Nearly two-thirds of women claim they are ‘mommy shamed’ by others, with their in-laws being some of the worst offenders, a report found.
New mothers said they increasingly feel like they are being criticized for their parenting choices.
A new study found these women reported they felt the scrutiny most harshly from their own parents, then their partner and finally by their in-laws.
Mothers said they feel most judged on the way they discipline a child, followed by the baby’s diet and if they chose to bottle feed or not.
A Michigan study found 60 percent of mothers feel judged for their parenting choices. Most felt the criticism came from their own parents, then their partner and finally from in-laws
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
Experts polled 475 mothers with at least one child up to the age of five.
Sixty percent of women in the study reported they have been criticized on their parenting style, most often from their own family members.
The worst offenders were the woman’s own parents at 37 percent, according to the study.
Partners followed closely behind at 36 percent and in-laws were in third at 31 percent. 12 percent of new mothers reported feeling judged by other women.
A staggering 70 percent of study participants said they felt shamed for how they chose to discipline their child.
Poll co-director Sarah Clark said: ‘Our findings tap into the tensions moms face when parenting advice leads to more stress than reassurance and makes them feel more criticized than supported.
‘Mothers can get overwhelmed by so many conflicting views on the “best” way to raise a child.
‘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.’
Other areas of scrutiny came over their child’s diet at 52 percent, sleep habits at 46 percent and their choice to breast feed or bottle feed at 39 percent.
Mothers have been recently speaking out about feeling judged or shamed for their parenting style choices.
Sixty percent of women in the study reported they have been criticized on their parenting style, most often from their family members. Pictured: Illustration for the most critical groups
PREGNANT WOMEN REALLY CAN’T WIN
Pregnant women really can’t win. They are judged negatively whether they take maternity leave or not, a new study suggests.
Research into workers’ attitudes found mothers who took time off to care for babies were seen as less committed and competent at work.
While those who continued working were viewed as less caring parents, Exeter University scientists discovered.
The controversial findings suggest that women are ‘damned’ either way, according to lead author Dr Thekla Morgenroth.
The researchers found negative family results for a woman who kept working, and negative working results for a woman who took maternity leave.
Dr Morgenroth added: ‘These effects occurred regardless of the respondent’s gender, age, parental status or nationality, which suggests these attitudes are universal and pervasive in our culture.’
The majority of participants were working full-time (70 percent) and had no children (71 percent).
Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel said she has already felt shamed for breast feeding in public spaces after giving birth to her first child in October.
She wrote on her Instagram: ‘Many women today are shamed for breastfeeding in public, or even kicked out of public places for feeding their children.
‘I have been made to feel the need to cover up and somewhat shy to feed my baby in public places but strangely feel nothing for the topless editorials I’ve done in the name of art..?’
Jaime Primak Sullivan, star of the Bravo series Jersey Belle, was sick and tired of hearing parents shaming other mothers over their parenting choices and hit back with a powerful video.
Entitled ‘Mommy shaming sucks! Get out of my mommy hood’, Jamie points her finger at the parents who like to shame other moms for not making the same choices as them. As she describes in the video’s caption: ‘Take your shame. I’m not interested.’
She credits social media and Pinterest for the rise of abuse mothers have to endure and the idea that they need to live up to an expectation of a ‘perfect mom’.
Researchers have found that social media, including Facebook, is the worst thing for a new mother’s mental health.
Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, professor of Human Sciences and Psychology at Ohio State University said new mothers had elevated depressive and stress symptoms after using the social media site.
Moreover, greater Facebook activity was also linked to elevated parenting stress for new mothers.
Professor Schoppe-Sullivan contributed this to women seeking external validation for their mothering identity online.
Based on survey data from 721 mothers, Sarah Coyne from Brigham Young University and her colleagues reported that mothers who more frequently compared themselves to others on social networking sites felt more depressed, more overloaded in the parental role, and less competent as parents.
The authors noted that people tend to portray themselves in a highly positive manner on social networking sites. This may be particularly true for mothers, who can feel pressured to be perfect parents.