You’d think with all the people speaking out against mom shaming that it would be less prevalent. I never thought I would write on this topic when so many others have spelled it out so eloquently. As I’ve said before I’m not one for confrontation and I know it’s pointless to get into a nasty Facebook feud. Today I saw something come across my personal Facebook feed that brought me to tears and I realized that I needed to say something.
Things like pacifiers, discipline, how you feed your infant, the type of diapers used, potty training, and many other things is none of our business except when it comes to our own children. If someone asks your opinion about something then you can share your opinion. If you want to tell people what you did with your kids then you can tell them. But do not assert your ideals onto anyone else because you think they are doing it wrong.
Things that you should speak up about: abuse and things that are an actual danger to a child. A twelve year old with a pacifier? Bite your tongue and say nothing. A four year old playing with a pocket knife? Speak up. A mom not using the discipline technique you use? Who cares. A mom shaking her infant? Stop her.
I’ve been so lucky thus far to only experience a small amount of shaming and it is based on my choice to stay home rather than work. Guess what? That’s between me and my husband. Thankfully I’ve been able to let that roll off my back and I can just keep on being me. I can’t think of anything that someone might get on me about that I currently do that would bother me because I’ve done my research and know that I made the best choices for me and R. I also know that there are some moms out there that aren’t as confident in what they are doing. That they weren’t prepared to be a mom yet but decided to take on the challenge anyways. It is not your right to shatter their motherhood ideals with your opinions.
One of my high school teachers once said “my rights end where your nose begins” and put a fist to his nose to demonstrate (that is apparently a shortened version of a quote first said by the Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, John B. Finch in the 1880s). The moment you attack someone you are imposing on their rights. It is a woman’s right to care for her child the way she sees fit unless she is harming the child. If breastfeeding (at all or after a certain age) was wrong then there would be law against it. Same goes for formula. You know what there’s a law against? Not feeding your child. And I would say we can all agree that is wrong.
This goes further than just mom shaming though. People shaming in general is wrong. We live in a free nation. It is your choice to do what you please as long as it is not against the law.
I’m not innocent in all of this. I have judged others’ choices but I do try to make a conscious effort to not judge others. It’s easy to say what we would or would not do when we are not in a situation. It is easy to be the perfect parent of someone else’s kid, the perfect student in a class we aren’t in, or the perfect employee for a job we do not have. It is easy because we are using our amazing imaginations that tell us that things will work the way we want.
I believe we can all do better, myself included. Let me leave you with this thought: Humankind. Be both.