Mom shaming can be exceedingly hurtful, stressful, and damaging to a mother’s self-esteem. There are numerous ways a mother can get trolled or mom-shamed, be it in person or via online or social media comments, which can annihilate her. But remember one thing you are a mother, one of a kind, a strong individual who can fight for herself and her child. And above all, you are not alone; many mothers like you are struggling with the same issues; trust yourself, and remember you are a fighter and doing your best.
“Show me a perfect mother and I will show you a leprechaun riding a unicorn, over a double rainbow, with a fairy holding a pot of gold at the end of it”
Motherhood is one of the most natural and beautiful things in life that a woman can experience. However, during this life-changing experience, a woman is frequently subjected to unwarranted criticism and constant judgment from strangers, friends, relatives, or other mom friends. Mostly because everyone tries to fit her into their idealized picture of motherhood. The stereotypical concept of the “ideal mother” goes back to the 19th century and continues to exist in today’s society, albeit with a modified version.
What Is Mom Shaming?
It is basically an act of shaming and degrading a mother for the parental choices she makes, primarily by people who disagree with her parenting style. Mom shaming can be disguised as unsolicited advice delivered in a sweet tone or a rude comment made solely to denigrate a mother. A regular criticism of simple daily life choices you make for your child might get labeled as a ‘not a good enough mother’ for giving your infant formula milk, or mom-on-mom shaming in WhatsApp groups are all classic choices of mom shaming.
Effect Of Mom Shaming On A Mother
Whether intentional or not, it can take a toll on a mom’s mental health, especially when she is already going through the emotional and physical challenges of motherhood. Negative criticism and mean comments can be immensely discouraging for a first-time mother who is still learning about motherhood.
Recognizing Mom-Shaming Behavior
Sometimes it becomes difficult to identify mom shaming since it can come from your loved ones, including your own mother or a stranger who apparently has no grudge against you to mom shame you out of nowhere. To address mom shaming and protect your mental health as a mother, it is first necessary to know how mom shaming can manifest itself.
There are numerous ways one can shame a mom into believing that she isn’t a good mother and some of them are pointed out here.
1. Judging Her Mode Of Delivery
Yes, it begins as early as that. Sometimes choosing C-section surgery over natural birth is also a ‘Big’ reason for bullying a new mom. Her decision could be medical or personal reasons, or it could not have been her decision at all, given that the C-section is her only option due to the baby’s position or previous gynecological history. But some people constantly make her realize that she has failed at the first step of motherhood because it appears to others as if she has chosen an easy route.
2. Gauging Her Love Based On The Feed She Provides
Studies show 12-15 % of mothers may be unable to breastfeed because of ‘disrupted lactation’, which occurs when the mother’s body does not produce enough milk to meet the baby’s feed demand. This and other multiple reasons may stymie a mother’s effort of trying to feed her baby naturally, forcing her to resort to formula milk. However, comments like ” Perhaps you gave up on breastfeeding too soon. ” Or ” Did you try hard enough to breastfeed the baby?” make the new mom feel as if she isn’t doing her best as a mother.
3. Guilt Tripping Her For Being Verbal About Postpartum Depression
In the first year after giving birth, one in every seven women may experience postpartum depression. During that, a woman experiences intense sadness, anxiety, and tiredness. People assume this mental illness is an unwillingness to be a mother. This mom shaming behavior can be detrimental to both the baby and the mother. To avoid mom shaming, a mother suppresses her emotions, negatively impacting her mental health; this, in turn, limits her ability to care for the child.
4. Raising Questions On Her Baby’s Milestones
Other moms frequently perpetrate this type of mom shaming. If your child has yet to reach a milestone according to their timeline, they feel obliged to express their concerns about it. It may come down to mom shaming how, being a mother, you aren’t somehow putting enough effort into that.
5. Commenting On Her Physical Appearance
You can’t win this one at all because if you lose your weight quickly right after delivery, then it is interpreted as ” she isn’t giving enough thought to breastfeeding”, and If you don’t, then it is like “, why doesn’t she think of her fitness and well being?”. A mother’s body goes through a phenomenal and massive experience of bringing a human into the world, and making comments on her physical appearance is insensitive and not helpful.
