Motherhood isn’t always easy. In fact, I’d say it can be pretty hard sometimes. We’re all doing the best we can to take care of these little ones we’ve been entrusted with. Most of us are tired, maybe we’re struggling with postpartum depression, and emotions and hormones are running really high, especially in the early weeks. If you’re a mom, you know how hard it can be. So why do we make it harder on each other?
I was mom shamed the first time I took Luke to the grocery store by myself. If you’ve been following along, you know I had a c-section and that I had a hard time adjusting to motherhood. I was finally feeling healthy and confident enough to attempt the grocery store solo, and I was really looking forward to getting something accomplished.
We made it to the store, diaper bag loaded for every possible scenario and baby happily sleeping in his carseat. I still had a tender tummy from my c-section, and wearing Luke in a carrier would put too much pressure on my incision, so I did what many moms do – I let my baby sleep in his carseat. I put the car seat safely in the deep bucket area of the shopping cart (with Luke still safely strapped in), and headed in to the store.
Before I got even halfway through the produce section, another mom came up to me and told me that it was dangerous to have him in his car seat in the cart, that I was a bad mom and that I should be ashamed of myself for putting my son in danger. She then turned on her heel and stomped off while I stood there, shocked, embarrassed, and nearly in tears. Up until that point I was so proud of myself! This was my first time going solo to the grocery store alone and I felt like I was super mama. But within a matter of seconds everything was turned upside down and I felt like the crappiest and worst mom on the planet. With my confidence deflated, I ended up leaving without any groceries, got into the car and cried.
That mom had a real impact on me. Maybe it was the hormones, the lack of sleep, or just plain old embarrassment, but she really shook my self-confidence as a new mom. I now know first hand how much someone’s input can impact you, so why do we do this to each other? Motherhood is hard enough without us making it tougher on one another. Now, when I see a mom with a little one who’s crying in the store, I try to at least give her a supportive smile or maybe a word of encouragement. When a friend brings home a new baby, I always offer to bring her food or coffee, to come over to watch the baby so she can shower, help her with chores if that’s what she wants, or just sit and keep her company.
Despite my experience at the grocery store, most of my interactions with other moms have been positive. But seriously, even though it doesn’t happen all the time, enough with the mom shaming, okay?