Mom shaming. Thanks to social media, we see it everywhere! Women criticizing and tearing down other moms for any topic, big or small, important or trivial. Mean, hurtful, accusing words that wound deeply, spoken behind the curtain of Facebook or texts, where bullies become bolder without face to face interaction. It’s time to stop the Mom Shaming, and take a good hard look in the mirror!
So why do women do it? Why this “kick her when she’s down” mentality? The answer is fairly simple, and not all that glamorous. Mom shaming typically happens because women believe one of these huge lies.
“If I can point my finger at someone doing worse than me, than I must not be so bad.”
The number one reason women shame other moms is to make themselves feel better about their own pathetic attempts at parenting. It’s human nature to play the comparison game. If we can find someone who we think is doing a worse job in some way than we are, then we suddenly feel better about ourselves.
Because deep, deep down, we all (well, almost all) know that on our own strength we are inadequate as parents. We are humans who fail and make mistakes. But rather than doing the tough, difficult work of self examination, of learning and striving to do better, mom shamers take the low road and drag others through the mud instead.
Suppose you get a speeding ticket for driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, and go to court with this defense: “Other people drive 70 through that spot, 50 isn’t so bad!” Will a judge say, “You’re right! You are doing way better than some people! Case dismissed!” Nope. The speed limit is 30, and you broke the law. Guilty.
Someday we will all stand before God and be judged. And I’ve got news for Mom Shamers, God will not judge them based on how much better they parented than anyone else. He will judge each one based on His standard, not ours. And by the way, that’s why we all know, on a subconscious level at least, that we are inadequate. God is the only father, the only parent, who parents His children perfectly. Thankfully, by His grace and in His strength, he equips us to love and raise our children anyway!
“I am smarter than that loser, because I just am.”
Another reason why Mom Shaming happens is prideful self-righteousness. Some people really do believe they have it all together. They believe they are smarter than everyone else, and know better than everyone else for no apparent reason. Have you ever noticed, the loudest parenting “experts” have no children at all? Ignorance really is bliss. Sadly, these people are even more deluded than the ones playing the comparison game.
Nobody knows it all. In fact, the longer you live, the more you realize how little you really know. The more you learn, the more you understand how much there still is to learn! But…
“A fool is right in his own eyes…”Proverbs 12:15
No matter how smart anyone believes herself to be, she cannot know everything about another mom’s story. Ladies, you just don’t know! You don’t know what another mom has been through in her life. You can’t know what hidden struggles she is facing, or what she is going through in private. Be kind, be compassionate, because you just don’t know! Everyone carries hurts, and many moms suffer in silence.
“If you are doing something differently than me, one of us has to be wrong!”
I’m going to be totally honest here. Even though I never participated in any mom shaming, in the early years of my parenting I struggled with this lie. I lived my life based on my deep convictions about parenting. Convictions that I believed, and still believe, were given to me by God. And then I sat in church, and looked to my right and to my left. There were mothers on either side of me who did not share my convictions. Moms reading the same Bible, worshiping in the same sanctuary, and very often looking down their noses at my differences. (I’m a pretty square peg, with my 17 kids, and my homeschooling…)
It burned. And I couldn’t help but ask myself, “If we don’t share the same convictions, doesn’t one of us have to be wrong?”
There are absolutes, there is right and wrong. Some things are not relative. On issues of moral right and wrong, we can not waver. And when standing for truth, we must do so in love and with pure motives.
But, we are all given different gifts, and called to different purposes. And some things are in the grey area. When it comes to controversial matters, we all need to mind our own business. I have to keep my eyes on the goal, and remain undistracted by the varying opinions of others. I have to do what God has called me to do.
None of us is Jiminy Cricket or the Holy Spirit. We are not called to hand out convictions for God. He can handle it all by Himself.
“I would never make that mistake!”
Mistakes happen. To everyone! Sometimes people get lucky and dodge a bullet. People get away with stuff. And sometimes they don’t. Sometimes parents make mistakes that have truly awful consequences for their children. Deadly consequences, even.
Every year, there are tragic stories on the news. Sometimes tragedies happen because parents lost their focus for a moment, and sometimes simply because parents can’t control the rest of the world and the forces of nature. It’s horrible. It’s gut wrenching. And it could happen to you too. A mom can be playing her “A” game for 18 years, but it only takes one moment for something devastating to happen.
And it terrifies us. So we find someone to blame. If we can find someone who is at fault, it gives us an illusion of control. And that gives us the illusion that we can somehow keep tragedy at bay.
We are busy, we are distracted, we are tired, and we are human. Be honest with yourself, haven’t you ever made a mistake in your parenting? A mistake that could have turned out really bad, but by God’s grace you got lucky? I know I have. And when I am brave enough to talk about it, I find that any mother I have ever spoken with has too. Because sooner or later, it happens to everyone. Sadly, we are too terrified to talk about it. Why? Mom shaming, that’s why.
“Pride goes before destruction.”Proverbs 16:18
The Fact of the Matter
Let me be clear, I am not excusing poor parenting. I’m not. I don’t believe “every mom is a good mom.” I don’t excuse selfishness, or carelessness, or neglect, or willful acts of evil. Your children and mine need the very best we can give!
But It’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror at our own issues and our own struggles. It’s time we do the work of parenting, instead of pretending like kids are pets. We need to wake up and pay attention! And we need to support one another in this difficult, worthwhile, desperately important calling of motherhood!
Do you see a mom struggling? Get off your high horse and reach out! Use your energy to encourage, not tear down. I do not believe for one minute, that anyone has ever become a better mom by way of hatefulness from someone claiming to be superior!
And let’s not forget something very important:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way that you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.Matthew 7 :1&2
And one more:
How can you say, “Let me take that speck of sawdust out of your eye, when all the time there is a log in your own eye?”Matthew 7:4
If you have ever been on the receiving end of Mom Shaming, my heart goes out to you! Let me encourage you with this thought: God sees you and He knows. He knows how hard you are trying and He knows how hard this job is. And even when you fail, there is no mistake beyond His grace.
Other articles to nourish your Mom Heart:
- The Powerful Truth About Mom Guilt.
- Never Believe You are “Just a Mom”
- 8 Steps to Self Care for Overwhelmed Moms
Yes, you and I are going to make plenty of mistakes. I watch lots of basketball games, thanks to my ball-loving kids. During a basketball game, there are fumbled passes, missed shots, fouls, etc. But those mistakes along the way do not guarantee defeat, as long as the players don’t give up!
You can do this, mama! You were made for this!
Talk to me in the comments below! And subscribe to my weekly newsletter here!