Breast or formula. Co-sleeping or cot. Safe sleeping, routine parenting, baby-led weaning or spoon fed, homework, chores, reward charts…you name it, and we mums have a stance on it.
Which is more than fine. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. We all have preferences for how we like to mum. Each to her own, and all of that. It’s all good.
But what’s NOT good is when mums think that it’s their way or the highway. When they think that they are without-a-doubt correct, and that they have a right to impose their opinion on others. When they judge other mums – and when they do it publicly.
Yes, it’s fairly innate for women to bitch. We all love a good gossip. If you say you don’t, you’re either lying or Mother Theresa! We might talk to our mates about how “such and such” is dating a new man, or a friend is moving house.
All women love to gossip. Image via iStock.
But when it comes to the nitty gritty of motherhood, isn’t it about time we all keep our damn opinions to ourselves? Especially in the public arena. The mummy-shaming and judgement has to stop.
As a mum of two and mummy blogger I’ve experienced and seen my fair share of judgement. There are the trolls online. Oh, the trolls…I don’t know why so many mums seem to think that they can judge other mums online. I guess it’s easier, and safer, to hide behind a keyboard (or phone touch screen for that matter).
It's easy to hide behind a keyboard or phone screen and judge. Image via iStock.
It’s happened to me personally many times. It's also happened to those I know and in my wider circle online I hear about it all the time. And I’m jack of it.
I know I speak for many mums when I say that those of us who share our lives online do so in the hope that we can help other mums realise they’re not alone, and find common ground. We have the best intentions at heart. Yes, being so open online comes with its downsides. We know the risks. We know commentary is part and parcel of the role. But it doesn’t have to be nasty and judge-y, does it?
I was judged when I feel pregnant for the second time. Image via iStock.
It’s not just online, it’s in public too. The disapproving stares when I pull out my formula container and proceed to give my baby a bottle. The raised eyebrows when I was pregnant with our second baby just eight months after having our first (“oh, so soon?!” they said). The criticism I received for increasing my toddler’s number of day care days when our second baby came along (never mind the fact that I work from home).
I felt like I had to justify all of this, which is ridiculous. Because it’s up to me. Each mum knows what’s best for their baby, themselves, and their family.
I’ll admit it, in the past I’ve said something about another mum. Before I had kids, I remember commenting to my husband about how someone was giving her toddler a jam sandwich for dinner because that was all she would eat. That was before I understood the battle that is trying to get any sort of food into some kids…my now two-year-old has gone from eating a wide variety of foods to only eating chicken nuggets, so I now know that mum’s pain!
I’m pretty damn ashamed of myself for judging her when I literally had no concept of what she was going through. Maybe most bitchiness and judgement comes from ignorance?
I guess I'm a bit naive in the fact that I see the good in most people. I like to think that all of us are supporting each other, not judging. Surely it's up to each person how they choose to parent, as long as it's healthy and safe for the child?
So, to those turning their judgey-mcjudgey eyes onto other women in public, or making out-of-order comments online, you might think we don’t notice. You might think we aren’t affected by it. But we are.
How about we support not shame. Cheer other mum’s successes, not compete. And just stop judging. This isn't high school, people.
I guess this is all a bit idealistic. Maybe I'm living in dreamland. But I’m just so damn sick of it.
Mummy-shaming is not fair. It’s not cool. Enough is enough.
Feature image of Siobhan and her daughter sharing a photo on her blog MeOhMy Mum. Image supplied.
Tips for a happy home with Em Rusciano.