Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mother Shaming

About 8 of my friends have posted this on Facebook and it makes me feel angry. It's a "letter" written to a woman who dares to check her phone while watching her kids in the park. I'm going to stick up for mothers here, but before I do, here is the post that has irked me. Above the text is a picture of a woman standing 5 feet from her kids as they play, while she checks her phone. Here is the text.

"Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Mom, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, during all of these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all. ♥"

Now I'm going to tear into this shit.

1) I get sick of people judging mothers for every little freaking thing. Are the kids neglected? Are they being abused? Then shut up and stop judging her. She's doing fine, and you have no business criticizing her so harshly.

2) If it were a father checking his phone as he watched his kids in the park, women would be gaga, thinking it was the sweetest thing in the world. If he checks his phone, it's probably because of something important and work related. After all, he has to provide for those kids.

But it's a woman on the phone. So she's probably just doing something "selfish" like shopping for shoes. Whore.

3) Who is writing this garbage? Maybe she should step down off her high horse for a minute and join us in the real world. Because in reality, you CANNOT devote EVERY SECOND to paying attention to your kids. It is not physically possible. And contrary to what idiots would have you believe, not every moment of childhood is precious. A lot of those moments are boring drudgery. I remember childhood. Not every moment of it needed to be recorded, savored and cherished.

This isn't the only example of Mother Shaming I've seen, it's just the most recent.

The worst thing about it is that the hyper-judgment comes from women, not men! These mothers - who should be sticking together and supporting each other - spend huge amounts of time and effort trying to tear down other mothers. I don't know why. Maybe noticing flaws in other mothering styles makes them feel better about their own parenting skills. Maybe they're just mean people.

(I know that not all mothers behave this way. I'm just talking about the ones who do.)

Look, being a mother is an important job. We all get that. But maybe take the holier-than-thou crap down a notch. The kids are gonna be fine.

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