Okay, yes, I tried to pull you in with a catchy title. Frankly, though, there are way too many women that think their manner of parenting is the only way to go. When I became a mother, I assumed my social circle would open up to a new audience of fellow moms. While that has happened, it has also come with not-so-supportive, but rather, quick-to-judge mothers.
It’s an unfortunate fact that women are constantly in competition with one another, which is really a bummer. I wish we lived in a world where supporting your fellow female was more common. And I have to say, social media has only made me realize just how bad the lack of support for each other is. To be fair, I’ve observed people coming together as well, but on the day to day I certainly see more malevolence. Anyway, I can’t help but notice some really horrible,nasty comments that women leave on other women’s photos. And for what? I often see that one user will call another out, basically asking what I’m always thinking, which is, “if you hate this/this person so much, why are you on their page? Why are you taking time out of your (clearly superior) life to judge this person’s post?” The answer (if they provide one) is almost always, “Because I can give my opinion”. Okay, granted, social media is/can be a public outlet, so you are putting yourself out there and have to take the bad with the good. But I really have to wonder, what satisfaction do these “internet trolls” get out of leaving comments like “Hoe”, “Fat” or “Fake”? Is it the age old reason of making fun of someone else makes them feel better about themselves? I honestly find it baffling. Anyone who knows me knows that there are plenty of celebrities or social media pages that I can’t stand. You know what I do about it? Nothing. I don’t waste my time trolling those pages. That’s exactly what it is; a waste of time.
To get back to the point, what I’ve noticed in particular on social media is celebrity moms fighting back, which I love. Moms like Chrissy Teigen and Hilary Duff are standing up for their actions as a mother. Truthfully, I can’t believe they even have to though. I’m not one that follows a lot of celebrity gossip, but I know that Chrissy received grief from “fans” from the way she was holding her baby all the way to her makeup/fragrance giving her baby daughter eczema on her cheeks.
Chrissy is not shy about retorting to anyone who judges her and her abilities as a mother, which I adore. And the most recent story I heard about was in regards to a photo Hilary Duff had posted on her Instagram of her and her son at Disneyland. A friend shared the story
on Facebook, and it revealed that Hilary had received an immense amount of negative comments over the photo. Apparently people felt the need to tell her that it was perverse to give her son a kiss on the mouth. Some comments went so far as to call her a “pedophile”, which is probably one of the absolute worst things you could call a mom, or parent for that matter (that is innocent, obviously). Hilary later posted, “For anyone commenting that a kiss on the lips with my four year old is ‘inappropriate’ go ahead and click a quick unfollow with your warped minds and judgement” in response to all the hate. I say good for Hilary. There’s nothing wrong with her showing love to her son. What I do find wrong is people, primarily women (including fellow mothers), spewing hate at her. Yes, it’s the public internet, and yes, she’s a public figure, but does that really mean she deserved to be attacked? I don’t think so.
Something else that has recently gained popularity on social media is bashing breastfeeding mothers. I’ve seen comments like “Disgusting”, “Put that away”, “Sick”, “Why don’t you just cover yourself?”, “You just want attention” and yes, even “Slut”.
Now I’ll admit, even I was a little skeptical of the whole “let’s post a picture of me breastfeeding”. I was definitely more of a skeptic while I was still pregnant. I remember I had heard about a photo Gisele Bundchen posted of her breastfeeding and I thought it was weird, but not a big deal. Since then multiple celebrities and women alike have been posting photos of themselves breastfeeding. The hashtags #normalizebreastfeeding and #treeoflife have gone viral. I definitely enjoy seeing this because it shows that there are still millions of women out there that stand together against the hate.
Instagram celebrity and fitness mogul Tammy Hembrow (a fellow mother who’s page I adore) joining in taking a stand against people who bash breastfeeding mothers.
Now I mentioned earlier that I was a skeptic of the whole “let’s post a breastfeeding photo”. I found it a little… unnecessary. But after reading through multiple comments of hate and articles of women being verbally assaulted in public, I started changing my tune. Let’s just say before I was pregnant or ever planned on having children, I was always a little surprised when I saw someone breastfeeding in public. But never in a million years did I judge the mom, or stare, or make a rude statement. It was just something I simply wasn’t used to seeing so when I did, it just surprised me. Now, when I became pregnant I knew I would breastfeed. I always figured if I was out I would just use a cover. It didn’t (and obviously still doesn’t) bother me that other moms openly breastfed (with no cover), I just figured maybe I was a little more shy. It didn’t take me long to discover that many moms feed openly for reasons that have nothing to do with modesty. Allow me to share my personal experience of the first time I publicly breastfed my daughter.
