Saying farewell to Ms Judgy Pants: Supporting fellow mums without judgement
What are the worst ways in which mums shame fellow mums? Find out in this article...
Motherhood is associated with emotions such as love, happiness and pride. A mother’s behaviour towards her child is almost always nurturing, protective and supportive.
Unfortunately, these positive maternal feelings and behaviours are not always extended to fellow mums. You only have to scroll through social media parenting groups or overhear conversations among certain groups of mums to realise the extent of this mum-shaming behaviour.
Ironically, much of this behaviour happens in online “support” groups or during mum “support” meetings over coffee and cake.
Whether you’re a first-time mum or a mum of five, you have your good days and bad days. You also have your own philosophies about sleep, feeding, discipline, education and other child-related issues. You are totally entitled to these opinions without having to be judged by others, including other mums.
Unfortunately though, Ms Judgy Pants and her friends don't think so and take pleasure in judging and shaming others at any given opportunity.
With this in mind, here are five areas related to parenting that you’ll often find Ms Judgy Pants and co. gossiping about and criticising other mums. You will agree, without a doubt, that this kind of mum-shaming behaviour should stop right now.
"Mummy trolls" are among the worst kind of judgemental mums. Find out why on the next page.
Mummy-trolls can usually be found lurking in the depths of online parenting forums and groups. They take courage from anonymity and great pleasure from ruthlessly attacking and ridiculing the opinions or questions of other mums.
This kind of behaviour is truly disheartening. Parenting groups are meant for support and advice and are where mums should be able to freely express their opinions or ask questions without being harshly judged.
There really shouldn’t be a place in cyber-space for mummy-trolls. So if you are part of an online parenting group and you come across one or more of these trolls, do not hesitate to report them to the group administrator.
Most importantly, if you fall victim to a mummy-troll, do not take her nasty comments to heart. Their harsh words are best left unacknowledged.
Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
Some mums choose to breastfeed their babies and other mums choose to formula-feed them. While the general consensus is that breast is best, if a mum cannot breastfeed her baby for whatever reason (and there are many), then she should not be judged for her decision.
Likewise, if a mum decides to breastfeed her baby for more than a year or two, she should not be judged either. Ultimately, both sets of mums have their kids’ best interests at heart and their decisions should be supported, not criticised.
Most mums try to provide their children with a healthy diet. But let’s face it... on the days you’re confronted with a shrieking two-year-old who has just thrown his plate containing that balanced meal across the room, you give up. And you give him what he wants, even if it’s just plain pasta or fried chicken, just to keep the peace and make sure he eats something.
What’s worse than tackling your child's food tantrums is having to deal with the judgemental voice of “that mum.” “That mum” cooks Michelin star quality meals for her child every night and packs work-of-art Bento boxes for his lunch every day, and of course he eats every morsel. Of course there’s no problem with this at all.
However, it's when she morphs into Ms Judgy Pants and rubs her culinary achievements in your tired-of-dealing-with-a-picky-eater face with glee (whether on social media or in person) that you want to throw a tantrum of your own. She also constantly hints at what a bad mum you are for not making your child eat a “balanced meal”.
Have you ever felt other mums judge your appearance? You'll want to keep reading on the next page...
Mummy fashion and mummy-bellies
Some women’s post-baby kilos seem to dissolve as fast as an ice-cream left in the sun. They are able to fit back in gorgeous size four clothing in no time at all.
It truly is fabulous when a mum can get back into shape just a few months after giving birth. But what’s not so nice is when she puts on her Ms Judgy Pants hat and starts criticising other mums' appearance, either behind their backs or on parenting forums.
It’s bad enough that the media makes it so hard for women to feel good about their post-baby bodies without having other mums jump on this body-shaming bandwagon.
So if you are one of those mums who were lucky enough to get their pre-baby bodies back in a flash, be kind to fellow mums and don’t judge their appearance. Instead, support them in any way you can by complimenting them on how they look or offering to be a work-out buddy.
Working mums vs. stay-at-home mums
If a mum chooses to work full time, she often feels judged by other mums who criticise her for neglecting her kids. If a mum decides to stay at home, she gets slammed, also by other mums, for choosing a "meaningless life". There are really no winners in this war of harsh words and opinions.
But whichever side of the fence you might be on, have you ever stopped to think that perhaps that working mum has no choice but to contribute financially to her family’s expenses? Or that stay-at-home mum wishes she could have a day away from her kids in an office, even for a day?
It is really not okay to judge a mum for her choice of career. Whether you work full-time or look after your kids full-time, both jobs can be equally demanding… and rewarding.
Mums, you’ll agree that it’s getting increasingly difficult to raise our children in this fast-changing and sometime scary world. So let’s give each other support whenever and wherever possible, and stop the judging. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, right?
Have you ever encountered mum-shaming behaviour? Tell us about it in a comment below.