Mom Shaming: The Social Stigma of Motherhood

Let’s get real for a minute and talk about the social stigmatism around motherhood. For a lot of you I’m sure you’re thinking, “there is?” Well I hate to say it, but if that was your first thought then you are probably one of the people contributing.

As moms we’re expected to be able to juggle kids, work, relationships, cooking, cleaning and the list goes on and on. Each ball we juggle has its own set of challenges. For example, I have to either feel that I’m giving up a career for myself if I choose to be a stay at home mom or I have to feel that I’m not devoting enough time to my children if I decide to be a working mom. Virtually everything has a double standard.

The Double Standard

In all aspects of motherhood there has developed a double standard. Breastfeeding versus formula, vaccinate versus non-vaccinate, co-sleeping versus cribs; the list goes on and on. So much controversy has developed around these topics that it has actually pitted mothers against each other.

I can tell you that I’ve had an instant connection with other women just based on the fact that we are both mothers. Sure, as a child you think you know what a mom is and does and their role. But you don’t know what they went through to even get pregnant and to carry you for 9 months and then to birth you. You don’t know about the countless hours awake at night for feedings and diaper changes or just to hold you for comfort. But what most people don’t tell you about is the overwhelming amount of anxiety you will have.

I knew I’d be a worry mom, but I never knew how much my love for my children would cause me to over analyze every decision I ever made for their well-being. Would some call me neurotic? Sure! Would I choose to care what those people think? Absolutely not! We’re all mothers trying to do what we think is best for our children, which is where our difference of opinion on numerous topics arises. But what is even more important is how we decide to act outwardly towards one another.

So all of us moms are already worried if we’re doing this whole parenting thing right or if our kids are going to wind up as delinquents or worse. I mean we now live in a society where you genuinely have to worry about sending your kids to school and them not coming home. I know, I know, that just escalated quickly, but these are things that mothers think about!

Peer Pressure from Society

Now imagine everything I just talked about going through your head CONSTANTLY and add on everyone’s comments and judgements. Doesn’t sound so hot does it?

I’m sorry but as a mother unless your opinion is asked for don’t give it. Every “you know what you should do,” or “I wouldn’t do it that way,” comment just makes us feel more inadequate. Like thanks I already was questioning if I was doing everything right as a parent and now I have all these other opinions basically confirming that I’m not.

Listen, just because one mom wants to feed her kid organic doesn’t make her a hippie or a health nut or any better or worse than our parents. It is simply her choice and what she believes is best for her child. Are there drastic sides of this spectrum that aren’t acceptable decisions to be making for your children? Sure. But the reality is most mom genuinely want what’s best for their children.

I can tell you personally that I received EXTREME pressure to breastfeed my first child. I’m talking about from my doctor, from other moms, from the nurses in the hospital, and from one of the pediatricians. I had decided long before my baby was even born that was just not something I thought I could handle. Formula allowed other people to feed the baby and allowed me to sleep longer periods at night without having to pump. I also didn’t have to worry about my diet or have to worry about figuring out how to pump at work. But that is what worked for ME! Again though, the double standard of society would say I was being selfish and that I was depriving my baby of some liquid gold miracle that could only be provided from my body. The point is my child is a strong and healthy 2 year old now and is in the 80% and 94% in weight and height.

While I am the one that ultimately made the decision I didn’t like feeling like I had to explain a reason to anyone else. In fact I got asked it so frequently I seriously contemplating just answering, “because I don’t want to that’s why.”

This is just one of MANY topics that I could go into, but they all have a common theme. Being a mom is by far the hardest 24/7 365 job a woman can have. It makes you love, cry and worry more than any other job on this planet. Yet society continues to try to TELL us what we’re doing wrong.

Why People Mom Shame

I wish I really knew the true answer to this, but I think that the reason is different for everyone. On one hand some people are adamant about what they believe is best for their kid and will therefore do anything and everything to try to make everyone else hop on the same band wagon.

Some people just enjoy being judgmental and have no perception of how their words affect others.  Let’s also remember that passing judgement is easy, that’s why so many people do it unknowingly.

But I think that most of the time people mom shame because they are insecure about the decisions that they are making for their kids. 

So What Can We Do?

  1. Tell them off: First off as a mother you can basically outright tell people thanks, but no thanks when they try to offer their opinion. You can of course do this in a more eloquent way, but there is no reason you should have to take someone else’s advice when it was not asked for.
  2. Be strong: Remember that you are one tough momma and you don’t have to let anyone else make you feel that you are doing a poor job.
  3. Be a voice of encouragement: Instead of contributing to the shaming make sure you go out of your way to support your fellow mommas and tell them what a great job that they are doing. It sounds crazy, but we actually LIKE receiving confirmation from others that we’re not royally screwing everything up.

If we offered encouragement and help as often as we judge and hate then the world we live in would be a vastly differently place. So be a positive contributor momma and don’t add to the sea of voices that are constantly trying to tell us everything we’re doing wrong. Remember, you grew and birthed a whole person and you’re doing everything you know is right to raise a great human being. So hang in there mommas you’re doing an awesome job!

The information on this blog is for entertainment purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as any kind of advice, such a medical, legal, tax, emotional or other types of advice. If you as a reader rely on any info on this blog, you do so at your own risk. All information is based on the owner’s personal research and opinions only and does not reflect the opinions of any organizations we may be affiliated with. Full Blog Disclaimer

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