I’ve seen mom-shaming happen in so many ridiculous areas that it almost does not shock me anymore. Moms have been mom-shamed because they drink coffee, because they breastfeed/bottlefeed their baby, or even till what age they’ve done that. Mom-shaming because of long hair, long nails, and swimming in a pool with a cast on. Seriously?
Being a mom of four, I am obviously giving the others more than enough ammunition. I’ve been mom-shamed. Some of the reasons include my son loving unicorns and carrying handbags (We’re making him soft). My eldest can read in 2 languages since she was four (we’re pushing her too hard) My baby slept in my bed till she was a year old (Obviously she’ll never be able to sleep in her own bed!) But the thing I never expected to be mom-shamed about, was because I’m coping.
“You’re a mom of FOUR?! How do you do it?”
I don’t know. Probably the same as you. We wake up, we feed our kids, fight with them, love them, bath them, feed them a couple more times and then put them back to bed. Isn’t that what we all do? Is that so unique to me?
I know people are genuinely amazed sometimes that I have four, and not checked into an institution. I get that. I was one of four myself, so it’s really not that strange to me. But it’s not just the amount of kids. People are constantly making comments about how I do things, why I do things, and how I should be feeling. Ya know, because having more kids is like…weird. And apparently has different parenting rules!
Honestly? My children are pretty well-behaved. I’m not bragging. Yes, they absolutely fight and work on my nerves and sometimes I want to drop them off at the SPCA…but they also say please and thank you. They take turns with toys. They help set and clear the table. These kids are known to come pray for you if you’re not feeling well. They will give their last chocolate to you because you don’t have one. And they do well in school. They’re pretty well adjusted.
And for some or other reason, this makes people doubt my parenting. I am probably too strict with them. Perhaps I am too lenient. I must follow an austere schedule with the kids. Gypsy-mom. Know that there’s more than one way to raise a kid. My way may be different to yours. And that’s OK. Please know that I am coping with four children. And that’s OK. Please stop mom-shaming me.
Taking Care of Me
We always encourage each other to practice self-love, but when we see our fellow moms actually putting this into practice, we get jealous and even catty. I enjoy having my hair done. I’m super low-maintenance, so having someone else fix my hair and make me look like a million bucks, is worth every single cent. Also, I love make up. I’m such a girl. I don’t even mind getting up 30mins earlier to get the look.
There has actually been a few times that I dressed up for an evening out with grownup human beings that does not belong to this family, done my make-up accordingly, and gotten a sideways remark about “trying too hard.” “We’re moms now! No one has the time to do that!”
This hurt because I felt judged taking the time to focus on me. We are always encouraging self-love, but do we really appreciate it when our fellow moms do it, or do we secretly resent them for investing in themselves? Please know that I am coping with taking care, and making time to care for my body. And that’s OK. Please stop mom-shaming me.
Me-Time, Girls Nights, and Other Luxuries
My husband understands that the female is different from the male. We need to be surrounded by other females. Woman crave that community. We talk until we find something to say. And he can’t be that for me. I need my girlfriends.
If I don’t regularly schedule a girls night, my husband will suggest it. (I also know I’ve been talking waaaay too much about girl-stuff). I appreciate this. More than I can put into words. He has seen me get overwhelmed with work, kids, relationships, pressure, whatever, and told me to go take the afternoon for myself. Go take some Me-Time.
But I’ve been mom-shamed because I took a weekend away by myself, and “left the kids to fend for themselves”. “Ag shame, how can you just leave your kids to go do nothing? I could never do that. The poor kids!” The “poor kids” are eating take-aways, cereal for dinner and watching movies with their Dad. My husband is fully capable of looking after the kids he helped create. He is a completely involved parent and I am incredibly lucky to be able to call this man mine.
We also schedule regular date nights, and romanic weekends away. My marriage is flourishing because of it. My friendships with my close friends are my lifeline that I treasure so deeply. And because I take the time to focus on ME, I get less overwhelmed with chaos and my relationship with my children is healthy. Please know that I am coping with the relationships in my life. And that’s OK. Please stop mom-shaming me.
Sorry Not Sorry
This idea that my life, my marriage, my house, and my general well-being has to be in complete chaos and in a constant state of complete disaster just because I am a mom (and a mom of FOUR, for that matter!). I will not apologise because I am coping. But I won’t be mom-shamed either.
I read this on a Motherly blog:
Insecurity is likely at the root of why we, moms, shame each other: when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we tend to be more critical of others; and when others criticize us, we internalize it even more deeply. The insecurities that spawn from motherhood can even drive us to criticize our children and partners, which can ultimately make us less happy, less effective parents. Unlike guilt, which can sometimes motivate positive changes, shame has literally no positive outcomes.
I would love to leave you with this one thought: We’re all trying our best. We don’t always succeed. I don’t. I’m sure you don’t either. But think before you speak. Let’s not be so critical, resentful, or hard on our fellow moms, and friends. May every word you do speak, be filled with kindness, understanding, and the knowledge that we’re all trying. And when we see someone else succeeding, go pat them on the back.
All my love,