Hey y’all! It’s Jess. I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather (depending on where you live)! With colder weather comes more time indoors and inevitably, on the internet.
Let’s talk about something that runs rampant on the internet (and in many mom groups)– mom shaming.
What is mom shaming?
Mom shaming is the awful practice of judging another parent for their parenting decisions. Many of us have been guilty of this at some point.
Many times we don’t even realize we are judging another mom or dad until after it’s happened, if at all.
While shaming can be towards both mother and father, it is called mom shaming because the unfortunate truth is that most often it is one mom judging another.
Before I begin, let me be very clear- Lil Helper respects your parenting decisions. We are not here to judge. This post is simply to bring awareness to something that takes place daily and hurts many parents.
Cloth diapering shaming (I know, I know how is this even a thing?)
Let’s bring it to something we can all relate to- cloth diapering.
How many of you have ever heard a seemingly innocuous comment such as “but isn’t that too big for them?” “how can they even sit with that huge butt?” or “but disposables are so easy!” or my personal favorite “but how can you touch poop??”
To those shamers we say, this is a personal choice. Nobody is making them touch your babe’s poop so it is none of their business.
The same goes for pretty much every other parenting decision we make.
Being a parent is hard work day in and day out. It is the most difficult job many of us have ever had. We really don’t need people judging us every step of the way on how we choose to parent our children.
BUT also, disposable shaming
I love my Lil Helpers (https://www.lilhelperdiapers.com/).
I love the community (https://www.facebook.com/LilHelper.ca/). I love the company.
I love the actual diapers BUT that doesn’t mean that someone who is using disposables needs to be made to feel like their decision is wrong.
Many times, we can come off this way when trying to help. I am guilty of this.
When we say “I could never use disposables” or something else of that sort, we are choosing to shame a parent for their decision.
Is cloth diapering better for the environment? Yes. Is it fun? Also, yes.
However, we do not know this mother’s story. Perhaps, she is working two jobs and barely has time to feed everyone let alone cloth diaper. Perhaps, she just does not want to deal with it. Either way, it is ultimately her choice.
How can I talk about cloth diapers without shaming?
I know all you cloth diaper lovers are thinking “BUT HOW CAN I SHARE MY LOVE FOR CLOTH DIAPERS AND HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT JESS??”
Simple, you still can.
You can talk about how much you love it. You can talk about how great it is for the environment. You can talk about how you choose to cloth diaper because it’s estimated 20 billion disposable diapers are added to landfills throughout the country each year and it’s just one way you feel you personally can help with waste. (Read more..)
You can say that studies indicate disposable diapers in landfills take up to 500 years to degrade, creating methane and other toxic gases in the process.
BUT do not try to make people do what you do as a parent simply because that’s how you choose to parent.
Honestly, you can even talk about all the cute prints without implying that that mother has committed some sort of cardinal sin by using disposables.
It is a process. We are all learning how to parent and while we can help each other be better, we shouldn’t shame.
At the end of the day, each parent will end up parenting how they want. We can only provide guidance and support.
Remember: Some parents will take all the advice they can get while some think anything you say against them is attacking them.
If someone asks about your cloth diapers, that would be an excellent opportunity to share your love. Otherwise, it can be difficult to gauge how the parent will react to your advice.
Why does it even matter if I want to judge someone else?
The sad truth is, whoever said sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, must not have come across some of the people I have in this world. Words do hurt.
When you are already questioning the thousands of parenting decisions (or even if you are not), it can be extremely hurtful for someone to suggest that you would do anything but the best for your child.
Many times when we make these comments, they are not intended to hurt but they can and often, they do. Let’s be more aware of how we approach moms and parents in general about their decisions IF AT ALL.
When is it acceptable to approach?
You may be thinking to yourself “so I am just supposed to keep all my thoughts to myself?”
Absolutely not. You are welcome to share your love of cloth diapers (or anything else for that matter) WHEN SOMEONE ASKS.
This means if someone asks about cloth diapering, where you got your diapers from, if you like cloth diapering, or if it is difficult, YOU CAN SHARE ALL YOUR LOVE FOR LIL HELPERS! This is the time!
I know it is difficult not to yell from the rooftops that LH is the best ever but it is important that we are asked for our opinion before giving it. This is the best way to prevent sharing other moms for their diapering choices.
At the end of the day, we are all just trying our best.
Does the shaming stop at diapers?
Short answer, no. It would take way too long to get into all the different reasons why moms are shamed. Isn’t that sad?
I am sure you have experienced shaming over one or many different parenting decisions you have made.
Let’s consider ending the shaming!
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just raise your child the way you want to without having to justify or explain it to anyone? I think so too. It starts with us. We can do this.