Mommy Shaming

I am a perfect Mom. I have developed the most ideal way to raise children to be brilliant, talented, athletic and well-adjusted. These are two sentences that no Mom will ever speak.  Many Moms think that they are fabulous and actually are quite incredible. However, no Mom in her right mind would ever claim to be perfect, know it all, or have all the answers.

So the question becomes, why do Moms so harshly criticize other Moms? If we are being truthful, we are all guilty of this.  I have found myself thinking that Mom A should be more affectionate or Mom B should have her kids eat more healthy foods or Mom C should have more discipline. But why do I do this? Why do any of us?

I know that I have been the subject of “mom shaming” and it’s ridiculously annoying! A few months after my son was born, a little girl saw my son with a soother in his mouth. She quickly notified her Mom about the soother and pointed it out to her. This girl’s Mom said “oh yes, that is a soother. We don’t believe in those for XX (her son).” Are you kidding me!?  I was so pissed off that I wanted to slug her! Who did she think she was passing judgement on me and my decision to give my son a soother? Just because you don’t give your kids a soother, doesn’t mean that I’m a bad Mom for giving one to mine!

I am sure every mother has been a victim of, and guilty of, Mommy shaming. Perhaps not as openly or vocal as this example, but still shaming, none the less.

As Moms we make decisions each and every day about how to raise our kids. Unless we are doing physical or emotional harm to our children, it is really only our decision as to how to raise them. There are so many things that come into each and every decision regarding how to raise our kids. Some of which include how we were raised ourselves, our social circle, our religious beliefs and our morals.

The great thing about the world though is that there are so many different ways to do things and we are free to make decisions as we see fit. My hope is that we are all doing our best with the hand we’ve been given. That said, here are a few topics that I think we need to be more open-minded about when it comes to our children:

  • To breastfeed or not to breastfeed.  – News flash!! Not every woman is ABLE to breastfeed so don’t be so quick to judge someone that doesn’t. There is a reason why there used to be “wet nurses” – this is not because someone today doesn’t want to do it.
  • “We don’t believe in TV” – This is another gem statement. I’m thrilled for you if you don’t have your children watch TV. But don’t judge me because mine do.
  • Stay at Home vs. Working Moms. – This one’s a doozy! I see the benefits to kids on both sides. But regardless, chances are if moms are working or if they are staying home, it is a choice based on their family’s needs or beliefs and what is best for everyone involved.
  • Disciplining in public – we have all seen that kid that is losing her mind in the middle of the aisle in the grocery store. Chances are you may have thought – what a spoiled brat! Or…why are you taking your kid out if she’s tired and cranky? Or… judging based on what discipline method is used or if none is being done by the parent. However, next time, take a minute to think about it – you have no clue what this situation is. Perhaps the child is throwing a tantrum because her Mom won’t get her a new toy. But what if it is a behavioral condition or problem? What if this is the only time this Mom can go shopping because she works two jobs and has to drag her tired kid with her? No matter what the reason, it sucks. Having a child have a tantrum in public is the WORST! No matter what you do, chances are you’ll look like a brutal mid-evil demon witch lady or you’ll look like a lackadaisical nit wit. Either way, take pity on this poor mother. Because even if she brought this on herself, she’s dying of embarrassment so cut her some slack.

The list of topics to debate is endless. Unfortunately, so is the list of people willing to criticize – from older generations that did things differently to young kids that think they know it all and everyone in between. We only have control over our own individual reality. Hopefully we all make choices and parent or plan to parent based on what we think is best for our children. Let’s all recognize this and stop shaming and celebrate our right to choose to do things our own special way. 

 

 

 

Food Rules…What’s Your List?

rsz_relationship_with_foodI have been doing a lot of thinking on the concept of one’s relationship with food. I personally think everyone should have the 80/20 Rule when it comes to food – 80% of what you eat and drink should be healthy, while 20% ‘not so much’. I also feel everyone should strive for 85/15 then 90/10 then 95/5. And under the category ‘not so much’ that doesn’t mean absolute horrid junk – a medium place.

Secondly I think that many of us, myself included, think WAY too much about food. What are we going to have for dinner? I shouldn’t have eaten that second cookie. How many calories/grams of fat/carbs have I eaten today? I have a craving for X, Y and Z. And so much of our social world revolves around food – we have celebratory dinners, depression induced binging – all emotional ends of the spectrum. And because food is something that we MUST have to survive, it is impossible to not think about it.

Then there are the ‘food rules’. I think that to best understand your personal relationship with food – is it healthy or a disaster or somewhere in the middle – you must have a clear idea of how many rules you have and perhaps how much you obsess over them. And even though your personal list of rules might be keeping you healthy, the lists can be exhaustive. I personally have food guilt. Something I wish I didn’t, but I do. So in hopes of one day not, I have decided I need to better understand my personal relationship with food in order to think of it always in a positive light. I know WHY I have the guilt – pressure from society, family, the opposite sex, myself – to look a certain way. And eating bonbons and chips doesn’t adhere to that standard. So even if I only indulge in junk food once in a while, I still have a negative space in my head that obsesses over it.

So what are my food rules? My list, although quite healthy ideologies, is exhaustive. And to be quite honest, some are borderline concerning to me once I wrote them out. I won’t get into the ‘why’s’ of each for now, although in the spirit of sharing and becoming a healthier woman every day, here goes:

  1. When it comes to meat, I only eat chicken and fish/seafood. No red meat, pork, game, etc…
  2. I do not eat dairy
  3. I do not eat processed cereal
  4. If I buy anything processed I read labels and ensure there are no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, no more than 500 mgs of sodium per serving, and pay close attention to the calories per serving
  5. I have a healthy and substantial breakfast every morning that includes a carbohydrate (wrap or toast), protein (usually eggs), vegetables, fruit and coffee
  6. I have a salad every day and make homemade dressing when possible
  7. I pay attention to the ‘dirty dozen’ when it comes to grocery shopping and buying organic when I can
  8. I have turmeric, cayenne pepper and aloe (to eat) every single day one way or another
  9. I take a handful of vitamins and minerals every single day
  10. If I eat ‘too much’ one day, I try to make up for it the next
  11. I weigh myself almost every day
  12. I do not eat white starches
  13. I avoid pop and sugar-filled ‘fruit’ juices as well as alcoholic beverages that are full of sugar (I mostly stick with wine and vodka)
  14. I cook only with raw, organic coconut oil or cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  15. If I have a heavier carb in the morning (i.e. bread) I do not eat any other starch-carbs that day (i.e. no more rice, bread, potatoes, etc)
  16. I have flax, chia and/or hemp seeds every single day
  17. I try not to eat three hours before bed

I do feel that the majority of these ‘rules’ I have made for myself are for the most part healthy (with the exception of numbers 10 and 11). That said, having so many rules also has it’s own drawbacks. Does having such a regimented way of eating affect my ability to have a healthy relationship with food? I do feel that food is something that should be consumed to maximize your health and longevity. But am I over thinking it all? Is this list of ‘rules’ contributing to my overall food guilt when I go off the rails? Absolutely it is. But it is also absolutely keeping me healthy. My internal investigation on this subject will continue. I think making this list has helped me understand that even though I have my own fair share number of rules, for the most part they are all centered around healthy habits.

So what about you? What does your list look like?