Mom shaming must stop!

All over the internet I see comments, judgements, opinion pieces on what this mom should have done, on what that mom could have done. Everyone knows better, everyone else is an expert on raising other people’s children. Breastfeeding is the only option! You are a bad parent if you let your child wear make up too early! And on and on and on it goes. I read these things online and I am blown away by the judgements and negative energy that’s out there. Stop the mom shaming!

I’m a mom. I’ve been a mom for all of 9 months but in that time, I’ve been on the receiving end of mom shaming for various things already. I vaccinated my child, that made me a bad mom. I didn’t breastfeed, because I physically couldn’t. That’s right, you guessed it, bad mom! I have spent hours and even days feeling like a terrible human being, because I felt like I had failed in some way at being a mother.

You know what? I’m a great mom! I look at my son and he is healthy and happy. He is fed and warm. He is clean (most of the time) and he goes for his regular check ups as scheduled. He’s perfect in every way and meets all his milestones. In my opinion, he’s going to be little smarty pants, but hey, I’m his mom so I might be a little biased.

I’ve valued advice, support and tips like, ‘do what feels right’ and ‘you’re a great mom, you’re doing the best you can’. Or ‘listen to your gut feeling’ and ‘do what you think is best for your child’. Those moms get it. They get how hard it is to be a mom and not feel bad about almost everything.

Looking back, during my pregnancy, I had a conversation with a new mom that I’d just met. She told me, “the only thing I’m going to tell you is to find someone you trust and go to them for advice. Ignore everyone else, even if that means your own mother”. And I’ve got to admit, nothing has served me better as a mom than those words.

As mothers, we need to remember that what works for us may or may not work for someone else. There is no right way to do anything as long as it doesn’t cause your child harm. We need to learn to respect each other and the decisions we make. We need to stop criticising mothers who make mistakes. Stop the mom shaming!

It is hard being a mother. It’s even harder being reminded all the time of every mistake you’ve made. We need to remember that we’ve made mistakes too in the past, we’ve done things in a way someone else didn’t agree with, we did it in a way we thought was best and that’s okay too!

Sometimes we see something on the internet and we jump to conclusions. We assume that we know the reasons, but we don’t. We don’t know why that mom acted the way she did. We don’t know if she wanted to breastfeed and tried, but couldn’t. Mom shaming and calling her a bad mom for something out of her hands says more about you than her parenting abilities. Don’t be speedy to make snap judgements without knowing the full story.

“Empowered women empower others,” is one of the most profound sayings and it always resonates with me. You may know best, you may have done it, but isn’t it better to let other mothers feel strong in their own actions instead of putting them down? Isn’t it better to help each other with kindness instead of judgment and I told you so’s? Isn’t it better to be a woman who supports other moms in their choices even if those choices aren’t ones we ourselves would make?

It’s never okay to put another human being down just for being different to you. It’s never okay to criticise someone else for being imperfect. It is never okay to be someone who is quick to shame and harshly judge someone who is doing the best they can. And always remember that just because their way is different to your way, doesn’t make it the wrong way.

Be a mother who supports other mothers. Be a mother who offers a helping hand. Be a woman who empowers other women. Stop the mom shaming! Be you – Beautifully!

*For more inspirational articles by Jonelle, go here!

Jonelle du Pont

Jonelle du Pont

Jonelle is a first time mom in Cape Town. Her main focus outside of her family is inspiring, motivating and empowering women through her blogs Tyranny of Pink and Jonelle du Pont. Jonelle has had an incredibly challenging journey through life, including facing and beating death just after welcoming her new baby into this world; and yet finds the positive and shares the learnings through it all. She is also the author of our column “Be You with Jonelle”.

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