Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog: Sancti-mummy Madness

Monday, 20 June 2016

Sancti-mummy Madness



Mummy-shaming.

It's fair to say that most of us have either done it or experienced it at some point in our lives.

I'll hold my hands up and admit that I've been guilty of mummy-shaming myself - back before I had my own kids I rolled my eyes and tutted when a friend told me she was giving her 3 year old an ipad for Christmas, I uttered those fateful words "When I have a child, I won't let it use an ipad until its much older..."

Well I learned my lesson of course and my almost-3 year old son can already use our iPad more efficiently than me and refers to it as his own...

It's easy to pass judgement on parents when you're not one yourself...of course at the time you think you know it all because you've worked with children, you're close to your sisters/brothers/friends kids and see how they're raised etc...but nothing can really prepare you for raising your own child and the truth is, you never really know with any certainty how you'll parent your child until its happening...until you're living it.

So I have a certain degree of understanding when I see a non-parent pass some judgement on the way other people raise their kids...but what about mums passing judgement on fellow mums? What about all the so-called "Mummy Wars" we hear about?

Recently I've started to notice it more and more on social media...

There'll be a status posted by a company, posing a question to Mums and Dads...one recent example was a parenting site who posted a photo to Facebook of a plate of Turkey dinosaurs and smiley faces with the simple question "Do your kids love this kind of food?"

A simple, innocent question you'd think...

When I saw it, I laughed a little and remembered how much I'd loved those meal as a kid...I looked at the comments and sure enough, the first few were light hearted responses of "YES! My kids won't eat anything without a face!" or "Oh yes, the beiger the food is...the better!" ... but then came the Perfect Parent Club...


"MY child never eats this sort of filth, only home cooked healthy meals every day..."...

"My little Jimmy wouldn't touch this, he loves his vegetables..."

"Oh no, I would never serve this to my child...he eats chicken nuggets but only organic...."

Of course, the original responders to the thread saw these comments and started to feel the need to defend themselves...stating their kids didn't eat these meals all the time, they were just occasional treats, etc....

And just like that...a perfectly nice, innocent post became another excuse to mummy-shame. To make other parents feel bad. To belittle people. To make them feel less-than.

I saw a similar thing recently on a blog post...a blogger had written a review of some baby food...and there in the comments was this

"Oh yuk, I never used jars of baby food for my kids. They just look disgusting. It takes no time at all to make them fresh food, jars of baby food are just for lazy mums!"

I just don't understand what these sancti-mummies hope to achieve by sharing these pointless, uninvited holier-than-thou statements?

I mean...what do you want? A badge or something?! A nomination for Mum of the year because you pureed some carrots?!

Do you really think the fact that you gave your child freshly cooked food and this mum gave hers food from a jar makes you a superior parent?

I can guarantee you it doesn't.

We all have our shining moments and our short falls in parenthood - getting one foot ahead doesn't win you the whole race.

If someone chooses to feed their child baby food from a jar and you think that's some kind of cardinal sin of motherhood, that's fine...nobody is forcing you to do it but for gods sake, why feel the need to undermine their choices or make them feel bad?

And don't even get me started on the breast feeding hashtags - at least 20 times a day I see a photo of a baby being breast fed - and I'll smile and think "What a lovely moment to capture...how sweet"...but then I'll see a hashtag attached to it...#BreastIsBest #OnlyTheBestForMyBaby #BreastMilkIsTheBestMilk - WHY?! Why do you feel the need to do that?! What's the intention?

I'm sure we all know that breast milk is the ideal choice but I'm sure we also know that some women struggle to feed - how are those hashtags going to do anything but make those women feel bad?!  By all means...be proud that you're breastfeeding...show that photo! Declare how much you love it! But WHY add to it a blanket statement than belittles anybody who isn't giving their child "The Best Milk"? It's really not necessary.

Motherhood is hard enough and most of us are just doing our best to get through it a day at a time and do what we each feel is best for our children - why isn't that enough for some people? What do you stand to gain from making another mum feel shit about their choices?

Does bringing them down really raise you up in any way? Does dimming their light make yours shine any brighter?

No...it doesn't. And it just makes you seem like a bit of a dick, actually.

So next time you see one of these opportunities to paint yourself as some kind of messiah of parenthood, think twice...what does it actually achieve?

By all means blow your own trumpet if that's your bag, but please...try not to belittle everybody else in the process.

Nobody likes a sancti-mummy.




My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Life with Baby Kicks

29 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean! A well known childrens brand retweeted 4 pictures of some of Joey's meals on their section plates. Every meal had banana on it and someone commented "Someone really wants their child to eat banana" or something to that effect, the truth is is that banana is the only fruit Joey will eat. I know its not a nasty comment but its one of those comments that questions your parenting skills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh that's horrible - I know its not a nasty comment but just why point it out?! Its those kinds of things that drive me mad. You find yourself second guessing anything that you post on social media to do with your kids these days as you just know someone is going to be out there picking it apart! xx

      Delete
  2. Yes!!! I love you for this post. Thank you. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. These kinds of people really piss me off. You're right, being a parent is hard enough. Some people can't breastfeed even if they wanted to, don't rub it in their faces that you're doing it and they're not. As long as your child is happy, healthy and not starving you deserve a high five in my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly...the way I see it, if somebody isn't breast feeding then there's a 95% chance that theres a reason for that and seeing others hashtag about how its "the best milk" is surely only rubbing salt in the wound?! I mean yes...be proud! But find a way to do that without simultaneously knocking others choices - its just about self awareness surely/! xx

