This pandemic has been challenging, and parenting has incurred even more unexpected demands for keeping children emotionally and physically healthy. What is considered safe seems to change daily, creating even more uncertainty and stress. Parents naturally look to other parents to evaluate what is best in their situation. Since not everyone is doing the same thing, you may feel judged whether you go back to work, stay home, send your child to school, or keep them home for online classes. Many parents feel as though no matter what they choose, they are taking a risk.
A recent poll finds that most American moms feel judged online or in person for the way they parent, and the pandemic has made it even worse. 61 percent of responders have been criticized for a variety of parental decisions, including the way they discipline, whether or not they send their child to school, what they feed their children, how much sleep their children get, and whether they breast or bottle feed.
Standing up for yourself can be tricky through so much uncertainty, but it’s important for you and your child’s emotional health that you feel confident in your parenting skills and can defend your choices. Here are suggestions for coping with unhelpful comments and online shaming.
1. Keep in mind why some people find it necessary to judge others. Moms who shame others may be covering up their own insecurity or guilt. Some of the harshest criticism comes from moms who regret their choices.
2. Spend more time with those who support your parenting. Your friends and family should understand what a difficult job it is to be a parent. Limit your social media searches to encouraging and helpful pages.
3. Use your humor and understand part of being a parent is being imperfect. Most parents have days when everything goes wrong and that is okay.
4. Online perfection is not real life. People who critique other moms may be putting up a smokescreen for chaos or dissatisfaction in their own home. Again, they are covering up insecurities and doubts they feel day in and day out.
5. You know your child better than anyone else. You are the only one who knew your baby before he or she was born. Be confident in the fact that no one else loves or has cared for your baby as much as you.
No parent is perfect or has all the answers. Educate yourself as best you can, seek counsel from those in trusted fields, turn to loved ones for support, and have faith your child will survive and thrive if they are in your care.