4 Ways to Do What's Best For You and Your Baby (and SHUT DOWN the Mommy-Trolls!)
Recently, I sat down to chat with a group of moms with babies. Many of them were first-time moms but a couple already had children at home. Over the course of a couple of hours, 2 main themes kept recurring:
- The moms were TIRED. Like, exhausted.
- The moms were even more tired of reaching out to Facebook mom-groups and being judged for asking questions.
In a world of online chat rooms and resources, these moms didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to get information or ask others to share their experiences because of the mommy trolls. One mom even had a friend ask a question for her "anonymously" because she wanted information, but didn't want to feel like she was under fire for asking!
The Mommy-Trolls. The Sancti-Mommies.
Those online mommy-bullies who seem to have nothing to do but toss around their own belief systems like it’s gospel. If you’ve never experienced a mom-troll, hop onto any Facebook mom-group and post something about vaccines, breastfeeding or sleep training. Or post a picture of your baby in a carseat. The trolls just can’t help themselves: they’ll tear you down and eat you up. Apparently, they are the "Moms of Perfect Choices". They do everything right, even the carseat straps. They are unwavering in their confidence as moms, right? WRONG.
I know exactly what the problem is. The problem is that moms are ALL feeling uncertain and guilty about their choices. ALL OF US. Even the "Moms of Perfect Choices". So if you have the courage to make a decision that works for you and your baby, but goes against what the “experts” say (who are these experts anyhow? And why do moms need experts to raise their children?), other moms get their backs up Big Time.
So here’s the big problem with this situation:
If moms are reaching out to other moms for information, shared experiences or even advice and they’re getting trolled, where are they going to find a village? We already know that moms need a village; all the evidence points towards peer support as crucial to a mom’s mental health and wellness. But what if an exhausted mom with a history of postpartum depression is looking for information on sleep training (gasp!) and someone calls her out for being “lazy”. Making a decision to preserve your mental health is not lazy.
Let me put that another way: making a decision that will make you a happier mama will make your baby happier, and that's not for anyone to judge.
Can you imagine if we walked around and told people how to be in a happy relationship? “Oh, you just have to go to bed together every single night” and “You need to have sex 4 times a week” or “Every happy marriage has to have a date night every week”…that’s total bullshit and we all know it! Relationships are tailor-made by the people who are in them, to benefit both people involved.
Why is a mom-baby relationship any different? It shouldn’t be. So, here’s my advice for making decisions that will make you a happier mama (and you don’t even have to take my advice if it doesn’t work for you!):
- Think about what you’ve been told to do as a mama. (exclusively breastfeed, co-sleep, feed on demand, vaccinate, don’t vaccinate, blah, blah, blah)
- Decide what works for you and your baby. Just make a decision, it’s not set in stone if you decide to change your mind.
- Do what works for you and your baby.
- Don’t tell anyone about your decisions. If they ask, “Are you breastfeeding? Are you vaccinating? Are you sleep training?” Tell them:
I’m doing what works best for the baby and I and it changes all the time.
When you’re looking for information and support about the hot-topics, you can come to Mamasoup because not only is it free and anonymous, but you can block the people who irritate you and you can flag inappropriate comments.
If we block out the trolls on Mamasoup, they’ll all just go back to Facebook.
Looking for more inspiration on how to take the guilt out of being a mama? Is it even possible? Check out this post, because it may just make you feel a little better about yourself:
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!