6. Criticizing Her On How She Chooses To Parent Her Child
This one is the all-time favorite way of mom-shamers, and they don’t miss a chance to spew pearls of their motherhood wisdom. Sometimes it stems from a true desire to help a new mom learn something she is struggling with, and other times it may come from a place of a sense of superiority. It can be about anything, including not having a strict sleep schedule for the baby, giving an organic teether, or raising your baby gender-neutrally. It becomes mom shaming when the shamer believes they know better how to parent the child than the parents themselves.
7. Questioning Her Choices Of Being A Working Or Stay At Home Mother
Shamers never leave any stone unturned in putting these two questions on whether you are a working mom or SAHM. If you are a working mom, it may go like, “Don’t you feel you are overlooking your baby with you spending half your day away from him?” Or if you choose to devote all your time to your child, then “Are you unable to manage your job and child together ?” In a nutshell, they have to seek issues with your parenting technique.
How To Deal With Mom Shaming
Recognizing mom shaming saves you from unnecessary guilt, but how can you protect yourself from the pain that comes with it? To tackle mom shaming, adopt some strategies from the following list; let’s look at some tips on how to deal with it.
1. It’s Not Always Personal
It is easier to say than done. Avoid taking criticism personally; understanding that shaming or whining is not about you can help you deal efficiently. Sometimes, the mom shamers try to project their own biases and insecurities onto you; it’s their reflection, not yours. Their remarks about you have more to do with their own issues. And the assumptions they have about your parenting style might be their guilt trip and ways to make themselves better by letting you down. Remember that everyone has different parenting styles, and what works for one may not work for another.
2. Take Note Of Where It Is Coming From
If she is that one mom in the group who judges every other mom’s motherhood or feels entitled to comment on everyone in the family, my suggestion here to you: try not to think about it too much. This criticizing behavior emanates from the shamer’s own insecurities and complexes. Remember to remind yourself that this behavior is centered around Shamer’s experiences and speaks nothing about your motherhood.
3. Ignore it if It Comes From A Stranger
If a stranger’s mom or an older person shames you at a grocery store or in a park, it is best to ignore their remarks entirely. Any brief interaction can’t give the exact knowledge of understanding about anyone, so commenting or offering advice to someone whom you don’t know in person is certainly not wise. Know in your heart that they don’t know anything about you, not even your name; then how can they make any judgment on you based on such a short interaction?
4. Address The Offense If it Is Frequent
If the shame repeatedly comes from someone, it is better to address it firmly but graciously because the next person may be unaware that their actions are causing you distress. Convey to them politely that you will seek their advice whenever you need it.
5. See If The Advice Actually Makes Sense
It hurts even more if you imagine yourself being targeted in situations where you could actually benefit from some help. Cut yourself some slack for not being the epitome of perfection in motherhood, and look at the situation from an unbiased point of view. It might not always be criticism or just brand new information for you as a mother. So if there is a genuine perspective or optimistic outlook, take it as helpful advice.
6. Talk About It With A Wise Mom Friend
Sometimes it may be difficult to let go of a vexing remark, and your mind may obsess over it. In that case, discussing your situation with another mom friend who can help you get it off your mind is a good idea. Talking always helps, and if that is with your girlfriends or mom or with people whom you trust, it truly lets you take your mind off all those negative remarks.
7. Believe In Yourself As a Mother
Last but not least, you must acknowledge your strength; trusting yourself can lead you to pave the most successful parenting journey. Most importantly, remind yourself on a regular basis that you are doing your best job being a mother, that your motherhood is unique, and that it doesn’t require approval from anyone else.
Mom shaming is the act of bashing or judging a mother’s choices, behavior, or parenting style, often negatively or condescendingly. Mom shaming can negatively impact a mother’s self-esteem and create feelings of guilt and inadequacy. It’s crucial to recognize that every mother has different circumstances and challenges, and there is no one “right” way to be a good parent. Remember, when it comes to parenting, everyone has different circumstances and challenges. Therefore, it’s important to trust your instincts as a mom and do what’s best for you and your family, regardless of what others say or think.
Remember this saying from Chrissy Teigen
“There is so much that goes into being a parent, and there’s so many people that love to decide for you what’s best. [But] there is no perfect way to do something. There’s a million different ways to raise a child and that’s fine.”
Also Read: Within the chaos of a house of kids, you can still streamline your life and find happiness and peace. Here are some steps to organize your life as a mother.