XOMU: Sticks, stones, and mom-shaming
Sometimes, the words really hurt
I shared a Reel on Instagram two weeks ago that has been viewed more than 600,000 times so far. In the video, I say that though divorcing when my son was just a year old wasn’t on my Bingo card (nor would I have chosen it), I make the most of my “off” parenting weeks and use them to build my business, travel, and practice self-care. I also said, quite clearly, that I don’t feel guilty about enjoying that time off as a mom.
That last part is the one that drew the trolls, mom-shamers, and Judgey McJudgersons—mostly from people who self-identified as mothers themselves. “I hope your kid doesn’t see this, he’ll be traumatized.” “What a sh*tty mom, you only have him half-time and you don’t even miss him when he’s gone.” “You sound like a narcissist, your kid is gonna need therapy.”
Watching a woman try to–and especially succeed in–“having it all” disrupts the status quo, and brings about feelings of insecurity, jealousy, anger, or fear.
I both don’t understand and totally understand a mother who goes out of her way specifically to try and tear another mother down. Internalized misogyny is very real, and we have all absorbed the idea that our worth and value is tied up in being a selfless wife or mother (meaning our worth isn’t inherent, it’s attached to someone more important than us). Watching a woman try to–and especially succeed in–“having it all” disrupts the status quo, and brings about feelings of insecurity, jealousy, anger, or fear. And it’s all too easy to lash out and be an asshole when you’re a nameless, faceless, private account on the internet.
I remind myself that their motivation isn’t my business; I don’t know why they are coming to my page leaving mean comments, and I shouldn’t waste my time trying to figure it out. But while these kinds of comments almost always roll off my back (and I felt 100% confident that I could handle them when I made that video), these bothered me all weekend. I found myself making up nasty responses in my head–the kind I might think but never post. I stewed over them. I refreshed frequently, looking to see if anyone else was going to call me a terrible mom, selfish mom, a mom who has most certainly f***ed up her kid. And ironically, I started to feel guilty—and maybe even wrong—for thinking like this, and certainly for sharing it publicly.