Carolyna Padron of CarolynaPadron.com
“In my experience, I have been mom-shamed even when I didn’t know it was happening.
When someone starts to question your choices as a mother—let’s say breastfeeding, for example—there are a few acceptable ways to ask questions before it starts sounding judgmental. When someone begins asking questions like, “so how long are you doing this for?” I politely change the subject.
When updating a fellow mom on my baby’s introduction to solids, she screamed, “finally!”—implying my child wasn’t receiving all her nutrients through my breastmilk alone. This can be extremely stressful to hear as a first-time-mom, especially from a well-seasoned mother.
My mom-mantra has, and will always be: “If they’re eating, sleeping, pooping, peeing, and happy, then there’s not much more you can ask for.” No one knows your child better than you. No matter how much advice you receive from friends and family, or how many baby articles you read, it’s essential to trust that maternal instinct, because it was tailored specifically to your little one(s).”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @carolyynaaa
Follow along with her on TikTok: @carolyynaaa6
Zoe Kelly of It’s Zoe Kelly
“For me, the mom-shaming was very subtle and not as direct as I was expecting it to be. In those early weeks, I remember wanting to ask everyone for advice and reading every article there ever was about certain topics. Everyone had an opinion about everything—whether or not to wait to find out the sex of the baby, posting pictures of the baby, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, etc.
It all became very overwhelming and caused me to have a lot of anxiety. My husband had to step in and remind me to trust my instincts, and that I was doing a great job as a mother. Our baby was happy, healthy, and needed a mama to be the same.
At the end of the day, it’s important to know that most people have the best intentions when giving advice, but the only opinion that matters is your own instinct as a mother.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @itszoekelly
Adrienne Jennings of The Jennings Mama
“Attempting to “mom” to the best of your abilities is not always easy when suddenly it seems that everyone you know has become a parenting expert for YOUR child. People, especially those close to me, have opinions, some stronger than others. When I am venting to those people, they do share their own opinions and I used to take those opinions very personally.
When I started to quiet the anxious voice inside of me telling me to second guess myself and listen to people who didn’t know my child better than me, that’s when I became comfortable trusting myself to make the best decisions for my children. I still sometimes second guess myself but having my husband as a support system to talk through decisions and everything kiddo-related makes a huge difference, as well!
Overall, you realize that YOU know your kids better than anyone and that any decision you make is the right one when you have your child’s best interest in mind.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @thejenningsmama
Inna Petz of Ohh La Femme
“In regard to mom shaming, I can share my experiences on feeding as my baby grows.
Many times, I have had family members or friends that I’ve invited over—or even strangers in public—interrupt me while feeding the baby to make comments like, ‘are you sure you want to give your baby that big piece… aren’t they going to choke?’
I’ve also dealt with comments (from people who don’t know she’s exclusively breastfed!) like, ‘your baby has hiccups… don’t you think you should give her water?’ and, ‘I think your baby is still hungry, she’s crying!’ Comments like these have a negative effect on my thinking, making me second-guess myself.
With my first child, I reacted to the comments from these people by agreeing with them—which ultimately caused me to feel embarrassed. After having my second child, though, I felt more confident in moments like these to respond with something like, ‘she won’t, she’s been eating this way perfectly fine and I’m so proud of her!’ I want to reassure these people that I’m confident in my choices, and proud of her ability to eat ‘bigger’ pieces.
After all, I’m the one who’s with my child all day long, so I know her eating patterns and capabilities. It’s important to keep in mind that people who just come in throughout the day are not able to see and/or understand that. In the past, I would feel very offended by these comments. Now I try to respond gracefully, knowing that every parent’s experience may have been different.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @ohhlafemme
Aleja Briles of A Little Aleja
“When I think of mom shaming, I—like many others, I’m sure—think of straightforward comments or attacks, telling you you’re doing something wrong or straight up saying you’re a bad mom. But, when I really sit and think about it, I believe that the worst type of mom shaming is the kind that sets out to hurt you in a subtle way, and hurts in a way that causes self-doubt and feelings of failure over time.
I recently experienced an instance with someone I considered a friend, as I was late to a meet up we had planned, and was feeling frazzled after my baby had slept in (which was awesome), and I was just doing the best that I could. She ended up not staying to wait for me and when we spoke on the phone, she told me, “when I’m a mom I’ll care about time management.” At first, I just thought, “she has no idea what’s coming for her,” but later, the comment just made me feel sad. Her doubt led me to thinking: what other things did she think that I was “bad at” as a mother, and what other ways could she be judging my mothering?
Of course I was hurt, but afterwards, I realized that I didn’t want to surround myself with that type of negativity, and that I didn’t need those toxic thoughts swirling through my mind. I have a healthy, extremely smiley, and happy little boy, who is active, silly, and lovable. And, above all else, he loves me, he thinks I’m a great mom and knows I’m doing the best I can for him, and as long as he knows that, and I know that, then mom shamers can shame all they want!
To all you moms out there struggling with shame, whether internal or from an outside source, just know this: your baby needs YOU to survive, and your baby searches for YOU when they’re hungry, hurt, tired etc. You are all they need and that makes you the PERFECT mom!”
