I never really paid attention to people’s parenting styles and/or advice on social media, prior to having my own child. It was always one of those things I sort of brushed off, because I wasn’t a parent to understand where they were coming from, let alone to give my two cents. Now that I am a parent, and I nine times out of ten read these posts from other parents, it borderline upsets me. With the wonderful world of social networking being as large and influential as it is, everyone has a platform to share and express their opinions. I’m all for freedom of speech, but why does it seem like Mothers are using their platform to hurt other Mothers, rather than help them? This whole “Mom shaming” social network era is pretty pathetic to say the least. I’m sure a few of you, who are parents or future parents, are wondering what exactly “Mom shaming” is. Mom shaming is what I consider to be the “it’s my way or the wrong way” thinking of Moms, today. Here are a few examples I see quite often on social media, that should give you a better perspective on what I consider “Mom shaming.”
The breast-feeding vs. formula debate:
Yes, thanks to the internet, and countless people telling you during and after your pregnancy, majority of Mothers know breastfeeding is an amazing way to feed your child. I breast-fed Jordyn for almost six months. Four of the six it was only breast milk. By month five we started breast-feeding and using formula. By month six she was exclusively on formula. I loved every second of nursing, Jordyn. I can’t really put into words how much breastfeeding connected us. Even if it was in the middle of the night, when I was beyond tired, and borderline a zombie, I always loved the connection I had with her while nursing. It really is a beautiful thing, and I am so happy so many people supported me in doing so. It was beautiful.
Then there are the Mothers who decide while pregnant, or after a few tries at breast-feeding, that it simply isn’t for them. And do you know what I say to these women? Good for YOU. I often see Mothers get on the internet and talk down about women who don’t breast feed and give them 20 million reasons why they should breast feed. The thing is, people have no idea WHY some women don’t breast feed. Maybe they weren’t able to produce enough milk, if any at all? Maybe their lives are set up in a way where they work certain jobs, and certain hours that it’s not a possibility. Maybe they have an infection of some sort and they weren’t able to breast feed even if they wanted to? Maybe the baby refused to latch on and Mom had to figure out a way to get the baby to eat and quickly. Or maybe, just maybe, as a Mother to their own child, they simply decided they don’t care for breast-feeding/have no desire to breast feed, and chose to use formula. To make this notion even crazier, what if I were to tell you, a baby drinking formula will be just as productive and awesome as the baby who was breast-fed? I know, it’s a crazy idea.
The same goes for formula feeding mothers who take offense to every woman who mentions they enjoy breastfeeding. If they aren’t nursing your child, or being disrespectful about their love of nursing, who are you to take offense to a beautiful connection between mother and child? The same way you have personal reasons for formula feeding, other mothers have personal reasons for breast-feeding. So let’s stop the whole “I’m a better Mom because I breast feed or formula feed my child” high horse. I was a formula fed baby, because for medical reasons my mother could not nurse me. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my family makes sure to remind me I was nothing short of brilliant at a VERY young age, and it carried through into higher education. This still doesn’t give me a reason to tell breast-feeding Moms “formula is clearly better for your child, because look at how great I turned out?”
The name brand vs. Target or Walmart brand debate:
I know, this debate sounds as foolish as it actually is. Believe it or not, I had a mother once tell me she only buys “name brand” clothes for her child. Although it sounds like this would be the main issue, it isn’t. The main issue is the fact of Moms looking down on other Moms for NOT buying clothes or baby necessities the way they do. I get it, some Moms simply prefer buying their children Pampers brand diapers and wipes to go with their cute baby UGGS and Gucci onesie. However, there are also Moms who enjoy buying according to the latest sale and who is talking the cheapest price. There is nothing wrong with being either Mom, as long as you don’t put someone else down for being a different Mom in the process. There are so many factors as to why each Mom may shop the way they do. Maybe the Mom who can’t doesn’t put her child in name brand anything is a single parent? Maybe they are married and don’t make enough to spend money on such things? Or maybe they aren’t struggling and prefer to be conscious when spending money so they do so frugally. Maybe the Mom who does put her child in all of the name brands comes from a background of this being a norm when raising children? Maybe they come from a background of not having much and are grateful for the opportunity to give their children what they never had? Maybe their taste in baby clothing and necessities are exactly the same as the designer/name brands? OR maybe they are just like me and have taste that goes all across the spectrum?
