Stop Mum Shaming!
Updated: Mar 11
Mum shaming is an issue I was only vaguely aware of before I became a mother. Mothers shaming other mothers, harshly judging the choices of another for many different reasons. Until becoming a Mum I didn't appreciate how much it occurs but also the more subtle ways it occurs. The Facebook posts saying "Oh, I will never do blah blah with my child."
I want to start by admitting that being a Mum is hard, some days are harder than others. People warn you it will be hard but you can never truly grasp the concept until you are a parent. I suspect this is a phenomenon that also occurs with all parents, not just Mums but I personally have only seen and experienced Mum shaming from women.
Becoming a mother has been an incredible and humbling experience for me. I will admit some of the things I said I would never do before my son was born went completely out the window afterward. My son was born special and so there is a lot going on we never expected making him quite different from other kids his age. He looks normal on the outside though so people don't really understand. Talking to friends with kids can be a challenge, you're having a hard day so you want to vent a little, then the unsolicited advice starts. "Oh, you shouldn't be doing that, you should do this."
I think one of the biggest things I have learnt is that kids are so, so different and you can't put them into nice neat little boxes, life just isn't that simple. What works for one child will not likely work for the next. Suggestions and advice can be helpful when worded right, when worded wrong it can be emotionally destructive. You can say things like, "I do this, maybe it could help you." Don't say, "Oh no, you're doing that wrong." or "I would never do that to my child." Honestly, it just hurts and serves to make the other woman feel like a shitty mother.
You read all the books, you talk to all the nurses and doctors, but at the end of the day, you are the one with your child more than anyone else. You are the one who will be able to work out what they need. In my case that does mean that he has slept in my bed from time to time, if I hadn't done that at times, I would have gone insane from sleep deprivation and what use would I have been to him then. I do my best to make as much of his food from scratch as I can because that's something that I want to give him but I also buy store bought food for him too because I'm not super woman. I could never use cloth nappies because of his special needs, that does not mean I don't care about the environment. He does have probably way more toys than a child needs, but is that really going to hurt him at the end of the day? I do use television to, again, help me keep my sanity, I don't know how to shower without the Wiggles on anymore.
This is Mum life, it's hard and it's messy but we need to be kinder to each other. Stop the pointed comments, stop the "I'm so wonderful" Facebook posts shaming others for not being able to do everything the way you think they should be done. All parents should be supporting each other as we navigate the battlefield that is parenthood.
I want the take home message from this to be, we need to stop openly shaming each other. Everyone is doing the best they can to make it through each day, it's harder for some than others for a vast array of different reasons so the shaming needs to stop. If I can get to the end of the day and my tiny human is alive and healthy, I count it as a win!