Have you been Mummy Shamed?
Author: House Call Doctor Date Posted:12 July 2017
A whopping two thirds of women have been victims of mummy shaming
In recent months, Kelly Clarkson has been criticised for feeding Nutella to her daughter, Chrissy Teigen was attacked for leaving her baby with a sitter, and Jessica Simpson was condemned for letting her son’s hair grow long.
However “mummy shaming” isn’t just reserved for celebrity parents.
In fact, a new survey has revealed that nearly two thirds of mothers have been shamed for their parenting skills, with our families often amongst the biggest critics.
According to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan, 6 out of 10 mothers have felt criticised for their parenting choices. The survey also uncovered these worrying statistics:
- 62% of mums have received unhelpful and unsolicited advice from others
- 37% of mums have been criticised by their own mothers
- 36% of mums have been shamed by their partner or child’s co-parent
- 31% of mums have been chastised by their in-laws
- 12% of mums have been singled out by other mothers in public!
Topics such as discipline, diet, sleep and breastfeeding are major sources of mummy shaming.
Discussions about safety and childcare are also likely to spark emotional debates when new health guidelines challenge the long-held views of our parents and in-laws.
“Our findings tap into the tensions mums face when parenting advice leads to more stress than reassurance – and makes them feel more criticized than supported,” said researcher Sarah Clark.
“Mothers can get overwhelmed by so many conflicting views on the 'best' way to raise a child,” Clark added.
“Unsolicited advice - especially from the people closest to her child - can be perceived as meaning she's not doing a good job as a mother. That can be hurtful.”
Today, half the mothers surveyed simply avoid people who are too critical.
“It's unfortunate when a mother feels criticised to the point where she limits the amount of time she and her child will spend with a family member or friend," said Clark.
“To guard against that situation, advice to mothers of young children should be given with empathy and encouragement.”
Women can also rely on support from their friends, with only a small portion having been criticised by mothers in their friendship circles.
Many mums have responded to “shamers” by consulting health professionals for expert advice.
Whilst 42% of mothers say critics have made them feel unsure about their parenting style, it has also pushed them to be proactive.
Many mothers have sought expert advice from doctors and paediatricians, with women often feeling more relaxed around healthcare professionals.
“This indicates that most mothers view their child's health care provider as a trusted source of accurate information and advice, not as a critic,” explained Clark.
“Child health providers can… offer reassurance and practical advice that helps boost mothers' confidence and reduce anxiety around choices.”