Why mommy shaming is a thing

Have you been attacked about your parenting from people you do not know, or even from your closet friends? Here are some reasons why. Are you guilty of any?

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  • Lately it seems there are more and more stories about how moms (and dads) need to support each other instead of criticizing and pointing out flaws; yet these behaviors continue in spite of pleas for them to stop. Why does the shaming and hate continue? Here are some reasons.

  • We don't take our own advice

  • We may ask for others to forgive our flaws, but we may not be so forgiving of theirs. The first person we need to look at to make corrections is ourselves. No one is perfect. On the one hand you may be very passionate about giving well-balanced meals to your children, but on the other, you let them watch over the recommended amount of TV a day. Before you criticize someone for their food choices, perhaps ask for advice from them on how they limit screen time. Seek the good, not the bad in others.

  • People bring it upon themselves

  • With how social media is today, it is easier to point out flaws in others. A simple picture posted of a child can start a whole drama of online shaming. A parent may not have even noticed the way their child was sitting on the floor or what was on the TV in the background of their video, but others will notice and give them all sorts of flack for it. You may think they have brought this wrath upon themselves because of what they posted online. While this is true in some ways, they posted because they were proud of their child or thought they were cute, not to get beat up about their child's posture. Social media is meant to be fun and a way to share your everyday adventures, not to get a parenting lesson.

  • We feel it is our duty to make corrections

  • When we see parents making mistakes we may feel it is our duty to correct them. Parenting is a learning process. We may not always do it right, but over time you become better. While a child that is in actual danger of physical or emotional abuse may need you to step in, that is not the case in most situations. Every child is different. Just because time-outs worked for you and your kids, does not mean that works for every child. Do not interfere with a parent's process; this just confuses the child more and undermines the parent's right to parent.

  • We can stay anonymous

  • A lot of the comments and remarks left on social media or articles on the Internet can remain anonymous. This allows us to go off about a topic without consequence of someone calling you out personally about it. It is easy to say something behind someone's back, while to their face is a different story. Staying anonymous is the same as gossiping without a person knowing who started the rumor.

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  • We are only trying to educate others

  • Some people feel when they see a parent doing something differently than they would it must be because they do not know the "right" way to do something, and they take it upon themselves to educate the parent. They feel they are only trying to help or teach, but unless advice is asked for, it is more likely to come across as critical than a teaching opportunity. Believe it or not, parents spend a lot of time making decisions about their kids. They weigh the pros and cons, doctors' advice, and what is best for their family when making a decision. Just because they make the decision to put their child in a front-facing carseat before they are two (the recommended age, but not the law in many places) does not mean they do not know the statistics or recommendations; it may just mean for their child it was the right thing to do. Next time you see someone doing something you would never do, ask them for their reasoning before assuming they are uneducated.

  • We simply feel there is nothing wrong with saying what is on our mind

  • A lot of times people are just too honest about their feelings. They do not have a filter for their thoughts and do not heed the saying, "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." Comments, remarks, questions and conversations about another person's parenting style is something that needs to be done with tact and caution, if done at all. Parents are very protective of their children, and to question how they are doing is a very hard and personal critique to make. Don't be surprised if the parent gets defensive, angry or even defriends you if you tend to do this. It may be best to just keep your thoughts to yourself.

  • While the world is advancing with technology, and the ease of getting information to a large population in a small amount of time, it does not make it right to forget our manners when talking about or to others. Mommy shaming, parent bashing and criticizing others are destroying our relationships. Whether you are best friends with someone or don't know them at all, it is not right. Let's try to lift each other up rather than tear each other apart.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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