The realities of Mom shaming
I’m sure as a mother, you might have experienced criticism in various forms during motherhood. You may not have known what it's called, but if anyone has criticized your method of raising your kids, leaving you with feelings of inadequacy, shame, and condemnation, it's called 'mom-shaming.’
Beech-Nut, a 100-year-old US baby food manufacturer, conducted an online survey with 1,000 moms between 26 and 36-years old with toddlers of 5 years old and younger.
• A staggering 80% admitted that they have been criticized, judged, and shamed by someone they know (family members, partners, friends, colleagues).
• Seventy percent of the respondents expressed concern that mom-shaming has intensified during the past five years and is sadly becoming ‘accepted’ as the norm.
It means that mom-shaming is infiltrating our daily lives, and it’s not looking as if it will improve anytime soon. You probably won't be surprised to learn that online social media has had a large-scale influence on this destructive practice. People seem to deem it their ‘right’ to judge and criticize others, in-person and online.
How does mom-shaming materialize?
“Oh! You’re not breast-feeding. Why not?”
“Your baby looks under-weight for his age!”
“You’re not feeding your baby the right nutritious foods”.
“Are you allowing your teen to wear/buy/eat that?”
In a national polling survey conducted by the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital with 475 moms of kids 5-years old and younger corroborates this trend.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of moms responded that they had received criticism for their child-rearing decisions ranging from discipline, diet and nutrition, breast versus bottle-feeding, sleeping habits, child safety, and childcare decisions.
The list goes on and on.
The detrimental, knock-on effect of mom-shaming
Mom-shaming is unconstructive, negative criticism that doesn't add value but may result in the 'shamed' mom second-guessing her parenting style and feeling insecure and unworthy.
• Eventually, shaming takes a mental toll on the mom as she starts believing that she lacks basic parenting skills and is a failure as a parent.
• Constant shaming becomes toxic to the mom, but it also has a knock-on effect on her children.
• It’s not rocket science to know if a mother’s self-confidence and self-worth take a plunge, it will harm her emotional well-being and disrupt healthy parenting and family relations.
• The mom's feelings of worthlessness, in turn, will negatively affect her children's morale, and social and emotional health. The situation could even impact their academic progress.
The difference between Guilt and Shame
Friend, I'm sure you can recall when you felt guilty because you felt you'd done something bad. But you could still ‘undo’ the bad and make amends afterward, right?
Unfortunately, shame has a different effect.
• Shame says, “I am bad. I am a bad mom. I am a bad person.”
• Mom shame lowers a mom’s confidence allowing self-doubt and condemnation to set in.
• Shaming lowers a mom's effectiveness in doing what is best suited and works for her family due to the doubts and eroded self-confidence.
• Mom-shaming increases stress and anxiety levels. It is a recipe for disaster because kids pick up on their mom's moods and start 'acting up' as they feed off it. It only increases her stress levels, and eventually, it can lead to overwhelm.
Why people engage in mom-shaming
• Mom-shaming occurs not because the mom has done anything wrong but because criticizing another person makes the critics feel superior and validates their parenting style.
• Often they’re frustrated with their own chaotic situation at home and are looking for an outlet to ‘vent’ their frustrations.
• Some people find pleasure in trolling the social media pages and look for recognition and backing from those who will agree with their unwarranted, unjust assessment and criticism of another person.
• The saddest part is that mom-shaming can culminate in a vicious cycle. Studies have shown that moms who have experienced shaming may aim at judging another mom's parenting decisions out of anger and revenge.
8 Ways to deal with mom-shaming
• Firstly, always remember that your parenting decisions are valid. You may see the need to amend your parenting choices to accommodate your child’s unique emotional and cognitive development. But Only you can be the judge of your parenting choices.
• If you are being trolled on social media, the best advice from psychology experts is not to respond. Anything you say will keep the mom-shaming cycle spinning. Ignoring social media trolls will allow it to fizzle out.
• Try not to dwell on the negative experiences of being mom-shamed. Don't let it consume your thoughts. Make a positive effort to change your thinking to the things that have true meaning and purpose in your life.
• Focus on your personal growth and being your best self. Take a realistic look at your situation and identify areas where you need to heal and grow. Perhaps you need to build more self-esteem or assertiveness to block out negative voices that sow doubt and condemnation of your parenting choices.
• Choose to be around people who love and support you unconditionally. Reduce the time spent with family or friends who judge your parenting style.
• Practice gratitude. People’s unwarranted judgment and opinions don’t define who you are as a person or parent. Find things in your life to be thankful for. Waking up every morning, breathing in the fresh air, or seeing the miracle of sunrise or sunset, is a blessing.
• Remember, ‘children are a gift from the Lord,’ (Ps. 127:3). So, regardless of the ups and downs, you face as a parent, God has your back. Believe that your children will grow up into healthy, well-rounded adults.
• If you have been experiencing mom-shaming, battling with overwhelm, and don’t have the strength to move forward, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Book a Free 20-minute session with me today so that we can start this important chat. I will help you get to a place in your life where you have built assertiveness and resilience against people's senseless criticisms and opinions.
Cntrl+Click on the link below and select a date and time that suits you.
See you soon,