“I can’t believe you haven’t tried ___ method!”
“Why haven’t you taught them manners?”
“Your kids are a nuisance! You need to be strict with them.”
Motherhood can feel like being in a gladiator arena sometimes, being swarmed from all sides by judgemental spectators. In other words, mom shaming is an epidemic. Mom shaming can be defined as a long list of unsolicited advice (read: complaints) from everyone that isn’t actually a parent to your child. As much as it affects the way we bring up our children, and sometimes even for the better, it also leaves an adverse impact on a mothers mental health. It makes us feel like we’re constantly failing to do this thing or that, when really, there is no perfect way to be a mother. Babies don’t come with manuals. The unique thing about being a mom is learning on the job. Mom shaming has really only gotten a term recently from the internet, but in our part of the world, it’s an age old practice. So many Pakistani (or otherwise) mothers have considered this a rite of passage, and not worth speaking up about. According to a survey conducted on behalf of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, 61 per cent of moms reported having been shamed at some point. The study polled 475 moms with children under the age of five, and it actually reflected an intense image of how difficult it is to be a mom and be judged for being one. The study also revealed that family members – co-parent, parents and in-laws – are most likely to mom-shame. You may never be able to completely shut out the mom shamers, but you can always learn how better to deal with them for your own well being. Read on to find out how you can tackle seemingly endless mom-shaming!
1. Accept But Don’t Overthink
It might not be what you want to hear, but it could be true. Instead of completely ignoring people, think about it once and try to improve. If you think what they’re saying is preposterous, don’t obsess over it. Thinking about it continuously is only a waste of your time and energy. Go with your gut!
2. Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Moms
Don’t compare yourself to other parents that make it look seamless and easy. Every child is different and is raised differently. Every parents life is also very different to the way it seems on social media. No mother is going to post unflattering photos of their puffy eyes, or tired and sleepless faces. Everyone’s fighting the same good fight, so just stay focused on your journey.
3. Understand The Persons Intentions
Not everyones intention is to belittle you. Sometimes other moms’ comments come from a place of love and concern. It’s natural to be a little sensitive, but don’t react before understanding. Some moms are simply trying to help you through their own experiences.
4. It’s Fine To Mess Up Some Times
Making mistakes as a new parent is normal — everybody does. You need to make peace with the fact that sometimes you will mess up and it’s not possible to be a perfect parent. It’s important to remember, there’s really no such thing as a perfect parent. Everyone is just trying their hardest.
5. Talk To Other Moms
The only other women that will fully relate to and empathise with how badly mom shaming is affecting you, are other moms. Pour your heart out in front of other mothers and listen to their stories. This will help you understand you’re not alone, and make you feel less embarrassed about any of your ‘perceived’ shortcomings.
6. Stay Confident
The most important thing of all – be confident. Feeling helpless is common amongst victims of mom shaming, but don’t allow your emotions to hijack your life. Nobody knows your child better than you. Only a parent can know what’s best for their kids. Put all your energy into being a good parent and raise your children the way you want to, always respecting them, and putting their needs first.