine now and then during pregnancy. (I’ve since realized that drinking even small amounts while pregnant is maybe the most polarizing topic on the planet so I never brought it up again!)
My first emotion was fear… Was I going to be a terrible mother because I had a sip of wine at a wedding? Soon after, that turned to anger… How dare this person get inside my head and make me second guess my decisions! Then I got really sad… How would I get through my pregnancy and a lifetime of motherhood if I couldn’t handle one comment?
I knew that it would be the first of many negative comments, so my attitude had to change. And guess what? I was right! People have criticized everything from how long I breastfed to what I feed my daughter to our child care choices.
Now, when someone is mean or nasty about my parenting decisions, I let it roll off my back. I remember that it’s their problem, not mine, and that I know what is best for my family and my baby.
No one else can possibly know her the way that I do, and watching her grow and thrive as a happy, smiley little ball of joy is all the confirmation I need to know that I’m doing the right thing.
So, what am I doing to combat mom-shaming?
- Every day I try to remind my readers that they’re doing the best job that they can as moms and that even if I recommend one thing, it might not be best for them.
- When I get a mean comment, I respond with love and positivity and don’t let it get under my skin. I encourage the person who said whatever it was they said to think about why my decision upset them.
- I started a Facebook group for like-minded mamas who want positive, uplifting support. We have over 1200 moms connecting daily and helping each other through difficult stages, recommending products, and giving advice. It’s so heartwarming to see them all connecting and inspiring each other!
Now, more than ever, women and mothers need to lift each other up, not tear each other down. Let’s shut down mom shaming once and for all!