There are so many facets of motherhood that are so foreign until you truly experience them. Mom shame is one that I’ve been in awe about in the 2.5 years since I’ve been a mother. There are some things we should never say to another mom. Although living as a mom, dealing with judgment, shame, and side eye from others also makes me consider how I acted before I had kids. I admit it, I thought “My kid would never do that,” I thought “why don’t they keep control of their child,” “Why don’t they watch their child,” “Why are they so strict with their child.” It’s funny how karma can bite you in the ass sometimes and make you see the error in your ways.
As a mom now, there are definitely further shaming habits that happen often. I know there are many that still see their differences in parenting and judge for it. But, truly, mothers should be backing each other up. We will still have differences, but support is so much better then judgment. As mother’s there are several things we should remember when talking to other mothers and several things that we should never say to another mom.
5 Things We Should Never Say to Another Mom
“Breast is best”
Truly, I do not hear this old saying so much anymore but I do know that many, many, still believe that it is a detriment to your child to NOT breastfeed. This simple judgment does not take in account the many factors that go into breastfeeding and the many reasons a mom may not be doing so. Instance that breastfeeding is absolute, and formula is a detriment puts so much not needed shame on mothers. What is best is feeding our children, however we can.
“When are you going to have another?” or “You’re having another?”
There are so many videos on this subject, all of which I love because they can be so true. There is shame for women for not having kids, there’s shame to mothers for only having one, there’s shame for having “too many.” Then there are the mothers or women that desperately want children, the women that may be struggling every day in order to have them, struggling silently, it’s truly best to just not ask, you do not know their circumstance and the question can be truly painful.
“Wouldn’t you like to stay home with your kids?” “You’re not staying home with your kids?” “You’re putting them in day care?” “You’re staying home with your kids, how are you going to provide for the home?”
Any rendition of these questions is a big no-no. First, it’s really nobody’s business how you provide for your family. Second, any stay at home parent understands it’s a lot of work. Third, some people would like to continue working, building a career, that’s okay. Daycare is okay. Every person, every family have their own paths and that’s great. Don’t question other’s because their path is different than your own.
“Perhaps you should….”
Really, giving any unsolicited advice is frowned upon in my world. Your ideas for how to discipline my child, your ideas on how to take care of a situation, your ideas on feeding my child, or anything in between is unwelcome UNLESS I ask you. So do not give unsolicited advice to other mommas, if they want it they’ll ask.
“You look tired”
No duh, you’d think other moms would always understand this, but it is so commonly a phrase out of moms’ mouths to other moms. Yes, moms are often, if not always, tired. Raising small humans is tiring, even more so when they’re very young. Do not state the obvious but be a friend. Reassure. Be kind.
What are some judgmental statements you’ve heard? How do you handle them? What is a better alternative? I’d love to hear from you.