Farheen Valliani of Farh from Ordinary
“As a first-time mom, I didn’t realize the immense happiness motherhood would bring. However, I also didn’t know what challenges it would bring, either. Motherhood should not feel like a competition on who raises the best child.
I have been a mom for a month now and within these four weeks, have experienced my fair share of mom shaming firsthand. Are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Are you pumping? What foods are you eating? Why are you eating that? Where does he sleep? Why does he wear that? Why aren’t you bathing him daily? Are you going to go back to work? These are just some of the questions I have received over the past few weeks and I’ve been battling between what the right or wrong answer is.
One of the biggest challenges I faced during the first few weeks following Kayden’s birth was related to his weight gain. He had lost a significant amount of weight after delivery due to his birth size and trying to get him back to his birth weight seemed impossible. After the first doctor’s appointment four days after delivery, he was not quite gaining as much as we hoped to get back to his birth weight. Little did I know that sharing the honest and factual truth would open doors for judgement. Just to be clear, the pediatrician did not have any concern about the progress, but simply said I need to monitor it closely and continue doing what I was doing. Even though the majority of responses from my friends and family were positive, I would get the occasional “oh, have you tried doing this? Or this? Maybe put in more effort.” I was constantly feeding him, and he didn’t have any trouble latching on, so I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. Was my milk not sufficient enough? Was not enough coming out? On top of my own thoughts, the constant feedback from my inner/extended circle made me feel like a bad mom. I hadn’t done this before and am experiencing everything for the first time.
Luckily, at his two-week appointment he was back at his birth weight and there were no further concerns, but what I learned was, things will happen differently for everyone. There is no “right” baby, there is no “correct” parenting style, and you have to do what is best for you and your baby and you will figure out the rest along the way. I have an overflow of support and caring people to encourage me instead of bringing me down, and I’m so grateful for that.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @farhfromordinary
“When it comes to mom shaming, I’d love to say it’s never happened, but I don’t know any mother who hasn’t experienced it. One instance that sticks out in my mind is an afternoon when my sister and I brought our baby girls (who, side note, were born only six days apart!) out for lunch with our mother, and a woman at the restaurant asked us how old our babies were. We told her that they were days apart, and then she turned to me and made a comment that I should feed my baby more because her pants were a little big on her.
I remember that moment fondly, and I can recall feeling thankful that I maintained the ability to keep my cool. A little info: My sister and I, although our daughters are just days apart, have two very different children. One was formula-fed (my sisters’ daughter) and one was breastfed (my daughter). One was not crawling or mobile yet (my niece) while my daughter was. Also, the pants my daughter was wearing were actually just a size up from what she should have been wearing at the time, so yes, they would not have fit her anyways. Even without these details, it was difficult to accept the simple fact that comments like these occurred more often than I had realized. I calmly responded, “She’s doing just fine and is perfect in every way. Enjoy your meal.”
I realized in that moment that mom shaming exists everywhere, and that I couldn’t let it get the best of me. I am a great mother. I don’t need the approval of others to know that.
In general, I believe that everyone wants to give advice on “how they did things” and “what worked for them.” I think it’s the motherly instinct to help out. I can’t say that I haven’t questioned how I parent, rather I have now opened my mind to different ideas regarding parenting.
When it comes to sleep training, for example, I think everyone has their own opinion on it. I personally do not practice the “let your child cry themselves to sleep” approach. Now, does that mean I think it’s bad? No. But, is it an approach I use with my child? No. Is what I do better? No!
I get so many opinions on this and why I do things the way that I do, and I’m grateful for each and every opinion. But, has it altered my decision at the end of the day on how I am raising my child? Absolutely not.
When it comes to trusting myself, I think I’m still learning how to be comfortable with myself as a parent, and I’m not sure that’ll ever end. But I try to remind myself every day that no choice I make will be the perfect one, and I won’t always handle certain situations in the best way. The important thing is that I learn from those experiences—whether they end how I want, or they go the other way. I try to remind myself daily that parenting is hard work, and that there is no real way to parent perfectly. I also am thankful for my husband who definitely helps reassure me when I need it most. Yeah, he’s a HUGE help.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @alliewes
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Jasmine Jones of Beautiful Jasmine Marie
“Mom shaming is a negative culture that people don’t like to talk about. Unfortunately, though, it still exists, especially on social media. I can’t seem to understand why it exists, because there is no such thing as a “perfect” mom. Many moms, like myself, have an idea of what it may be like to become a mom, but we don’t truly know until we experience it for ourselves. There is no guide to motherhood, and raising a child is no easy job. So… why do people bash other mothers for doing what they think is best?
The right way to raise your child is your way. Mom shaming is wrong, as others should not have the right to judge your decision making as a mother. Your journey through motherhood will be filled with countless ups and downs, so all you can do is take each moment and use it as a learning experience, because becoming a mother is a learning process. People will come along and try to make you feel bad or lesser for doing what you believe is best for your little one. Remember to take each piece of so-called “advice” with a grain of salt and shrug it off.
