Whether it’s due to the overwhelming pressure to “have it all” put on us by society, or something else, the tendency to shame other mothers is something I see a lot. Every. Single. Day. I’m sensitive to it, as I’m sure all of you are, and honestly…it sucks.
Personally, I think part of the problem is that when we someone whose parenting style or methods differ from our own, we fail to see this as simple variety of life. No, instead we see this as an indictment on our own choices, and for some mothers, that just won’t do. So instead of looking at things with an open mind, we see then in black and white; if what *I* do is “right,” then what *you* do must be “wrong.”
It isn’t always about parenting choices, however. Many of us have these ingrained ideas about what women, and mothers specifically, should do. Don’t be a slut, but you can’t be a prude either. Don’t be too loud, but if you’re quiet, then you’re a stuck up bitch. It seems like no matter what the eff we’re doing, it’s fucking WRONG to someone. Below are the most common ways I’ve been shamed by other mothers. I’m sure your milage may vary.
1. Don’t be a slut, you slutty McSlut-Slut
I think this one is pretty universal. There is nothing society hates more than a slutty mom. Which is hilarious to me, because we all got here somehow, and for most of us it was through sexy, sexy boning. You don’t even have to sleep around to get shamed for this. Remember Peg Bundy from Married With Children, and the running gag about how horny she was? Silly Peggy! You can’t want sex with your husband, you’re a MOM. You whore.
2. But you can’t be a frigid bitch, either!
There are two sides to the slut-coin when it comes to mommy shame, however. It’s just as important not to be a frigid, sex-hating harpy as it is to not be a slut. I was shocked when I became a mom and I realized how often this type of shaming would come from other mothers. If your partner cheats, it’s often not seen as his fault. Nope, it’s your fault, for not being more of a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed (or whatever). I think it comes from the desire to think “This can’t possibly happen to me.” Hate to break it to you, but if your man (or woman) is going to cheat, they’re gonna cheat. Doesn’t matter if you have sex once a month or once an hour. Some partners are just douchebags.
3. You can’t have fun, you’re a MOM
When my oldest child was a baby, I worked constantly. Between being the main breadwinner, putting myself through school, and spending time with my husband and baby, I had very little free time. Occasionally I would go out with my girlfriends to partake in some adult beverages (as one is wont to do). It never failed, one person, at some point would say the magic words,” Don’t you want to be home with YOUR BABY?” It was like once I popped a kid out, I ceased to be a living, breathing woman with the need to let my hair down. NO, I was a MOM.
4. You had a BABY not a Volkswagen, you fatty!
This one ties into the whore/frigid issue in that as women, we’re expected to be ornamental and sexually attractive. At. All. TIMES. Failing to do so seems to break some kind of unspoken social contract, and surprisingly, plenty of other mothers are willing to let you know when you’ve broken it. My sister in law (whom I am no longer speaking to) LOVED to let me know she thought I was a fatty McFaterson. Never straight out, of course, but by trying to push diet products down my throat all the time. No, I won’t buy your friend’s ViSlim shakes, and yes, I do know what you’re doing. Bitch.
5. Being a mom is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB (but not a “real” job, silly!)
Don’t get me wrong here, parenting IS important. And I fully support any woman’s (or man’s) choice to be a stay at home parent, or a working parent, or whatever. The point is that no matter what freaking choice you make, there will be other moms in the peanut gallery judging the ever loving crap out of you. Your kid is in daycare? You must HATE being a mom! You’re a SAHM? You lazy cow! We just can’t win.