There’s no more popular term on the mommy blogs right now than being “mom shamed”. Many moms have a story about how a woman side-eyed her at the grocery store as she was buying formula. Or a little ditty about her sister in law educating her about why she should only feed her family organic, grass fed, cage free oatmeal (just kidding, I know that’s not a thing, unless….). And there’s the ever popular offensive story about your father in-law telling you that your pregnant belly is SO big…triplets?
It’s possible, and I’d argue even likely, that a decent amount of the time these people are just clueless, not heartless. Now, of course every once in awhile someone is just flat out rude, but I’m talking about the much smaller encounters that rub us the wrong way. I think people get excited when they see a pregnant belly and a new baby and often say the wrong thing.
I generally don’t feel mom shamed, and I think part of my mindset is because I try to consciously see the good in people. This has taken a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of reminders. Most of the time it helps me to see the world as a friendly place. Whether others think that’s accurate or not, that’s the kind of world in which I’d like to raise children. Therefore, I do what I need to do to maintain that outlook.
Perception is reality, so if you feel shamed, then you’re shamed. Until we find our own way to rise above it or process it differently, I have a few suggestions for how to deal with it so you can move on and leave the bad feelings behind you. Life is too short to let someone elses opinion darken your day.
- Make it a teaching moment. Like the Girl Scouts, I love the idea of leaving something better than you found it. You could show a stranger your perspective and set them straight in a calm way. This requires some bravery but you could say, “my choices work for us” and leave it at that.
- Use it as an opportunity for growth. Did a comment bother you because it’s an area of parenting you’re insecure about? Trust your instincts and remind yourself that you know what’s best. We’re all just figuring it out as we go along and you’re doing the best you can in the moment.
- Maybe you’re tired. Just like my kids, I tend to take everything personally and have my most epic meltdowns when I’m tired. We’re more vulnerable to judgement when our basic needs aren’t met. Be kind to yourself and take a long shower, meditate or take a walk. This is a hard job, but you’ve got this.
We’re all loving our families the best way we know how. It’s sad to know that so many women have interactions that make them feel like the world is judging them. I’ve offered a few alternative ideas here to maybe make these negative interactions a little less negative. Parenting is hard enough without needing to consider what other people think of our methods.