We Need to Stop Subliminal Mom-Shaming
The longer I've been a Mom, the more I realize Mom-shaming comes in many different forms.
Ugh, Mom-shamers. Am I right? Like who are you, Becky, to sit back and judge me for how I parent my child? I see the way you look at my son with his dirty face after he just demolished a donut in the back seat of the car. I see your perfectly bathed, quietly behaved child in the shopping cart while mine screams because he wanted a toilet brush. I feel your mom shaming, and I'm not here for it.
The truth is, we all parent different. We all have different kinds of kids going through different stages...some less pleasant than others. But odds are, unless you're a meth addict, I'm not judging your parenting. I'm certainly not judging your parenting based on your kid's behavior, because we all know that's not a direct reflection of your parenting 90% of the time.
But lately, as my kid has gotten older (almost 15 months), I've learned that mom-shaming comes in more way than just the eye rolls and the judgey comments. There's another real big mom-shaming problem I encounter regularly, and it's time someone addressed it.
Maybe "mom-shaming" is the wrong way to word it. It's more like "mom-guilting". Even though that's not a word, that's what I'm calling it.
I can't tell you how many times I hear, "you're going to miss this! Soak in every moment."
I hear it so often that I actually feel guilty for not "enjoying" my child's tantrums.
"They're only little for a little while."
Yeah, I know. Trust me, I cry about it regularly. But that doesn't mean I have to tolerate or put up with their erratic behavior. I certainly don't need to embrace it. I don't have to "soak in" the moments of them throwing their head back on the kitchen floor and screaming bloody murder.
Don't make me feel guilty for wishing those moments would go by a few seconds faster. Don't make me feel guilty for not enjoying waking up six times throughout the night to soothe a sick baby. Don't make me feel guilty for just wanting one more hour of sleep because I can physically feel my sanity slipping. Don't make me feel guilty for getting onto my child after his third Target meltdown. Don't make me feel guilty for *sometimes* wishing time would go just a bit faster, just for that moment.
We get told...over and over and over...to enjoy every moment. That it goes by too quick. That you'll want these moments back. But will I?
When I'm old and grey, will I be thinking about all the Target meltdowns I wish I could experience again? Will I miss trying to catch my son's head as he throws it back onto the tile in a fit of rage? While I understand that's part of it, I can't see myself missing those moments. And even as I sit here and type this, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt washing over me. I don't want to say I won't miss those moments because it makes me feel like I'm wishing time away.
I don't want my son to ever grow up. I want him to be my little, innocent Mama's boy forever. But I can also admit that there's things I won't miss.
Think about it: do you ever hear your parents say they miss those things? No. They miss your little 3-year-old questions about love and existence. They miss you cuddling up in their lap. They miss playing Lion King for you for the 1000th time and hearing you sing all the words to the songs. Those are the moments you'll miss. And those are the ones you need to sit back and soak in.
But the bad moments? It's OK to not miss those. It's OK to wish those fits would end. It's OK to want those moments to tick by quicker.
No, they aren't little forever, and that's heartbreaking. But there's still so much more you'll get to experience with them. You'll trade their innocence for experiences and their curiosity for understanding. All of those are exciting and all of those moments should be embraced. We need to grow and learn and teach our children instead of wishing they were little forever.
It's all beautiful and it's all a part of the blessing of being a parent.
Let's stop mom-shaming, or mom-guilting, and enjoy all ages and experiences with our child. But even then, it's OK to not miss the bad ones.