Back in your parents’ day, mom shaming only happened on the playground, at PTA meetings and during the annual school bake sale. Now that we have the entire internet to contend with, it’s enough to make you want to take a social media break. Online life is a 24/7 parenting parade, and every picture and post is up for grabs. And it’s not only your real-life frenemies who are putting down your mommy skills. It’s every mom, aunt, grandma and “I’ll just hide behind this silly little avatar” troll out there who wants to critique the way you’re soothing that fussy baby or introducing your own kids to social media. If you’ve yet to experience the intense pressure that social media puts on us mamas — or if you just need to know you’re not alone in this — check out how mom shaming is evolving along with technology.
1. Even celebs get shamed. When a photo of Chrissy Teigen holding her baby girl hit the media, more than a few strangers jumped in to point out that the supermodel was doing it wrong. And what was she doing wrong? Apparently, she seemed to be holding her baby “like a handbag” — at least according to the tweets. Were they there? Did they know the context or, for that matter, anything other than that split-second snapshot? Nope. But that’s all it takes for the mommy shamers to tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
2. It’s global. Mom shaming isn’t necessarily happening on your block. It’s women from three states away who’ve never met you and don’t know anything about your kid — along with some random dude who at the ripe old age of 23 feels that he knows enough to say you’re totally Norma Bates-ing your child. Lucky us. With social media comes the opportunity for anyone from Berlin, Germany to New Berlin, Wisconsin to comment on your parenting prowess.
3. It’s easy to hide behind anonymity. You brief your child on the dangers of online predators: They can be anyone and are likely posing as someone they’re not. Let’s not save this lesson for the young alone. The anonymity of the internet lets anyone say whatever they want — minus the fear of actually standing up and saying it. Instead of talking to your face, a mom shamer can make up whatever profile they want and chastise you from behind it.
4. Social media spreads news fast. Let’s say your toddler runs off in the few seconds that you turn your back. It could happen. It probably has happened. Then let’s say that said toddler rolls into a gorilla enclosure. Forget about the mainstream media: It’s social media that’s breaking your story. Okay, so this is an extreme example. But in cases such as this, mom shaming goes from worrying about a child’s safety to very publicly chastising a parent.
5. Everyone’s a critic. A photo. A post. A 10-second video clip. None of these provide enough info to pass any real judgment (see Teigen’s case above). That won’t stop the mom shamers, though. Facts shmacts: The online community doesn’t care what the truth is. They’re looking for something with sizzle, something that lifts them up by putting you down. Why? Because they can. Oh yeah, and because they’re bullies. So don’t let it get to you. Only you (and maybe your closest family and friends) know what an awesome mama you are. Anyone can make a snap judgment. That doesn’t make them an expert, a judge or, for that matter, right.
Were you mom shamed (or do you regret doing it)? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)