When my daughter was 18 months old & began to show interest in using the potty, I knew that she was ahead of the curve and I was thrilled at the idea of ditching diapers early! But potty training a child was one thing I’d never done before. So, like any good first-time mom, I went online and researched until 2am.
I learned about The 3-Day method, I learned that I need to let her lead the process, I learned that I should be prepared for her to pee and poo all over the floors and carpets. I learned that babies in Ukraine are potty trained at 12 months (no pressure, America, with our 3 and 4-year-olds still in training pants!). I was in full-on panic mode about which “method” to go with, and how I could emotionally scar my daughter if I didn’t pick the “right” one. The very next day, I texted my friend who had the highest ratio of potty-trained kids in my world.
As our text exchange began, I was filled with hope as she explained that she used an “all-or-nothing” approach, and how with one it happened quickly and the other took longer, etc. Okay, cool! A new method ! Let’s start fresh — I’ll go with that. (I was really wrapped up in the “methods”)
So I asked, “What did you do for car rides?”
She answered, “The 3-Day Method is all or nothing. You leave the diaper off no matter what. Probably best to stay home.”
I replied, “You used that method. Ah, gotcha!”
She replied, “Judgmental much? LOL!”
But it hit me immediately that she wasn’t joking. Though the only one I intended was clarification, when I said “gotcha”, she was triggered. It was offensive because her experience as a mom, I later learned, is that perception of parenting styles is attached to a great deal of harsh judgement and criticism. Through personal experience, along with articles and blogs about “right” & “wrong”, parents are on edge when it comes to sharing the decisions that they make.
She likened my “ah gotcha” text to the judgmental tone used by parents perched on high, looking down on each other’s parenting decisions. Which potty training methods we choose, whether or not we vaccinate, the way we discipline, how we feed our kids, which “method” of child-rearing, education, the quality of cotton, style of dress, whether or not to post photos of our kids online, preschool or no preschool, work or stay at home —- you name it! As this unfolded, and I realized the reality, I felt like my head was going to explode.
At first I felt really annoyed that my meaning got all twisted up and was misinterpreted. Expressing that didn’t work out for me. My friend was very upset! What followed was 24 hours of discomfort, uncertainty, anxiety, my being introduced to the terms “Mommy Shaming” and “mommy blogs“, a conversation with a member of the clergy, for God’s sake! (I was desperate, people) and a lesson in the difference between intent & impact. I INTENDED to get advice about successfully potty training my baby. The IMPACT was far different from my intention, and that absolutely Continue reading “Oh, You Haven’t Written a Blog Post About Mommy Shaming?”