What Is Mom Shaming?
If you’re a mother, you may have experienced what is known as mom shaming without even knowing there was a term dedicated to describing this hurtful phenomenon. So what exactly does mom shaming entail?
Every parent cares for their child slightly differently, but many like to believe that their parenting methods are superior to others. Mom shaming happens when people criticize mothers for making a decision that they wouldn’t have necessarily made. While it’s perfectly natural for parents to differ in their approaches to childcare, mom shaming is a form of unconstructive criticism which often results in the parent in question feeling insecure and unworthy.
Mom shaming takes a mental toll on those who are subjected to it, as they may feel they have failed to meet the unrealistic parenting expectations created by our society. Some common mom shaming examples include criticizing women who don’t breastfeed or giving their children food that is deemed to be unhealthy. The covid-19 pandemic has also seen moms experiencing shaming for venturing out into public with their children.
While mom-shaming is clearly detrimental to the wellbeing of mothers, it continues to happen frequently. So what can be done to break this toxic cycle of shaming?
How To Respond To Mom Shaming
Many moms have already experienced shaming since becoming a parent, and if it happens to you, it can be difficult to know how to respond.
- Most importantly, all moms should understand that their parenting choices are valid. Someone’s decision to mom shame another woman is not the fault of the mom, and no one should feel like a failure for not meeting the unobtainable expectations which are placed on women.
- If someone’s mom shames you, it can be tempting to respond in anger, which is perfectly understandable. However, you should remain confident in your choices, and explain that you believe in your parenting methods. It can also be helpful to point out that it is inappropriate to question someone else’s parenting choices, as it may encourage the person shaming you to consider the impact of their actions.
How To Prevent Mom Shaming
Due to the culture of mom shaming in which we live, some of us may have criticized another mom without even realizing it. However, it is possible to help break the vicious cycle of shaming and guilt by recognizing the patterns which cause mom shaming in order to prevent it.
- Avoid questioning other people’s choices by thinking before you speak – question if you would feel insulted or hurt by asking the question or making the criticism you have in mind, and if the answer is yes, it’s best not to ask it in order to prevent belittling another mom’s choices.
- Reframe your thinking by accepting that other people’s parenting choices do not affect you and your decisions. While you may not agree with another mom’s choice, it doesn’t impact your life, whereas harsh criticism is likely to negatively affect the self-worth of the person in question.
- Actively support other moms! Whether it’s providing support for a mom who has experienced shaming, or simply telling another mom that she’s doing a great job, boosting one another’s confidence is the perfect remedy to a hostile culture.
Mom shaming can be incredibly damaging, but with a little know-how, it’s possible to address and dismantle the culture which has affected so many hard-working and caring mothers. And if you do experience mom-shaming, remember: your decisions are valid, and only you can be the judge of your parenting choices.