Mom-Shaming: What To Do About It?

Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue’s Editorial Assistant

Image Source: Project Semicolon

Being a mom is hard enough. At times, we’re subjected to feeling bouts of exhaustion, frustration, and resentment and on a larger scale, we wonder if we’re doing right by our children while navigating through this wonderful and demanding world of motherhood. Add all that, and mom-shaming! 

What Is Mom-Shaming?

Mom-shaming doesn’t discriminate. Over a high percentage of moms have experienced this onslaught of unwanted criticism and judgment from strangers and even other moms themselves! The disparaging comments usually take a jab at our parenting styles and decisions we make. And, worst of all, it so common that it happens daily for all moms.

Mom-shamers will go off about almost anything! From what our kids have for breakfast, how we dress our kids or the “right” way to breastfeed, or even how you choose to co-sleep with your child! We must know that mom-shaming is a form of bullying and affects the self-esteem and confidence of any mother. This is why we need to understand, prepare and find way healthy ways to deal with it.

Why Does Mom-Shaming Happen? 

Usually, this is pinned down to the differences in beliefs, opinions, and expectations that are connected to motherhood and the way children should be raised. The inflexible and rigid attitude of “My way is the right way!” also contributes to mom-shaming. 

However, there are times when another mom actually genuinely cares but it is executed this poorly. There’s no singular manual that states step by step on how to be a good mother to our children, otherwise, we’d all have it figured out but it’s not and it’s important that we’re doing the best we can at any given moment.

 

Image Source: Mama365
The 4 Common Types of Mom-Shaming
  
•    Being Shamed By A Stranger
 
This type of shaming most often hurts the worst. You might be out with your children at a grocery store, or the doctor’s and they’re acting up, crying and screaming and causing a scene. Out of nowhere, a stranger approaches you and criticizes you on what a bad mom you’re being. It’s difficult to deal with this unsolicited advice. After all, you’re doing the best you can in any given situation. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, everyone has their two cents on parenting and to not take anything personally, especially from strangers.
 
•    Being Shamed Online
 
These days, our social media presence makes it an easy target for mom-shamers to unload their criticism. This is because of how we share our lives online through Facebook and Instagram and us as moms do this with good intentions such as sharing our lives with our friends and family who live further away. However, this becomes an ideal spot for mom-shamers to act on. From making demeaning comments such as “Lose the baby fat!” to “How come you’re not at home with the kids?” Comments will probably endless, but don’t forget to always not let the bad comments get to you.
 
•    Being Shamed By Another Mother
 
Moms, raise your glass if you’ve experienced this at one point or another. Whether you’re in the park with your child, or, when you’re at a mall with other moms and they let slip, “He’s a mess. You need to clean him up,” or, “Control your child, we’re in public.” These unwarranted comments can be very hurtful as they’re mothers too. This creates further doubt and certainty about your own parenting abilities and styles and it makes you wonder, “Am I doing this right?”
 
•    Being Shamed By Your Own Mother
 
Oh, the ironic woes of motherhood. Being criticized for your parenting style and decision from another mother, or even a stranger is nothing compared to this sort of commentary coming from your mother. Just remember, that parenting styles are flexible and will vary from parent to parent. In this situation, it’s best to remember that your mother is just trying to help out and provide the best for her grandchild, even if it comes off as preachy.
 
The Surprising Negative Effect of Mom-Shaming
 
Unfortunately, with any form of bullying, mom-shaming has shown to have negative effects on mothers. One of the many impacts that shaming has on moms s is the reduction of confidence, which leaves moms questioning and doubting their parenting styles. Secondly, it depletes effectiveness in parenting. When a child sees their mother being shamed or criticized for the way they raise their child, this will pose doubts in their child about their mother’s parenting technique. Next, it elevates stress levels. When a mother becomes stressed out, there are times she will take it out on her children, thus, affecting her children’s mood and development. Sadly, yes… Mom-shaming not only affects moms but children as well.
 
Image Source: New York Daily News
You’ve Been Mom-Shamed, Now What?
 
According to Very Well Family, there are several ways we can use and practice in our everyday lives to kick inflammatory mom-shaming comments to the curb!
 
•    Don’t respond
 
While it can feel counterintuitive to do nothing when people say rude things about you, the best way to respond to mom shaming is to ignore the posts and comments. Although it is difficult to refrain from posting a rebuttal or at least trying to explain what you were thinking, do not respond. Even an apology can keep the mom shaming cycle running. Instead, let the story fizzle out.
 
•    Do keep mom shaming in perspective
 
It’s normal to experience a wide variety of emotions, ranging from intense humiliation and sadness to anger and regret after being publicly shamed. Allow yourself to feel those feelings but don’t stay there. Watch out if your thoughts are exaggerating your situation. In other words, don’t buy into the idea that your entire life is ruined. 
 
•    Don’t obsess about the shaming
 
Continuing to think about what others said about you is not healthy. It robs you of your time and energy. Plus, it only makes you feel worse. Focus on other things instead. Have coffee with a friend or go to a movie to take your mind off what is being said online.
 
•    Do delete your post, tweet or comment
 
If the shaming is the result of something you said or posted online, then delete it. While this will not eliminate your content completely from the Internet, it will delete one avenue for people to shame you. Keep in mind though, people can post photos of you or take screen shots and shame you in those ways. You can contact the social media provider and ask that the post or photo be taken down, but they do not always respond to those requests.
 
 
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