Friday, February 21, 2014

Mom Shaming Is A Thing Now?

Does anyone else feel constantly disappointed in humanity these days? I fight my propensity to be cynical with every ounce in my being at times, but there is just such an abundance of "I'm so offended right now" in this world that it is an uphill, often losing, battle.

Something that seems to be getting worse every day to me are the mommy wars. I'm not talking about the wars about whether it is better to work or stay home (let's all just assume, incorrectly, I might add, that every mother is ever afforded that choice in the first place), it isn't about whether formula is perfectly fine or breastfeeding is right. It's not about the usual suspects, this most recent war.

Nope.

This war is about cupcakes.

Really.

I'm not kidding.

The newest variety of the mom war has Pinterest written all over it, accented with handmade bows and custom outfits.

Let me explain.

Some people are crafty. Some people were born crafty. Some people become crafty when they have kids. Some people actually enjoy making 50 cupcake toppers and coming up with awesome decorations for parties. Some people actually bend over backwards to make special cakes and adorable invitations. Some people loathe it but do it anyway because they want to do it for their kids.

An actual cake I made. Haters gonna hate.
Some people can't do it, either because they just aren't crafty or don't have the time/energy/extra money to drop on making tiny cupcake flags. Some people buy cakes from the store and packaged invitations and their kids have amazing birthday parties. Some people keep celebrations small and at home. Some people forget until the day of, then hustle to get it together at the last minute. Some people always forget goody bags. (totally raising my hand on several here)

Why does what someone else does or doesn't do for their kids have anything to do with your parenting?

It shouldn't.

It doesn't, in reality. It quite literally has nothing to do with you.

It does, though, or at least it seems that way, because every time I see a friend post something kickass she did for her kids on the book of face, someone has to come along and crap all over it.

It seems like someone always has to tell this mom who is just doing something cool for her kid that she is making the comment leaver feel inadequate as a mother.

Always.

You've seen it.

Why does my kid's birthday cake make you feel inadequate?

How does anything I do in my family have an affect on your self-worth?

It shouldn't. This isn't a contest. There is no winner for best-mom-ever, but there are definitely losers...and as long as we're comparing ourselves to each other, we are all losers.

I've written before about this, about how I truly believe that we are all different as mothers. We all kick ass at something, we all go way over the top when it comes to our kids about something. Whether your something is birthday cakes or homemade pancakes or notes in lunches or bedtime rituals or whatever it is - we all are totally awesome at something.

And we all suck at something. There is some aspect of parenting that we all hate, that we all loathe with every ounce of our beings. There is something that no matter how many times we have tried, we are terrible at.

And it is all okay.

Seriously.

We live in a world now where the response to feeling inadequate about our parenting because of what someone else shares on Facebook or Pinterest has resulted in mom shaming, hence the comments being left on all things awesome. It's even gone so far that mom fails are now a thing.

And they are. We all screw up. We should be as willing to admit the times we forget about a lost baby tooth or yelled at a kid purely out of frustration or tried that new Pinterest recipe and it was an abysmal failure as we are about the things we did right.

But that isn't how social media works. Social media, for most people, is a platform for the shiny and happy and perfect and positive. All that is great, this is true, but the shiny and happy and perfect and positive is only part of the story of our lives as parents.

And none of it has anything to do with anyone else.

I joked (sort of) yesterday about how I am starting to feel like I need to make a gigantic IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU sign and staple it to my forehead.

We, as a society, and especially as the mothers of the children of the next generation, have got to stop taking everything so goddamn personally. We have to stop believing that what anyone else does is a reflection on our triumphs or failures as people, as mothers. We have to stop making other women feel as though the things they do for their kids make us feel bad.

We have to stop.

Because it is not about us. It never was about us, it was about their child. For the love. We don't get to insist that it is about us simply because it makes us feel bad.

