Mom-shaming is the latest trend in many female-oriented circles today, and it usually originates from other women. In fact, thanks to social media, many women feel freer than ever to speak their minds about women they've never even met. Why is that? The anonymity of the Internet is a major factor. You can write anything you want and there are virtually no repercussions.
According to the Huffington Post, the top mom-shaming trends are focused on: breastfeeding, social media usage, working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, and food choices for kids. There was even a recent mom-shaming incident that centered on a mother whom others felt purchased too many gifts for her children at Christmas. Fitness is another major mom-shaming topic—too fit or too fat? Everyone has an opinion.
Mom-Shaming: Where Does It Come From?
Some believe that mom-shaming comes from other mothers who are trying to validate their own way of doing things by tearing another woman down. The most basic reasons are that shamers are people who are bored, angry, jealous, insecure, or dying for attention. Social media and smartphones make it much easier too, as people snap photos of moms doing everyday things and then post it to social media with a criticism.
"Taking and posting photos of women during times when they are mothering in order to shame them publicly is cowardly and quite telling of the person who takes the photo and those who choose to post comments online about the mother and her child," reported Parenting Magazine.
The Effects of Mom-Shaming
Many women are used to receivingunsolicited opinions from family members and friends. For most, the opinions start pouring in when they're pregnant. While these views are often unwelcomed, there is nothing like being attacked on a more personal level, especially by people whom you don’t know—it can be painful. Ever heard of mom guilt? It's real, and most mothers struggle with it. Add that to mom-shaming, and it takes a toll emotionally on women who are working to raise a family the best they know how.
"The stakes for parents these days are higher than ever," according to WebMD. "We live in an age of high expectations that everything is a Kodak, or nowadays a Facebook, moment... It’s very easy for mothers of newborns out of love and concern to feel traumatized quickly over all sorts of things.”
Bouncing Back from Mom-Shaming
Not every mother who has been shamed takes it to heart. Have you heard of "Fit Mom?" Fitness buff Maria Kang was shamed heavily for her post-pregnancy, super fit body after she posted a picture of herself on social media. Although she stated her intent was to encourage others, she was accused of fat shaming other new moms. Kang shook off the criticism, telling ABC News, "Anyone who does feel shame is probably feeling negative about themselves already."
No, you may never be able to avoid shaming in one form or another; however, if you're already feeling negative about yourself, it may make things much worse for you—emotionally. If that is the case, focus on the positive aspects of yourself, and praise yourself for the things you do well. Place yourself in close proximity to people who like you and speak highly of you, rather than those who seek to bring you down. Some days you just need the kids to be in front of the television while the house is trashed so you can take a shower—and that's okay! Remember: your personal best is all you need to be responsible for.