being a mom
Mommy-Shaming Is an Epidemic, and It Needs to Stop!
If you have a child, chances are you’ve been mom-shamed by someone at some point, probably over something ridiculous. It feels like every we see examples of mommy-shaming in the news or pop culture or on our own Facebook pages and groups. The judgmental comments, the “helpful” advice, the side-eye from other moms or complete strangers, are a daily occurrence in the life of a mom who’s just trying to raise her kids. According to a new study, as much as 61% of moms reported being shamed for their parenting choices, which is a staggering number!
Can’t people just let us live?!
The survey, which was conducted on behalf of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, asked 475 moms with kids under the age of 5 about their experiences with mommy-shaming. Respondents were asked who the shaming comes from most, what aspects of their parenting were criticized the most, and about their responses to the shaming. The data is disheartening, to say the least.
The main culprit of mommy-shaming? Our own families, with 37% of respondents saying that they have been shamed or criticized the most by their own mothers and fathers. That stings particularly badly, since our moms and dads are, you know, MOMS AND DADS. And presumably, they understand how hard this gig can be. Other sources of shaming include other moms in public (12%), friends (14%), and health care providers (8%). Surprisingly, only 7% of respondents say they’ve experienced mommy-shaming online, which seems … low.
As far as what parenting decisions and choices are criticized the most, there are no surprises there. Discipline methods and diet and nutrition topped the list, with 70% of moms saying they’ve been mommy-shamed for how they discipline their kids, and 52% saying they’ve been criticized for what they fed their children. 39% responded that they’ve been dealt criticism for whether or not they breastfed their babies. We all know spanking and breast vs bottle are hot-button issues in the mommysphere, and it sounds like most moms who participated in the study agree. Other issues included sleep choices (46%), child safety issues (20%), and childcare decisions (16%).
Everyday regular moms aren’t the only ones who experience mommy-shaming, either. Celebrity moms are routinely dragged for the choices they make as parents, on a much grander (and meaner) scale. Kim Kardashian West was recently criticized after posting a picture of her son Saint in his car seat on her Facebook page.
Despite no other details being shared about when or where the picture was taken, commenters were quick to criticize her for having Saint forward facing in his car seat (California law states that toddlers under 2 need to be rear-facing in car seats; Saint turns 2 in December).
If anything, the study confirms what we as moms already know: it’s hard to raise kids, and it makes it infinitely harder when we’re being shamed left and right for the decisions we make as parents. Barring being witness to physical or mental abuse, there’s no reason people shouldn’t just shut the hell up about other moms choices, which are most likely being made because it is what’s best for THAT mom and family. Just think how much easier it would be if we didn’t have to worry about the mommy-shaming brigade every time we left the house!
Bottom line: if it doesn’t affect you or your kids, it’s probably a good idea to keep your opinions to yourself, however well-intentioned they may be.
Just let moms live, and let them do what they do.
(Image: Instagram / @kimkardashian)