All parents have dealt with shaming or judgement at one time or another. I know I have been shamed many of times. People love to shame parents for the way they parent or the things they do with their kids. When I was younger, and less experienced, I worried about this all the time. The “oh gosh, don’t post that picture on social media because someone will talk about us” moment. Now, I am more seasoned, and I have learned to ignore a lot of it because that is, technically, what you should do. That is also a lot easier said than done though. Trust me, I know.
Here are a few things to think about as you deal with parent shaming. Above all, remember that we are all in this together and try NOT to do it to other parents.
Listen and Don’t Respond
When you are in one of these moments, it can be very difficult to not respond. Instead of firing back, listen to what the other person saying, without interruption. Whether it is with a gesture, facial expression, or actual words. Once they are done, don’t respond. Give them nothing. You do not want to allow what has just happened to drag on and you want to have time to process it. Doing nothing, in the moment, is basically telling the other person; I do not care to hear what you have to say. People who shame you sometimes do it to get a rise out of you or see how you will react.
Make sure you allow yourself to feel and process it later. You do need to allow yourself that time. Take the time to understand how it made you feel and why it made you feel that way. If you know the person, maybe you decide to address it later with them.
Reduce the Toxic
You have to remove the toxic judgmental people from your life. Now, I get that it may be your family and that may not be possible. But sometimes it is. For example, I am in various Mommy groups online. One of the groups was not supportive and always had Moms that would judge everything or make negative comments about things people did. It was usually prefaced with I just thought you would like to know, or I am just trying to help out. I finally decided to remove myself from that group because it no longer served its purpose. It was not supportive or positive.
So, don’t feel bad about it and don’t allow the negativity in your mental space. These people are not in your home, they do not know how you function, and they do not know what is best for your family. There is a big difference between giving a tip or suggestion to help and shaming someone for what they are doing or what they need help with.
Find Your People
Find the people that make you happy, are supportive, and truly mean well. It gets tough to find support when you have kids, especially younger kids. Sometimes you and your friends’ parent different and it becomes toxic, or you and your friends are just not in the same place (and that is okay). You need support as a parent and especially new parents. There are tons of great parenting groups online, local places to visit, and play groups where you can find people who you relate to. Spark up conversations at the playground or do a little online searching. Basically, put in the effort to find people who you relate to, won’t shame you, and boost your confidence as a parent.
Understand It’s Not You, It’s Them
You have to remind yourself the root of judgement is not you. People who are judging or shaming your parenting typically have issues within themselves. Usually, they are judging you because they are not confident in their own choices as a parent, or they are jealous of you. Sometimes they are deflecting internal anger or just plain bored. Know that, usually, it really has nothing to do with you or the choices you are making.
Have the Discussion
If you are being shamed by someone who you cannot remove from your life (like family), have an open discussion with them. Some people may not even realize what they are doing. They don’t recognize their “giving advice” is judgmental or that they even rolled their eyes at your story. You have to be willing to sit down and tell them how their actions made you feel. Be honest and let them know it bothers you.
Lastly, be confident in yourself as a parent. You’ve got this! You know your child better than anyone and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Will there be fails along the way, mistakes made, and super hard days, YES. We all have them, and no parent is perfect.
If you are concerned with being a better parent, be sure to read my post on how you can be a better parent. It tells you the one thing you can do TODAY to improve your parenting.
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many