Mommy-judging, mommy wars, mom-shaming. Moms being judged by other moms. It goes by a lot of names, and the feelings behind it are very real. Chances are, if you’re a mother you’ve experienced it in one form or another.
Before social media, our mom-friend interactions happened much less frequently. Play dates were sporadic, and rare were the conversations between mothers that were in the same season of life. Social media has given moms the opportunity to interact much more often. But now we find ourselves in situations where mom-friends criticize us or question our parenting abilities as they glare into this open window we’ve given them online.
On being judged: It’s important that we (meaning the collective community, not just mothers) realize there is a lot about mothers we don’t know.
We don’t know if the child they are strolling through the store was their miracle baby, or a surprise.
We don’t know if she struggled with postpartum depression after the baby was born, or if she had a hard time getting out of bed this morning.
We don’t know if she is a single mother, off work for the day, or if she would rather be somewhere else.
Regardless, one thing is the same among all moms: no one likes to be criticized for the choices they feel are best for their family.
Whether that means a mother is working full time, or raising their children at home.
Whether that means they are feeding their kids strictly organic, or foods from a box.
Whether their baby is formula fed, or breastfed. Whether they nurse openly, or cover up. The choice is theirs to make.
Most moms just want to feel like they are doing a good job! So act on the mantra, “treat others the way you want to be treated,” and quit the mom-judging.
On doing the judging: I’ll admit, I did quite a bit of mom-judging before I became a mom.
And now? I’m pretty sure I’ve become the mom that I stared at in the grocery store, passing judgment as her child screamed in the shopping cart. Life is funny like that.
Sometimes, passing judgment seems like an automatic response. And with certain actions, it’s a completely normal – and expected – reaction.
If a mother is beating her child in public, you should get upset, and possibly intervene. But by “beating” I mean literally wailing on her child, not smacking their hand in the store because they pulled something off the shelf, or spanking their bottom one good time because they yelled something inappropriate at their parent. When it comes to methods of discipline, each parent is entitled to make their own decision. But when it becomes a matter of a child – or anyone else – being in danger, it’s ok to speak up.
If you’ve noticed that a parent has left their child in a hot car, it’s appropriate to speak up and confront the parent. If a parent has forgotten their child in the store because they were preoccupied with their phone, it’s ok to get their attention.
Otherwise? If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it all.