School is almost out for the summer! Yes, this means vacations, day trips and BBQs. This also means swim suits, blockbuster movies and late night ice cream consuming. All of these fun, memory making moments can breed the perfect storm for full on mom shaming! Come on, ladies. Can we just play nice in the proverbial and actual sand box and just enjoy the summer??
We’ve all seen the memes and inspirational videos urging moms everywhere to throw all caution to the wind, put on that bathing suit and take carefree pictures with our children frolicking on the beach without a care of stomach rolls or stretch marks or varicose veins. As a woman who has recovered from an eating disorder, these inspirational thoughts really resonate with me. Yes! Moms, let’s forget about our insecurities and be the “live in the moment” moms that our children crave for the fleeting summer months we have with them! Unfortunately, I’ve read and heard way too many negative comments surrounding those of us who take these words to heart. Instead of celebrating the women who decide it’s time to feel comfortable in their skin, I’ve witnessed nasty criticism to the sound of “I would be embarrassed if she was my friend” and “she should not be wearing that bathing suit in public”. Body Image Mom Shaming.
There was recently a lot of backlash over the movie Red Shoes and 7 Dwarves claiming body shaming after some very disturbing and inappropriate movie ads and trailers were released. I was very disappointed that this movie, which is described as a family film, would seemingly draw parallels between beauty and a thin, tall physique. The teasers showed shame and disgust for someone “not beautiful” (what if Snow White was not so beautiful? is adorned on the movie poster), which in this case was short and full figured. (I am aware that the stars and creators of the film have addressed and apologized about this, but in my opinion this was simply damage control to a very poor creative marketing decision.) I was speaking with a group of mothers regarding the movie over some coffee. While we all agreed that this was unacceptable, some were placing this movie in the same vein as other princess and fairy tale movies. They began to rip into the movies and the mothers who found the movies acceptable. Myself, along with a few other moms present, did not feel the same way. I personally do not feel that all princess movies and fairy tales place a negative or weak image of women in my daughter’s head. If you recall from a previous blog post, my daughter associates princesses with strength, determination and heroism versus damsels in distress looking only for love to be happy. As we sat having coffee, it was obvious that those of us who allow the princess craze to take over the playrooms and bedrooms in our homes were being judged for approving of such “horrible” role models. Princess Mom Shaming.
I will never deny that my child does not eat well. She is a horrible eater! But it is not for lack of trying on my part. I put healthy options in front of her, but usually she’s down to some old reliable carbs. I’m always hoping that today will be the day that she will surprise me and try something new or eat a vegetable. Alas, that day has yet to come. However, during the holidays and summers, while my food strategy is still unwavering, I let my daughter indulge a little more that I normally would. After all, what’s summer without having a melting ice cream cone on a hot night! Unfortunately, this simple indulgence is met by unsolicited parenting advice. Last summer, I took my daughter for a cone at the local ice cream shop. It was later than I would’ve liked, but we had just finished dinner with friends and wanted to cap the night off with something sweet. As we sat on the sidewalk eating our creamy treats, a woman asked me if I thought it was a good idea to give a young child ice cream so late at night. That was followed by a lecture on how consuming sweets could lead my daughter into the obesity epidemic. Sweet Treat Mom Shaming.
So there you have it. School’s out for summer. Here’s hoping that we can all acknowledge that we have different parenting styles, different beliefs, different hardships. We are all different kinds of moms. But we are all moms. Just trying to make the world work. Trying to make memories. Trying to do what’s best for our families. Let’s just mom and let mom. Because momming is hard enough without the mom shaming.