When it comes down to it, we all want to feel confident and supported in our choices as mothers. Whether we potty train our kids at 18 months or wait until they’re 4 and can choose on their own, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else outside of the walls of our home.
There’s nothing more powerful and inspiring than women supporting women. The strength that comes from it is immeasurable. So, why do we compare ourselves? Why do we brag or boast? Why do we shame other moms for the choices they make?
The next time you catch yourself mom-shaming another mother or feel you are on the receiving end of it, consider if it might stem from one of these possible explanations.
1. Motherhood feels like the most important job in the world, and we want to be successful in that job. If we measure that success by how our kids act on the playground, how clean our house is or if our toddler can read by the age 3, then so be it. It’s something moms do in order to feel like what we’re doing for our kids makes a difference.
If another mother makes you feel bad … remember that she may be struggling with those things in her own home.
2. Moms are typically exhausted! It’s hard to hold your tongue when you haven’t slept in three or more years.
3. Our mothers do/did it, so we do it!
4. There’s a lot of pressure in parenting. Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Everything depends on upbringing.” That’s a heavy load that parents carry. Whether you agree with that statement or not, perhaps we mom-shame in order to forget about our load for a moment.
5. People can be know-it-alls. When we find something that works for our children or our families, we want to share it. Instead of doing so out of love, we sometimes may do it out of judgment. But we need to remember that every single path is different. Share your opinion slathered in kindness or wait until someone asks for it.
6. Competition is a natural human experience. When women focus all of their attention on their kids, it can become an outlet for competition. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this, unfortunately.
7. We’ve all heard that insecurities are loud. If another mother makes you feel bad for taking time for yourself or the way you discipline or dress your children, remember that she may be struggling with those things in her own home.
8. Sometimes, moms try to do it all—be the best and expect our kids to do the same. This is a slippery slope and will no doubt lead to a competitive nature where, in order to feel better about our children or ourselves as women, we’ll drag down another family.
9. Jealousy can also be to blame. If we wish we were fit, like that mom, or always put together, like that other mom, it’s easy to hate on them. But from the outside looking in, we see a very different picture than if we were really in the trenches of daily life with them. Nobody is perfect and we all have struggles to deal with.
Let us all be confident enough in who we are as women that it won’t matter what anyone says to us. Remember, we are all doing the best we can. Having different opinions and outlooks is a GOOD thing. We need to raise our kids in different ways in order for the future of our world to be balanced. So, choose to celebrate instead of shame those differences. This job is hard enough as it is.