“Good for her. Not for me!”: Some Thoughts on Parent Shame

 To kick this thing off – please read THIS article. I found it the other day and laughed. And then felt kinda guilty. And then felt kind of sad, because the article made me feel a little guilty.

So, we’re all aware of that thing known as “parent shaming”, yes? The above article does a great job at explaining how absolutely absurd it is. (The article also speaks specifically to technology acting as a “babysitter” of sorts for children.)

As parents, I’d like to believe that we all support each other and allow ourselves space to do our own thing without judgement from others. But, yeah that’s not how it is the majority of the time. I think we all can agree that we want what is best for our children and are trying like hell to do right by them. I’d like to think we all behave like this:

HUNGER-GAMES-MEME

(Saw this online and laughed. It’s so true. We’ve all been there! A tantrum in Target doesn’t annoy me one bit! Good luck!)

It’s probably a bit more like this though:

“Oh, you didn’t breastfeed until at least one year??? Breast is best, you know. Don’t you want to your baby to have the best? Don’t be selfish.”

kermit-meme

“You vaccinate?! Vaccines can cause autism!” 

kermit-meme

“You allow your child to watch TV/play the iPad/play with the iPhone?! You’ll melt their brains and stunt them permanently!”

kermit-meme

or, literally anything & everything else under the sun that someone else doesn’t agree with, or does differently.

Frankly, when we see another mother/father doing the exact opposite of what we believe to be the “right” thing – we lose our dang minds. “What do you mean, you do/don’t do ________?!?!” 

I have had people tell me I should only stay home with my daughter – “Why go back to work?! She needs you at home! You shouldn’t need any more fulfillment other than being a mother!”; On the flip side – I have had others tell me, “Oh, well my child has been in daycare all day since they were little while I worked full-time and he/she loves it! They don’t need you as much as you think! It’s good for them! What do you mean, you want to stay home while she is little?! Don’t you want more from life? You know the longer you wait to go back to work – the harder it will be to find a job later on!”

Um. Okay? Thanks? LOL.

In the above article I linked, the author has an encounter with another mother who claims to never get on her phone while with her child. I mean, great for you! But while my child is having fun playing at the park with her friends – why can’t I play some Ticket To Ride on my phone? I honestly don’t think S cares either way. I’m not ignoring her – but I also don’t feel it’s healthy to be constantly breathing down her back 24/7. My child and I are both people – sometimes she’s just got to have freedom to run and play & sometimes I just need freedom to surf Pinterest! Is that really so wrong?

The thing about parent shaming is – it leads to parent guilt.

Ooohhh that mom guilt. Should I, or shouldn’t I do this/that etc, etc, etc, etc, etc!

We have sooooo many ideas/opinions/thoughts from outside sources pouring into our brains at all times when it comes to parenting – it’s insane. Social media is a whole other beast – seeing everything that all other “perfect” parents are posting. “Should I be doing all of those things, too?? Am I a bad mom because I didn’t take my child to 3 different pumpkin patches this fall & also sight seeing in Spain this summer?!” Social media makes it so easy to believe that we aren’t doing enough or that we just aren’t as good as others. But it’s simply not true! You think anyone is posting real life at 6am when the kiddo is up – throwing a tantrum – because she wanted to wear the purple shirt instead of the pink one you picked out?! Nope! Just those dang pumpkin patch pictures.

 Why are we continually comparing ourselves to other parents and feeling guilt or shame because our choices differ? I have had serious anxiety over choices I have to make for my child. And truthfully, a lot of the reasons why I feel so much anxiety about these choices is because of outside influences. What other people say is best. What’s right for you, isn’t always what’s right for me.

Educate yourself – know what is right for you & your family. Make your own decisions – and stand by them.

On the opposite spectrum: It’s so easy to judge, too. I try not to judge other parents on their decisions but hey, guilty! We all do it! Full disclosure: I’m pro-vaccine all the way. My daughter nursed and drank formula. She will go to Public school probably. (The horror!) She eats candy. Plays on the iPad. And watches TV.

But she is loved & cherished & taken care of & healthy & happy. 

Do I allow her to gorge on candy & watch Sofia the First on repeat while simultaneously playing the iPad all day? OF COURSE NOT. Everything in moderation, folks.

We are all working towards the same thing – to make sure our kids become good people. Well-adjusted, happy, successful adults.

To quote the lovely Amy Poehler, “Good for her. Not for me.”

Keep repeating that. It applies everywhere! 

“Good for her. Not for me.”

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(I am taking S to the pumpkin patch this weekend though. 😉 )

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