There's an ambiguous enemy lurking in the back of our minds, on our social media feeds, and through our conversations with our best friends. It manifests itself in different ways for different women, and to some, it's a debilitating enemy; affecting their very ability to be a good parent. Mom shaming; it's alive and real, despite any dictionary definition to put a label on the trend. Thankfully there are ways to stop mom-shaming once and for all — and it can start today with you.
With the prevalence of social media, it's all too easy to share your (sometimes harmful) opinions with the click of a button, without any regard to the way it might affect someone else. But since there's a pretty good chance that every mom has been shamed in some way or another, it's more than beneficial to think before you post, speak, or share.
From postpartum depression, to negative body image, to suicidal thoughts, to questioning our ability to be good moms, mom shaming can do nothing but wreak havoc on our fellow mothers.
So instead of judging each other for their different choices, sharing those harmful articles, or gossiping about another mom behind her back, why not implement some of these changes and one by one make the world a safer place to be a mom.
1. Have Friends Who Parent Differently Than You Do
Just like having friends of various ages and walks of life is helpful for everyone, meeting (and getting to know) parents who might do things differently than you can do nothing but give you a wider perspective. According to a piece from Psychologies, people often feel pressured to make friends of the same age group and beliefs , but this can cause you to miss out on other perspectives and valuable lessons.
2. Spread Positivity Online (And IRL Too)
There's no shortage of mom-shaming articles splattered across social media. The next time you share an article (or have a real life conversation) think about the feelings of another mom it may negatively impact. Our goal should never be to tear each other down.
3. Help The Stressed Out Mom, Instead Of Judging Her For Yelling At Her Kids
You've been there, so why judge the mom whose toddler is melting down in the grocery store? Instead, offer her an understanding smile, or offer to help her in the check out line. A little bit of camaraderie can go a long way.
4. Give Yourself Grace On Your Bad Days
Mom-shaming doesn't just apply to other moms — women are just as guilty of shaming ourselves. Remember that you're allowed to have bad days. You're going to loose your temper sometimes. You won't always win at the mom game. But there's always tomorrow, and you can always get better.
5. Realize That Not Every Mom Wants To Breastfeed
One article from ABC quoted a study that surveyed the reactions of breastfeeding moms to formula feeding and vise versa. Unfortunately, many of the mothers answered that they were "supportive" of either method, but if it didn't align with the way they fed their baby their support seemed to be surface level at best, some even went so far as to call moms who use formula "selfish and lazy".
Imagine with me for a second if moms just stopped judging each other for the ways they choose to feed their kids? You don't know the circumstances, needs, and situation that led each mother to make the best decision she could for her kids.
6. Don't Compare Postpartum Bodies — Ever
One study conducted among British women determined that women's self-esteem has a direct relationship with their likelihood of developing postpartum depression. Women are bombarded everyday with articles on how to get your pre-baby body back, and how to not let breastfeeding ruin your boobs — all pieces that put your worth in how quickly your body "bounce back" after giving birth to a human life.
Instead, build your fellow mom up? If your body changed more than one of your mommy friends, celebrate both of your bodies for the miracles they created, instead of comparing yours to someone else's.
7. Realize That Some Moms Want To Stay Home
According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of moms who choose to stay at home with their children has been on the rise, since the "modern day low" of a mere 23 percent in 1999. The freedoms that women have don't require that they have a job outside of the home if they don't want to (motherhood in itself is enough of a full time job, for goodness sake).
8. And Others Want To Work Outside The Home
On the other hand, to some moms, the thought of not working an outside job drives them crazy. Women shouldn't have to give up their career aspirations for the sake of motherhood, and luckily, in today's world, they don't have to.
9. Don't Be Passive Agressive
One of the most harmful things women can do to each other is fake their support. Whether the interaction is online, with a friend over coffee, or something else, being genuine, even when you don't agree, is better than being fake.