There is a moral imperative here. An absolute crisis of conscience going on, and it's one that we are modeling for our children. We need to support each other, celebrate the gifts of our friends, support one another when things aren't shiny and happy and perfect and positive.

We need to stop making other women feel bad when they have done something they should be proud of, something special for their families, something important for their children.

And we need to do it now.

I'll make my ridiculous birthday cakes. You do whatever your thing is. We can high five each other instead of snarking, honest.

Let's do that instead.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Princess Celestia My Little Pony Rainbow cake to make....

9 comments:

  1. I love this. I only wish that this awesome blog post hadn't made me feel so inadequate about my own writing.

    (Ha. See what I did there?)... Fo' real. This rocked. I am fed up with the mom shaming, fat shaming, slut shaming, and just woman shaming in general. Why can't we all praise each other's strengths, and build one another up in times of weakness rather than shit all over each other?

    Great post. You rock!

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  2. I feel like this is becoming so prevalent on the Internet. Imagine how boring and sterile the world would be if we just stopped liking things, being happy, or being good at anything because it might make someone else feel bad? Imagine what our lives would be like? If you follow this to the extreme we wouldn't be able to enjoy anything or dislike anything or be good or bad at anything. We'd just be neutral. I keep picturing everything painted beige. It would be like we were all depressed.

    The most important thing is being in the game. If the cake is a disaster, store bought, or My Little Pony Rainbows of Awesomeness isn't the point. It's about showing up and doing it...whatever that "it" is for you. We all have different strengths. That's what is so great about diversity and community. We shouldn't put people down for bringing something different to the table. It all has value. I am with you! Let's celebrate each others talents.

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  3. I don't see much of this, thank goodness, but I came to the comments to say I love, love, love this cake and want it for MY birthday. I, too, decorate cakes. I don't have kids, but am a 'pseudo mom' of sorts and so I bake my psuedo kids all the time. Sometimes other moms say 'I wish I could that...' but mostly they just ask if they can pay me to do it. ;)

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  4. It's everything these days. No one can make a comment, without the "Nasties" coming along and dogging them. I truly think there are people out in cyber land who just wait around to make nasty comments on people's posts. I believe that's what makes their day bright. There is no love or compassion anymore, and that is just plain sad. Life is tough enough to get through on a daily basis, let alone have people who don't even know you, tell you how wrong you are about EVERYTHING!

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  5. It's been my experience that the women who "shame" the hardest are the ones who feel the most insecure about their own selves, parenting, relationships, life. The more energy and vitriol that goes into the put down, the closer the event in question is to exposing something the "shamer" doesn't want to face.

    My guess is that you'll never stop this, but can make it less painful by reminding us all (as you did here) that it's okay to be special… to share your accomplishments. You don't have to feel guilty. Instead, you might just need a thicker skin so you can ignore the insults small, insecure minds come up with.

    We all need to live for ourselves, the ones we love and stop getting so caught up in approval/disapproval. There will always be people to do that to you… IF you allow it.

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

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  6. Things like this just solidify in my mind that I am awesome at picking friends. I never know that such nonsense exists until I read about it or hear something on a news show. I equally post sucesses and failures on Facebook and receive love and support from great women who grace my life. We are all different. Some religious, some working, some raising small children, some grandmas. We are all at different stages, but love and support each other. It really is a shame that all women don't have those kinds of friends. Life isn't about competition.

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  7. I am pumping my fist into the air for this post.People really need to stop measuring their worth against other people's Pinterest boards. It's so unbecoming and it's just so obvious.

    Excellent post, Kelly.

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  8. I'm pumping my fist too! Solidarity! The comparison game is sucking the joy out of everything. Excellent point: we're all good at something and we all have things we're not so good at. Why do people have to make others feel bad to boost themselves? Terrific post Kelly!

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  9. Whoa.. i had no idea this was happening... i guess that's what happens when yer kids are all growed up... i am not in those kind of social circles, i guess. This is wrong. just wrong. there is enough shaming going on in the world already! *ugh*

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