Family,  Katie Marie

Mom Shaming

Mom-shaming…it is something has become WAY too prominent.  I’ve been mom-shamed too many times to count.  For some reason, everyone has an opinion and they think they need to voice it.  I have totally been a mom-shamer as well.  It is easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst.  What prompted me to write this post was my beautiful, intelligent cousin.  She tweeted about a mom who seemed would rather play a game on her phone than give her children any attention.  The things she was writing that this mom was saying…well let’s just say if I were the one overhearing her I would’ve totally stepped in.  But my cousin, in her wisdom, finished her tweets up with “I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she’s having a really bad day and doesn’t have any support at home.”  …………….wow!  Just………………….WOW!  That is when I mom-shamed myself for jumping to conclusions.

Honestly, though, I am my own harshest critic.  When Bean wasn’t talking by his second birthday, I blamed myself.  When we found out he has a minor hearing loss, I blamed myself.  When he qualified for an IEP, I blamed myself.  Maybe if I would’ve tried harder to breastfeed instead of resorting to pumping he wouldn’t need an IEP.  Maybe if I would’ve talked to him more as a baby or read to him more he would have talked sooner.  When YoYo needed tubes from chronic ear infections, I blamed myself.  When he broke his leg last summer, I blamed myself (honestly that one I still blame myself for).  The whole time I was pregnant with Goob, having horrible morning sickness, gallbladder issues, no energy…I broke down too many times to count.  I would cry to Mr. Man about how I wasn’t the best mom I could be to the 3 amigos.  I was lucky if I had enough energy in one day to fold laundry, make dinner and drive to and from school.  I just couldn’t physically be the woman I usually was before this last pregnancy.  I blamed myself for every time the boys didn’t have a well-balanced meal ready for them.  I blamed myself when I wasn’t feeling up to going to their Cub Scout Pack Meeting.  I blamed myself for not having the energy to take them ice skating or even to the park.  Those 9 months I was SO belittling to myself.

Why, as women, do we do that?  We all know that the happy, immaculate, gorgeous families we see on social media are just a mask.  No family is perfect.  No mom is super mom all of the time.  Children are not always clean, happy, and healthy.  But with all of the bombardment of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest…etc. it is so easy for me to quickly to turn on myself.  You’d think after being a mom for the last 10 years and being a woman…well…my whole life, I would’ve learned by now.

When I decided not to even attempt to nurse Goob; every other week I was shaming myself for that decision.  I nursed YoYo for 13 months extremely successfully, but while I exceeded my goal to breastfeed for at least a year it was the hardest thing I’ve accomplished for any of my children.  Nursing took a major toll on both my mental and physical health.  Because Yo would not take a pacifier or a bottle I never had a break.  He used me as his pacifier, and I know…I could’ve prevented that, but because I wasn’t successful in nursing the twins, doing so with Yo was in some ways like being a new mom again.  He didn’t sleep through the night without feeding until after he stopped nursing.  I was pretty much a mombie the whole first year of his life.  And low and behold, Mr. Man was gone for almost half of Yo’s first life because of a military assignment.  Basically nursing him was a traumatic experience for me.  I knew that if I wanted to jump back to my normal self as quickly as possible after Goob I couldn’t nurse.  Yes, I needed to do what was best for him, but I also needed to do what was best for all 4 of my boys.  I was afraid that if I nursed Goob I would not be 100% for Bean, Keegs, and Yo.  Turns out not nursing Goob was one less thing I had to worry about when I was shuffling back and forth to the hospital every day last month while dad was there.  Not nursing meant I didn’t need to worry about what to do when I left him with a babysitter so I could be there for my mom.  Not nursing him meant that Mr. Man was able to parent fully without me.  Not nursing him meant that I didn’t need to worry about pumping and hoping that Goob would actually take the bottle.

It’s been 4 months since Goob was born, and every once in a while…usually when I’m PMSing and super tired, I belittle myself for not breastfeeding.  Then I have to remind myself that Goob is growing like a weed, he is meeting all of his milestones, his weight and height are exponentially higher than when he was born, and most of all he’s the happiest baby around…and I’m the happiest mom around.

Not one of us is perfect, not one!  The mistakes I make as a mom, wife, friend…human being are endless.  The key is, I never stop striving for better.  How can I expect others to accept my shortcomings if I am not accepting of them?  What does it say about me when I become offended by someone mom shaming me and then I turn around and reciprocate to another mom?

Growing up my mom use to make us say 3 nice things about someone who we just had voiced something negative over.  I’ve used this technique with my children, I’ve seen it work.  Now when my immediate thought after I have a negative reaction to another mom is to tell myself at least 3 nice things about her.  I will admit that at times it is difficult to come up with 3 things, but if all else fails I just tell myself ‘she is someone’s daughter, sister, wife, etc and how would I feel if someone was treating my mom, sister, best friend that way?’  Maybe instead of spending time perusing social media or playing games on our phones…the proverbial head in the sand trick…we need to put down our electronics and try smiling, saying hi, helping another mom to her car with her groceries when she obviously has her arms full with food and kids.  Why are we spending so much time bringing each other down, when actually we should be lifting each other up and growing our mom tribe?

My sincerest hope is that I am able to lessen my mom-shaming thoughts and be slow to judge.  Have you been mom-shamed?  Or done the shaming?  How have you handled it?  Do you have any amazing tips for my less than perfect human life?  Have a happy day y’all.

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