There’s fat shaming, slut shaming, food shaming—so many forms of shamification (is that even a word?). They all stink. Let’s focus for a minute on mommy shaming. I’ve actually wanted to write this blog for a long time, but I didn’t want to be that whiny mom who complains about everything, then realized I’m already her—so what the hell? I might as well educate y’all on etiquette.
Recently, mom, or parent shaming has been all over social media. Between Chrissy Teigen having to defend her playtime photos and the Kardashian/West clan having to defend just about every single thing they do as parents, it is rampant.
It’s not just larger-than-life celebrities who are subjected to mom shaming. Regular ol’ moms deal with it too, more often than some people might think.
One of my friends (who I happen to know is a kick-ass-completely-out-of-the-box mom) posted that she was openly scolded by another mom today in a store—which made my blood boil, and reignited my fire to write a list of rules for holier than thou mommy-shaming mommies. So here it is, shamelessly:
Rule # 1: Nobody Asked You
If you were not asked for your advice (and certainly we have all asked for guidance), then don’t offer it. Even if you think what I am doing is wrong. Even if it’s not what you do. Even if you read somewhere, written by the most expertiest of experts ever that this is not the way you should do it, keep your mouth shut.
So before anyone says “what if a mom is putting her child in danger?” let me disclaim: if a child is in danger, or put in an emergency situation, of course, speak up or call the authorities. Follow your conscience. Duh.
- A parent using a leash to keep track of their kid. You may not agree with it, but it’s not an emergency—keep your mouth shut.
- A parent using a branding iron and open fire to burn the family’s address onto the child to keep track of their kid. Emergency—feel free to butt in.
Ok, so now that we have got that cleared up let’s move on.
Most of these rules are just variations of rule #1—but for clarity’s sake I’ll press on.
Rule #2: Friends & Family Are No Exception
You don’t like my kid’s haircut? Keep it to yourself. You think 14 is too old to still be drinking a bottle? Sorry, didn’t ask you. You think Baby Einstein is rotting my child’s brain? Hold your tongue. I count on my friends and family to tell me I have a piece of spinach in my teeth, that my ass looks huge in those jeans, or that my breath is kicking. Not to nitpick my parenting skills. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t stop a mom in Target and give her that same piece of unsolicited advice then it’s not appropriate for me either.
Rule #3: Don’t Judge a Book (Or Situation) By Its Cover
We all live differently. My situation is different than yours, and yours is different than the next woman reading this. Don’t assume that what works for you is absolutely right for everyone. I’m not saying that offering advice is wrong—when asked for it. Especially if you have a tip that will save the rest of us some sanity, by all means shaaaaare! But judgmental or petty jabs to elevate yourself can be hurtful. There is nothing more I’d like to be able to do than grow all of the food that goes on my family’s table and into their bellies. But that isn’t possible—constantly reminding me that anything store bought will ultimately do my kid harm doesn’t motivate me to buy a farm; it just makes me feel bad. This goes for breastfeeding vs. formula, homeschooling, vaccinations, screen time, being a stay-at-home mom and just about anything else that might be governed by one’s moral compass and the almighty dollar. We’re all trying to do the best we can in the situation we have been given.
Rule #4: Be Nice
Being a parent is super hard as it is, having to constantly worry that other parents are judging us makes it that much harder. Having mommy support is one of the greatest sources of strength for many of us. It’s not hard to just be nice.
Rule #5: Name Shaming
Rule #5 is special for all my mommies-to-be. This is a whole category in and of itself.
Again, celebrities name their children Apple, Blanket, Blue, North, Chicago, and so on. They take heat for it, but it is mostly acceptable, and almost expected for a celeb to have a kid with a memorable, creative, or unpronounceable name. Mortal parents, however, have the same right to name their children anything that strikes them as a good name. I am going to go ahead and speak for all parents on earth in saying we don’t care if you like our future child’s name.
Here’s a quick guide:
If you have the privilege of learning a child’s name before it is born the ONLY appropriate response is to smile and say, “that’s a great name.”
THAT IS IT!
Here are some responses that are not appropriate:
“Oh, I really don’t like that at all.”
“Why would you name him/her that?”
“Is that even a name?”
“That was what I was going to use when I get pregnant in 5 years from now, no fair!”
“Have you searched a name database? That name is sooo common.”
“Ooh, aren’t you afraid kids are going to call him [insert tease word…]”
Again, no matter what the name is you should smile and say, “Ohhhhh how cute!”
Ok, let’s practice…
You: “You’re pregnant, yay! What are you going to name the baby?”
Me: “Well, we were thinking about Hemi O. Roid or Satan Lucifer the 66th.”
You: “Ohhhhh how cute!”
PERFECT! You’ve all passed. Now go on, be nice to other moms, and of course share my blog. (Shameless plug on shaming).