Dear Social Media Moms
Published on June 23, 2016
Right from the start, I already knew that I was born to be a mother. It was more than a dream because deep in my heart, I knew that one of my purposes in life is to raise kind-hearted individuals. The road I had to take to make that dream become a reality was long and bumpy. My husband and I had battled four years of infertility and a difficult pregnancy. That’s why when Zayne came into our lives, we vowed to be the best parents we could ever be.
Even before I became a Nanay to my Little Kolokoy, I made sure to be surrounded with wonderful mommy friends. I know that it takes a village to raise a child so I made sure to choose the right people to help me in raising my daughter. I started following different mommy online personalities. I made it a habit to read mommy blogs and almost all articles about parenting. I told myself that if I want to become a good mother, I needed to fill my brain with all the helpful information to make me succeed.
I learned a lot in this process – mostly the “technicalities” of being a parent. I had become a well-known soon-to-be mom who learned a thing or two about breastfeeding, various food choices for babies, dealing with post-partum depression, surviving the first few months of having a newborn baby in the house, vaccines, choosing a pediatrician, life insurance for kids, and I even went beyond learning about traditional vs progressive schools. Again these are just purely “technicalities”. These are the things that helped me come up with my own decisions for my child. And I, a neophyte mother, will forever be grateful to all social media moms for helping me get through this thing called motherhood. But aside from learning the ins and outs of motherhood, I also observed one sad truth – that mommy wars are really happening! And sadly, every social media mom has become a part of it!
I know that some moms who’ll get to read this will agree with me. No two kids are alike. What may work for some kids may not work for others. So I guess it’s safe to say that every kid needs a different kind of “mothering”.
My daughter is exclusively breastfed. I joined local and international breastfeeding support groups. But sad to say, mommy-shaming happens around the world. One mom posts a photo of her using a nursing cover, and she gets bashed for making her child uncomfortable. One mom posts a photo of a breastfeeding station, and she gets bashed for using one! I’m all for this “normalize breastfeeding” advocacy because I don’t see why other people would shame a mom for doing something natural. “I’m feeding my child, idiots! I'm not showing my boobs for attention, perverts!” But a mom shaming another mom on social media just because she goes to a breastfeeding station or uses a nursing cover is no different than those idiots and perverts! I go to breastfeeding stations in malls because Zayne nurses for AT LEAST 30 minutes. My husband uses this window to do his errands like going to the hardware store or having his haircut done. It’s a win-win situation. I use a nursing cover because Zayne gets cold easily. In short, she allows me to use a nursing cover, and she is more comfortable feeding in a breastfeeding station. Am I less of a mother just because I cover my breast when she feeds? Does using a breastfeeding station make me a bad mother? My baby’s needs are different from yours. I’ve seen some babies who demand to have milk more frequently. Parang ginagawang Starbucks ang dede ng nanay. Sip ng sip every 5 seconds. But my baby is not like that. I feed my baby, and it does not matter whether my breast is covered or uncovered. It does not matter whether I do it in a quiet breastfeeding station or in the middle of a busy food court. I seriously hope some mothers will stop being purists who pick on other mothers who do not conform with their motherhood standards. I hope social media moms will become more “forgiving” and less critical of their fellow mothers.
And oh, this is just among breastfeeding moms! Let’s not get into breastfeeding vs formula feeding moms! I know that no scientific study has ever proven that formula milk is better than breastmilk. I always tell soon-to-be moms to make formula milk their LAST resort because breast is still best. But other moms should stop treating formula milk like a poison. I know a lot of moms with Polyscystic Ovarian Syndrome who resorted to formula feeding because inadequate milk supply is connected with PCOS. Does it make them a bad mother?
Oh, wait! There are moms who let their babies drink from a bottle, but those who cupfeed their babies think they are better moms! Moms who use cloth diapers bash those who use disposable diapers because they accuse the latter of being lazy. Moms who read books to their kids think they’ll have smarter kids over those moms who let their kids use gadgets. When your kids watch TV, you’re automatically a bad mother! Moms who let their kids eat chips deserve to be crucified... according to moms who feed their kids 100% organic food! Mothers who babywear assume they are more caring over those who use strollers. All moms should co-sleep with their kids! If you don’t, yes, you’re right, you are a bad mother! And apparently, the most popular war is that between working moms and stay-at-home moms. (Hanggang ngayon, pinag-aawayan nila kung sino ang mas pagod!)
Mothers, who are supposed to make this world a better place to live in, are spreading unnecessary hatred! Can’t we all just get along well? How can our kids live in a better world if mothers are cutting each other's throat?! Can we please stop making other mothers feel inferior just because their choices are different from ours? Is it too hard to educate other moms without shaming them? Why do other moms have the strong sense of entitlement shoving their opinions down the throats of other mothers? Is it too hard to let another mom celebrate her baby’s milestones without passing any judgments?
I’m not playing a saint here. Although I don’t go out of my way to bash a mom, I’m also guilty of silently participating in mommy wars. I see a mom doing something different from what I do, and my head starts to paint a picture of her as a bad mother. So to all the moms that I have victimized, I’m sorry. I really am.
Mothers should be empowering each other.
Stop this nonsense competition.
Stop the hating.
Stop the shaming.
Stop the fighting.
Stop the bullying.
Let us all be the best version of mother that our children deserve.
Let us all strive to be the kind of mothers that this world needs.
And most importantly, let us allow all mothers all over the world to enjoy motherhood without worrying whether or not they fit into the “mold” of this society. (Shet, ang deep! :p)
High five, fellow moms!
As long as you’re not raising spoiled brats, then you’re doing this world a big favor! Hahaha! :p