Yesterday morning while I was getting ready I had the Today Show on in the background. They had a small segment on mom-shaming and, of course, I had to know what they were talking about. It wasn’t anything I haven’t already talked about (here or here) but the topic was getting a little attention after the internet went bonkers when photos of Chrissy Teigen and her husband on a dinner date were released. Essentially, all of the assholes on the internet were pissed that they left their baby at home to go on a dinner date so soon – the baby is two(ish) weeks old (and probably sleeping 20 hours a day like most new babies do) – God forbid! GASP!
The unbelievable amount of backlash triggered the story on mom-shaming. They gave a couple other recent examples, like this mom who wrote a pretty legit public Facebook post after being told “breast is best” while shopping for baby formula in Target. Yawn. And this mom’s story about people criticizing her parenting after a photo of her 7-year old daughter riding on the back of a motorcycle was posted on FB. The segment was, unconvincingly, “urging” people to stop all the mom-shaming and of course ended with the ‘what do you think?’ open-ended, semi-neutral journalism BS.
Here was my immediate train of thought.
Well, duh. That was stupid. People are assholes. Why is it “mom-shaming”? Where the fuck are all the dads? Would that old lady have said that to a man standing in the formula aisle? That little girl was on the back of that motorcycle with a dude – where’s he at? Chrissy Tiegen wasn’t eating alone for fuck’s sake!
Then I walked away from the TV, irritated beyond belief, because – JESUS – it’s 2016; these kids have two parents, mom’s have lives, women have rights and wouldn’t you also know WE HAVE FULLY FUNCTIONAL BRAINS! Politicians want to be the ones to decide what we can and cannot do with our bodies like we’re fucking imbeciles and yet everyone in society wants to treat us as if we’re the only ones who are capable of responsibly nurturing, growing and molding the future generations of this nation. WAIT. You don’t trust me to make my own choices but you trust and FULLY expect me to care for and make all decisions for this nation’s offspring? UM. Whaaa? It’s evident in the way we treat the mothers in this country, the way we approach parental (aka maternity) leave in this country, the way we treat the fathers in this country, the way we advertise, the way we treat pregnant women, the stigmas we perpetuate and the stereotypes we condone that we have a serious issue here.
Throughout the day I kept coming back to two questions: Where are the dads in all of this? Why aren’t they getting dad-shamed? The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder if all the mom-shaming is actually something we, as moms, are perpetuating. It’s not the Dads’ faults that dad-shaming isn’t a thing – nor is it their fault that as a nation we’re not totally ready to step up and count them in. I started thinking about the stories mentioned above and it’s not that people weren’t necessarily criticizing both parents but more so that we, as moms, don’t take that shit lightly – and while part of me says we shouldn’t, another part of me is shrugging like who gives a fuck about your opinion – girl, bye!
We want to stand up to the agenda-pushing moms, we’re sick of sitting back and living carefully curated lives because there’s a gross, extremely relentless class of pushy, juice-cleansing, organic mothers who got a player hater’s degree from some undisclosed ivy-league school who won’t sit down. We want them to mind their own fucking business. We want them to know we’re not going to take their shit. But mostly we want them to know we’re comfortable with our mothering choices – but if we’re constantly defending them, is that how it comes off?
I can’t tell. I don’t know. I wish I did.
How long will we defend ourselves before it just gets tired? Probably long before the relentless bullies will stop bullying. I’m already tired of their bologna. Growing up with a younger brother who picked on me all of the time I can’t even tell you how many times I heard, “Megan, if you just ignore him, he’ll stop. He’s only doing it to get a rise out of you.” It would be nice if the mom shaming stopped, of course it would, but maybe it’s time to take my mom’s words of wisdom and move on. Those women have too much time on their hands and let’s be honest, they’re also sort of delusional if they think tweeting at a celebrity who’s nanny is probably a better mom than some is going to prevent them from going on a fucking dinner date.
Do men get a “pass” in this whole parenting thing? Yes, they do. But do they want it? I’m not really sold that they all do. Trust me, I know plenty who do, but Seth doesn’t and I’m grateful for that. Seth also doesn’t give a flying fuck about what other moms, or dads for that matter, have to say about our choices. He doesn’t care if we breastfeed or formula feed, he doesn’t care if Matty watches a TV while eating Cheetos (OH, THE TERROR!) and he absolutely doesn’t care at all what you think about it. He cares that our boys are happy, that they’re healthy. He cares that I’m happy and he cares that I know he thinks I’m doing great and that our kids are happy and healthy. Much easier said than done for a Mom but maybe that’s why dad-shaming doesn’t exist. Dads don’t give a fuck about anybody else’s opinion. If some old lady went up to Seth in the formula aisle and told him “breast is best”, I can 100% guarantee you he would laugh in her face. Would he tell me about it? Probably, because he’d think it was hilarious but he’d also regret it as soon as my blood started boiling and my mouth started moving. And maybe it should or maybe it shouldn’t get under my skin but I’m personally starting to think he’s onto something.
Also, can anyone recall a time where a man gave you unsolicited parenting advice? I haven’t gotten any and it definitely doesn’t seem to be an issue. So maybe that’s another lesson about not giving a fuck we can take from the Dads. They really seem to know their place is sure as fuck not in my business.
Thanks to all the Dads for keeping it real. And a big thanks to all the dads out there empowering the mother of their children to have lives, to be individuals, to speak their truths and especially for rallying behind them when other moms attack. Ooooh, True Life: When Moms Attack?
You don’t get enough credit, you’re doing great.