2014-THANKSgiving

The Top 7 Reasons Why You’re Mom-Shaming

78 Comments

mom-shaming

“Did you see how she’s feeding her baby?”

“I can’t believe she thinks that’s ok?!  He goes to bed where?”

“What kind of parent would let their child sleep that way?”

This is parenting, in public.

This is motherhood, preparing for our close-up, knowing full well that our cracks and flaws and doubts will be revealed to critics who are watching and waiting for us to fail.

I’m so embarrassed. Am I the only one in this playgroup who is feeding a baby this way? 

I can’t keep my eyes open.  I love where my baby sleeps, but maybe I’m doing it wrong?  

Is everyone watching me?  Does anyone really see me?

Welcome to the Mommy Wars, ladies.

Where we are horrible to each other online, in playgroups, and in tight little huddles in the preschool parking lot. Our parenting beliefs are not as easy to hide as religion and politics, so we use them as weapons when we need a release. The Mommy Wars are collapsing our confidence one snarky Facebook comment at a time.  We are breaking each other down because we’re crumbling inside, our pre-motherhood identity slowly disintegrating under the weight of the laundry, the groceries, and the thirty thousand jackets and sand toys and leaky sippee cups that our kids have left in the car. Motherhood is hard. So why are we so cruel to each other?

1.  You’re bored. I get it. If my son asks me to be the “red ninja” one more freaking time, I’m going to stab myself in the eye with his plastic sword.  I spend endless minutes spinning around with him and yelling “Ninjaaaaaa-GOOOOO” like a good red ninja. Until I can’t take it anymore, and retreat to the quiet of the Internet. The parenting routine can be mind-numbing. Sometimes a good argument about how the formula companies have brainwashed the sheeple, or how breastfeeding past 12 months is perverse can make you feel like your neurons are actually firing. Our mothers’ generation watched soap operas in the afternoons. Facebook and Twitter are the new Days of Our Lives, but it’s dangerous when we can contribute to the train wreck in real time.

2. You’re angry. When you’re a mom, you can’t get mad at the kids in the same way you get mad at adults. I have an out-of-body experience when my 1 year old takes his entire breakfast and launches it off his high-chair. I hear myself saying calmly “Bennie, no throwing food. Food is to eat.” when inside my head I’m screaming “Are you fucking KIDDING ME?! I would give anything to actually eat a hot breakfast and you are throwing it on the FLOOR?!” But mothers can’t say that. So we yell at each other instead.

3. You’re jealous. You know that mom who wears the tassel bikini to the pool? The one we all whisper about, because her fake boobs barely fit in the little triangles (Who the hell wears little triangles when they’re swimming with a screaming 2 year old anyway?) And she obviously had a bikini wax. Who has time for that? Although I must admit, I considered subjecting myself to the searing pain of having hot wax put on my lady parts, just so that I could have 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to lie down. Why are we so judgmental and snarky about each other’s bodies? Well ladies, it’s because we’re jealous. Your fake boobs are perkier than mine.  I wish I could rock a triangle bikini.  We hate each other for being someone else’s version of perfect, when the truth is that we hate ourselves for not being Pinterest-ing enough.

4. You’re overwhelmed. Get kids dressed, get myself dressed, get everyone fed, feed them again, clean up food they threw on the floor, assemble the stroller, disassemble the stroller, get them in car seats, unpack the lunch boxes, make the snacks, nurse the baby, play with everyone, do the dishes, and be the red ninja. This is motherhood. I love it. But it freaking exhausts me. Then we go online and filter out the sweat and the stains and the screaming with pretty photo filters. Why do we lie to each other about real life? You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.

5. You’re exhausted. Not even going to explain this. Instead, will go microwave my piss-warm coffee and raise it in your direction.

6. You’re not sure of your identity. New motherhood can be lonely. We all want to belong, and it helps to have a group of people who think like we do. It feels safer to be tethered together by similar parenting beliefs. In the riptide of motherhood, we’re all looking for a life raft that will help us stay afloat. Even if we have to kick you off of yours.

7. You’re dying to be recognized. Do you do a touchdown dance when your baby sleeps through the night? Do you shout it from the rooftops when you hit the 6 month mark of exclusive breastfeeding? Our celebrations scream “Notice me! Someone please tell me that I’m doing a good job, because nobody else is! Wait…I am doing a good job, right?”

