“I can’t believe she sleep trains her baby. Basically, she lets her baby cry all night!”
“Why is that mom breastfeeding in public? Cover yourself up already!”
“That baby is drinking formula. Poor kid is probably so unhealthy.”
“Her child is using an iPad already?! She obviously doesn’t pay any attention to her baby.”
“Gross! Do you see that child eating fast food?! Why doesn’t she just cook?”
Motherhood is non-stop decision-making, memory-making and trial and error. Under the valiant efforts to parent to our best abilities, the flaws and shortcomings of our mothering skills are often revealed to onlookers criticizing our choices, and truth be told, those critics are typically other mothers. No one wants to be criticized and judged, especially for their mothering skills, yet why are we breaking each other down and using our personal parenting beliefs as verbal weapons and the end-all be-all standards of motherhood? Imagine if we all raised our special, unique children through the same methods of parenting. The world would be undoubtedly mundane. An important question to consider this this:
Do we shame each other because we are concerned that we are actually the moms who are parenting incorrectly?
Do we shame each other because we are exhausted from our own parenting plights?
Regardless the reason for criticizing others, mom-shaming is not okay. Whether we opted for natural birth or an epidural, sleep training or co-sleeping, homeschooling or sending our children to public school, mothers share a truly special commonality—we make decisions for our children in our best effort to not screw up the little humans we dearly love. We aim to raise our children to bask in the memories of their childhood. We, as mothers, do the very best we can with what we have.
Under the polished Instagram photos, the perfect Pinterest parties and the glowing parenting Facebook statuses, motherhood is anything but easy. The social media highlight reels are not necessarily the reality of motherhood but mere shining moments in a mama’s life—shining moments we are most certainly deserving of in the midst of grooming our children to succeed and walk in love. Perhaps you have very few highlight reels to share because your days are outnumbered by piles of laundry, takeout for dinner and a perpetually cold-ridden baby. Perhaps you are feeling too timid to share your joyful mothering experiences out of fear of judgement. Mama, allow me to reassure you of something—a valuable piece of undeniable insight:
You are a good mom. Yes, you.
You are worthy, you are smart and you are the expert on your child
The mom who breastfeeds in public;
The mom who bottle feeds from day one;
The mom who uses cloth diapers;
The mom who stays home;
The mom who works a 9-5 (or the night shift);
The mom who makes home-cooked meals, three times a day;
The mom who opts for takeout because sanity happened to exist within a pizza box that particular evening;
The mom with a screaming toddler in the grocery store;
…and the mom whose child has yet to achieve the milestones within the assumedly perfect pages of best-selling parenting books.
You are worthy, you are smart and you are the expert on your child, and while you are continuously embarking on a new mothering experience every day, in an effort to mold your child into a fantastic adult, you must realize you are doing a great job!
Tell another mom the truth about parenthood; put your hand on her shoulder and share a compliment.
Our mothering styles may differ, but we need each other. We need the community of moms to learn and grow from. More importantly, we need to show our children the value in being different, even as adults, and how to treat one another with respect. After all, this is how we want our children to treat each other, and who better to learn from than their mom?
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The mess, the lists, the chores can be, well, overwhelming. But the people and life behind the mess make it all worth celebrating.