Mom shaming is inevitable. However, after many years I finally realized how to respond to mom shaming.
Their opinions and commentaries have no relevance, especially when they are people who are insignificant in our lives.
Mom Shaming in the Sun
Recently, we went on a long-overdue family vacation. It included two 24-hour plus drives from Maine to Florida, inconsistent sleep, and irregular eating.
We were off our daily routines. However, we had a fantastic time.
Even the mom shaming by an uninformed woman could not erase all our fun.
As a family, we know this woman as an occasional acquaintance.
However, her mom shaming was prompted by witnessing a 5-minute event.
It was intentional shaming and criticism of one of my two children. My children are 5 years old and 6 years old.
This person, who is not a parent and not typically around children, said my child was having a “hissy fit.”
How to Respond to Mom Shaming
As a sensitive person, I personally interpret comments like “hissy-fit” regarding my children.
I am a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), and when they don’t act “perfect” or are perceived not to be “perfect,” I can get defensive.
Most of the time, I genuinely believe people make these comments without thinking.
However, being told my child was having a “hissy-fit” got under my skin. Sometimes it is not just the words but the tone in their voice.
Where I Went Wrong
I felt I had to justify their actions in an attempt to educate her somewhat. Trying to remain calm, I followed up with statements like:
- They are overtired.
- We have been traveling a lot.
- Little ones have big emotions they can’t always articulate.
- They are hungry.
My child was not being destructive or physically near the mom shamer. However, this woman felt a need to share an unnecessary comment.
Clearly, I knew my child was having a hard time, and others knew my child was struggling. It was easy to identify those around us who were engaged parents or actively involved with children, and they knew it was a tough time.
Did the mom shamer think her stating the obvious was helpful or was it more important to express her thoughts?
Consciously, I stopped focusing on the mom shaming commentator who offered her unsolicited option.
Last year, that comment, “hissy-fit,” would have resulted in a different response.
But I realized that this person, this mom shaming spokesperson, does not matter.
My energy needed to be on caring for my child and helping them work through their big emotions and behavior. That was more important than defending my child’s actions or justifying their behavior to someone insignificant in our lives.
At best, this “hissy fit” lasted 5 minutes, and the mom shamer probably spent more time talking about it and complaining than the actual event. (Now, who is having the “hissy-fit?” )
The most important realization was the opportunity for a teaching moment. Her mom shaming was unwarranted and her words untrue.
We tell our children to ignore unkind and untrue words from others. I needed to set an example.
How can I expect my children to handle their feelings more constructively if I react negatively?
Yes, I could have backlashed aggressively with more details and scientific information, but I knew it would be wasted energy. My words were never going to matter.
If she weren’t judging my child or me, it would have been someone or something else.
None of us are perfect, and I have openly and unfairly judged others.
Read Imperfect Mom and how I finally realized that I will never be perfect.
My reasoning, more than likely, stems from habit, self-insecurities, and possibly unhappiness.
My point is that people at some moment are going to mom shame, and that is never going to end.
However, how we handle mom shaming can change.
Responding to Mom Shaming
We can only control our responses and hopefully teach our children by example how to handle our own “big emotions” in the best possible way.
So ignore those mom shamers! It is challenging and frustrating, but it is possible.
Please don’t give them the power to control you, your emotions, or your experiences. They don’t understand and probably have no intention of trying to understand.
It is not our responsibility to educate everyone, especially those who have no intention of making any changes.
If their joy comes from criticizing others, then that is their issue. It is not our responsibility to take on.
Spend your time and energy on positivity. In the end, that is what is going to make you and your children have the best possible experiences.
The mom shamers will continue with their judgments, and you will control your responses to dignity and grace.