Social media can be a blessing and curse.
It’s a great way to keep in touch with relatives and friends near and far, to celebrate achievements, excursions and more. It’s also a way to support and comfort in times of trouble and tragedy, to catch up on the latest news and even to get a few laughs.
Unfortunately, social media has become a way to accuse, accost, tease and shame for appearances and actions. It has also become a place where people disagree to agree and rant in thread after thread.
Parent shaming has to be among the worst of these, and the examples are many. Just take a look at events from this week, one of which turned tragic at Disney World. Soooooo many people — parents or not — are quick to point out the right and wrong way to raise children.
In a story that appeared Tuesday on today.com, country singer Jana Kramer become the target of “mom-shaming” after she posted an Instagram photo of store-bought baby food for her daughter, Jolie Rae Caussin, 4 months.
“And it begins,” the caption read, noting the big move from formula to baby food.
Bring on the comments! One ridiculed the store-bought food because she (or he?) makes “my own baby food.”
Well, good for you, parent! You’re entitled to do it. Just because you do doesn’t mean that every mom should, too. Maybe you have the time and ambition to make your own food. Great. Have at it.
I nursed both of my children from birth — one longer than the other — but my one sis chose to bottlefeed. Did I ridicule her? No. I supported her. I told her that it was her choice to choose bottle over breast. Her daughter turned out just fine. She’s a talented dancer and an enrichment student at school. A lack of breast milk certainly hasn’t stunted her growth or intelligence.
So how did Jana reply to the naysayers? She wrote a message on a notebook page and shared it on Instagram:
“Dear Mommy Shamers,
Unless you are Jolie’s doctor, her father (who is football player Mike Caussin), or her mom, do NOT (underlined) tell me how to raise my child, or how to feed her. Sincerely, Jolie’s MOM (underlined three times).”
Good for you, Jana!
As evidenced in Jana’s situation, the tragic turn of events in Florida and in something as petty letting your children eat dessert before dinner — YES, I have done that, but they did eat dinner afterward! — we all have our own ways of parenting. How we parent is OUR business. Some ways work for one family but not another. Some things unfortunately happen, and we should support one another instead analyzing the coulda, woulda, shouldas.
So feed, clothe, educate, support and love your children your way. Rise above the naysayers and smile. They’ll either stew more or quiet down.
And try not to join the shamers. Nobody’s perfect.