Its hard being a mom. But in today’s society it’s even harder with all the judgement and opinions that people have. It’s almost impossible to do something right.
You formula feed? Oh my god! Why would you do that? How dare you breastfeed in public? This is unacceptable. What, you stay home? How convenient you just get to sit at home and watch your baby while your husband works. Your baby is in daycare? Why would you leave you baby and go to work? Why did you even have a baby then?
You just can’t do it right. Moms are scrutinized for all their parenting decisions: Moms who co-sleep, moms who sleep train. Moms who vaccinate and those who don’t. Moms who home school and moms who have kids in public school. Moms who rock their babies and moms who wear their babies.
It seems like nowadays moms are judged for eavery decision they make. Starting with pregnancy, women are told that they eat too much/too little, they excercise too much/ not enough, they drink too much coffee, have too much fish, don’t eat enough vegetables, or eat too much ice cream. Our choices are our choices. But for some reason, people think they need to have an opinion and need to share that opinion with us.
Whether it is you choosing to get an epidural or go natural, there will be plenty of people who will criticize your decision.
One of the biggest challenges women face are related to feeding their babies. Moms who aren’t breastfeeding are shamed for using formula. People just assume that the mom chose to formula feed instead of breastfeeding, which is often not the case. Doctors, media and society in general supports breastfeeding as “breast is best”. How about all the moms who are not able to breastfeed? On top of having a medical reason not being able to breastfeed, they have to feel the shame and guilt of not feeding their baby “the best” although they would like to. Other moms choose not to breastfeed because it just isn’t for them. And that is ok. It is their choice to make. Often times however, pumping and feeding your baby are much harder and really time consuming. It is not easier. Just like formula feeding is not faster and easier. It takes much more time to prepare all the items needed, fill the bottles, feed the baby, wash the parts and the bottles and repeat. Breastfeeding on the other hand takes half the time. People tend to jump to the worst conclusions but there is usually an important reason for the choice that moms make.
Now moms that do choose to breastfeed and are successful are shamed and judged for doing that in public. They are asked to feed their baby in bathrooms. Would you like to have your sushi or steak on the toilet? I wouldn’t. Since when is providing your child with nutrition unacceptable? It’s sad that a “normalize breastfeeding” movement even exists considering that breastfeeding is one of the most basic, natural and biological ways to nourish your child whether it is at home or in public. And even though the breastfeeding journey can be painful and challenging, it’s a miracle to be able to feed your baby whether it is through pumping/bottle-feeding or breastfeeding. There is nothing inapprorpriate about a baby nursing. It is not unreasonable to feed your baby at the park or restaurant. Of course there are nursing covers that moms can use but what if you forgot it? Now you need to go to the bathroom? No, there shouldn’t be a reason not to feed your baby discretely next to everyone else.
Us mamas are already sleep deprived, stressed, scared, worried, overworked, overwhelmed, hormonal, healing and the last thing we need is to be judged. Passive aggressive comments, unsolicited advise, and name calling has become part of motherhood. It’s sad that in today’s society, instead of being lifted up and praised for the good work we are doing, we are usually offered suggestions on how to be better or tips on what we should do instead.
You are enough and you don’t need anyone to tell you that. Even though it’s totally normal to get stuck in the comparison trap, you can do better. Just take a moment each day to take a break, pat yourself on the shoulder and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and that you are GOOD ENOUGH.
As a society, we need to think about this and realize that we are all in this together. We are all doing our best and raising children who will be working together, become friends, have relations and have kids of their own some day. We need to strive to be better about setting appropriate standards and truly supporting each other and respecting each other’s decisions. Motherhood is not a competition and there is no “one way”. As long as the child is safe, every mom is doing the best she can. She does what she believes is best for her and her family. We need to accept that. Being a mom is a very difficult job and we don’t need to make it even harder. So next time you see a mama, tell her what a good job she is doing!
Have you had any experience with people judging your parenting choices? Do you have any tips on how to deal with it? Share and comment below.