Everyone seems to have an opinion as to how you should raise your child-even people who don't know you. And unfortunately, many of these opinions are not very nice. Ladies, there are Mommy-Shamers everywhere. EVERYWHERE! So let's talk for a minute about Shamers (a.k.a. people that shame other people).
In case you didn't know, the definition of shaming is "the act or practice of attempting to embarrass a person or group by drawing attention to their perceived offense [sic], especially on social media" according to Collins English Dictionary.
Shaming is inherently based on comparisons and differences. People who shame others do so because they see someone doing something that they perceive to be wrong. Having an opinion is perfectly fine, but making someone else feel bad because of that perceived wrong is...well, wrong. And making it public on social media is a whole other level wrong. And that my friends is a Shamer.
There are several types of Shamers. One group is what I call Ignorant Shamers. These people have absolutely no idea that they are shaming you, but do so anyway.
For example, an Ignorant Shamer is the person who criticizes you on social media for posting pictures of yourself before and after weight loss. They may comment on how "wrong" and "unhealthy" your diet choices are (despite having no medical background whatsoever). They may call you out for posting pictures of yourself in a before and after bathing suit side by side comparison-because where is your modesty?
These are the type of Shamers who will walk up to a stranger in the middle of the grocery store and ask them if they are breastfeeding their newborn. These Shamers will look at a mom in the middle of her child's temper tantrum and tell her "I'd whip him into shape in no time!" in the middle of a crowded restaurant. (By the way-both of these scenarios have happened to me).
People who are Ignorant Shamers are often set in their ways, not well educated, and lack self-awareness. Trying to reason with them, or to get them to understand your views is likely impossible. Your best defense is to completely ignore them.
A more ominous group of Shamers are those who know exactly what they are doing. I call these people Intentional Shamers. These are people who watch your parenting with a side glance. They make a note of your parenting fails in attempt to make themselves feel better about their own lives and their own parenting skills.
These Shamers compare their kids to your kids. They compare your parenting skills to their own skills-or lack thereof. And if they are bold enough (and most of them are), they might even post on social medial as to why their kids are better than yours. Or as to why their parenting techniques are far superior than yours. Or why they are better than you. Or why you, your parenting, and your kids all completely suck!
Here's another truth about Intentional Shamers...they often hurl their insults at people that they don't even know. Why? Because they can hide behind their phone or computer. They would never consider making such a comment to someone's face. EVER. In addition to being entitled and rude, Intentional Shamers are cowardly.
But here's the truth about Intentional Shamers. They have poor self-esteem, and they often are not happy with their own life. They are usually jealous of others. They may not even like their own kids. They may regret becoming a parent. Maybe they are overwhelmed and stressed out. Honestly, Intentional Shamers probably don't like themselves in many ways.
By the way, Intentional Shamers are often mediocre parents at best. And NO, this is not an excuse for them to engage in shaming. Quite frankly, there is no excuse for any kind of shaming. But this is exactly why Intentional Shamers seek such an outlet. They need to feel good for a few seconds, and writing a snarky post on social media accomplishes that goal.
Mommies who are confident in themselves and in their parenting style feel no need to shame. They have no desire to shame. They simply don't engage in such bullshit.
Quite frankly, Confident Mommies are busy living their lives, and doing their own thing. They have no desire to point out other people's perceived flaws in a malicious and public manner. They are above taking time out of their precious day simply in order to make someone else feel bad.
In fact, confident Mommies are the exact opposite of Shamers. They will smile at the mom who looks exhausted. They will hold the door open for a stroller. They will share someone else's positive social media post if it may benefit someone else.
Almost ten years of being a mom and 23 years of education have taught me that comparisons are futile. Everyone has their own unique story, and everyone is special and important in their own way. So I will see a mom running errands with her child in full on tantrum mode. I think to myself, Gosh I've been there! And I see another mom running errands with perfectly behaved children and think, Gosh, my kids have never been that well behaved. But good for you Mama!
Most confident, successful Mommies want to share their success. They focus on the positives. They aspire to build others up, not to tear people down. And they don't feel a need to shame or judge. They are too busy loving and living their own life.
Be a confident, successful parent, and surround yourself with like-minded people. Ignore any hate that comes your way, but at the same time, stand up for yourself. Don't shame other women. Don't compare yourself to other women. You have no idea as to what her journey as a parent entails. If anything, build that woman up. Compliments are so much more powerful.
So here is your challenge: Compliment at least 5 Mommies this week. And really mean what you are saying. Make someone's day a little better with a few kind words.