Now do you see why we’re so mean to each other? We’re exhausted! We’re short-tempered. We’re terrified that we’re screwing up the little people who we love most in this world. We are needy, and lonely, and getting lost in this brave new parenting landscape because our map has been spit-up on by our baby and torn apart by our toddler. We shame each other on the Internet, because we’re worried that we’re the ones doing it wrong.

Moms, I need you. We need each other. It will only get better, when we start feeling better about ourselves. Put away your keyboard and put your hand on my shoulder. Log out of the Facebook groups and text your best friend. Tell her she’s doing a great job. Tell her your baby ate a crayon when you weren’t looking. Tell her the truth about motherhood. Your children are watching… is this how you want them to treat each other?

Related post: 15 Things Experienced Moms Really Want to Say to New Moms

Comments

The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    says

    I think we’ve all done this at some point, I try really hard to not do this anymore…it’s not my place to say what’s right or wrong for a mother and her kid(s), just like I don’t want anyone talking about me and my mothering skills. We are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we were given. We don’t need people, especially other mothers talking bad about us, we need a helping hand, a kind word or a hug every now and then.

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    • 8

      says

      I used to be that no-kid person. Thinking “I would never do that with my kids” etc etc. Judging only because I had NO idea what the hell I was talking about. Now with a 2 month old I realize how much of an idiot I was – and honestly was clueless. lol.

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    • 10

      says

      Two things. First, post-menopausal isn’t so old that you can’t have natural born kids who are still in school. Second, when I was a kid (60’s) it really was much rarer for kids to have meltdowns in grocery stores (or any other public place). Standards were high, discipline was strict, and fewer women were in the workforce, so the need to run a bunch of errands with kids in tow didn’t arise. Most bad behavior happened at home, and kids were pretty sure that they would get in trouble from any available adult if they “tried something.” It’s just a different world today.

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  2. 12

    says

    I love this. I truly do. I have to say, to date (four years into this roller coaster ride of parenthood), I’ve only run into a handful of truly “mean moms,” not a one of which I actually know. My friends and family are incredible-mostly, they either don’t say a thing or just cheer me on. Granted, they know the hell that is the life of a single mom with two kids, both of whom have medical issues. Mostly because I openly speak and blog about it haha. My sister, however, had DCF called on her…because she put her two year old in his bed when he was in trouble. And dared to take him to church twice a week, which someone felt was her “brainwashing” her child. No joke. And she’s in the Navy overseas What a nightmare! I fully support calling in when a child is in serious danger, but what they called in on my sister for was a joke. Horrible. Let’s back off the Mommy Wars and the Holier-than-thou, shall we ladies?

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    • 13

      Lala says

      Very lucky too I have never run into any moms making judgements. The moms I run into wouldnt want to be the one to throw the first stone, because we know NOBODY is the ideal, perfect mom. Ea mom knows about the moments she has totally lost the plot. It just comes down to manners. I couldnt care less about how long you bf and I dont care for anyone who cares how long I did lol privacy please! After bf nobody says, “ahh her ratio of veg to carbs for her toddler is way off.” To me, thats how silly the bf comparison is.

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  3. 14

    Sabrina says

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only mom that doesn’t give a shit about this stuff. Again and again I see in comments and confessions women complaining about “that” kind of mom. I don’t care that you feed your kid pb&j everyday or if you buy them organic stuff or if you let them get school lunch. I don’t give a shit whether you breastfeed or formula feed. I formula fed, got judgmental looks, but I couldn’t care less. I especially don’t care about what you do in your free time, just like people shouldn’t care about what I do. As long as everyone is happy, healthy, and safe that’s all that matters. In one blog post I read the author say that people generally don’t notice you because they’re stuck in their own soap opera and I know that’s true for me. I know some women on the playground have looked at me judging for whatever reason and I really, really don’t care. I’m not yelling at the author of this article, she said what I just did. I’m just ranting.

