I see this shame sentiment a lot in memes and on blogs and I used to giggle half-heartedly in response, but the truth is that this sentiment rubs me the wrong way. It feels unnecessarily negative. And, in this example, violent. Is it kind of funny? Sure. Am I being too sensitive? You might say yes.
To me, though, it’s important to recognize how the small ways that moms can shame or be mean to each other (and themselves) add up.
To say being a parent has completely changed my life (and yes, my ability to sleep… or finish a sentence) would be an understatement, but by shaming or being mad at my pre-kid self, what am I accomplishing?
Am I asking my pre-kid self to have been able to see the future? That makes no sense.
Am I asking my friends without kids to feel shame? Yikes. I don’t want to do that, either.
It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Oranges that, before kids, I was able to leisurely peel without a toddler crying for me to go faster, or apples that are pristine and shiny without that tell-tale single bite out of them that you find at my house now.
I am exhausted some days, and it’s a completely different exhausted than I was before I was a parent. My pre-kid self worked hard in school and in jobs and was also exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed on some days. I had more freedom to organize my days, nights and weekends. I could hop out for dinner or drinks with friends or my husband whenever I wanted. If I had the time and money, that is.
Now I have amazing kid hugs (they’re addictive, people) and love being a parent. I love holding a little hand and walking into a shop, even if I can only stay for 5 minutes to find what I need, unlike the aimless wandering of aisles I might have been able to do before.
I also see this kind of thing thrown at moms who are about to have a second (or third, or more) kid. Laughing at how “silly” moms of one are and how you have to “get real” when you have two. It’s a sitcom cliche that, frankly we are too good for, fellow moms.
Is having two kids at home completely different than one? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I cannot see how shaming a mom of one by telling her (directly or through one of the countless memes and blog posts she is exposed to daily) that her diaper bag is too organized and she’ll learn to let things go with her second is helpful in the slightest.
Instead, let’s concentrate on ways we can build each other up. Discourse, discussion, and disagreement can be good for anyone to challenge their status quo and push to be better people and parents. But will the action of mocking your old self accomplish anything beyond possibly making you worried for the future? No. It will not. I think of it this way: if current me is so dismissive and downright mad at past me, what will future me think of current me?