No More SHAME

by Alissa Marquess on July 15, 2014

I deleted a truly horrible comment from my blog this weekend in which one mom ripped into another who had left a comment describing the struggles she is going through as a mother.  The commentor had said (and I hate to repeat any of it, but for illustration’s purpose) things like, “You don’t deserve to be a mother, shame on you!”

How can anyone think this will motivate change?!

You will not be bullied in my home

I can only imagine that person is filled with their own debilitating shame and pain, to unleash something like that. But it’s not the first time that I have confronted this attitude.

In this age of parenting we make many connections online, and often gain support online. However, it also means our actions can be needlessly examined and judged.

Stop! No more shaming!

The retort I’ve heard is, “If you didn’t want people replying, don’t post it online.”

I don’t buy it.

Of course, we’re not dumb, it’s worth being careful where you post things, but there is no reason we can’t create safe online places to talk about parenting. Not everyone is so lucky as to have friends or family with whom they can openly discuss parenting difficulties and issues.  We need these safe spaces to learn and talk about this messy and often overwhelming task.

We see all of the glossy and pretty parts that people post (because, frankly, you don’t want pictures from the time my 3 year old had a stomach flu the entire 9 hour drive…) We also need to have places we can post about the difficult and confusing parts of our life, so that we can do the work of becoming better people and raising better people.

This work will not be motivated by being shamed. We do not require being shamed or ridiculed by others to  make big parenting changes.  We need love to have the courage to do this work.

Love is the backbone.

When you act and speak out of love you speak from a place of strength.

What gives you the strength to care for your newborn through those sleepless nights?
Love.

What gives you the strength to be there at the death bed, or in the hospital, or on the other end of the phone line when your family is facing the worst?
Love.

And what gives you the strength to wake up the day after you’ve completely screwed up in this parenting game, when you feel ashamed and broken, and you don’t know the answers nor do you want to learn any more answers; what makes you take that next step and try to do better?

Is it more shame?! No!

You get up and you try again because you LOVE your family.

And every day I hear from people like you who manage that feat. We are imperfect, we don’t always get it right.

But we’re here, doing the work.

I honor you for being willing to tell your stories here. And you will NOT be bullied in my house.

We cannot heal if we cannot tell out stories.

We cannot tell our stories if we are concerned about being attacked.

I will be doing my best to prevent any further bullying in our discussions. I have always worked to make this a respectful and safe space, but now I have filters in place to catch inflammatory language and premoderate those comments. I only wish I had put the preventative comment catching policy into place sooner.

We are a no SHAME parenting community. We want to raise children who are responsible and respectful adults and that starts with the dignity and respect we model every time we interact with other people – whether they are online or face to face.

Be a LIGHT for the people around you!
Listen with respect.
Ask questions with genuine curiosity.
Do your own work and be KIND.

We can make a difference.

No More SHAME.

With Love,

~Alissa

If you have been feeling alone, you may find inspiration in any of the following posts:

9 comments
Fafa
Fafa

Wonderful post. And I know a thing or two about love doing the job - my daughter has been fighting cancer for almost 2 1/2 years (she's 3 1/2, and doing very well). Your blog is a wonderful resource for parents who, like me, have to face fear, worry, but also the isolation the disease can bring. You give ideas on how to spend time, great tips on various subject. And now love to all of us. Thank you.

Kayla Poitras
Kayla Poitras

I love you moms. I fell to pieces with my oldest lately too... It's so hard to feel like a good parent sometimes when you feel lost and don't know where to turn. It's nice to hear other parents are in the same boat on occasion!

Amy
Amy

I think I love you :D Great post, pity it had to come to this though.

Creative With Kids
Creative With Kids

I am certainly hoping the mom that received the comment realizes it was so completely off base and inappropriate. It's SO hard when you're already in a "raw" place to have someone fling words at you like that. During the past year I installed a plug-in that emails people the replies to their comments - I didn't even think of this situation where it could mean that someone got a really nasty comment mailed to them. I did contact the person who it happened to directly and apologize and let her know what measures I've put in place to be sure this doesn't happen again, but UGH, I felt very bad that she reached out for support, and essentially got a smack in the face in return!

Tracy Utting-Buchanan
Tracy Utting-Buchanan

Surely as parents we all make mistakes and react in ways we never dreamed we'd be capable of. I know the part of being a mum that surprises me most is the crazy amount of love I have for my children. This is followed by other extreme emotions that are both positive and negative and are generally related to the amount of sleep I get. Sometimes all I need is to vent and feel like other mums understand. I love pages like this where we connect from around the world and support each other. It's so reassuring. There have certainly been times when I've felt like I don't deserve to be a mother and felt so guilty for my actions or behaviour. I hope that mum you mentioned knows that most people here have been in that place and get it. I hope she has the support she will definitely be needing.

Samantha Mertler
Samantha Mertler

"...what gives you the strength to wake up the day after you’ve completely screwed up in this parenting game, when you feel ashamed and broken, and you don’t know the answers nor do you want to learn anymore answers; what makes you take that next step and try to do better?" ----- I missed the comments on this post, but if this is a section of the comment from the mother who was ripped into... I'm with you mama. I have fallen to pieces in the last week with my oldest. Hugs and gratitude for saying it out loud, the scariest thing that happens as a parent, screwing up so badly that it makes you want to run away. Solidarity people, its what we need!

Alissa Marquess
Alissa Marquess

Sending love and healing to your daughter, and much gratitude to you for stopping by and speaking up.

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