Girl Talk Tuesday: I’ve Been Mom Shamed

Mom Shaming Angela Lanter Hello GorgeousMom Shaming Angela Lanter Hello GorgeousMom Shaming Angela Lanter Hello GorgeousMom Shaming Angela Lanter Hello Gorgeous

Mom Shaming Angela Lanter Hello Gorgeous

Becoming a mama has been a joy.  A real life, completely true, heart-swelling J-O-Y.  There are some things you just can’t understand until it happens to you, and for me, that was motherhood.  I knew I’d love it.  I knew I’d love this baby God gave me, but I didn’t know how much.  Everything I thought I knew went flying out the window the second that baby girl was placed in my arms.

Matt and I have shared our journey to parenthood from day one on our podcast, Hello Bump (now Hello Baby).  We would be naive to believe that just because we’re opening our hearts, lives and experiences to the world, that we would be received with open arms from every person who listened.  And y’all, I am naive.  I always think the best, believe the best and expect the best when it comes to the way others will perceive me.  Nothing shatters me more than thinking someone doesn’t like me.  Unfortunately, that’s just not real life.  There are haters in this world.  It doesn’t matter if you do every single thing in life right, there will always be someone who thinks you’re doing it all wrong.

This week on Hello Baby, Matt and I had an in-depth conversation about mom shaming…  What it is?  What does it look like? Have I been on the receiving end of it?  Because this topic is so personal to me, I wanted to dive in and chat about it in my very first Girl Talk Tuesday post of 2019.

Mom shaming is such a hot topic because it happens to us all.  You don’t have to have a Facebook profile to be shamed.  Mom shaming could be:

  • Family member making repeat comments about how you should be breastfeeding, not formula-feeding.  NEWSFLASH: It’s no one’s business but your business how you choose to feed your child.
  • A stranger giving you nasty looks for breastfeeding.  NEWSFLASH: She wasn’t invited to dine with your infant.  There’s no reason to feel ashamed for feeding your child in public.
  • A comment online attacking the way you look after having a baby.  NEWSFLASH: Your body just literally delivered a miracle.  Give yourself grace.
  • Another mother making it very known that her child will not have screen time until he or she is two years old, while looking at your child watching something on your phone.  NEWSFLASH: What one family chooses to do, shouldn’t influence what your family chooses to do.  You get to make your own decisions for your own family.
  • Someone posts an article shaming every mother who has given their child a flu shot this year.  NEWSFLASH:  It is between you and your pediatrician what you choose to vaccinate your child with.  Education is one thing, shaming is an entirely different beast.

For me, I’ve been shamed many times in only my one year of motherhood.  I’ve mostly been attacked on Instagram for choices that I’ve made with MacKenlee in feeding her my breastmilk in a bottle instead of nursing her every feeding.  Oh, and I can’t forget the nasty DM’s I’ve received because we chose to vaccinate her.  Or how about the time I took her out in public as a newborn and was slammed for that.

But my most memorable moment was before she was even born.  We’ve talked about this on the podcast, so it’s not a new story.  When I was in my second trimester, Matt and I went out to lunch.  I was wearing 2-3″ heels and walked to the bathroom.  Keep in mind, this was a single bathroom, not one with multiple stalls.  A middle-aged woman followed me back to the bathroom, opened the door as I was closing it and started lecturing me on wearing heels while pregnant.  She went so far as to grab my arm and told me that I could kill my baby.  I was so shocked that it was happening, that I didn’t know how to respond.  I walked back to our table still in shock and Matt was like,”What happened in there?!” I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was upset that a stranger got so aggressive with me.

The list goes on and on and ON.  There are so many examples, so many hurts, and guess what?  They’re all 100% avoidable and unnecessary.  That’s the thing about human nature though, when we think we know something, we think we need to make it known.  Sometimes it comes from a purely innocent place, just wanting to help another mama out.  Other times, it comes from a place of anger, envy or just plain old meanness.  Regardless of where it comes from, it’s all mom shaming and it has got to stop.

The thing that perplexes me most about this phenomenon is that most of the time (I didn’t say all of the time) it is other women who are doing the shaming.  That’s what leaves me sitting here, scratching my head.  Why would one mother want to tear another mother down?  I think we all have a little bit of those high school mean girl days still left in us.

Like I said in this week’s episode, I can honestly say that I’ve never once in my life left a negative comment of any type on someone’s social media account.  But do you know what I am guilty of?  Judging.  100% guilty.  I have watched other women with their children and silently judged what they did, how they reacted or things they said.  I did this while not having a clue about what was going on in their lives.  I simply witnessed a tiny moment in one of their (many) days being a mother and passed judgment in my heart.  We’re all guilty of this.  Or how about one of our girlfriends make a snide remark about what she saw another mom do?  We have a choice to shut it down or engage…  So much of the time, we choose to engage.

