The “mommy shame” game seems to be everywhere.  We see it on social media, reality tv, magazines, twitter, tiktok and on and on. It almost seems to have become an acceptable part of our society. 

It Starts Early

Mom shaming can start the second that you announce your pregnancy. It may be an unwanted  comment from a grocery store clerk, a friend’s mom, the neighbor, or your sister.  They seem like innocent questions or comments but there is an undertone of judgement or “I Know Better” attitude. It happens far too often, and unfortunately it’s often from other moms.

See a mom doing something different from you, mom shame them. 

Don’t agree with a mom’s parenting choice, better blast it all over Instagram.

Think a mom is doing it wrong, gossip about it and spread it all over social media but mask it as you just really care about that mom and their child.

If a mom parents differently, makes different choices, has a different parenting plan it seems like it is just fine to mom shame them. 

Mommy Shame Game

Shaming a mom is any judgmental thoughts and behaviors, including gossip, towards another mom.

“Mom shaming” happens whenever we think the way we do something or the way we parent is the only way…

The best way

The only choice…

And THEN we proceed to discuss it with malice, share it will ill-intent, and tell the mom they have got it all wrong. It is the lack of taking the time to find out or seeking understanding of why a mom makes a certain choice. 

My 1st Time Being Mom Shamed

Oh mama, I can remember with great detail the first time I was mom shamed.  I was a brand new mama with a fussy, not gaining weight, 1 month old.  I was already overwhelmed and painfully unsure of myself as a new mom, not to mention I was unknowingly dealing with Postpartum Depression. In a group of other new moms, one mom turned to me and said, “You really should only use muslin blankets to swaddle your baby.  The baby blanket you are using doesn’t allow air to flow through to your baby.” The tone of her voice was full of judgement and pride. The blood rushed to my face as I looked down at the carefully selected blankets I had added to my baby registry. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. And I quickly excused myself for a “diaper change”

Can you guess what I did the next day?  I ran to the store to buy the fancy 100% muslin blankets; that in reality I couldn’t even afford.

Shamed Again and Again

 Sadly, this wouldn’t be the last time.  I hid in a room to “breastfeed” my 2nd born because I knew the group of moms I was with would shame me for being ready to stop breastfeeding and had moved on to bottle.

After a mom shamed me for feeding my toddler store-bought yogurt full of sugar, she convinced me to make my own homemade yogurt. Do you know what it takes to make homemade yogurt?!!! Let’s just say it was ridiculous and looking back down right silly.

So you can see I have been a victim of mom shaming and even more horrible is I let myself become a player of the mom shame game.  I am ashamed I let myself get wrapped up in conversations that were completely inappropriate and mean.  But as I have grown as a mother I have made it a mission to not only not engage in mommy shaming but also to put a stop to it. 

Call That Mess Out

If we don’t stop mom shaming then it becomes normalized and acceptable.  My kids are a bit older and although I still have A LOT to learn about being a mom, time has allowed me to become more comfortable in my skin and ability to parent. I know what’s important to me and how I want to raise my kids.  I am open to learning from other moms but I no longer make decisions based solely on shame or the opinion of others.

Here are some phrases to use if you find yourself being mommy shamed. 

  1. “That is interesting but in my family we…..”
  2. “Thanks for your concern, but I am comfortable with…..”
  3. “I am a good mom whether you think…..”
  4. “That is very offensive, please don’t say….”

Let’s Make a New Norm

As moms we have to put a stop to mommy shaming. We have to have each other’s back. Motherhood is beautiful but also incredibly difficult. We need to be in each other’s corners and be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We are all trying our absolute best to raise healthy, happy kiddos. Let’s make sure we are not part of mommy shaming and even more, that we stop it when we see it happening to other moms.

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