Before SisterUp I was a traveling working mom, and I’ve dealt with my fair share of Mom Shaming. I think it’s safe to say that we all have probably been on both sides of the ‘mom shaming’. Maybe we talked about another mom’s choice to breastfeed or work. Or maybe the way they are raising their kids. Or maybe we have been the ones being shamed.
Last week, a popular women’s lifestyle magazine posted an article titled, “The Rise of the Mean Mom.”
In it, Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of Brain Briefs, points to the scientific and historical evidence that people within a social group—like women with kids around the same age—gain stature by tearing down others around them. “It’s easy to maintain a sense of group cohesion by creating a distinction between an in-group and an out-group,” he explains. By being mean to outsiders, the clique is strengthened and the mean moms’ status in the group rises.
I recently came upon a blog post I wrote on April 27, 2015. At the time, I was a corporate executive for a large company traveling nearly 40k miles a month. Below is what I wrote:
I travel A LOT for my job. Like every week, a lot. In fact, I’m sitting on a flight to NYC as I write this. When I tell people how much I travel, the three questions usually follow:
- How do you travel so much?
- Don’t you hate being away from your kids?
- How does your husband handle it?
And after these questions are answered, comes the statement, “Ugh, I could never do that, I’d miss my kids too much” accompanied with the look of pity. You know the look. The, ‘I’m a better mom than you’ one.
Of course, it’s hard to be away from my kids and my husband. Truth be told, my husband handles it better than I do. He knows the kids schedules, what they like to eat, who their friends are, doctors, etc. We are a team and in today’s society it means we share the workload. I am not a ‘Supermom’ who does it all, nor do I pretend to be. I think these kinds of society norms and pressures are dangerous for everyone. NO ONE CAN DO IT ALL!
I am really good at what I do, but I’m also a great mom. A mom that misses programs at school. A mom who’s not there to tuck the kids in every night. A mom who loves her kids more than anything and her kids know it. A mom who tries to be fully present when I am with my kids. A mom, who shows up, listens, laughs, cuddles, and gives my boys so much affection when I am with them. A mom who is showing my little boys an example of a strong, independent woman who believes we can all follow our dreams. A mom who is able to follow her dreams because she has a lot of people filling the gaps around her.
I hope that the example of our ‘non-traditional’ family structure encourages them to be authentic to who they are and what they want out of life, regardless of whether it fits into a certain “mold” that seems acceptable to everyone around them.
So next time, after you ask me these three questions, I would ask that you also ask how you can help fill my gaps. How can you help take the workload off of being a working mom? And in return, I promise to do the same. How can I help you? How can I help fill your gaps?
A year ago I left that corporate job to have more freedom and flexibility to be a mom and to follow my dream of starting my own company with my sister. My boys know how important they are to me, and they also know how important it is for me to use my strengths in my career. They always ask me if I’m ‘SisteringUp’. I love it!
And think about that. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all SisterUP and fill each other’s gaps instead of tearing each other down? How much better would this world be if we were ‘SisteringUp’. Yes, SisterUp is an action. It’s extending a hand to those who need encouragement and support, and couldn’t we all use a little bit of that?
Next time, you hear someone talking about another, just use the word SisterUp. Let’s all build each other up and find ways to fill the gaps in each other’s lives.
In honor of Mother’s Day this month, we want to help you SisterUP and fill the gaps of those around you. We are big believers that ‘when women support each other, incredible things happen.’ We are giving away the opportunity to win (2) $50 VISA gift cards (one for you and one for a friend). Head to our Instagram and/or Facebook and tell us in the comments who fills in your gaps and helps you #SisterUp. The winner will be selected on May 11 at 5 pm MT!