The 5 Ways We Shame Mothers and Why We Need to Stop

The 5 Ways We Shame Mothers and Why We Need to Stop August 8, 2018




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When I became a mother, I never realized there were so many rules to parenting. Nor did I anticipate how the choices I made as a mother would be scrutinized, analyzed, or criticized by just about anyone with an opinion.

What makes it worse is some of the most hurtful comments come from the mouths of other mothers.  

Everything seems to be up for debate when it comes to all things motherhood.

There is no such thing as a non-controversial choice. Most of us can’t go to the grocery store without buying something that some other mother thinks will poison our child, destroy their brains, or cause them to develop a myriad of rare diseases.

What are the top things we seem to shame other moms for doing?

 Well, the list could be endless, but I’ve come up with the top 5 after speaking with dozens of readers.

1. What we feed our children

The debate on feeding starts early. For many mothers, this conversation begins before they give birth, and they need to decide whether to breastfeed or use a bottle.

Social media bombards us studies and stories about what foods are best.

Mothers that pick formula is made to feel as though they are poisoning their children with chemicals and sugars that will impede the brain development.

Mothers that pick to breastfeed are either applauded or demonized for doing so in public. God forbid you whip out a breast to feed a starving infant. 

When our children get older, the food debate gets more complicated. Kids can be extremely picky eaters. Picky eating can lead moms to allow their kids to eat anything to get calories. This doesn’t stop the judgment on food.

Chicken Nuggets vs. Organic Chicken

Conventional Produce vs. Organic Produce

Sugar vs. No Sugar

Dairy Vs. No Dairy

As mothers, we are too strict, or not rigid enough in regards to food. We find ways to demean others for making a decision different than ours. 

2. How we chose to educate our children

From the earliest days of motherhood, we are taught the importance of teaching and educating our children. 

We begin early with classes within community education. Many of us enroll in ECFE courses. As our children move into preschool, we analyze the curriculum we want for our children.

Do we pick a private school, public school, charter schools, or homeschooling?

Are we implementing enough learning in the home?

If our children struggle with academics, do we push for accommodations and special education?

Are we allowing our children too much screen time versus learning time at home?

The choices are endless and no matter the decision made, there is always someone that is entirely against your position.

Public schools are too crowded and have too many tests.

Private schools lack accommodations and are too expensive.

Charter schools are misunderstood and considered sub-par education.

Homeschooling kids are anti-social, selfish, and the parents are over-protective.

 No matter our educational choice our kids are somehow going to get screwed trying to learn how to become productive adults.

3. How we chose to discipline our children.

Most of us know that kids can act out and misbehave. Children are tiny terrorists dressed in cute clothes.

Mothering is like a combat field. Temper tantrums require kevlar vests to avoid fractured ribs. To prevent personal injury, many us go to great lengths to minimize outbursts by our children.

Anytime we are in public; our kids seem to act the worst. All of our kids create spectacles at one point in their lives. When tantrums occur publicly, every single person has laser vision on our kids. Our parenting choices in these moments get the most judgment from strangers.

If we allow the behavior, we are too lenient. We are creating a child that is entitled, undisciplined, and bratty.

If we raise our voices and lose our temper, we are violent, strict, and unloving.

None of the choices we make are ever acceptable to the peanut gallery watching the events unfold.

Unless a parent is abusing or neglecting a child, we need to respect how each of disciplines our children.

4. How we protect our children

Some of us chose to let our kids run free. Free-range parenting is the latest rage. Kids run from sun up to sun down with limited supervision and discipline.

Other parents never leave their children’s sides. They follow their children every single place they go. We call these parents helicopter parents. 

Other parents are over-protective. Parents have several reasons for being overprotective. A child may have a medical or behavioral need that requires close supervision. God forbid, you skip a play date to protect your child, or you might be shunned from playgroups for life.

No matter the choices we make on how to keep our children safe, there is often another mother in the background belittling us. We either smother or children or give them no supervision. 

5. The medical treatment we chose for our children.

Mothers of boys get into the medical fight immediately with the debates on whether or not to circumcise their son. Then the medical discussions turn to vaccinations.

Those that chose to vaccinate are poisoning their child with metals and killing their natural immune system.

Mothers who opt out of vaccinations are told they are selfish, uninformed, a public health threat, and irresponsible for putting others at risk.

Got a kid with a mental health issue or attention deficit disorder?

Well medicating or not medicating might get you into a fist fight on the playground. Or it could land you in a verbal tongue lashing in a Facebook group.

Medicating or using natural/homeopathic remedies to treat an ailment will stir up more drama than an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

When does it End?

The truth is there is always another mother that is giving us the stink eye, hair flip, or rolling her eyes about our parenting choices.

There is a straightforward way we can stop all of this, and that is by agreeing to disagree.  We need to stop using our energy to condemn and destroy one another.

Instead, we need to focus on supporting, loving and helping each other become better mothers.

For women, the world is already hard enough for us. We deal with sexist laws and cultural norms that keep us as second-class citizens.

By tearing one another down, we are perpetuating the stereotypes that have infiltrated our brains for our entire lives. We are catty, dramatic, gossipy, back-stabbing, and mean.

It’s time for us to change the script in how we conduct ourselves as mothers. We must become the women that make our children proud. We are better than this behavior.

Our children deserve to see mothers that are kind, giving, supportive, and loving. 

Our children become what they see. Show our children that every person can make different choices. Diversity and difference isn’t a bad thing. However, shaming others for their choices is wrong.

Please end mom shaming today.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Morgan Lefaye

    As a law-abiding citizen, I feel it’s my civic duty to get vaccinated to protect special-needs children. I refuse to be Typhoid Mary. I also give anti-vaxxers the stink-eye because they reduce herd immunity. I don’t care about parenting decisions unless they actually impact the general public – like in this case.

  • I will gladly applaud your stink eye. My son is medically fragile and everyone that associates with us – must be vaccinated

  • Morgan Lefaye

    Thank you! I wasn’t quite sure where your stance was. My wife is immune-compromised, so I make sure we’re both vaccinated for the flu every fall. I hope Von’s operation goes well.

  • Thank you! I am pro-vax all day long! We all get flu shots – even though we both got the flu 2 years in a row.

  • Anonyme

    #5 really strikes home with my. I have epilepsy, and my four siblings (all older than me) loved to tell my parents what they were doing wrong. (Part of that is my dad’s making; he didn’t like to “offend” them so never told them to shut their faces. Because then he’d lose his fan club).
    *I wasn’t being taken to the right doctors.
    *I hadn’t seen enough doctors.
    *I shouldn’t have been put on medications after the first seizure I had. We should have waited for me to have more seizures and then decide.
    *I was on the wrong medication.

    My sister even took it up with me, even telling me that the Diastat I was using at the time (roughly the equivalent of an Epipen, for seizures) wasn’t neccessary, because, apparently, there was no need to stop a seizure that could take my life. She also told me that I could STOP my seizures if I just thought about it.

    TL;DR: people need to back the fuck off when it comes to parents’ healthcare decisions for their children, with the exception of extreme measures such as “faith healing”.

  • Absolutely! I am really sad that you were treated like that regarding your Epilepsy. I know from experience with friends how serious Epilepsy can be. Everyone can be a critic from the outside looking in – but no one will ever know unless they are walking in these shoes. I hope your seizures are well controlled now!