To say you have NEVER mommy shamed it probably a little far fetched. Judging a mom on the way she is doing XYZ is something we are all guilty of, at some point. Maybe it was from before you were even a parent. Maybe it was because you yourself made that VERY SAME mistake in the past and had the best of intentions when trying to help her avoid the same mistake. Maybe it was for, what you thought, was a very good reason. But none the less it made her feel bad (or if she had heard the words it would have made her feel bad.)
I personally have the motto, “What works for your family – is what works for me.”
For example, my family is in-between the strict bed timing scheduling families and the ones that close down Target with their kiddos. We aim for a bedtime routine but life happens. Also my kiddos have occasionally closed down Target with me….and they TOTALLY SURVIVED the next day. LOL! Sometimes our decisions are situational. I have to get this done but that means the kids HAVE to come with me. Thus we have closed down Target a time or two. I get it. It’s life.
Well I recently had to take my kids to the grocery store, we actually went as a family. All.five.of.us. My hubby and I typically divide and conquer at the store to get the items we need in half the time (oh don’t worry – we normally do Click List or some sort of pick up – see previous example but life happened and we went into the actual store this time). And that was the case this trip too.
Sidenote: My kinder kid/middle child LOVES to run. He wears his shoes down in literally half the time my other two do. I already am overdue to buy some new Chuck Taylor’s from his back to school haul in August. Luckily this pair lasted two months – I mean I didn’t even know that these thick rubber encased soles would be destructed. Clearly, I underestimated him. He runs in the house, he runs outside, sometimes he even runs in the store. Le sigh!
So my middle kiddo was running, too fast for a busy grocery store, towards the cereal aisle. THE INEVITABLE encounter with a non-parent co-shopper. I had JUST told my son, “No running in the store!” I said it in-between looking at my list and trying to find what I needed. I was alone (remember hubby was off getting the other half of my list.) And my son slowed down but this man saw it all happen. And moments after I had just reminded my son to slow down the man by the cereal aisle asked me my son’s age. I said he is 5 & in kindergarten. He said something about him running in the store. Gahhhh! Every moms nightmare. Did he not just hear me tell him to slow down?!
I got a defensive tone in my response – I agreed with him but it was a sassy agreement. And I, OF COURSE, HAD TO mention I had JUST told him to slow down. I wouldn’t say it was a TOTAL altercation but this mama wanted to get my point across and make sure I wasn’t being judged in the grocery store. I refused to be mommy shamed – when I was actively parenting my child.
And here is where the story turns – he says to me you’re.not.hearing.me. Had I stopped, listened, not been on guard and been defensive maybe I would have (But this scenario has happened to me before in the store where someone was not loving my kids behavior and were vocal about it. And ya know, those past experiences stick with us, try as we might to forget them.) He did have a pretty thick accent and my mommy ears thought they heard one thing and it turns out it was another.
He said my son was a 5 year old kindergartner, they should be running…or something along those lines.
I got pretty embarrassed of my previous, sassy tone. We agreed that boys will be boys and parted ways. But I thought to myself what if I didn’t hear him right and he wasn’t the type of person to clarify it wasn’t a jab or judgement. I would have gone on thinking he was ONE OF THOSE commenters at the grocery store – the ones out to get us parents if our kids even think of acting like something remotely resembling a kid.
It had me thinking, did I just mommy shame myself?! Was I judging myself for my kid running in the store? Did that make me act the way I did to basically an innocent bystander?
Maybe some would say yes and some would say no but it just had me wondering if sometimes – just sometimes these “mommy shaming” situations might not be what we thought. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been on the receiving end of mommy shaming but this time it was not like that.