You never know how true the words “you’ll see when you have a kid” are, until you actually have your own child. Before becoming a mom, I always said what I would and wouldn’t do. Now that I am a mom, I’m doing whatever the hell keeps baby happy and mommy and daddy sane. One thing I do notice more and more of, especially since everyone has a “voice” on social media, is mom shaming. According to the urban dictionary, mom shaming is defined as; criticizing or degrading a mother for her parenting choices because they differ from the choices the shamer would make. Annoying right? The fact that people have the audacity to comment on what another mom does baffles me. Why do you care? I’m sure we are all guilty of commenting on things we see on social media amongst our friends (I am guilty and working on it), but this public mom-shaming has to stop. At the end of the day, we’re all doing the best we can. Let’s talk about 10 topics, mother’s have a difference of opinion on, and where I see the most mom shaming occur.
1. Delivery – As if the thought of bringing a human into the world isn’t scary enough, you have the pressure of people telling you how you should deliver your baby. Get a doula. Deliver at a birthing center. Don’t get an epidural. Have a water birth. Save your placenta. Eat your placenta! The list goes on. Don’t even get me started on the vaginal vs elected c-section debate. Can we all just agree that we want to deliver a healthy baby?
2. Surrogacy and adoption – Lets face the reality. Not every woman can bear children. Some women have to explore other options to achieve their dreams of becoming a mother. When Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade introduced their precious baby girl, born via surrogacy a few months back, I saw some of the most cruel comments floating around the internet. After all the couple went through trying to conceive, people had the nerve to question her “motherhood” because she did not give birth to her child. It was to the point where negative comments were being made about her performing skin to skin with her newborn. Why is that ANY of your business? Same with adoption. If someone chooses to provide a happy and healthy home for a child who may not have received that from their birth parents, that is their decision.
3. Feeding – Now baby is here, and you have an entire peanut gallery telling you “breast is best.” While I’m team breastfeeding, and I exclusively breast fed my son for almost seven months, and still nursing in some capacity (Jesus help me!), I’m also a huge believer that a “fed baby is best.” The truth is, breastfeeding is HARD AS FUCK! If your baby doesn’t latch properly, you have to get professional help or read a zillion articles to get your baby to latch. Your boobs are always sore, especially in the beginning. Don’t even get me started on cluster feeding. Whew chile, that will take a toll on you, mentally. Then if you have to go to work, pumping is a job in itself! And the truth of it all is some women have zero desire to breastfeed, and that’s their business, not yours. The same goes for women who choose to feed their baby formula. Breast-feeding moms don’t want to hear that their baby isn’t getting enough milk, and that she should supplement. No, she should do whatever she decides is best for her baby.
4. Vaccinations – I am no health professional. I choose to vaccinate and that’s just that. There are millions of families who don’t, and that’s their business. I don’t impose my views about vaccinations on them, and I appreciate that I have yet to personally experience someone imposing their views on me.
5. Sleeping – Long gone are the days where I said “my child will not be sleeping in between my husband and I.” In fact, my 14-month, 27 lb. kid is sleeping right next to me as I’m writing this. I don’t know how we got here, but here we are. He was a colicky infant, so even with a bassinet, he found his way into my bed. We had a Dock a Tot, which I absolutely loved, but once he outgrew that, he was straight up in between Rob and I. He had short periods where he slept through the night in his crib, but when teething hit, an ear infection, then a stomach virus and now we’re just getting over like his third cold, he just wanted to be in the bed. We all get a good nights sleep (for the most part), so there’s that. I’m also not embarrassed to say that I love cuddling with my baby every night.
6. Sleep training – There’s the Ferber method, the extinction method (cry it out), night nurses, books, Facebook groups and a zillion other resources on how to sleep train your baby. While I know a lot of these methods are effective, I just don’t have the patience for it! For starters, I nursed Karter to sleep up until this week, literally. I tried Ferber for like two days and Rob totally killed it (he’s a punk for tears). As we’re approaching the 15-month mark, we’re going to work on it! I hope to have a praise report, sooner rather than later.
7. Childcare – In a perfect world, I’d have a retired family member home with Karter, until it’s time for him to go to school. The reality is, that’s not my reality. Rob and I are both working professionals, and our parents work as well. I was fortunate enough to stay home with him for a little over five months, and Rob had six weeks of paternity leave, followed by the summer off. Karter was 10 months when we had to make a final decision on childcare. While most of my colleagues have nanny’s, we chose daycare. We wanted him to be in a social setting with other kids and have somewhat of a daily structure. Our first daycare choice was a pretty terrible experience, even with camera access. We absolutely love the daycare he goes to now, and have not had one issue in the three months he’s been there. Of course you get some people who look at you like you have five heads when you tell them your kid goes to daycare. Followed by the “I just don’t trust anyone with my child.” Well, awesomely amazing, over-protective mom. I don’t have a choice! If you are blessed to have a family member stay home with your child, appreciate that blessing.
8. Screen time – My kid has been watching television since before his vision even came in. We spent my entire maternity leave watching daytime TV and going to Hobby Lobby. He’s been obsessed with the Paw Patrol from the time he turned six months. Around 12 months, he was introduced to the oh so lovely iPad. It’s been a wrap ever since! Am I concerned? Absolutely not. We try to expose him to shows where he is at least learning, and he loves listening and “singing” songs. I wish a mother would even give me the death stare out in these streets. Keep it cute and on mute mamma!
9. Meltdowns – The ultimate MOM SHAME! Guilty as charged. Pre-motherhood, I would be that person in the grocery store like “she needs to get some control over her kid.” I now regret it with every bone in my body. No matter how much control you have, your baby is going to do what he/she wants, at any given time, and there’s nothing you can do about it. All us mamma’s need for you to do is flash us an empathetic smile, or just look the other way. But please, don’t stare. We’re already losing our shit deep down inside!
10. Milestones – Last and certainly not least, we have milestones. There is no magic number for when all babies get teeth, start sleeping through the night, begin crawling or walking. They will do everything at their own time. My son is approaching 15 months, and he’s JUST beginning to take steps on his own. He also had eight teeth before his first birthday. Every child is different. Us mamma’s don’t need unnecessary input on our child’s milestones. If my doctor isn’t concerned and I’m not concerned, there’s no need for anyone else to be concerned. What’s the rush anyway? They grow up so fast, and I just want to cherish all of the things that make my son a baby, for as long as I can. One day he’s going to be running away from me and not wanting to cuddle, and I’m going to absolutely miss it!