But, what if we flipped the script?  I know, I know, we can’t change what someone else does or even influence what they say.  What we can do is be the change ourselves.  How about in 2019, we take the stance that the buck stops here.  We choose to not engage in the mom bashing thoughts, talk, comments, the whole she-bang.  We instead choose to lift up other mamas.  Instead of looking to criticize, we look for something to praise about her parenting choices, her child, the way she looks, etc.  Think of it as a pay it forward of sorts.  Let’s make 2019 the year of mom praising instead of mom shaming.

Leave a comment below to share your own personal mom shaming story.

Outfit Details

The Details

First Photo: I’m wearing Cosabella Nursing PJ Set | Second Photo: I’m wearing Bae the Label dress. Kenny is wearing Gap dress and Freshly Picked moccasins. | Third Photo: I’m wearing J Brand jeans. Kenny is wearing outfit from Janie and Jack. | Fourth Photo: I’m wearing Storets cardigan and Kenny is wearing Old Navy tutu. | Fifth Photo: I’m wearing Lulu’s jumpsuit. Kenny is wearing Little Me dress. |

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Comments

  1. Brittany Blackburn
    January 15, 2019 / 6:46 PM

    Mom praising instead of mom shaming, yes! The buck stops HERE! We may not be able to stop the not-so-nice thoughts that pop into our heads, but we are able to choose what we’ll do with them!

  2. Amy Shepard
    January 15, 2019 / 9:02 PM

    Hi Angela,
    I have a bit of a different scenario. After in vitro twice and 3 angels in Heaven, we were immensely blessed to be able to adopt a new baby boy from birth. The story itself is such a miracle but we won’t go into that. I had older ladies even in our church saying (to my face) that I wasn’t really the motherly type, and that haunted me for the last almost 11 years now. Your “mom shaming” definitely applies not only to new birth mothers but adoptive mothers too, so thank you for taking time to share the importance of lifting each other up in support and love instead of tearing down.

    • Tamara
      January 16, 2019 / 6:32 PM

      A mommy is a mommy no matter the circumstances in which she became a mommy. I have nothing but pity for those women that criticized you. How horrible their lives must be that they must tear others down to feel better about themselves.

    • January 29, 2019 / 8:52 AM

      Oh, Amy. I’m so sorry! What a cruel thing to say. You’re a superstar with all you’ve been through!

  3. Sheila
    January 16, 2019 / 11:45 AM

    I am a mom of one baby girl who is now 32 years old. I endured mom shaming. As a new mom I was already unsure and insecure if I was being a good mom. I needed to be lifted up not torn down. I needed reassurance and support. Instead I got a lot of negative feedback. But you know what, my 32 year old “baby girl” grew up into a beautiful woman inside and out. So I must have done something right. Yes we need more “mom praising” and less “mom shaming. Thank you Angela for being an advocate for moms everywhere!

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:05 PM

      That’s such a shame, I’m sorry to hear that! Way to go, mama. Sounds like you proved them all wrong. 🙂

  4. Erin Sloan
    January 16, 2019 / 12:04 PM

    I love this so much and I love your heart! I’m right there with you on all of this. I mean, heck, my kids eat Lunchables for dinner sometimes because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to cook or prep, ha! I question myself but then I look at our boys and they are healthy and happy. And I say “ok, you’ve done your job today mama!” I try to always be kind, you never know what someone is going through in their life. 🙂

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:10 PM

      Thank you, Erin! Sounds like you’ve figured out this mama thing: balance!!

  5. Yara
    January 16, 2019 / 12:24 PM

    Angela, this post has a lot of meaning to me and I am eternally thankful that you are writing, talking and starting a conversation about this. To be honest, and without trying to offend anybody that is American, I have seen so much more of mom-shaming in this country than in mine (I’m from Spain, but live in Colorado). Maybe it is because I come from a country where being topless on the beach is normal for women, where we breastfeed in public and it’s natural, where women become mom’s younger… but I’ve never heard somebody shaming or judging another mom like I have here… And in person!! I saw a good friend of mine who is a mom (I am not a mom yet) do it to another, and I felt so ashamed to listen to that from somebody I know. Being a mother, building a family and making the choices you do should be NOBODY’s but YOUR BUSINESS!! I have my own believes and choices I want to make for mine, but I also believe that if you want to raise yours totally different, praise to God and good for you!! I respect every mama that works hard, researches, asks, wonders and stays up late all to give their child/ children the best she can/wants/has!! And I bow to every woman that gives all of them for their families! Let’s end mom-shaming for good!!!!!

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:11 PM

      Thank you, Yara. That is so interesting! I wonder why we women tend to be so much more judgmental here in the US?!

  6. Kirsten
    January 16, 2019 / 1:58 PM

    You say “it has got to stop” which is wishful thinking (??). I think a better idea is to equip moms how to be gracious and secure with themselves so that they aren’t torn down by their perceptions of others opinions, (real or perceived). Thanks for the article! Sorry it’s been hard.

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:11 PM

      It is wishful thinking, but I can do my part. 🙂

  7. Kirsten
    January 16, 2019 / 2:01 PM

    And you are helping by asking moms to address their own heart issues and not engaging in gossip and judgement, so kudos!

