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.
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. |