Mom Shaming

As moms, we question ourselves about a million times a day. Did I feed then enough, are they happy, bored, sad, confused, frustrated, getting ready to poop, already pooped, wet, sleepy, mad about teeth coming in, or just mad about not being verbal or mobile enough to make it clear to the neurotic adults in charge of keeping them alive what they want?!?! Wondering if we are using the right laundry detergent or lotion or diapers could keep us up every night if we hadn’t fallen asleep in a heap next to our little ones with the mascara from three days ago still on our lashes.

When we do get some time away from our little ones, we feel guilty that we aren’t with them to tend to their every little need. Whether that means we’re going to work or to the grocery store or the occasional hair or nail appointment or the all needed, super rare drinks with the girls, there is that nagging voice telling us that we should be at home with those little ones we grew and brought into the world and love more than anything-but need a tiny break from. Sometimes the voice we hear is our own, our mother’s, a mother in law or “society”. But when that voice is the voice of another mom, someone down in the trenches, someone probably dealing with the same day to day mom issues that we are, that is some straight up bullshit.

Comparing our kids to other kids around the same age is something we tell ourselves never to do, but we end up looking at those other kids and think; that one is taller or shorter, skinnier or rounder, walking or talking more and better than my kid. That one gave up the binky easier or never used one at all, that one has better motor skills at stacking blocks or rings. That one can climb better or higher and get down more easily. This one doesn’t cry at the doctor’s and my kiddo screams the second I set her on the exam table. That one eats fruits and vegetables better and doesn’t throw food on the floor and that one is just the most chill kid ever and mine just isn’t.

It’s great having friends or family with kids around Luna Bell’s age. I love that she has relationships with her cousins and is starting to get closer to her aunts and uncles and grandparents. And I love working with ladies who have children a little older than mine. They give me ideas on how to help Luna Bell with different things and also commiserate with me when things are just tough and they reassure me that this too shall pass. And I never feel like I’m trying to compare my kids to theirs.

Then there are “the others”. Those moms who, no matter their own age or the age of their kids, think that they have it all locked in. Those moms that have no filter when they’re pregnant and tell their horror stories to all first time moms and walk away leaving a panicked, sometimes crying pregnant woman in their wake. The moms ask a million invasive and rude questions about your pregnancy and then say “we’ll when I was pregnant…” or “my doctor says…” and “if you were younger/older or healthier or fatter or skinnier or taller or smaller, you wouldn’t have this or that problem or issue.” These are the moms that then question everything you do as a mom; “when is she going to sit up? When is he going to talk? Ya know, if you get her to give up the binky she’ll talk more. My child loves fruits and vegetables, you just have to keep trying. Is there something wrong with her, she doesn’t seem as advanced as my child. She should really try XYZ with him, that would help his become a nuclear physicist by the time he’s 10.”

To these nosy, intrusive, rude, clueless women-thanks, but no thanks. Your words of “concern” fall like lead balloons. They are hurtful and cause needless concern on the behalf of the mother you direct these comments to. Hearing someone ask if there is something wrong with a child because they aren’t doing everything exactly like their perfect little angel, is well anger inducing. It’s those comments that stand out above the “they are so cute or sweet or dress so stylish for a one year old” a year later when you aren’t sure if your child is doing all the things they should be.

In my previous post, I wrote about Luna Bell catching up. And by the time she was 15 months she had caught up on everything except eating (more on that later) and her physical therapist continually reminds me that she is on her own path and there is so much happening at that age that sometimes one thing or another has to take a back seat to something major happening. And guess what? Every kid is different. They all learn to walk and talk and do all the major things in their own time, but they learn them. And when they do, you can throw that video on Facebook and Instagram and tag that obnoxious mom and say “see?! My kid is also doing the thing that your kid is doing, and looks a hell of a lot cuter than yours does!”

Okay, maybe not. Maybe don’t tag them that is, but know that your kid definitely is looking waaay cuter than theirs! If you know they will see the post, you can revel in the joy that they will see your beautiful, perfect child doing that thing and that there is nothing wrong with your child like they speculated with all the expertise of a truck stop clinician.

To claim that this post wasn’t inspired by someone specific, would make me liar. And I’m sure all moms and dads reading this have one or two people in their lives who make derogatory comments about their children or assumptions about their development or health. I’m still working out what the best response to these people is. If anyone has any advise I welcome it! Or if you would just like to share your stories, this is a safe place to do so! Just remember, no mom shaming.

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