We’ve all been through this. At some point, we have all been judged by another mom. Or, admittedly, have become a mom-shamer ourselves.
Mom-shamers come in many forms, sizes and socio-economic classes. My mom-shamers would tell me that I technically “did not give birth” because I delivered via C-section. They would look like they just came out of the cover of Good Housekeeping, graceful and immaculate in their outfits, gazing pitifully at my worn-out jogger pants. Sometimes they are the pure-breastfeeding moms in my pediatrician’s clinic, who would shoot a hateful glance at my Avent bottle. They would also be in our favorite restaurant sitting at the table next to us, looking disapprovingly at my uncooperative child. They are in our family reunions criticizing my choice to be a stay-at-home mom and be a palamunin (lazyass).
It’s not just me. According to a recent study, 80% of millennial moms said that they are victims of mom shaming. I feel affected whenever I come across these scenarios in social media groups. I got offended when a close friend got shamed for being a working mom. Even as I write this blog, I am reading an FB group post of a breastfeeding mom shamed by her neighbors because they think her child is undernourished.
As a first-time mom, there’s always the idea that you’re not being a good parent. I am worried that I’m not feeding my child enough, not providing her with a good environment, not teaching her well. These insecurities are often what make me vulnerable to mom-shamers. These mommy bullies have loomed over me during my first year as a mom, and even if I tried shrugging them off many times, I still feel affected. Part of me wants to blame myself for letting this happen, for not being strong enough to defend myself, for losing faith in myself.
And now, I’ve grown tired of it. I’m so tired of being chastised for my parenting choices. I’m so tired of people telling me what to do and what not to do. I’m tired of people comparing me with this mom and that and this person who is not even a parent but is better than me at being one (I mean, how is that even possible?) I am tired of people pointing out that my efforts are not enough. I am tired of people criticizing me for my mistakes.
When is this going to stop? Why do people think motherhood is easy? When will people start to accept that each mom is different and that you just have to live with that? You don’t know her, you don’t know what she’s going through. You don’t know that she had a difficult pregnancy so she had to undergo CS. You don’t know that she cried for days while waiting for her breastmilk to come. You don’t know that she used to be a dynamic career-woman before she decided to stay home and take care of her child. You don’t know that she is struggling to find a helper so she has to bring her child everywhere she goes.
It’s so annoying that people suddenly have an opinion about a supposed “right” way to be a mother. What is the “right” way to be a mother, anyway? Where did this idea of “the perfect mom” come from?
Because, sorry, I don’t think there’s a place for the “perfect mom” in this world. She belongs in your imagination. This world is for the real mom who admits her imperfections because that is the only way she can learn. It’s for the real mom who acknowledges her fellow mom’s efforts in raising a child. It’s for the real mom who may fail at other tasks but loves her children more than anything in the world. It’s for the real mom who has that occasional meltdown because being a mom is just too overwhelming sometimes. It’s for the real mom who gets pointers from other moms who share their ideas because they want to help moms survive motherhood. As they say, strong women lift each other up.
If you’re the Good Housekeeping mom, then congrats for staying beautiful and getting back in shape. If you’re the exclusively breastfeeding mom, kudos for nourishing your child with that liquid gold. If you’re the mom next to our table whose child quietly eats in her high chair, great job for it takes a lot of effort to discipline a child in a public place. And as for me, I’m doing well, thankyouverymuch. I believe I’m a good mom (not perfect) because I see my daughter looking at me with those loving eyes, lost in her own happy world which she only shares with me (and sometimes with daddy). That’s the only thing that matters. So if you have an opinion about what I do as a mom, please deposit it in the trash bin. Thank you.