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Mom Shaming During the Pandemic

“I heard that Jamie let her daughter go to the library without wearing a mask. Doesn’t she care about her daughter?” Of course, they may not realize that Jamie’s daughter has a medical condition that makes wearing a mask difficult. It doesn’t really matter, does it? We all know people who are intent on shaming others, no matter what the circumstances.

Unfortunately, the quarantining and pandemic seems to have brought out the worst in us. The catty behavior of Mom Shaming needs to stop. Add to that, the increased exposure of parenting styles via Zoom and social media has magnified things we might not usually see. It can get ugly fast. It either comes out bitter and nasty, or passive-aggressive, but it’s getting worse.

You know who I’m talking about. You see them leaning in and whispering to their friend, “Travis’s mother doesn’t seem to care that everybody’s child will suffer because of her choice to not vaccinate if a COVID vaccine comes out.” It can go both ways. “I can’t believe she would let them use Travis like a guinea pig and vaccinate him if a solution comes out. Hello, how much can we trust a vaccine rushed through the process?”

Please, stop. It isn’t helping anyone.

If you recognize you’re falling into a trap of negativity or quickly judging other people’s choices, you simply don’t live in their shoes. The shaming of mothers has taken its toll, and in a time we’re all struggling, doesn’t it make more sense to support one another?

Don’t make assumptions. Ashlyn may be going back to school, because if her mother doesn’t work, there won’t be food on the table or a roof over her head. Not everybody can afford to not work. There are critical choices to make.

We’re all stressed out. Nobody gets to pretend like the pandemic didn’t happen. Our lives are forever changed. It’s global, not simply in your little corner of the world. Nobody has been through this before. We’re all learning. We all need to give ourselves grace.

Remember the hoarding of toilet paper? Can you believe people stocked up? How dare them! Or, thank goodness they were able to stock up, because next time they went there was no toilet paper left. You simply can’t win. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The real horror is the way that it’s become acceptable to nitpick every tiny choice people make. When did it become your business to tear other people apart? If you’ve noticed your edges are raw and are quick to judge something, step back. Take a deep breath. Figure out what’s really causing you to react. If you’re the one being shamed, let it roll off your back.

Don’t let the opinions of those who don’t matter in your life touch you. It’s not worth the anxiety.

What can you do when you’re feeling judged?

How to Ignore the Rude Shaming Chatter?

On Psychology Today, David Sack M.D., says to untangle your feelings, unhook from the situation, and recognize your triggers. If you’re the one being shamed, take care of yourself. Learn how to separate the situation from the people doing the shaming.

Listen, their opinion of you is simply that, one opinion. People often shame out of their own bitterness and disappointments. They fear a lack of control, so try to control others via their words.

With the pandemic, we’re all trying to figure out how to juggle our responsibilities and doing the best we can for our families. That is your focus—what is best for you and your children. Keep that in mind and ignore the naysayers.

There’s no easy choice. Look, even schools don’t know what to do. Every school district is

making different decisions. Every government. Every state, every city, every small town.

There’s no one answer for everybody. There’s no cohesion. That’s a problem, but it’s going to remain a problem because we still don’t have a hold on this thing. Then, even with rules in place, rules get broken. Not everybody follows the rules.

Our nerves are frayed. Work. School. Money. How do we manage it all in a circumstance that closed countless businesses, sent us packing home, and shut down places that we sometimes go to release stress like going out to eat or working out at a gym, or hanging out with friends at the local pool or park?

  • Be the voice of reason if you notice your friends or family starting the practice.

  • Take the high road and don’t join in.

  • If you’re the one being shamed, either tune them out, if it’s someone on your social media feed, mute them or delete their feed.

  • Act in a way that will set a positive example for your kids. Sometimes it’s in the way that we react to something uncomfortable where we learn who we are. How would you suggest your child handle a bully? Because, let’s face it, shaming is the adult-form of bullying.

Did you know the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a website on bullying? While this specific page speaks to cyber bullying of school children, there are great tips here as reminders when somebody is a “hater” and causing you distress.

In an article about adult bullying, Ellen Hendrikson, Ph. D. says, “Sadly, adult bullying behavior identically reflects childhood bully behavior: it methodically targets a person with the intention to intimidate, undermine, or degrade.”

Sadly, the topic of public shaming has gotten so big, that even a channel like CNN has covered it. In their article they quote clinical psychologist June Tangney as saying, “The pandemic has people understandably worried about their safety. So, when someone acts in a way that appears to be putting others at risk, we might get scared or angry.”

It’s not our place to police others. We all need to make the best decisions we can, but by putting the added stress on others—it’s not helping anyone.

Kindness is Healing

Kindness is the answer. Being kind not only helps those you reach out to, but it also helps boost your well-being according to Mental Health America, a non-profit organization which was first founded in 1909!

  • If you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, consider helping somebody else. Then you end up feeling good that you’re doing good, and you brighten somebody else’s day.

  • Kindness can be contagious. Those random acts spread. Be the voice of kindness.

  • Choose to use words of kindness, rather than striking back or getting sucked into the conversation and adding to it to feel included.

Lastly, if you find you’re still struggling, find a place where you feel supported if you’re overwhelmed. That can be online, off-line, speaking to family or friends, or speaking with a professional. Don’t let another person’s negative behavior shift you into a pattern of frustration or depression. Know that they’re coming from a place of dissatisfaction and are striking out via a vulnerability. It’s mean, aggressive, and wrong, but reality says it’s still bound to happen time to time. The best thing you can do is control how you choose to react in the situation. That’s the one thing we have control over.


About the Author

Kelly Hater has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.

She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. She has two kids of her own so she gets it. BOOK A FREE CALL

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