I deleted a truly horrible comment from my blog this weekend in which one mom ripped into another who had left a comment describing the struggles she is going through as a mother. The commentor had said (and I hate to repeat any of it, but for illustration’s purpose) things like, “You don’t deserve to be a mother, shame on you!”
How can anyone think this will motivate change?!
I can only imagine that person is filled with their own debilitating shame and pain, to unleash something like that. But it’s not the first time that I have confronted this attitude.
In this age of parenting we make many connections online, and often gain support online. However, it also means our actions can be needlessly examined and judged.
Stop! No more shaming!
The retort I’ve heard is, “If you didn’t want people replying, don’t post it online.”
I don’t buy it.
Of course, we’re not dumb, it’s worth being careful where you post things, but there is no reason we can’t create safe online places to talk about parenting. Not everyone is so lucky as to have friends or family with whom they can openly discuss parenting difficulties and issues. We need these safe spaces to learn and talk about this messy and often overwhelming task.
We see all of the glossy and pretty parts that people post (because, frankly, you don’t want pictures from the time my 3 year old had a stomach flu the entire 9 hour drive…) We also need to have places we can post about the difficult and confusing parts of our life, so that we can do the work of becoming better people and raising better people.
This work will not be motivated by being shamed. We do not require being shamed or ridiculed by others to make big parenting changes. We need love to have the courage to do this work.
Love is the backbone.
When you act and speak out of love you speak from a place of strength.
What gives you the strength to care for your newborn through those sleepless nights?
What gives you the strength to be there at the death bed, or in the hospital, or on the other end of the phone line when your family is facing the worst?
And what gives you the strength to wake up the day after you’ve completely screwed up in this parenting game, when you feel ashamed and broken, and you don’t know the answers nor do you want to learn any more answers; what makes you take that next step and try to do better?
Is it more shame?! No!
You get up and you try again because you LOVE your family.
And every day I hear from people like you who manage that feat. We are imperfect, we don’t always get it right.
But we’re here, doing the work.
I honor you for being willing to tell your stories here. And you will NOT be bullied in my house.
We cannot heal if we cannot tell out stories.
We cannot tell our stories if we are concerned about being attacked.
I will be doing my best to prevent any further bullying in our discussions. I have always worked to make this a respectful and safe space, but now I have filters in place to catch inflammatory language and premoderate those comments. I only wish I had put the preventative comment catching policy into place sooner.
We are a no SHAME parenting community. We want to raise children who are responsible and respectful adults and that starts with the dignity and respect we model every time we interact with other people – whether they are online or face to face.
Be a LIGHT for the people around you!
Listen with respect.
Ask questions with genuine curiosity.
Do your own work and be KIND.
We can make a difference.
No More SHAME.
If you have been feeling alone, you may find inspiration in any of the following posts: