“Why are you doing that?” “Only one kid, huh?” “Why is your kid like that?” You’ve probably heard some of these lines before, mostly from fellow moms. These unsolicited comments give nothing but a feeling that what you’re doing is never enough. You may feel the urge to snap right back at them; but mom, you can take the high road!
Here’s how to handle mom-shaming with class. First of all, “mom-shaming” is the practice of making women feel bad about the decisions they make for their children. Whether these are decisions about the name of the child, breastfeeding, the formula you feed your child, going back to work or staying at home, or your weight and the way you look after pregnancy…the list goes on.
So, why the mom shaming? Ask yourself if you’ve ever shamed or judged that person in some way. Are they getting back at you, just being critical, or is this a power play? Or are they simply coming from a place of love?
If some random person decides to critique your parenting, you have a couple of options for dealing with it:
- First, remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation or response. Simply walking away is acceptable, says Charlotte Hilton Andersen in the article “5 Types of Mom-Shaming—and How to Shut Them Down“.
- Second, if you have the energy, sometimes the best thing to do is to listen their advice. Even if you disagree with everything she says, she’ll feel heard, which is what most people seek. You may even learn a new thing or two. You can always choose to ignore advice that doesn’t feel quite right for you.
- Third, if you wish to speak your mind, do so. Just use the “I-message formula for speaking well without judgment or shaming”. Feel free to tell her how it makes you feel, using “I” statements and avoiding accusing or berating her back. Simply change or end the conversation. Lines like, “I feel hurt when you said…” or “I am not ready to talk about this right now.” And set a good example by making it a point to never judge or shame other moms either.
- Fourth, we may lose our cool, but try to give them the benefit of the doubt and recognize that they are likely coming from a place of love. We do not have to accept what they say. Those are their thoughts, not yours. So listen to yourself and believe in yourself! Be kind to yourself, too. If you make a mistake, then accept the mistake. Or we may just do things differently, and that is okay as well.
- Fifth, what are you to do if you’re being attacked online? Social media may feel like the hardest situation to escape, but in reality it is the simplest to deal with. Just shut it off. Unplug it! Walk away from the computer or delete the app and focus on something else like your baby or spouse. Explore the world out there. Meet up with friends who share your values.
I’m sure there are times when you feel grateful for the unsolicited advice from other people. But if you feel that they are overstepping your boundaries, then let them know in a firm and gentle way. Walk away and call a dear friend who shares your views. Learn more about parenting from the experts. Attend seminars or read up books on the topic (one example is Helping our Children do Well in School by Queena Lee Chua and Maribel Dionisio) and even form a group of moms who share the same values.
We need support and understanding in this critical task of raising our children. The joy of parenting is for you!
About The Writer
Maribel Sison Dionisio, MA, Family, Relationship & Marriage Expert
Maribel, a Relationship and Parenting Consultant for over 25 years has co-authored books, like “Helping our Children do Well in School, Growing up Wired” and “I’ve been Dating…now what?”. She was a contributor and the Parenting Expert of Wyeth’s Nurture Network from 2010 to 2018. Maribel is a regular Parenting Expert for various TV and radio programs, like Radyo Singko’s Relasyon and ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda. Maribel served as a Judge for the Jollibee Family Values Award.
In 2008, she set-up AMD Love Consultants for Families and Couples. She worked at the Center for Family Ministries and trained as an Imago Therapist of the Imago Relationships International, New York. Maribel and husband, Allan, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course, Ateneo de Manila. They prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend and are columnists for the Feast Magazine. They have co-authored two relationship books, Thinking of Marriage and Teen Crush. Allan and Maribel, happily married for 36 years, have 3 children, Rafael, David, and Angelica.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.
A Victim of Mom Shaming? How to Handle It With Class by Lei Dimarucut-Sison, Source: https://www.smartparenting.com.ph/parenting/real-parenting/how-to-handle-mom-shaming-with-class-a00061-20190524
5 Types of Mom-Shaming—and How to Shut Them Down by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Source: https://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/mom-shaming