Mom-shaming is the act of criticizing a mother’s parenting choices, her mothering practices. “What a bad mother, she is not breastfeeding??!”, “Why is she co-sleeping? That’s outdated.”, “Why does she have so many children??”, “She must be lazy, she is a stay-at-home mom.”.. etc. Sometimes, it is done subtly. Mom-shaming makes a mother feel incompetent or not-enough as a parent.
No mother is immune from mom-shaming. I was shamed for breastfeeding and staying home with the little one. Recently, I was told a mom was shamed for co-sleeping and I recently spoke up against the shaming of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is a cultural norm in some families and societies. It should be respected. While some cultures strive for independence at an early age by having a baby room, other cultures prefer co-dependence and prioritize bonding as long as possible. Some families do not have the luxury of having separate rooms for each child. Why shame them?! I bet you also have a mom-shaming story to tell.
To be honest, I am guilty of shaming other moms in my mind. Thankfully, my mind is undergoing natural and supernatural renewal processes. My natural mind is beginning to understand the impact of individual and cultural differences on mothering and parenting choices. We all can do this by taking time to learn about other cultures. My mind is being renewed to think lovely thoughts about people. We all can do this by studying the words of Jesus written in the Bible.
Perhaps, you are also guilty of mom-shaming. Mom-shaming in thoughts or with words should not be normalized.
Mothering and parenting styles are informed by cultural beliefs and family values. It is pertinent for us to be mindful and respectful of these factors. There is a difference between mom-shaming and correcting a mother’s action to prevent her from causing physical, emotional and spiritual harm to her child. Even so, we need to educate ourselves before stating that a practice can harm a child. Mom-shaming often comes from a place of arrogance and ignorance. It is arrogant to devalue another mother’s parenting style, to think that one’s own parenting style is superior to another’s. It is ignorant to think that one’s mothering or parenting style is the best for every child. Before we correct a mother’s action, let us check our motives and interact with other mothers with love. We need one another and we can learn from one another. Let us set aside pride for the future of our children. Our arrogance and ignorance always rub off on our children.
Mom-shaming reminds me of the division in the Church. Christians shaming one another for not having similar doctrines. Non-denominational churches shaming denominational churches for not fellowshipping the same way, Non-tithers shaming tithers, tongue speakers shaming those who don’t, etc. We forget the most important commandment of all is to love one another, not judge one another. With all my heart, I look forward to the unity of God’s people.
Let us strive to reveal the love of God in our words and actions.
Have a restful weekend!