Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mom (and Dad) Shaming. Why we need to STOP!

"Mom shaming" a term I have now become all too familiar with and wish I never had to hear it or see it again.

I read a lot of parenting blogs and articles and will usually read the comments as well. Back and forth and left and right you see people bashing another person, a fellow mom, for complaining or losing her cool or not parenting the way another person might. Now I'm all for calling out the truly bad parent(s) out there, but telling another mom that she is a horrible parent because she yelled at her child? Or walking up to a complete stranger in a grocery store and telling them how they should parent? Why? I understand people want to ensure the future of our society is better than it is today, but mostly it just seems like a control issue.

The one I understand the least is when a spouse/partner shames the other. I can't stand when S walks in the house after work and L is crying and I'm trying to finish dinner and he has the audacity to say' "Dinner's not ready yet?" Are you kidding me? Or my personal favorite "Did you even change him? His diaper is full." Of course I change my child and I know this, but it's comments like this that have me racking my brain trying to remember how many hours it's been since his last change just to prove I'm not a bad mother. My child is happy, healthy, fed, clothed, bathed and changed on a regular basis (I typically go every 3 hours unless he poops or has had a lot of fluids just to clear that one up). So I don't feel I should be shamed into feeling like a bad mother by anyone. Thankfully this is typically a rarity for him to do, but when it does happen I just about come unglued.

When mothers shame other mothers I just don't get it. I mean I know there are supermoms out there that brag and just can't understand how you can't get everything done in one day, but why do they feel it's alright for them to shame another mother into trying to be just like them. Shaming them is only going to make them angry, hurt, and at times sad. Why not offer help instead of criticism? Now if they are like me in the beginning they won't take the help, but at least that is a better option than shaming. I regret all the help I was offered that I didn't take when L was first born, I wanted to be that supermom that could do it all and have the sparkling shiny house and pristine looking child. As time goes on I realize that being a good mom is more important to myself and my child. I finally started realizing that my child is ok if he smears food all over himself, that as long as he is taken care of the laundry can wait another day.

We don't need to be told our child smells after he just got done spiting up. We know and sometimes there is nothing that can be done about it. L and I were running behind and were late to meet a friend, just as I'm almost to the car spit up all over him and me. I am partially ashamed to admit I just put him in the car and left, thinking I would just take some wet wipes to him and me once we got to our destination. Well my friend comes out to the car and very excitedly starts pulling him out of his car seat, before I can warn her. "Oh my gosh he smells!" was what I heard as I'm running around the car wet wipes in hand. I too have a nose and know that he smells. It's not like I don't bathe him or change his clothes, he is simply a baby. They poop on themselves and get it everywhere, they spit up, throw up, run food caked fingers through their hair, it happens. My child is not going to smell like he just came out of the bath 24/7. Off handed comments have always bothered me, even though I know I've done it myself on occasion I try to be mindful to just not do it.

I'm not saying I'm the perfect person, in fact in the middle of writing this post I caught myself shaming S! I was telling him about my and L's day and how I tried to give him a bath in the sink rather than the tub, me stupidly thinking it would be easier. I made the comment about how it was so slippery and I would not be doing it again, and S comes back with "Well duh." and before I can even think about it out comes "Well how would you know, when was the last time you gave him a bath?" I stopped right there and apologized since I was doing the very thing that I'm writing about. Sometimes it just slips out and that's ok, but recognize it and own it. I think it's hard, too, when one parent works and the other stays home (especially when the one at home is looking for a job but it's not a great time of year for job searching) to not feel a bit of resentment towards the other. I know S probably comes home some days looks around and goes what has she done all day while I'm breaking my back at work. And I have many days where he comes home and I haven't been able to sit down for more than five minutes and think about the fact that he got two fifteen minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. Really it's silly sometimes the things we probably think about each other in terms of me being at home. Some days I really miss working and others I wish I never had to go back, it becomes increasingly hard to think about leaving your child but the thought of those two fifteens and a whole 30 minutes sounds like heaven a lot of the days.

I really feel that if we want our children to grow up to be good, better people the shaming has to stop. What good is it to shame another adult in front of your child? What good are you doing by shaming a mother or father in front of their own child? We end up creating a lack of respect for other adults, a lack of respect for parents, children that think it is ok to tell anyone anything no matter if it hurts the other person. I want my child to grow up knowing that respect and empathy are important not just for others but for himself as well. The only way we can truly do that is to show it, be the best role models.

I am stepping down from my soap box now, so feel free to comment. I'm even open to harsh criticism.


  1. I liked your blog about shaming. Makes one stop and think - we all need to consider how our off-handed comments can make another person feel. Raising my child alone, I often felt that people were judging my parenting - and a few thought that me being a single parent gave them the right to do so. Good blog!!