The internet is not a kind place for parents, since it gives everyone the power to criticize your choices. No one understands this sort of judgement better than celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, who is very open about her life on social media and thus more vulnerable to judgement. Over the weekend, though, Chrissy Teigen's car seat tweets really demonstrated just how out of control mom-shaming has become.
On Sunday, Teigen posted an adorable picture of 1-year-old Luna in her carseat. The baby was happy as can be in the backseat of the car, looking like she was very happy to be back in New York City. Almost immediately, a fan wrote to Teigen that she was very "brave" for posting the picture of the car seat, anticipating some of the backlash. Teigen quickly responded, "Oh trust me, I looked at that chest plate for 10 minutes before posting!”
Because a child's safety is a minefield on the internet, but so are other things Teigen's done that aren't exactly dangerous at all. (Not that her car seat skills are dangerous in any way.) People have gotten on her case for the tiniest, most personal things, like going on a date with husband John Legend just after Luna's birth or eating cereal while pregnant. So, obviously, Teigen was vigilant about sharing a picture of her kid in a car seat, checking for any possible flaws that people would pick out and use to call her a "bad mom."
It's sort of sad that other parents, and women especially, would take such pleasure in criticizing a fellow mom. People should really just let other parents live their lives — isn't taking care of tiny humans tough enough?
When it comes to car seats in particular, most parents have absolutely no room to talk, because an estimated 95 percent of all parents put their kids in the car seat the wrong way. So unless all of the commenters on the internet are in that special 5 percent, they're likely "doing it wrong," too.
In addition to just being totally unnecessary, mom-shaming actually causes anxiety and affects a woman's maternal mental health, according to a study published this summer. The study, done at the University of Michigan, found that because of shaming, 47 percent of moms feel unsure about their parenting skills. That's awful, especially when you consider how that might compound with postpartum depression that severely affects, on average, 10 to 15 percent of women.
Teigen suffered from postpartum depression and had to handle millions of mom-shamers, not just a clique of parents at the playground. Imagine that kind of pressure. She even said in 2016 that she was totally "blindsided" by the mom-shame that happened when she went out to dinner with her husband shortly after Luna's birth.
Luckily, her husband has her back. Legend tweeted at the time, 'Funny there's no dad-shaming. When both of us go out to dinner, shame both of us so Chrissy doesn't have to take it all. We'll split it."
Since then, Teigen actively shuts down mom-shamers on her Twitter account and calls out bullying when it happens. Unfortunately, until the culture of mom-shame lets up, the model and cookbook author is destined to be triple checking every single thing she posts to the internet so that it's mom-shame-proof.