      Delete
  4. I totally agree. I see this a lot and I just can't understand why people feel the need to put others down. It's horrible especially for parents with children who are fussy eaters, who just can't get their little ones to eat certain foods. And then you find people making comments about how their little ones would never eat such and such and yet it's the only thing you can get your child to eat. I think people just need to maybe think about what they're saying or how it's coming across, before judging others or using hashtags that could upset other people. Like you've said, it's great to be proud of your child, but don't feel the need to call out others whilst being proud. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! I think its all about HOW you put things across - I mean if your child is a great eater that's fabulous! And by all means, talk about it! But do you NEED to say "I don't feed my child that filth"?! How are you doing anything but deliberately belittling people with comments like that?! xx

      Delete
  5. Yes Yes Yes!! LOVE this Hayley xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Agreed! It's way too easy for people to judge each other online - I bet people wouldn't say half these things to someone's face. Everyone has their own reasons for doing things and it's none of your business why they've made the choices they have for their children. #fartglitter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely!! I was saying in another comment how I've never experienced it in a face to face situation - it seems reserved for social media!! xx

      Delete
  7. As the other poster said nobody would say it to your face! Social media makes it too easy for everybody to get their judgey pants on and think their right. We are all doing what we think is best for OUR child and ALL children are different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly!! People get way too brave and mouthy behind their keyboards for some reason but the impact on peoples emotions is just the same! xx

      Delete
  8. Couldn't agree more. Being a parent is hard enough without feeling you have to be perfect all the time and justify your choices. The whole breastfeeding debate is ridiculous. I breastfed my son for 20 months but I would never judge someone for not breastfeeding, frankly it's none of my business. He also loves beige food, smothered in ketchup ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly!! But beige food covered in ketchup is the best! ;) Or..in the case of my son...beige food smothered in salad cream! xx

      Delete
  9. *Applause!*
    Well said. I didnt breastfeed, I used baby jars and formula. My daughter is perfectly happy and healthy. I vow never to pass judgement because I'd hate it to be done on me #Anything Goes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly!! You can guarantee that no matter how perfect a parent is in certain areas, there'll always be one area that they don't shine so bright in and unless they want people to make feel bad for their shortcomings...why do it to anybody else?! xx

      Delete
  10. So true! It's amazing how many people think there is just one perfect way to raise a child and they are the ones that have it all figured out. As long as your children are healthy and happy you're doing perfectly fine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There do seem to be a lot of those people about, mostly on social media...I don't seem to come across in "real life" much?! x

      Delete
  11. I am totally convinced that "Those that judge" are actually just feeling the need to boast about that particular achievement that they see as a parenting win, as actually behind the scenes they probably feel just as useless as the rest of us in other areas and so they get their confidence kicks where they can? Not that it's an excuse in any way. We Mummies should be sticking together! Not tearing each other apart! Fantastic post hun. Thanks for linking with #fartglitter x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I definitely think that's true! I can't see why anybody would bother passing judgement on other mums choices unless they felt insecure about their own on some level. x

      Delete
  12. I'm one of those mums that does make everything from scratch and my son only eats organic....unless he's at a party etc...wouldn't let him miss out on the fun. It's difficult and expensive. My mums friends used to feel inadequate when we spoke about our kids eating habits etc and I had to explain multiple times that just because it's important to me to give my son home cooked, organic food, it doesn't diminish your routine and I'm not judging you at all for not doing the same. My closest mum friend has a child that only eats chips and nothing else and there's nothing wrong with that, if that's all he will eat then what are you supposed to do? Personally I'm sick to death of people thinking that just because I grow organic veg for my son and make every meal from scratch that I'm somehow judging what they're doing with their children as terrible. I'm not at all but if we're having a chat about eating habits do you expect me to just keep quiet so you feel better? I definitely feel that this works both ways and says a lot about the insecurities we all feel as parents. Again I would like to stress that whatever food you manage to get into your child without a fight is a battle won.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's at all limited to just food - that's merely the last example I saw on social media but it can be about ANY topic at all. I think there are plenty of mums who manage to do whatever they see as best for their children - whether that be feeding organic foods, not allowing any TV time, cloth nappies, etc - without looking down on the alternatives but unfortunately MANY people seem incapable of doing that and those are the people that this post is about.
      The ones who seem to take great pleasure in gloating about how perfect their children, who insist on commenting that mums who use baby food jars are lazy, the ones who insist on using preachy hashtags alongside their photographs disregarding any other mums choice or opinion - those are the people I have an issue with.

      Delete
  13. I have been looked at as a terrible parent twice now because I refused to breast feed and then I fed my children mush from a jar for at least 6 months. Oscar had it even longer as he couldn't cope with little lumps of food. I like to try and do everything in the quickest and easiest way possible so I can try and enjoy their childhood instead of worrying about all the unimportant little details that we as mums get slated for. Great post - I hope it makes some mums feel guilty for looking down their noses at the rest of us ;)

    Louise x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Absolutely fine to do what you think is best for your own child, but completely agree that judging other parents is a pretty miserable way of living your life!! Every child and every parent is different so important to do what you feel is best! #effitfridays

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't understand this at all, I also don't understand my own need to justify my actions after I make a statement:

    "I'm breastfeeding at 15 months, well I'm a bit lazy ha, he doesn't take a bottle well, and of course it's comfort because we're all over the place"

    "He has call because his teeth are hurting, they're all coming through at once, I'm sure"

    "No he doesn't sleep through the night. I don't know why, I mean I'll have to do something soon" blah blah blah

    It irritates me that I do it, it irritates me more that people out there make me feel like I need to justify. The Facebook comments always get me, but they are car crash reading. My kiddos eat things with a face, nice and beige, but show it some ketchup and I'm in a world of pain!

    ReplyDelete

If you're feeling generous, please consider leaving me a comment as they brighten up my days and make me feel all warm inside!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me at sparkles_blog@hotmail.co.uk or tweet me @sparkles_blog