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  4. 23

    says

    I’d never say anything to someone’s face but there are some things that in my opinion are not ok. -not visiting your first born newborn preemie in the hospital because going there “just isn’t in the cards” -being more concerned with smoking weed/having a beer after work than saying “hi” to your child (and then getting mad and telling your kid you don’t love them when they ignore you when you finally decide to say hi) -repeatedly leaving your toddler alone with an alcoholic (especially when there are plenty of other options) that you know is going to get drunk and pass out (and potentially drink and drive with the child in the car). -lying in your child’s baby book about when their “firsts” were (so what if they walked later than you hoped, does that make them “not good enough” or something?). -repeatedly putting your wants ahead of your child’s needs. Not saying I’m anywhere near perfect, but I don’t think discussing these (mind boggling) things about other mothers when I’m alone with my husband makes me a bitch.

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    • 24

      Kylie says

      These are all reasons I would call cps. I agree with the previous poster about how people call for dumb reasons, but if knew a kid was alone with a passed out drunk person I would be calling:(

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    • 25

      Lala says

      The stuff you listed we ALL would be talking about! Mommy shaming is different. Its like middle school for moms with no mature social skills. Its the looks where three moms stop and stare at a mom who looks ragged dropping her kid off at school so she notices the stares and second guesses herself, its the “ahhh you only bf for 6 mo, but research says a babies brain requires…” When the mom asks what you made for dinner before the kiddie tournament knowing full well your answer would be no where near the gourmet meal she made which is the whole reason she is asking. The thing is the same logic persists as it did in middle school, the weak only try to ridicule you to try their hardest to bring you down so they can feel strong. Thats why I 110% care about my kids but 0% what any mom would judge me on, because EVERYONE has had their flip out moment, their dash through the drive thru, their “your clean enough, lets go” moments.

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  5. 26

    says

    Awesome & thank you! I was mom shamed for not breast feeding. I couldn’t. I was in ICU after birth, 90% blood transfusion and close to death. Please don’t judge when you haven’t walked in another moms shoes. You don’t know their story. Support one another for the triumphs!

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    • 27

      Lala says

      Similar! I was in ICU for 3 days after delivery and my son (2nd child) was in an incubator 3 mo, his skin so sensitive the first 2 weeks touching wasn’t allowed. I cared more about his life or death than to what I could check off on the mommy to do list. They gave pills to help produce milk, hosp grade pumps…I think those 3 months I expelled 80ml total. It felt like my 1st sight of him I inhaled and didnt exhale til he was released 3.5 mo later lol. Yet with my first child I bf 2 yrs and 4mo! Nobody would believe it as I yank out the formula and bottle at the malls! We know a different side to motherhood. It has even made me a nicer driver. You have no idea if who just cut you off and sped off is headed to the NICU. Private dramas are playing out beside us, so we just have to be more patient, less reactive and more open minded.

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    • 30

      Kylie says

      Forgetting motherhood. According to my mother I never had a tantrum, never put anything in my mouth that didn’t belong and didn’t throw my food on the floor- ever!! Lol

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    • 31

      Joanne says

      Because they were there once and think they’re helping. Actually I had one sweet old lady give me some great advice in the grocery line…take a deep breath and take it one day at a time! Both my kids were melting down and I was a mess because I hadn’t had more than 2 hours sleep a night in 2 weeks and I was fried. She gave me a hug and said I was doing great but that I needed to breath and remember that this phase might feel long but it’ll be gone in a blink. Then when we were done checking out she walked me over to the starbucks in the store and bought me a coffee which I drank while she cuddled the babies and listened to me cry about life in general. She made my entire motherhood I think lol!!

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    • 32

      says

      omg. one day when my son was 2, he was having a meltdown over a candy bar or SOMETHING. all the old ladies around me were asking “is he sick?” “is he tired?” “did he miss his nap?” like bitch NO, he’s 2! Then they started thinking they were funny by going “oh I know.. he’s mad at daddy. Are you mad at daddy, little guy?” which made me so mad. we’re young parents. not like 16 and pregnant young but I was 20 when I got pregnant, my boyfriend was 18. so for him to be called out like that as if he had done anything wrong, oh it made me mad. I almost hit a grandma that day. never went back to that store hahaha

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  6. 33

    says

    I have never seen mommy wars as much as when I was in a MOMs Club. I personally don’t drink or eat a standard American diet, for health reasons. I got judged for not drinking or eating cake… It was horrifying! I don’t care what anyone else does, not my monkey, not my circus, but being avoided and crap talked because I’m different was not fair.

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