The Science On Mom Shaming Is Finally Clear (& It Makes More Sense Than You'd Think)

If you've ever hurried to leave a department store because your child was having a loud tantrum in public, or you've felt the stare of judgment as you made a decision about bedtime, snack time, or some action you've okayed for your child, you know that mom-shaming is real and it's harmful. As humans, we make judgments every minute. We decide what's good for us and what's bad for us in an instant sometimes. And when it comes to parenting, the decisions and judgments we are forced to make feel like they have higher stakes. After all, our kids are the most important people to us, and we are doing the best we can to give them the best lives possible.


In many cases, those who have been judged are guilty of taking part in the act, as well, and we've probably been ashamed of ourselves in those cases. However, there is research out there explaining just why we judge others and their actions, and it may have less to do with what kind of person we are than we think.

Why do we mom-shame?

Have you ever caught yourself making a snap judgment about another person faster than you can shut it down? If so, you re not alone. In fact, it's intuitive for us to pass judgment quickly even if we'd rather not have those feelings. According to PureWow, judgment does make sense as it takes us back to our most primal survival instincts. Casting judgment isn't necessarily a good thing but it helps us measure our own inclinations. If we see a parent allowing their child to take part in activities or consume certain snacks, it's natural for us to ask ourselves if we would do the same thing. In earlier times, our instinctual judgment allowed us to decide quickly who to trust and who to steer clear of for survival purposes.


When we pass judgment in the parenting realm, there's a feeling of validation once we've made a decision about whether or not we would make the same choices for our children. Because this is innate, there's no reason to feel bad about our instant judgment. It's how we choose to treat those we find ourselves judging that makes the biggest difference. Mothers already question almost every decision they make for their children and feeling a negative judgment from a fellow mother will only compound the stress mothers put on themselves. Luckily, there are ways to acknowledge your feelings and carry on with your relationships without the shame.

How to stop the shame cycle

If you notice yourself taking part in the kind of judgment behind mom-shaming, there are things you can do to be less aggressive in your thoughts. First, acknowledge that these snap judgments are normal and then ask yourself why you might be making these judgments about someone else so often. By reflecting on your own part in this process you may learn a little about your own parenting skills. Tiny Buddha explains that there could be many reasons why you stay in the judgment zone for so long. It may show you that there's a deficit in an area of your parenting that you're sensitive about. In addition, these snap judgments might occur because you take part in the same action which has you judging in the first place. Your quick judgment may occur because you are questioning if you should make the same choices you are witnessing. Finally, you could just be taking part in judgment because you are jealous of the other parent, and therefore, aren't giving them a fair shake.


No matter the reasons behind mom-shaming, it's important to catch yourself and remind yourself that we are all human. The choices we make for our children and ourselves will not all be the same and we are all mostly doing the best we can. If you find a judgment bubbling up at the park or school drop-off lane, forgive yourself and try to show compassion for your fellow humans.