Mom guilt is a hot topic in parenthood these days. If you Google search it, you will find 59.3 million articles on the subject.
It is real and affects so many mothers these days. With information coming at us from all sides, it can be hard to know what’s truly best for our children. And considering every child is so vastly different, it’s not too far-fetched to argue mother always knows best.
But lately, I’ve noticed a growing trend where moms are afraid to voice their opinions and advice. We see other mothers struggling and hesitate to offer our help out of fear they will take it as condemnation or judgment. We don’t want to feed into the societal notion of mom guilt, so we bite our tongue and leave them to figure it out for themselves.
Why? Because 9 out of 10 times, a mom will snap back with defensive excuses rather than listening to the advice. Moms are superheroes most of the time, but our Kryptonite is often asking for help.
We are determined to be strong, independent women. Single mothers are even more stubborn asking for help because we’ve become so accustomed to figuring things out for ourselves.
But the truth is, asking for help or accepting it doesn’t make you less independent or strong. It makes you human.
We are social creatures. We aren’t meant to take on the challenges of the world alone. The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child“, is a cliche for a reason. It’s 100% true whether you want to admit it or not.
Maybe the mom sending you an article about a recent recall of a popular baby item isn’t criticizing you for using that rocking sleeper, maybe she is simply making sure her friends are aware of potential dangers they might not have seen.
Maybe the mom telling you how she sleep-trained her one-year-old isn’t rubbing it in your face, maybe she wants you to be able to sleep through the night just as much as you do.
We need to discuss the realities of mom ego just as much as mom guilt. Both inhibit our ability to be the best parents we can be. Because that defensive anger you feel when someone gives you parenting advice is just that: ego.
You don’t have to take their advice. Maybe they don’t have the best intentions when telling you. But most of the time, they really just want to help. Even if they aren’t conveying it the best way.
Being open to at least hearing them out is so much more beneficial than immediately shutting them down regardless of how useful the information may be.
As more experienced mothers, let’s check our own egos when offering advice to new mothers. Approach a subject from a place of understanding and empathy rather than authority and judgment.
You were a new mother once, too. Put yourself in their shoes.
Make funny faces at the child fussing in the grocery cart instead of looking to their mother to shut them up. Reassure the frazzled mother at her wits end that you have those days, too.
Parenting isn’t a competition. We’re all in this together and figuring it out as we go.
So let’s all collectively agree to stop putting up this front like we’re the perfect parents and just be real with each other. Check your mom ego. Other parents aren’t perfect and neither are you.