Can We Just Stop Mom Shaming?

©Diego Cervo via

When I think of women supporting one another, I imagine them standing together no matter what and uplifting each other. Therefore, imagine my shock on my bi-daily trip to Target when a lady recently mom shamed me because of my children’s unthwarted behavior. On this particular day, they were so excited, with lots of loud laughing and lots of ” no…stop….put it down….quiet down.” It was exhausting for me, so I assumed that anyone accessing the situation would think this was chaotic and give me the typical look of empathy. That is not what occurred on this particular day.

For a little backstory, my mother would never have such behavior because she would warn my brother and me before entering any retail establishment. She would say, ” If I want you to have it, I will give it to you; do not touch anything.” My brother and I heeded the warning, moved quietly, and touched nothing. We knew that if we did, our mother would not be opposed to repeating the rules while gritting her teeth, which would be both effective and embarrassing.

My husband would say that I am too lenient with the kids, forsaking that they are no longer little babies that would sit in the cart; they are kids ready to explore and ask for things. Adults lose control in Target; imagine what it does to kids.  I am an empath when I see a mother with unruly children. I never once thought of what she could be doing wrong; I always think that if kids are misbehaving, they must get it from their father’s side (just joking…maybe). I never think that she deserves for her kids to misbehave or that she isn’t doing enough; I always think, “Girl, I understand,” or if I am alone, how can I help?

As we went through the checkout, I was overly elated to be ending my Target run. Of course, there lies the candy and immediate need for Skittles. Once I checked out, there was a lady behind me whom I had seen a couple of times during this nightmare shopping trip with my children, who stopped me on the way out to say, ” You have got to do better getting ahold of those kids.” I felt myself sink into a hole that I didn’t think I would make it out of because I felt so much shame.

It is important to know that this lady was older and African American. This is important to the story because, in our community, commenting on other people’s children is a sign of love. The Black community has fully embraced the idea that it takes a village to raise a child, and that was the only thing that kept this moment from being more embarrassing. Nonetheless, at that moment, I was mad at myself for the way they behaved and more upset that she didn’t care that I was trying.

I realized a few things at this moment: 1. When you comment on a mother’s parenting, it doesn’t help the situation; it takes her down a hole that makes her feel that she is failing. Mom shaming helps no one. Number 2. Being a mother is so hard that we create our own community, Motherhood. It is important that we are understood by the people who are doing this job with us. So, let’s be accountable for not making other mothers feel they are somehow failing because their kids misbehave. Instead, offer to pick her up something from Starbucks.


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