Stephanie Lynne Photography and Films
The Ugly Reality of Parenting and Mom Shaming
Mom shaming has been around since the days of Adam and Eve, but in recent years it’s become a popular pastime for people who get joy out of judging others. Whether it’s on social media, in real life, or even in our own heads, we all need to take a step back and recognize that mom shaming is wrong. I get it, sometimes it’s unintentional, but others, it is clearly targeted. Let’s end this trend now and instead encourage one another. Move aside Mom shamers and let me Mom in
What Is Mom Shaming?
I’m sure this goes without saying. If you are reading this post, you are likely a mom or have already been a victim of mom-shaming. Mom shaming is the act of judging other mothers for their parenting choices. It can be anything from how you feed your children (breastfeeding vs formula feeding), how you discipline them, or even what educational methods you choose. It can be as subtle as an eye roll or as overt as an accusation. No matter the form it takes, mom shaming needs to end. Parenting and motherhood is hard enough, we don’t need to let the weight of others opinions effect us so much.
Mom Shaming Described Perfectly
A few years ago a mom, Kelsea King, posted the following and it is so relatable.
”Mom-ing is hard when breastfeeding in public is offensive but formula feeding is frowned upon.When co-sleeping is dangerous but rocking your baby to sleep is wrong, when sleep training means you don’t love your baby but not having your kid on a schedule means you have no control of your kid, when putting your child in a bouncer/walker is detrimental to their development but holding them too much is spoiling them, when being a stay at home Mom means you’ve given up your career/dreams but putting them in childcare and going back to work means you’re going to miss out on all of the important things, when getting kids their shots is injecting them with poison but if you don’t you’re endangering the world, when you’re trying to be confident in your motherhood but everyone wants to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.”
Why We Should Stop Mom Shaming?
The better question should be why would we NOT stop mom shaming? Be a better friend, family member, acquaintance, or even stranger. Mom’s already deal with enough from our toddlers and children; let’s not add to that stress by judging each other for how we parent. The truth is that no two families are alike and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting.
What worked for my first baby most definitely did not work for my last. Spoiler alert, my first was in his crib at the age of 6 weeks, and my 4th child still sleeps in bed with me (she’s two). Every mother knows what works best for her family, so why judge someone else for doing things differently? Let’s focus on uplifting each other instead of tearing each other down. After all, we are all just trying to raise healthy and happy kids!
Easy To Judge When You Have No Kids
I’ll be the first to admit. I was the naive person who “judged” moms before I had kids of my own? Oh my gosh, you let your baby sleep on you for naps and at night? I would never do that…now I have 3 out of 4 kids who end up in our bed every night. 2 of which napped on me (or in the car) for every nap in the first year (or more). It’s what worked for them, us really. Let’s be honest, we are all in survival mode with young kids. We are doing our best and don’t need the judgement from those that don’t truly understand.
I remember years ago a family friend who didn’t have kids said to someone as they were leaving a get-together to get their kid down for the night. “You can’t let that kid rule your life.” As a Mom, I understand why they left. Kids that go to bed later than normal do not wake up later than normal, rather you are dealing with the wrath of a missed bedtime and subsequently an exhausted child for days.
Examples of Mom Shaming
I could spend hours writing about instances of mom shaming. But as I’m typing this these are the first few that come to mind. What mom-shaming stories do you have?
Child Abuse Because of No Shoes
On what promised to be a great day, the first day we were out of the house after all 6 of us had a terrible stomach virus. I was out with my family for lunch, including my 15 month old child. Mind you, she was my delayed walker, who was barely crawling at that point. After lunch, we decided to let the kids play at the penny arcades in manitou springs when suddenly an unfamiliar female stopped us. After inquiring about the absence of shoes and socks for our little one, she criticized me harshly as a mother – claiming that without shoes it socks it meant child abuse. CHILD ABUSE?!
In all reality though this isn’t true (obviously), we were caught off guard on our impromptu excursion. But, let’s say I was prepared, and brought socks. My non walking 15 month old would have already ripped them off. Not to mention, she didn’t even have her own shoes by then. What’s the point when she was on my hip at all times? The comment hit especially hard considering my mental health had been fragile leading up to this; questioning if I truly measure up against other parents. Overwhelmed by emotion, yet, determined not to let her words define who I am or how well I care for my babies, I firmly walked away. But then I immediately cried, because as much as I didn’t want her words to define me, they still hurt.
