I’ve done it. You’ve done it. The lady at the grocery store has done it. That “it” I’m talking about… It’s mom shaming.
I’ll start here though. Hi, I’m Candice. I am not a writer, so, I’m sure this will have grammatical errors that’ll drive some people crazy. I have 4 rambunctious little boys. My oldest is 11, 4 year old twins, and a newly 3 year old. To say my house is loud is an understatement. I can’t tell you all the times something has came out of my mouth and I’ve thought, “I hope to never have to say that again,” only to say it again a few days later. Examples: “Why are you just sitting there watching your brother poop instead of brushing your teeth?” and, “Put your penis away.”
My life revolves around my boys talking about poop, pooping, talking about farts, butts, trying to hurt each other, superheroes, oh and lots n’ lots of dirty clothes. I, without exaggeration, wash 10 loads of laundry a week. Why couldn’t I believe in living at a nudist colony? My oldest, he’s a saint. Without him, and the fact that he’s older than his brothers, I wouldn’t be able to get a few simple things done around the house daily. I can say things like, “Hey, can you watch them play on the trampoline for a few minutes while I throw some laundry in?” Having an older sibling = major perk.
My husband co-owns a very busy, successful business. He works more hours than either of us would like; throw in some travel and frequent long nights to round it out. Our house is stressful and busy. BUSY! I recently started working at the business doing things that he and his partner are just too busy to deal with. I LOVE working again. The chance to talk to other adults and to wear real clothes! I was a stay-at-home mom for almost 8 glorious years. Lucky, right? Depends on whom you ask. We are still working out the kinks in our system as two working parents but hey, everyone’s still alive and well!
My stress levels increase in a dirty house; I just can’t function. My husband likes to say I have some weird clean house fetish. Maybe I do. It’s tough working, plus cleaning up a large house with 4 dirty little humans, doing mounds of laundry, getting to the grocery store, making dinners, giving baths, and our bedtime routine… I won’t even go there. I won’t lie, it’s hard just getting the 6 of us up every morning, dressed, fed breakfast and all to school/work in time! Shew! I’m sweating again just thinking about it. But, I still manage to get it all done because if I don’t, who will? Tis’ life.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll talk about the real reason I’m even writing today. Mom shaming aka being judged by other moms. I was mom shamed from people for putting my kids in a preschool/daycare to come back to work. You know that feeling you get when you feel like you have to come up with excuses for your actions? Why am I explaining my personal decision with someone who doesn’t know anything about what’s best for my family?
I’ve met moms before who’ve said, “You’re a stay at home mom? Must be nice… *insert her eye roll here*” Trust me, having 3 little boys under 21 months was nothing to be snide about, lady. You try nursing a newborn baby with 2 toddlers trying to climb onto the dining room table so they could see who could hang from the chandelier the longest before mommy came to get them down (yes, this did happen). Coming back to work I’ve heard, “Wow, so you’re just going to put them in daycare all day?” Well, yes, and they love it! They have school for 4 hours a day, with a licensed teacher, then will have daycare after till 5:00. The looks I’ve gotten would have made you think I said I had them tied up in my backyard for the day.
Women, why are we STILL giving other parents grief over their personal decision to work vs. stay home? I’ve done both; neither is easy. Each comes with its own struggles and perks. Support one another in their decision to do what’s best for them, and their kiddos. As parents, only WE know what’s best for our families.
We live in a social media world where moms are so manipulated into thinking they have to be perfect. It’s exhausting and I have given up on that! Damn, Pinterest. Who has time to make all these cute little snacks for their kid’s class? Not me! I’ve been mom shamed for bringing in store bought cookies I bought 5 minutes before dropping my kids off to school, 5 minutes late. But, my kids were happy! They loved those cookies. They loved bringing in a little snack for their birthday, to share with their friends. Why do we feel, as adults, that we have to try SO hard to get acceptance from other parents? Parents are just as equally flustered in their daily life to keep everything straight.
I feed my kids gluten, they have Poptarts, and Cheez-Its and candy on occasion. They eat mac ‘n cheese and corn dogs some nights, and a big home cooked meal others. They’re totally happy with either. I’ve been mom shamed in the grocery store from a woman passing by with her 1 child because my 3 littles were running around the cart, excited and giggling. I heard her say to her friend “brats.” Nope, they just got to come into Target with mommy. Who isn’t excited to go to Target?!
I’m a human too though. I’ve mom shamed moms of one baby or one toddler for saying things like they just “can’t get anything done” without even thinking that their one child could be much worse than my 3 combined. I don’t know what their life looks like behind closed doors. Again, I’m human, but I’m working on that!
We live in a social media world where we think we have to be a size 3 roughly a week after having our babies. We see women on the Internet who still have their 6-pack while 5 months pregnant. We see supermodels walking the runway 5 minutes after popping out their kid. I’ve been mom shamed for being overweight. And, I was mom shamed for losing weight. Someone will always have something to say.
Listen up though… If you want to work out to be the best possible version of yourself, I applaud you, sincerely! But, please don’t work out because you feel like you have to fit into this little shell society has set for you. Don’t judge the mothers who are comfortable with their fuller figures. Our bodies are AMAZING! We are able to grow humans. HUMANS! Our body changes in these insane ways for our children. Embrace that. Sure, so many of us will never look like we did “before kids” but I’ll tell you what… I will take every stretch mark. Every pound I’ve gained is worth it when I hear those little boys giggling, even if it is laughing at how loud the other one farted. We don’t need to post on social media 33765 times a day on what workout we’re doing, or what healthy meal we’re currently eating. If I posted my lunch today, I’m sure there would be enough eye rolls around the ol Facebook that I could hear them. Who. Cares. I’ve got bigger things to worry about, like why my 3 year old insists on wearing his underwear backwards every day.
So, that’s my bit. No matter how hard things are in life right now, just remember that there is always someone out there who has it worse. Be kind, ladies. Be kind to yourself, be kind to one another. Next time you see a frazzled mom in the checkout line at Target, tell her she’s doing great – maybe it’s the only time she’ll hear it all day or all week. Next time you see a momma trying to work out in the gym next to you, tell her way to go! It takes courage to step on that treadmill for the first time. Remember, happiness isn’t about what size our jeans are. Support the women around you in the best possible way. Know that YOU are amazing. That you are doing the best possible job you can. Be confident that you’ve made all the right choices for you and your family, and don’t listen to the people who want to shame you thinking you haven’t. Don’t let other people’s negativity or opinions get you down. Oh, and leave the dirty dishes in the sink tonight and go cuddle your kiddos instead. Aren’t they amazing?