Just 23 Parenting Choices I've Been Mum-Shamed For In The Past Decade
Being a mother is the toughest gig out there.
Not only do you have a never-ending list of tasks to get done that aren’t even for yourself anymore, you also spend countless hours worrying about it.
If you're a mum, you'll know we rarely ever get a break; not physically and certainly not mentally.
But to add to what is already a stressful enough job, we now have the rampant condition of mum shaming. It is a very real problem that seems to be unfairly sweeping the world by storm.
Anything and everything that a person can be shamed for, mothers seem to be accused of.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that mums can’t get anything right. Not because they are actually wrong but because most people seem to skew judgmental.
And to articulate my point, here is a list of just some of the things I have been mum shamed for since becoming a mum myself seven years ago:
1. Having a baby bump that was 'too big'
I was mum shamed before I even had my first baby.
“Are you sure you’re not carrying twins? You are too big for just one baby.” -- an ex-work colleague
“You definitely must be eating for two!” -- another ex work colleague
2. Going private for my pregnancies
“Why do you need to pay thousands for an obstetrician in a private hospital.
"You get the same in the public system, plus the midwifes do all the work anyway. It’s a waste of money.” -- a friend
3. Having an induction
“Oh, you are having an induction? You should just wait for when the baby is ready.” -- a family friend in her 70s
4. Then an epidural
“I didn’t need an epidural. I didn’t have pain relief at all for any of my labours, I must have a higher pain threshold.” -- a relative
5. Giving birth via c-section
“Try pushing a baby out of our vagina and then you will know pain!” -- the same relative as #4
6. Having trouble while breastfeeding
“Oh, you mustn’t have much milk or maybe you’re not letting her feed for long enough.” -- a maternal health care nurse
7. Switching to formula feeding
“I exclusively breastfed for the first year, I just don’t like all the additives in formula, it doesn’t seem natural. But do what’s best for you.” -- a friend
8. Choosing to co-sleep
“Oh no, you shouldn’t do that, it’s against SIDS. You might kill your baby like that woman on the news.” -- an older relative
9. Having trouble getting my baby to sleep through the night
“Maybe you’re not following a good sleep routine. All my babies slept for seven hours straight, I am not sure what’s wrong with yours.” -- a friend
10. Using sleep school training to help
“I don’t believe in the cry it out method, it just traumatises your baby for life and they will always think you will leave them.” -- the same friend as #9
11. Taking my baby outside
“You can’t have your baby out in this cold, you will get her sick.” -- a relative
12. Getting pregnant while breastfeeding
“How is that even possible? Aren’t you breastfeeding? You mustn’t be breastfeeding much if you got pregnant at the same time.” -- a friend
13. Having two children a year and a half apart
“Wow, you’re game having two kids so close together! An accident I bet!” -- a stranger at the supermarket
14. Throwing a big first birthday party
“Wow, you must have spent so much! You’ve made such a big deal of something they won’t even remember.” -- a parent of a child guest
15. Giving my one year old a chip
“Babies shouldn’t be eating junk food.” -- a fellow patron
16. Using a baby monitor
“Baby monitors are so unnecessary. They just create needy babies.” -- a friend
17. Taking the baby monitor away
“Aren’t you scared you won’t hear them and something might happen? I couldn’t do that.” -- a friend
18. Having cats with my babies
“Oh, you will have to get rid of your cats. They might scratch them or smother them if they get into their cots.” - the same nurse as #6
19. Going back to work
“You are a modern woman, putting your career first.” -- a colleague
20. Taking my kids to day care
“I just can’t do it to my kids, all those germs. Plus, I can’t bear to be away from them, I’d miss them too much.” -- an acquaintance
21. Not having my kids toilet trained by the age of three
“Three and still in nappies! Billy* was in nappies by the time he was two!” -- a friend
22. Having my car seats kept in for as long as possible
“Aren’t they too old for baby seats?” -- a relative
23. Taking my kids out of school/kinder for a holiday
“That is irresponsible parenting. How will they know the value of learning if they get to have a week off to go overseas?” -- a school parent
With two young girls who are resilient, caring, intelligent, healthy and with strong personalities, I know that despite the criticisms, I must be doing something right.
The irony about the challenging world of parenting is that often the toughest critics are ourselves. So we really don’t need the constant noise of the other opinions infiltrating our brains, we are worrying enough as it is.
To all the other mothers (and fathers) out there, this is my message: you are doing a wonderful job even if someone doesn’t agree with all or any of your choices.
I say, let's make mum shaming a thing of the past and leave it behind in 2019.
Featured image: Supplied