Concerned For The Safety Of Your Child In His $600 Car Seat
Someone close to me, a first time mom, found herself receiving harsh criticism when a friend of hers voiced concern. Her concern was that the $600 car seat that this first time mom purchased for her baby may not offer enough safety. While this car seat is praised by experts (and moms), this product failed to satisfy her friends desire for ultimate protection. Unfortunately, her comments lead this first time mom to question whether she’d done their best. She hasn’t even had her baby yet. Meaning she hasn’t truly experienced the throws of parenthood and she is already doubting herself. Why? Because of one persons negative comment.
After hearing this, I was quick to judge this so called mom-shamer. But, before I did, I quickly googled this $600 car seat. It took me about 30 seconds to think, “wow, I wish I had that car seat for my babies.” Excellent five-star reviews everywhere you looked. I couldn’t even fathom why this other mom would shame someone into thinking it wasn’t safe enough.
You Will Ruin Your Baby
Someone (in this context, a “mom-shamer”) recently suggested that if a new mom didn’t sleep train her baby quickly, then she would doom them to an eternity of sleeplessness. While this might sound dramatic and certainly isn’t true, this is what mom’s are saying. I promise, if your baby isn’t sleep trained, you aren’t ruining them. I “sleep trained” my first and it was awful. I do not recommend. Just kidding, I do recommend it, if that is what is best for you.
Anyway, in my experience, I still didn’t get any more sleep from sleep training. Rather I was up every 1-2 hours trying to calm him in his own room rather than in the comfort of my own bed. After co-sleeping exclusively from birth until what felt and feels like eternity with my third and fourth children, I found what worked for me. But, you better believe, I was mom-shamed along the way for co-sleeping with my babies.
First Time Moms Are Mom Shamed the Most
As a newborn photographer in Colorado Springs, I see it all the time. I show up to photograph these beautiful moms with a brand new baby. I can see the stress, the exhaustion, everything. But, as an outsider, I also see the beauty. I remember being a wreck with my first child. My husband refers to welcoming our first as life-shattering. That sums it up pretty nicely. But, despite the exhaustion, there is so much beauty.
But, I, like so many other first time moms, let the “opinions” and unwanted advice get to my head. Everyone had an opinion on what worked for them, but guess what that didn’t work for me. Which then made me wonder what was wrong with me or my baby. I quickly learned what worked for my first, most definitely didn’t work for my other kids. I always encourage my first time moms at newborn sessions to ignore the unwanted advice and do what works best of them. Because what works best for them will certainly not appease everyone. And, guess what? THAT IS OK! Different parenting does not mean bad parenting.
Different Parenting Does Not Mean Bad Parenting
Mom-shaming has been around since the beginning but it still doesn’t make it right. Let’s do our part by refusing to engage in mom shaming behavior and instead focus on supporting one another! We all have different parenting techniques but at the end of the day we are all working towards the same goal: raising healthy and happy kids who will grow up into responsible adults. So let’s put an end to this poisonous trend once and for all and start embracing diversity among mothers everywhere!
How We Can Support Each Other
A great way to support fellow mamas is by offering advice without judgment or criticism. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, so if you see something that looks off or could use a little tweaking – offer your help in a kind and encouraging way. I remember with my first a good friend came to visit me when he was about 5 weeks. She saw me putting him in the car seat and very nicely let me know I had been putting him in the carseat wrong this whole time. I felt so stupid and we laughed and laughed. “Imagine trying to put your toddler in the seat like that.”
Another way to support a new mom is offering positive stories about your own experiences as a mother; hearing about how someone else has conquered a similar challenge can give us hope and reassurance that everything will work out in the end! And finally, don’t forget to always show appreciation for yourself too; self-care is key to being able to care for others! Personally, I struggle with the last one, who can relate? Who has time for self-care when raising 4 tyrants, I mean children. But, I’m working on it, self-care was one of my biggest “resolutions” this year.
How About You?
I’m curious! Answer Below!
- Have you ever been mom-shamed?
- Be Honest – Have You Ever Mom-shamed someone else? Maybe it was unintentional.
- What’s the worst thing someone has ever said to you about being a mom?
- What do you think are the biggest mistakes new moms make?
- How do you deal with mom-shaming?
- Why do people mom-shame in the first place?
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
Hi, I’m Stephanie
I’m your Colorado Springs Photographer. We probably have a lot in common. Besides being a photographer, I am an Air Force wife and mother to 4 children and 2 dogs. I am not a morning person and have a bad habit of staying up way too late. I start each morning with a cup of coffee and I think the outcome of my day solely depends on if I am able to finish that cup before it gets cold.
Newborn Photographer – Colorado Springs
Are you interested in a newborn session? Let’s Capture those magical moments! I promise there will be no mom-shaming coming from me.