Stop the Mom Shaming and Start Building Your Village
What is with all the mommy groups? The crunchy moms, attachment moms, babywearing moms, working moms, SAHM, the hot mess moms, and there are more that my mom brain just can’t think of now. WHY? JUST STOP! Okay, where’s the “I’m Just a Mom” Group?
I mean, seriously. I’m a mom. I use essential oils and cloth diapers, but I also use disposable diapers and bleach. I breastfed my kids for as long as they would allow, but also used formula. I try to limit my use of the word NO and give them time out, but sometimes they just don’t listen and get a little pop on the bottom so they know I’m serious. I baby wear, I use a kid leash and sometimes I let them free-range. Occasionally, I hover at the park so we can play together, but most of the time I sit on the bench and chat with my mom friends while the kids play ALONE in a fenced in playground, with us sitting by the door. (Please don’t call CPS). Let’s just STOP the mom shaming, okay? Moms are the most loving bunch of people. We all gave birth to these littles that we love with all our being. Why can’t we agree to spread this love? Spread this love to EVERYONE, but especially to other mothers.
I see these posts all the time on social media shaming moms because they weren’t watching their kid, or they were using a leash on the kid, or whatever. Instead of criticizing the mother…Why not…I don’t know, HELP THEM? I mean mom brain is a thing. If you don’t believe me, have a kid! We NEED to stop shaming moms and start building a village. Remember that story about the little boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the zoo. Everyone blamed the mom for not watching her kid, but you mean to tell me NOT ONE adult saw this little boy climbing into that enclosure? Where was her village? The article I linked said she was tending to other children. So, she was clearly not being an absent mom, just a busy one. It takes one second for a child to get away from his/her mother, even a so-called perfect mom can be distracted for one second. That is why we need a village. We need a village of people to help keep our kids safe. To help teach our kids right from wrong. To help teach our kids, it’s okay to have differing opinions, but that we should still love one another and we can still respect each other EVEN IF we don’t agree.
To build a village, we have to be good villagers. We need to build up other moms; help them NOT judge them. I was at a kid’s event that took place on the sidewalk of a busy shopping center. A little boy had gotten away from his caregiver and she was trying to catch up to him, but he slipped through the crowd and the caregiver was being pushed back by the people. I saw this happening and tried to grab the boy, but I was also holding my two children. I noticed the people behind me saw this boy heading straight for the busy parking lot and instead of grabbing the boy to stop him, they were too busy looking for the mom. They were judging her while trying to figure out why she wasn’t holding him. I had to tell them to grab the boy, that the mom was coming. She was there about the time the stranger stopped him from going into the parking lot because she was literally seconds behind him, but those seconds could have cost him his life. I just don’t understand why it wasn’t first instinct to grab the boy from going into the parking lot, but rather the first instinct was to judge the mom. Be part of a village! Help fellow moms instead of judging them. Build your village by being a good villager.
Now this can go too far, I know. I know those delicate lines. Be sure that you are in fact HELPING a mom, not judging her parenting. Some parents participate in free-range parenting and let their kids play alone within boundaries that they have set up. If you see a child in danger HELP THEM. Otherwise just because you don’t see a parent holding onto a child it does not mean the child is in danger. I had this happen to me and I’ve read stories like this. I was shopping for a few items at a sidewalk sale one day and I wanted to look at something one bin down from the store entrance. (My horrible double stroller makes terrible turns plus the walkway was narrow.) So, I put the double stroller at the edge of the sidewalk sale, locked the wheels, and walked down to the bin I wanted to view. The kids were happily napping and snacking and had no clue I had stepped away. And by stepped away, I was literally one step and an arm lengths from them. I hear these two ladies come out the store expressing concern for these unattended children, so I made moved myself closer to the stroller to let them know I was there. They proceeded to walk away saying, “I can’t believe she would leave her kids alone like that,” to which I obviously gave her a snarky “I WAS RIGHT THERE!” because I was literally right there. One step, one arms length from the stroller that was locked and not going anywhere without me seeing it. There was no need for that kind of judgement. And so yes, help a child in need. DO NOT judge a parent who doesn’t feel the need to have her hand on her child all the time.
In an attempt to build our village we need to accept help from the villagers. This is HUGE because if everyone is too scared to help literally NO ONE will. Honestly, I believe that is what has happened to our village.
People are so scared of offending others or too busy judging them that they just ignore other children. I know stranger danger is real, it is scary. But there are still good people in this world. There are people who want to be a part of your village and you have to be able to accept it if you’re going to build a village. I read a post yesterday in my parent’s group where a mother of two was trying to get a response for what to do when a stranger picks up her kid. Sounds scary, right? They were at an aquarium and the child was too small to see inside the exhibit. So, the stranger picked the child up to look into the exhibit while she was helping another child get up the stairs to the exhibit. That stranger was being part of her village. Trying to help the mom allow both children see the exhibit, but this mom was offended and was looking for a snarky remark to say in future situations. How about “Thanks, but I got it from here,” if you don’t want the stranger holding your child. I mean I get it. I’m a preemie mom, stranger danger, they are your children. But let’s not be rude to those who are honestly trying to help by trying to build a village and being a part of your village. We need a village. Our kids need a village.
When I was, little I had a village. If a grown up told me not to do something I didn’t do it. Simple as that. There was none of this “You’re not my mom.” I was allowed to walk places without a parent because we had a village and believe me that village worked. When I was a teenager my friend’s mom knew I had gotten a speeding ticket before I even got home to tell my own mother! We need a village like that today. A village that helps keep our kids safe even when the parents are distracted. A village to keep an eye on our kids when the parents can’t. A village that teaches kids to respect everyone! A village that shows our kids that it’s okay to be different. A village that shows our children love and respect for everyone regardless of their believes, the color of their skin, or even parenting styles. Build a village, be a part of a village, and accept help from your village. Let’s build a better world for our kids. We can do it together as a village.