ST. LOUIS - If you ask any mom if she’s ever been criticized or called out for their style of parenting, majority would say yes.
All of the women in our Today in St. Louis mom panel have been shamed in some fashion, which makes sense considering there have been numerous studies which prove most moms have been bullied or shamed. So, we asked our group of local moms from around St. Louis how they handle the constant judgment.
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“Mothers judge based on breast feeding and formula feeding,” mother of two Danielle Smith said. “Home schooling and not homeschooling and staying home or working. It’s hard to stand in your ground and say that’s okay, you do you."
Mom of three, Shaunna Thuet says being a mom is like high school all over again.
“It’s still a power struggle. There’s so much pressure to be the perfect mom," Thurt explained.
Marissa Paine has three grown children and explains, "I think we all sort of start off your kids are in school and you’re like I got to be there, I have to be in the PTA and I did a lot of that you know in balancing, and you know it made it hard, but it was never good enough and you still have some side eyes from people. I finally got to a place where I was like, oh wait are you the children I’m responsible for raising? Oh, so you don’t matter. Okay, so forget you. You know relieve myself of that pressure of meeting other people’s expectations and meeting their expectations. That’s all that mattered."
Rachel Jackson has three children and also cares for her niece.
“I often tell people that I’m not raising perfect children, I'm raising children with purpose. So, whatever it takes to get them there is what I’m going to do,” Jackson explained to the group. “I’m not pretending, I’ve done that and it’s a lot of stress.”
"This is one of the reasons I surround myself with people like this,” Smith jumped in to say. “So, I can hear phrases like that and I can be reminded. Because I can tell you, as sure as I can say, my inside does not match your outside and I believe it. I believe that comparison is the root of evil, but at the same time I don't always live it. I don't always believe it internally when people are turning to my husband on the sidelines of a sporting event saying, I don’t know how you handle her traveling so much no one says that to me when he travels."
Paine said, "we have a saying: my confidence is bumping up against your insecurity. So that’s your problem, it’s not mine."
Melissa Mitchell recalled an instance when she felt shamed through text message.
"I had a friend who our girls are starting kindergarten next year and our school is part day or full day,” Mitchell said. “Full day you have to pay, and she said ‘are you sending your twins full day?’ And I said ‘no that’s double expenses. If I can do free part day that’s what I’m going to do.’ She said, ‘oh we really value our kid’s education so were going to send ours full time.’ So I thought, is she saying I don't value my kid’s education? Because I’m not going to fork out a mortgage a month for my two girls to go."
Allie Corey asked the panel, "how do you respond or get out of that situation?"
"I responded to her like, you know different things work for different families," Mitchell said.
"How amazing would it be, since so much of this happens on social media, if there was a social media push of moms lifting up moms?" Allie Corey asked.
Jackson jumped in, "It gives that it’s okay to not be perfect."
Thuet agreed and added, "Just to say one kind nice thing. You know in case nobody else sees it, I see you, I see how awesome you are."
Sarah Howell suggested moms be grateful for other moms.
"Sometimes, even in my mind, I tell myself you should go thank the village right now. Thank the mom that did the Pinterest craft. Thank the mom that planned the school party that I couldn't make it to because I was in New York for work,” Howell said. “I probably don't do that enough. Self-reflecting, I could probably do that more, but I think we all need to do that more."
Do you have any ideas or suggestions you’d like to see on TISL’s mom panel? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.