mom shaming: it takes two

This month Nicki was on a panel for Well Rounded where she chatted about mom shaming. The conversation was so poignant, we’re sharing Nicki’s thoughts here.

The honest conversation about mom shaming isn’t about the countless times I’ve been shamed on an airplane, grocery story or family dinner… It’s really about how many times I have shamed someone else.

I’m not a person to confront another mother about her parenting. I won’t make a comment, or send a “message,” and I will certainly not take to social media. What I will do is think to myself, “Wow, I’d never do that!”

Such as...

  • Going back to work right after giving birth
  • Taking your small toddler to a concert late at night
  • Having a babysitter night after night
  • Letting your child drink soda
  • Not reprimanding your kid in public when it clearly looks like a good idea to do so (ha!)
  • And on and on...

You will never ever know that I am thinking these things, but I am. Because for a slight moment, I think I know what is best. I think I am a good mom and no matter what, my kid isn’t going to [fill in the blank].  

Here’s the problem: People are judgemental. That didn’t start when we became mothers. It’s how we’re wired. Here’s the good news though: We can do something about it. Like right now!

The change doesn’t start with how you react to being shamed. It starts with how you view others.

The times I find myself judging another mother, I remind myself that I too, have had those moments in a grocery store, airplane or even on a playdate when my kid and I are having an “off” moment. Maybe it’s my parenting style, I don’t know! I would love, however, at these moments, for any mother that is around me to not judge and maybe even help me.

Mr. Fred Rogers once said that when in crisis, look for the helpers. It was advice his mother gave to him. I feel like motherhood is certainly a great big test to all women. So, when you see someone that could use help but won’t ask, just offer it. Help. Jump in if it makes sense. Or at least just throw her a comforting smile.

It also happens when we judge ourselves. I look at someone else who appears to me to have it all figured out. Instagram is a serial trigger. Given enough time and energy in my feed, I start to feel like I am not what I thought I was.

Shaming goes both ways. So, maybe offer a little generosity to yourself too.

I think the only antidote to this whole thing is to be a helper and look at that person as if they were you. What would you appreciate? Maybe some generosity? Maybe empathy. Maybe some help.

Ultimately women need support, any way they can get it.


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