I love to see Jordyn in adorable, sometimes more expensive outfits, simply because they’re cute. But as much as I love to see her in the adorable expensive outfit with a Pampers sensitive diaper, I love to see her in the adorable clearance Carter’s sleeper from Target, with the Luvs brand diaper underneath. Oh, and I’ll pull out coupons and military discounts on everything, every time.
The Working vs. Stay-At-Home debate:
Having been on both sides of this spectrum, I have seen and heard it all. Working Moms constantly hear the “how can you leave your baby for so many hours?” Or “money isn’t worth not being able to raise my own child.” Stay-At-Home Moms constantly hear “don’t you go crazy not talking to adults all day?” Or “your child needs to learn how to socialize with other children and daycare is perfect for socialization.” It’s quite annoying on both sides.
Maybe the working Mom is at a place in her career where she is accomplishing career goals. Maybe she enjoys making money to help contribute to the well-being of her household. Maybe she isn’t in a financial position to up and quit her job to stay home with her child. Maybe she is a single parent and has no choice but to go to work everyday. Or maybe she just really enjoys her time to not be “Mommy” for a few hours in the day and be the individual she is at work. For working Moms, no matter your reasoning for being a working mom, there is nothing wrong with it. You are being the best person and mom you can be for your child and your family. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for the making the choice to work outside of the home and be Mom at the same time.
Maybe the stay-at-home Mom can’t really afford monthly childcare. Maybe the stay-at-home Mom was raised by a stay-at-home Mom and wants to do the same for her children. Maybe the stay-at-home Mom doesn’t mind not talking to adults all day if it means spending time with their child. Maybe the stay-at-home Mom isn’t comfortable letting other people watch/raise her child. Or maybe the stay-at-home Mom just enjoys being a stay-at-home Mom and finds it to be just as rewarding as having a career outside of the home. To the stay-at-home Moms, many people may not understand what taking care of a child and a home 24/7 consists of. There may even be a few people who don’t see your lifestyle as actual “work.” Just know being a stay-at-home Mom is a full-time job, and is just as important as holding a job outside of the home.
What I love the most about having been on both sides of this debate is, I can teach my daughter through personal experience and example the beauty of being a woman with choices. It takes both the working Moms and the stay-at-home Moms to make this world go round. It takes all of us to show and teach our children being one or the other doesn’t mean we love our children anymore or any less.
The “How to discipline your child” debate:
If you grew up in a household like mine, your family believes in spankings. If you grew up in a household like some of my friends, you’ve never been spanked a day in your life. If you grew up like me in general, you haven’t been spanked since your were young, because all your Mom had to do was give you the “look” and you turned into the angel she knew you could be. Yeah, I was the kid that cried if I felt my Mom was even mad at me, so I never really had to worry about the spanking department. I was too much of a punk for that pain LOL. Truth be told, I would love to never have to spank Jordyn, but if the time calls for it, I will be the big bad wolf and do so.
I call this a debate, because people will try their HARDEST to convince the other person their method of discipline is flat-out wrong. For those who believe in spanking their children…good for you. Make sure it is simply spanking and not beating your child, because that is no longer discipline, but abuse. For those who don’t believe in spanking their children…good for you. Just make sure you are disciplining your child someway somehow or the law will do it for you when they get older. I know people who were spanked as children that still grew up doing wrong and breaking the law, just like I know people who weren’t spanked as children who grew up to be some of the sweetest and most caring individuals. I give those examples because people tend to think spanking your children is the end all be all for making model citizens and not spanking them is raising them to be spawns of the devil. Moms who spank their children are NOT monsters and are NOT abusers. Moms who don’t spank their children are NOT bad parents and are NOT raising little monsters. They are both Mothers who care about their children and want to raise them to be disciplined and respectable adults using different methods.
One of my friends who has never been spanked told me about a method her Dad used on her for punishment, and I plan to incorporate it into my parenting as well. If she did something wrong, her Dad did not spank her, but made her write an essay on what she did wrong. I don’t know about you guys, but that is damn near just as bad as getting spanked to child haha.
Jordyn will be the lucky child who gets to encounter both methods, I know…lucky her! Maybe she’ll be like me and only have to get the “look” before she does what she is supposed to do. Lord knows if she’s anything like her father a lot of prayers, spankings, and essays will be going on in the Jamieson household.
The entire point of this post is to tell all Moms, no matter where we are, or how we care for our children, as long as we are caring for them genuinely to make them amazing people in this world we should all support one another. After all, we are all connected by the greatest title there is to carry in the world.