When my daughter was about a month and a half, she, my boyfriend Chad, and I went to the Emergency Room for some severe pain I was having in my back and side. We later found out I had appendicitis, but that’s a story for another time. Anyway, I hesitated on going because Athena was so young and I was terrified of taking her to the chamber of plagues (the ER). Being that she was exclusively breastfed, though, we brought her and entered what looked like a zombie apocalypse broke out. Not kidding. It was packed! What I thought was going to be a few hours turned into us waiting for nine hours until I was finally seen. Anyway, about two hours in of us being there, Athena had a crazy blowout. I was so paranoid and disgusted by the amount of germs in the ER there was no way I was changing Athena in the bathroom, so Chad took her out to the car (which was parked a few blocks away because it was so crowded) to change her. Now normally I am ultra prepared and bring extra blankets, outfits, socks; you name it, I pack five of it. Given that we rushed to the ER, though, I wasn’t really thinking clearly and Chad was left to work with what was already packed in the diaper bag. Now I mentioned she had a blowout, and it was really messy. For those of you that don’t know what a “blowout” is, it’s when your baby decides to take a humongous poop that is so massive, it leaks out of the diaper, getting onto her clothes, and basically anything around. Anyway, there was poop everywhere; on her clothes, the blankets we brought, everywhere! That included the blanket I planned to use to cover myself to feed her.
When Chad and Athena came back from the car, my poor little pumpkin was ready to eat. The first time she ate I actually found a secluded, shady little area for her and I outside. Now, remember I said we waited for about nine hours? Well, she obviously ate a few times in that duration. The next time she wanted to eat, a couple hours later, it was dark outside and it was cold. I knew at that moment I was going to have to just feed her in front of everyone. It was also in that moment I realized that maybe it wasn’t my “modesty” that made me not want to ever feed my daughter in front of people. It was judgement I was afraid of. I didn’t want to be attacked the way I’d seen countless other moms get bombarded. But you know what? My daughter was hungry and I didn’t have any blankets. And my daughter isn’t going to starve because I’m worried about what some self-righteous asshole thinks of me. My daughter absolutely comes first.
The #treeoflife hashtag has recently been featuring art created by mothers to demonstrate the importance and beauty of breastfeeding your baby.
So, I whipped it out and I fed my daughter. I pretty much got three reactions. People who didn’t notice because they were into their own problems, people who were not-so-inconspicuously glancing over with darting eyes and people who gave me dirty looks. There was one woman in particular that I came very close to saying something to. She was older, probably around 60. She just glared at me in absolute abhorrence. Anyone who knows me well would be proud of me for not losing my shit on her. The only thing that stopped her from staring was when I loudly said to Chad, “Stand in front of me since this old lady has a problem with me feeding my daughter”. After that she looked away, hopefully feeling sheepish. The whole point of me saying that wasn’t even for Chad to stand in front of me. I didn’t feel the need to do her any favors, I just wanted to call her out.
After this happened, it clicked. Women should post photos of themselves breastfeeding. You know why? To say a big “Fuck You” and “We won’t conform to your ideologies of what you think good parenting is”. Sure, it might be an immature concept. But who the hell do people think they are to shame a mother’s ability to parent. Unless the child is being harmed in any kind of way, mind your own business! You don’t get to decide what the right way to parent is. And you sure as hell don’t hold the authority to tell someone else what you think is correct.
There are plenty of parenting styles I don’t agree with. There’s an abundance of things I see parents doing or allowing their children to do that is just appalling to me. But I don’t stare or say anything. There’s things I see on social media regarding parenting I don’t agree with, but I don’t leave comments, and here’s why:
1) Because I don’t really care about strangers’ children (unless I can see they’re in any type of harm).
2) Just because it’s not my way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
3) I don’t know everything, nor the reason(s) behind actions.
4) It’s a waste of my time to judge what someone else does with their life.
5) The best reason of all, it’s none of my damn business!
The solution is very simple folks. If you see something or someone, in public or online, that you don’t like, you can simply look away. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to waste any of your precious time or breath on them. You can just ignore it! Isn’t that awesome?
The “right” way to be a mother is to worry about your own children, not crucify others for how they raise theirs.