Parenting Expectations vs Reality: Why We Are Bad Moms

We all love unsolicited parenting tips, don’t we?

People sharing their “wisdom” that we didn’t quite ask for. Ways that they did it better, ways that we should be doing it.

It hurts, doesn’t it? It makes you feel inadequate, like you’re failing your kids. After all, for most of you, your deepest desire is just to be a good mom.

Truth bomb time.

I’m an awful mom.  Really.  My kids are wrecked for life. Why is that, you ask?

For one thing, I don’t feed them a completely organic diet. We’re big junk food lovers.

I’m awful at sleep training. They still wake up looking for me at 4.5 and 3.

And I let them- GASP- have screen time. Yep. They love Blippi.

So, yeah. I’m a bad mom.

Well, that’s what the average keyboard warrior would have me believe.

I- Me. Their mom. The person who gave birth to them, and loves them more than anyone- know that I love my children and would do anything to keep them happy, warm, loved, fed, and snuggled up tight for as long as possible.

Chances are, you’re the same way. Keep reading to find out more about mom shaming, and what you can do instead to support your fellow parent.

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Are you a bad mom?

What happens when you vulnerably expose yourself online? When the community you thought you had found on Facebook turns against you? When you reveal the tenderest flesh of your heart, trusting your ‘friends” (ie, followers) to build you up, and tell you that, despite your insecurities, you have it all together?

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Sometimes, we post about our parenting insecurities online, and we are met with backlash.  Maybe it is in the form of a derisive comment or unwanted message.  Maybe it’s in the form of a family member taking you aside in private at a gathering. But it happens to all moms.

Knock on wood, this has not happened to me recently, but I wanted to address an epidemic that I see tainting social media on a daily basis.

A mom makes an innocent post.  Maybe she posts a picture of her messy house. Maybe it’s a picture of her baby drinking a bottle of formula.  Or maybe her kids are watching TV so she can get things done.

Usually, most of her friends are supportive, their comments showing understanding, and the very NOW sentiment of “You go, girl.” But sometimes… sometimes there is THAT PERSON.

Maybe it’s an aunt that you haven’t seen in years but don’t have the heart to de-friend.  Maybe it’s a friend from a mommy group. They see your post, and they can’t help but comment or message you telling you that you suck at this momming thing.

We have all had it happen.  Hell, we have all done it to others.  I have. And I know anyone reading this has.  At the very least, you have THOUGHT those things about someone. So what can we do? How can we learn from this, and make Facebook and Instagram kinder places?

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Parenting expectations vs reality

YES, sometimes it is helpful to say something. (For example, if you see someone post a picture of their child in a car seat and is not strapped in correctly. That is a matter of safety and a POLITE message is acceptable if it comes from a loving place.)

But… we need to remember: Not everything needs to be commented on.

  • That mom who does not work outside of the home and has a messy house? She might be going through a really tough situation that is depriving her of the energy needed for house work.
  • Baby drinking formula? Cool, that baby is being fed.  NEXT.
  • The mom whose kids are watching TV? Listen, moms need time to chill.  Parenting is very taxing, and yes, sometimes my kids watch TV. And I watch TV.  Quietly.  On my phone. With subtitles.
  • The mom who is just desperate to make it through the day so she can take a bath and down a few glasses of wine? Despite what you think, she actually DOES love her children. Being with little ones all day is really freaking hard.

What can you do instead?

I wrote a post recently all about how long our days are as moms.  A day in the life of a mom is so hard. So, when you see a mom online who is struggling in some way, what can you do instead of judging her?

  • Offer a play date so you guys can catch up and have some adult conversation while the kids play.
  • If you are in the position to, offer to help with child care so she can get a break.
  • Cook dinner for her to help lighten her load.
  • Most importantly, STOP JUDGING HER.
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parenting expectations vs reality

Momming is hard.

Yes, bad moms exists, but more often than not, we are all just tiny specks floating in a sea of diapers and chaos and mucus, hoping we can make it til bed time. Confession time: I love baths, working out, watching TV, letting my kids watch TV, and venting about the day to my husband. Also, I love my daughters.  With all my heart.  So does that mom online. Remember that.

Have you ever been shamed by another mom? Or, be honest, have you ever done it to someone else? Let me know your story in the comments, and don’t forget to share this post!

Remember: we all have different parenting styles, and we’re all doing our best.

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