What is mom shaming?
I read an article from the New York times a few weeks ago titled “Mom Shaming is Running Rampant During the Pandemic” written by Rosemary Counter.
Then I heard someone else talking about it and how badly it makes mothers feel when another mom makes a negative comment about them.
Women have been facing scrutiny about the way they approach motherhood for many years.
So, let me see if I understand, I thought. Moms are verbally attacking other moms because they are not making the same decisions? I kept reading, I found countless testimonies of mothers. It became worse when I learned that most of these comments are made from family members or close friends.
Experts think moms turn to mom-shaming as a way to validate their own parenting abilities.
“Some women feel they need to shame another mother so they can feel a little better about themselves, even if it’s unconscious,” explains Melissa Divaris Thompson, LMFT, an NYC-based therapist who often works with new mothers. “As mothers, when we finally find something that feels right and true for us, we cling to it,” says Thompson. “So, when another mother makes a different choice, it’s sometimes easier to shame and blame, rather than sit with the fear that we made the wrong decision.”
What are we doing? Isn’t motherhood hard enough? Instead of helping each other, we are just hurting our teammates.
There is no doubt that being a mom is already a tough job.
Besides dealing with feelings of uncertainty and frustration, moms today are under a microscope. The last thing any mom needs is to be shamed for trying to parent her kids.
We all love our kids and want to feel confident about our decision-making. Shaming someone else is almost always more of a megaphone of our own insecurities than it is a reflection of the other person.
We need to take a deep breath and remind ourselves that there are 100 different ways to raise amazing kids, and just because someone else is doing it differently than us, doesn’t mean they’re doing it incorrectly.
When it comes to criticizing parents, simply keep it to yourself. Different techniques work differently for every parent, and there is no right or wrong answer. Instead, if you see a mom struggling, tell her everything will be OK. Instead of offering your parenting opinion, just ask if she needs anything. Every mother and parent struggles, and they may already feel insecure about the topics you’re pointing out and criticizing.
Remember to celebrate every mother and be kind
We’re all in this together and we don’t become better parents by belittling others.