How many times have you said sorry for your child? At a restaurant, when they’re clanking on the table with a spoon? On a plane, when they’re getting fussy because they don’t want to be strapped in? Or anywhere beyond the walls of your own home? Hey, I’m Canadian and we love saying “sorry”, but why do I say it for Lyla? It’s because I don’t want to be judged by others for the way I take care of my child, I’m afraid of being mom shamed.
Mom shaming – it’s totally a thing, ask any mother/parent. My parents’ generation never called it that, they call it “advice”. It normally goes like this “I’ve been a parent longer than you” or “I’m just giving you my advice”. Don’t assume I’m being ungrateful, I totally go running to my mother when I need advice, but I don’t need advice for the ‘what if’ situations. I don’t need advice on the clothing material my daughter should be wearing or when to give her a bath. Once an elderly gentleman told me that my daughter should have been breastfed until she was 2-3 years old. I felt like asking him if he’d ever been bitten on his nipple while having the life sucked out of him! I don’t need advice on how YOU raised your kids because EVERY child is different. They may all scream and play with keys, but they’re still different.
The second source of judgement comes from other parents around us. You’d assume peer parents could relate, but they like offering up their unsolicited advice as well. I’ve been told I need to take my daughter out to play because she gets bored indoors and THAT would make me a good mom! Let’s ignore the fact that I was totally dissed as being a bad mother, but had it ever occurred to them that I play with Lyla ALL DAY LONG! Or that maybe I’m training her to Netflix and chill?! I’ve been asked (judged) “oh you let her eat chocolate?” or “you let her watch tv?”. Please tell me how to say ‘no’ to a toddler shouting “yum yum” at you while you’re sneaking in a bite of Nutella on toast. Mother’s have judged other mothers in front of me, it’s hurtful to even think that someone could be saying the same things about me behind my back.
I believe that all this ‘advice’ comes from a genuinely good place. Some parents know the tips and tricks of this never ending trade, and some are trying to justify how they are raising their child. Even though all of us are different, we’re on the same boat. We’re all walking down the same path of parenthood. We’re all trying to make the best of the crazy situation our kids get in. We’re all trying to find our sanity!
I’ve stopped saying sorry when Lyla shrieks in public, or when she licks the keys I just handed her to stop screaming! I think it’s building her immunity and the audience’s tolerance. She’s a child, I can’t justify her craziness – I’m a mother dealing with this insanity, so I don’t need to justify anything, period!