Can We Knock Off The Mom Shaming?

I became a mom in May and yes, it's a special and wonderful thing. I love my daughter soooooo much and since I am mainly staying at home with her as my primary mission in life, of course I feel it's a valid experience (read: just as good as earning a paycheck.) But when I gave birth in May, I didn't lose my mind. I don't think that being a mom is the only way to live life, or even the best way. I don't look down on my childless counterparts...or feel that my life before was "meaningless."

So why is it that so many mothers feel compelled to voice just such views about their pre-baby lives? It is ceremoniously laid out in these flowery blog posts and articles and it makes me seriously want to throw a diaper pail at someone. 

I'm positively fed up with mothers who think that they are somehow better than the rest of the population. This type of close-mindedness is one of the great divides among women. Yes, you've contributed your DNA to the world, and for the most part, we're thankful to you. Yes, your child is probably great and cute, and we all know what a saint you must be for staying at home with your human you made, but for the love of god, would you please stop acting as if you've sacrificed the world?!

I have to say it, loud and clear: 

I feel I am in a unique position to say these things, having experienced both sides of the coin. I don't feel as though I have "given up" everything in order to be a mom. Actually, I feel like I am incredibly lucky to be able to stay at home because I know there are a million moms and dads who would kill to be able to do what I am doing. Of course there are days when I need a break--I'm a human. When I took on the responsibility of parenting, I knew what the deal was, and I was as ready as one could be for it, but I'm not a martyr. 

I still say the f-word (it might be my daughter's first word). I still enjoy cocktails and sex and I even had a girl's night out recently. I exercise several times a week. These are stay overs from my pre-baby life, and I'm so grateful for them because they remind me that I'm still (sort of) the same person I was before I became someone's mother. But I'm not without insight; my life before my daughter was great, too. There are things I miss about it, and things I don't miss about it. It wasn't better or worse, it was just different, and this is a new phase of life for my husband and I.   

For those who haven't chosen to become parents, more power to ya. I know that had I chosen to not become a parent, I would be different than I am today, but not the same as I was either... All our choices in life change us. What truly astounds me is that in today's (supposedly) feminized America, we still feel the need to mom shame people who aren't even mothers by saying that life without children is selfish, or meaningless.  It's just ignorant and doesn't take into consideration the women and/or men who want children and can't have them, or just choose not to have them, both of which are very true and real experiences. 

My heart goes out to women who have truly given up too much to become parents. I know they are stressed, tired, overworked, and probably don't get enough help. I think sharing our experiences as parents is an important part of the journey. But when people do share their experiences, I wish they would make it about themselves. We shouldn't make it about the fact that other people must be so selfish not to make the same choices we made. To me, that just says that people don't value their own unique journeys.

If we want to be great role models to our children we need to let them know that being a parent isn't the only way to live life. We need to model that it isn't cool to judge other people's life choices because we never know what in the world got them there. I have this inclination that if people felt more comfortable reaching out to one another...or if more moms thought it was okay to express the duality of parenthood free of guilt...then perhaps there wouldn't be the need to dump on others in order to validate our own choices.

What do you think? Have you been mom shamed? Share your thoughts on this [very loaded] topic below!!!

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