People tend to pass judgment onto other mothers because of their own personal guilt as a parent, because they now see the mistakes they made in the past. The best thing you can do is ignore the negativity—which may be easier said than done, but it’s true. Accept each new day as it comes, understanding that you have the most important job given in the world, which is being a mom. You are the best judge for your child, so only you know what’s best.
Allow your heart to guide you and be confident in each decision you make. No one can bully you or make you feel wrong for being your child’s parent. In past experiences, I ignored and even laughed off any mom shaming on social media. Most of the negative comments come from people I’ve never even met before, so I don’t take offense to them.
In my personal life, I can recall experiencing this after I had my first child, Jaxon. I decided to stay with my parents for the first two months because I just knew that they would be the best help to get through the first few weeks of his life. Although I was grateful for the outpour of love and support that I received from my parents, the transition was still difficult. My parents criticized each move that I made while I was caring for my newborn son, so it became an overwhelming experience to say the least. It was nothing what I expected nor thought it would be. But I knew it was out of love because all my parents wanted was the best for their first grandchild, so I didn’t take it personally.
I say this to point out the fact that mom shaming can come from anywhere, including your own family, but the important thing is that you don’t allow it to make you feel like you’re a bad mom. Keep in mind that most judgment by other moms stems from their own guilt as a parent.
When you become a mom, the best thing you can do is love your child unconditionally because that’s what they’ll remember most of all. Now that I’m a mom of four, I’ve grown to become completely comfortable as a mother because I realize that I’m the best judge when it comes to my children. I have been blessed enough to give life to these babies, so I know that I’m the best fit to raise and nurture them. I’m confident that I’m doing the best I can for my children, which makes me a phenomenal mom. Congratulations to any new or expecting moms and welcome to motherhood.
Follow along with her on Instagram: @beautiful_jasminemarie
Follow along with her on YouTube: Jasmine Marie BSN, RN
Brynn and Charlie of The Whitmer Foursome
“My situation was a little complicated because right as I became a new mom, I was also grieving the loss of my late husband, Scott. It was really difficult initially to balance taking care of myself and of my newborn, Oliver. I felt pressured and criticized when I didn’t live up to the expectations of others, or if I ever put myself first.
Sometimes, people don’t realize how grueling it can be to spend all day, every day with four toddlers. The whining and fake crying can be really frustrating and in order to minimize that, my husband Charlie and I—with the help of our nanny and au pair—have to be on the same page with how we react. When people that aren’t with us every day see the kids fake cry or whine, they often pressure us or make us feel guilty when we don’t go to the kids immediately. This pressure makes us feel like we are neglecting the kids or are bad parents. When in reality, we’re just being parents!
Our kids love being outside and (especially with social distancing due to COVID-19) it’s been difficult to get our kids to come inside when that time comes. In order to help with these transitions, we sometimes use limited periods of screen time as a behavior incentive, because it works for us. We know that screen time isn’t for everyone, and sometimes people are surprised that we allow it. Sadly, that surprise usually comes out in some form of passive aggressive, judgmental comments.
For all the mom shaming that we do get, however, we do also get a lot of praise for how we handle our situation and for staying calm and patient with our four little ones. When we go to the park, a lot of other moms will encourage us and let us know how difficult they think our situation is. That really gives us a lot of encouragement. What we have realized is that the more real we are with people about our struggles, the more sympathetic and encouraging they are.
No matter how many children you have—whether it’s one kid or four kids—parenting is difficult, and it’s important for you to relate with other parents about that difficulty. It’s something that, if you allow it to, can bring you closer together with other moms—so that you’re able to help and encourage each other to get through those tough days.
The most encouraging piece of advice that we get from people is when they tell us that they will be thinking of us when their own kids are acting difficult. Everyone can sympathize with a situation that they feel is more difficult than their own, and to know that other people think our situation is challenging, really helps to normalize things for us and helps us reset our expectations. We try to pay this feeling forward as much as we can.
We also just do a lot of trial and error. For example, we tried screen time to help with transitions from outside to inside. We found that it greatly reduced the number of tantrums and meltdowns when it was time to come inside, and our kids even started to sing songs and learn the alphabet from the programs that we chose. These both felt like massive wins and was really encouraging—helping us to trust our parenting intuitions.”
Follow along with them on Instagram: @the_tripwhits_dad
Bethany McQueary of Simply Bethany
“While raising my boys, I’ve definitely experienced different levels of mom shaming from other moms. For both of my sons, I ended up deciding to try breastfeeding at least to start out. I was successful at breastfeeding, but I also supplemented with formula at times.
I could not believe the absurd number of dirty looks and rude comments that I received on how “breast is best!” I’ve always lived and raised my boys by the mantra that “fed is best.” I sure am thankful for our breastfeeding journey but man, it was hard work and it was exhausting. I felt relieved when that stage ended—something that I may have been too afraid to say at first out of fear for what other people would think/say, but today am comfortable enough with myself as a parent to be honest about.”
Follow along with her on Instagram: @simplybethanyxo