We’ve all experienced, received, or done it: Mom-shaming.
I was at a birthday party with one of my kiddos, sitting on the sidelines with the other parents while the children ran around playing. I had sat beside a fellow mom and got to chatting with her. She was wearing a tiny new bundle of joy and come to find out was an absolute pro because that was her 4th. I asked her how it was with 4, because I had 3 with the youngest as an infant and felt stretched thin as could be with three aged 5 and under. She confirmed it was definitely a whirlwind, but it was the next part of our conversation that stuck with me.
As we continued talking she discovered that I still worked my full time Monday–Friday job. From the look on her face and what she said next, I could tell that she was either A.) wowed by my super mom abilities (I note here that I do not believe I possess such) or B.) appalled that I could work outside of the home with 3 small children shoved into daycare, preschool, and public school.
The exact words were, “Oh…you work?” I said very positive and upbeat, “I do! Over at [omitting company name]!” She replied, “FULL TIME?!” Yet it was her next words when I confirmed that yes, I work full time: “Oh…wow.”
Here’s the thing. I have no idea what she was thinking. Could it be that she was impressed? Appalled? Shocked? Feeling inadequate that she didn’t work outside the home? Surely this was not the first time she had heard of a mom of three working full time; it happens ALL THE TIME. There are millions of us, just as there are millions of stay-at-home-moms and moms that work part time. And furthermore…I definitely hope she did not feel inadequate.
…but on the other hand, what was I thinking? Was I on my high-horse, feeling pretty amazing that I can pull it all off (not very well in my own opinion), or was I sensing some mom-shaming? Perhaps it was guilt because I knew I would much rather spend more time at home with my kids.
Here is the bigger question.
Why are we judging, having loud opinions, or giving a hoot?
What you choose to do for your family is your business. What I choose to do for my family is my business. End. Of. Story.
We are all doing an amazing job and killing it at the mom thing – whether we believe it or not. Our kids are clean(ish…after all, we are in pandemic mode. Mine might not get bathed every single day because right now WE AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE!), they are fed, they are safe, and they are loved.
So who’s place is it to have an opinion about what we choose for our family? Only us. And to keep this going even further, why are WE concerned about what someone else might think? Why would I even wonder what she was thinking when she said that?
Well, probably the same reason I wondered for DAAAAYS why another mom who saw me in the grocery store over my lunch break doing a mad dash to pick up supplies for one of the kids’ class parties the next day said, “Oh. You have to grocery shop on your lunch break?”
Heavens me, she may have literally meant NOTHING of it. She might have meant, “Girl, you need to relax on your lunch break and go to the store another time!” Whatever it was, I had no business allowing myself to even go there and wonder what she meant or why she might have had an opinion.
We have all done it at one time or another, and there is no room for it. When we catch our minds going there, we have GOT to stop ourselves and find something else, something more positive to focus on. We cannot allow others’ opinions to get into our minds and think that we are inadequate, or that we aren’t choosing the best option for our family.
And yes, there will be times where it is very clear what another mom means when she says, “Oh, so you let strangers watch your baby all day while you go work?” Or this one: “Oh, you’re just at home all day with the kids? Your house must be spotless!” SHE’S AT HOME WITH SMALL CHILDREN ALL DAY, of course her house is not spotless. Think what your house looks like on a Saturday when you are home all day with them.
to stop mom-shaming. Not just mom-shaming others, but also ourselves. We are all in the same dang trenches of motherhood and doing the absolute best that we can with what we have and not a single one of us have time for any of this nonsense. We have babies to raise, lunches to pack, class parties to organize, and birthday parties to attend.
Oh, and if no one stopped to tell you today, you are doing an amazing job raising those kids! You are worthy, you are enough, and you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing exactly where you need to be.
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