When you were pregnant, you probably had plenty of people telling you about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Well, the good news is that the advice about how to handle your pregnancy will be complete once you finally give birth. However, the bad news is that this ushers in all the helpful (or not so much) comments about how you should be a mom. You may get it from your parents, your in-laws (or significant other’s parents), and perfect strangers. Sometimes, the advice is well-intentioned but horrible, or it’s flat out mommy shaming at its worst. Once in a while, it may even be helpful.
One of the first things you can do, especially when it’s a person you’ll be seeing again is to be polite. Thank them for the information, and let them know that you and your family are following your pediatrician’s guidelines. Being snarky or rude in this situation may make you feel temporarily better, but may not work in the long run when your mother-in-law runs to your husband about what you said.
Sense of Humor
A great way to handle mommy shaming is with a sense of humor. Trying to find the funny in the situation can help to take away your anxiety of dealing with it. This humor can be like armor for you to protect yourself in when you feel attacked.
This method is another technique you’ll need when it someone that you’ll be seeing again in the future. You want to be firm in that you expect the person to respect your wishes in how to handle something. However, remember to pick your battles. If it’s something that can slide, go ahead and let Grandma or Grandpa do it their way when they’re around, but be firm if it’s not something so simple. Anyone that’s heard the, “Oh, we just put some whiskey on the gums to stop the teething pain” knows that some battles must be fought.
Get Support from Your Partner
Whenever possible, get the support of your partner. There’s no rule saying that you can’t make them the bad guy with your parents and vice versa if they’re okay with it. Having your partner’s back and they can have yours can go a long way towards helping you to fight off this wave of advice.
Find An Anti- Mommy Shaming Community
One of the best ways to handle the horrible advice and mommy shaming is by building up a community with other moms that feel you. There are some great opportunities online and off that can be supportive and understand exactly what you’re going through being a parent. Even the sharing of a simple meme on a mommy Facebook page can help to make your day feel better. You won’t feel so alone with this parenting gig. The nice thing is that with the online groups, they often screen out mommy shamers, and block them.
No Mommy Shaming Yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in your own guilt and mommy shame yourself. You see your friends and family with their perfect life online where they make it seem like parenting comes effortlessly. The truth is usually less than perfect in real life. Their posts are often just a smokescreen that they’re using to hide behind for whatever reason.
At the end of the day, everyone does the best job that they can do. There are plenty of news stories of parents that not only dropped the ball; they never picked it up. There are plenty of news stories where mommy shaming is front and center. It’s easy to get caught up in it all. Try to focus more on what’s going right than what other people have to say about your skills as a parent.
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