  8. Kristi
    January 16, 2019 / 4:45 PM

    I have been mom shamed because we are blessed with just one child. Due to medical reasons we cannot have anymore children, short of a miracle. I don’t think these other moms have intended to be hurtful but rather so focused on their own lives and struggles that they speak before thinking. I have been told countless times that my parenting life is easy because I only have one rather than multiple children. I find ways to politely say that in some ways yes my life is simpler with only one child namely the schedule. However, in other ways it is very challenging especially being my daughter’s main source of entertainment and focus. Of course she has friends, books, toys and other activities but at home it’s me. I am richly blessed and so are these other mamas but, just as in other areas of life, we should not compare our situations in life with others. As scripture says we should be trying to outdo one another in doing good. Like you said, flip the script and encourage another mom rather than compare. Unsolicited encouragement is always welcome unlike unsolicited “advice.”

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:13 PM

      Yes! I know what you mean, because I myself am an only child. Sounds like you’re an amazing mama. 🙂

  9. Katie Parks
    January 16, 2019 / 5:32 PM

    You’re so right. People can be so judgmental. The thing I don’t understand is why people feel so entitled to express their opinions in this area and not so much in others. Women are judged harshly for what their kids do or don’t do, but dads often get a free pass just because they show up.

    Having done the mom thing for almost 17 years now, I’ve become immune to most of it. And I try to offer a smile, grace, encouragement where I can to the people who look sheepish and apologize for their kid’s fit or thoughtlessness. Mostly I say something like, “I understand. My kids were once that age.” Kindness costs nothing and can mean everything to a struggling, stressed-out parent.

  10. Melanie
    January 16, 2019 / 8:41 PM

    I think it’s awful what that lady did to you Angela I’m sorry :/ I think all of us women should lift eachother up and be kind and compliment eachother so often cuz you never know what someone is going through ! I like to always give compliments when i see someone or first meet someone just to show them there are genuine people out there ! .

  11. Sonja M
    January 16, 2019 / 9:58 PM

    Here is my story, but I need to backtrack to the actual birth.
    I was 35 weeks, and my contractions started while I was at work (Iwas a hairstylist, so lots of standung) Mark, my husband, rushed me to my doctor, where he told me that I was already 5cm dilated and in active labor. I wanted to do a natural birth, but when the obgyn did a quick sonar, he saw that the umbilical cord was waaaay shorter than it was supposed to be and was starting to detach, hence why I went into premature labour. Had to have an emergency c-section. The spinal block didn’t work so I had to be put out. (There I was already mom shaming myself for not being awake)
    Okay, so fast forward a couple of weeks. Aimee, my daughter, lost her latch, my supply disappeared completely and we had to put her on formula.
    So, I was standing in the formula aisle when an old lady, who I have never met in my life, gave me a snarky look and said, “That’s the problem with your generation. You only think of yourselves. Your poor child.”
    Out of nowhere.
    So by that tine I was tired, fragile and already fighting a bout of post partum depression, so I was so numb that I couldn’t even say anything. I bought the formula, went back to the car and started sobbing so much that I couldn’t even tell Mark what was wrong. It was just horrible.
    When Aimee turned a month old, I was okay again and didn’t give a flying fig what other people told me. It’s MY child and I will raise her the way my husband and I see fit.
    That mom shame incident wasn’t the last, but I’ve learned to just dispatch the negativity and walk away.
    Thanks you for the article, Angela. You’re an amazing person and a wonderful mom. Love you!

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:17 PM

      UGHHHHHH. You sweet, sweet mama. I hate hearing this story so much. I’m so happy to hear that things shifted for you at one month. ❤️

  12. Maura M Gripp
    January 27, 2019 / 11:35 AM

    It blows my mind that people mom shame you for not breast feeding all the time and giving her a bottle, vaccinating her, and taking her out in public as a new born. These are typical things for all kids if they want to start daycare they have to be bottle fed and vaccinated. You just have to not listen to the negativity by saying thank you for your opinion but I will raise my child my own way and you can raise yours your own way.

    • January 29, 2019 / 2:19 PM

      Everyone has an opinion lately and they think they’re qualified to force that opinion on you!

  13. April 4, 2019 / 11:01 AM

    What an encouraging post!

    My husband and I adopted older children (they were both 8 years old when we brought them home) and raising children who have carried trauma is extremely delicate. One thing we often have to do is keep our children close. Even at 12 years old (now) it isn’t safe for our son to go off with other children alone to play. So many people tell us his trouble is because we don’t know how to parent. That he just needs “space”. I have to remind myself often that my job is to protect him, and his story, so I don’t have to give anyone else details on the “why” behind our choices for him. We do have people who know the whole story and every single one encourages us to do exactly what we’re doing to keep him and other children safe so he can heal.

    Anyway, your encouragement to not judge because we only see a small part of someone’s story is SO true and SO good.

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