I partnered with Beech-nut to share my feelings and experience with mom shaming. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Mom-shaming is the grown-up equivalent to childhood bullying but sometimes it’s worse. We all have that “friend” who doesn’t shut up about how perfect her kid’s French is and in the same sentence observes that our kid doesn’t pronounce “French Fries” correctly. Boo! Listen, I’ve sat in the mom shame chair many, many, many times. I’ve sat there because I decided to exclusively breastfeed, because my kid has food allergies or because my son refused to say hi to someone. Oh, it’s been a long road of mom-shaming thanks to all these labels we carry as modern mamas. Frankly, I’m over it and that’s why I am happy to partner with Beech-Nut for their Turn The Labels Around campaign. The goal of this awesome campaign is to get us to support each other and stop the labeling.
In a recent study, Beech-Nut found that 82% of moms are aware of mom-shaming and nearly 80% of us have felt judged by someone who we know personally. That’s almost every mom at your kid’s dance practice. But if you’re one of the few lucky mamas who has never dealt with this let me tell you, I didn’t even have to leave the hospital before having my first mom shaming episode. After giving birth to my daughter, I was only allowed to breastfeed her for about five minutes before she was whisked away from me for testing. Imagine, my sweet baby girl wrapped up like a burrito, gone. I worried the entire time she was in the nursery that she was crying for mommy and hungry. I worried that the nurses who seemed unbothered about my wish to exclusively breastfeed would feed her formula if she did cry and worse—I worried that less than an hour into motherhood, I had failed her. I remember at one point, a nurse came into my room and I asked for my baby and she slickly responded: “Oh you’re a breastfeeding one, huh?” Her tone and the look she gave me made me feel ashamed.
I remember going on a play date with an old friend and we were talking about our parenting styles and she would say something negative in response to almost anything I shared. She bragged that her kid didn’t do *insert long list* and her kid did *insert long list* and made a point to lecture me on why her way was better. Honestly, I was so surprised I could barely say a word. My daughter must have noticed the embarrassment on my face because she came over a few times to ask what’s wrong. Soon as I got myself together, I hightailed out of there. That was the end of the playdate and our “friendship”. Why? Because my 6-year-old could feel that something was wrong and I could only imagine how much worse the judgment would get down the line. It’s not just in real life though, I’ve even found myself hitting the “leave group” button in many mommy social media groups. I would see a mom posting a question or frustration and others under the guise of helping, mom shame her for whatever she was facing. This hurt really bad especially when the question was an issue that I was struggling with too. Actually, the Beech-Nut study found that more than 50% of moms have hesitated to post online in fear of internet trolling mamas.
But please don’t think that I am innocent of mom shaming because I am no saint. I’ve judged other moms for more reasons than I care to admit. We all need to turn the labels around and celebrate each other on this very hard journey called motherhood. This new video for the Turn The Labels Around campaign by Beech-Nut is a perfect illustration of that.
I’m excited to share that next week, on May 4th we will learn more about the experiences of moms who have been mom shamed and how we can Turn The Labels Around at the HuffPost Beech-Nut Mom Shaming Summit. I will be a panelist and I would love for you to join us. The summit will be live on the HuffPost Parents Facebook page at 10:00 am EST. Set your alerts so you wouldn’t miss it!
Reach out to a mom who you admire via social media and tell her that she is doing a great job. Don’t forget to use the hashtag, #ShowMomsLove
ETA: You can watch the video recap of the panel on mom-shaming below!