As mamas, we have lots of ideas of how to parent. We can learn from each other, but we've never truly been in each other's shoes. What happens when another mother criticizes YOUR parenting? Do you immediately try to figure out how your parenting needs to change? Do you brush it off? Does it make the bristles come out? Does it depend on the true intent (good or bad) behind it? We were curious and so ...
We asked our Mighty Mamas to share their thoughts and here is what they said.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM FROM OTHER MOTHERS?
"I've developed a pretty tough skin about this now that I have 4 kids. I know my children best, and I know what's best for them. I may not be a perfect mom, but I'm the perfect mom for my kids. Having a child with any kind of special or medical needs really opens you up for criticism too. I once had an another mom tell me that my son wouldn't have needed a feeding tube if I had just breastfed him. It hurt, but I had to brush it off and keep going while reminding myself that she had no idea what we'd been through."
"It depends on who it's coming from. Is this someone who loves me and is trying to help me improve my parenting style? Or is it someone who just wants to critize everyone who has a differing opinion? If it's the former, I think about their constructive critism. If the latter, I don't take it to heart at all."
"This is a tough one because I do tend to be slightly sensitive. I haven't faced a ton of this yet but so far I try to politely stand my ground, and move on. What else can you really do? I'm not going to change the type of mother I am just because someone else thinks its wrong. Sometimes I will ask for reassurance from my fellow mom friends or my husband if I'm feeling self-conscious about the comment. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that it's okay."
"With big grains of salt, preferably from the rim of my margarita glass. It literally doesn't matter how you parent-someone is going to have a problem with it, somehow. And from the time your baby is born, you're gonna have to defend your parenting decisions. So just learn from the start that it's coming, and how to deal. Don't let any of it bother you - What other people think, doesn't matter."
"In the moment, I may not say much in response to criticism from another mother, I might brush it off, or even ignore it… but I internalize the hurt and it bothers me for a long time afterwards. My husband is my faithfully patient and supportive person to whom I vent about “you know what she said to me today?!" He talks me through it and reassures me it was none of their business, that I’m a good mom, and that he has my back no matter what. If there’s ongoing criticism, the best I can do is to diffuse the situation by saying “thank you for your concern, I’ll keep it in mind,” “everyone has a different experience,” or “I’m glad that worked for you, and I’m also glad this works for me.""
"I remember we are all different and are doing the best we can. I then will turn to moms who do not judge or criticize to get help."
"I try to take a minute before acting with my gut reaction to feel negative or angry. If it comes from a kind, genuine place of trying to help me or my kids, I try to be mindful of that and take their advice to heart. It's easy to feel defensive, but depending on the person, the situation, and the context; I'd like to believe that I'd be open to taking in advice or correction from other moms who might know something I'm not aware of, especially if it concerns my kids' safety, etc."
"When I first my kids,I couldn't believe the amount of criticism moms receive...especially from other moms and strangers!
It really bothered me in the beginning, I think because when you are a new parent you constantly feel like you are doing everything wrong. Then to have someone else criticize you...it's just too much.
I'd always talk about it with my husband because he is such a self-assured person. He never lets what others say get him down. I think his best advice was telling me that we aren't going to let what other's say affect our parenting choices, so I shouldn't let the negative talk bring me down."
"I feel fortunate that I haven’t had a lot of criticism from other mothers (or maybe I’ve just blocked it out). While nobody likes to be criticized, I hope that I handle it graciously when it does come. I have to remind myself that everyone does things that work best for them, and what works for one mom or one child may be drastically different from what works for another. So, I try to take criticism with a grain of salt, then evaluate whether or not what I’m doing is right for my circumstances and my child(ren). If I can answer “yes,” I move on!"
"I truly feel like all moms use a system of parenting that works for them. I may not agree with what they're doing and they may not agree with what I'm doing but we are creating unique individuals through the help of our parenting styles. It sounds so "mellow" to say this, but when I find other moms being judgy of my practices I try to just let it roll off me. If I am able to have a face to face conversation with the person criticizing my parenting, I will often ask them to explain their stance and why. Not all criticism is bad! Sometimes learning another point of view will change yours - or at least allow you to be more open minded as you parent in the future!"
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM FROM OTHER MOTHERS?
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy MIGHTY MAMAS: FAVORITE ON-THE-GO KID/BABY FOODS
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