5 outrageous things moms aren’t supposed to do

An ad "mommy shamed" mothers who worked part-time. (Photo courtesy Mashable)

A real estate agency in Washington published an ad that “mommy shamed” mothers who work part time. (Photo courtesy Mashable)

because-I-said-so-tealSpend a little too much time on social media, and you’ll realize that Mom Shaming is both real and sad. Here are just a few of the ridiculous things moms have been getting in trouble for doing lately:

1. Brexting

Yes, this really is a thing, as in a laughable term for texting while breastfeeding. Recently, Southern California Public Radio ran a segment and article warning that “distracted moms can miss important messages from their babies.”

When I was breastfeeding my last child, my phone was the least of my distractions. There was the 2-year-old threatening to write on the walls with marker, the two older boys breaking furniture and possibly bones while “play” wrestling in an adjoining room. If my baby was sending signals, he was probably saying, “Are you freaking kidding me lady?”

I do feel like parents in general need to put their phones away and be more present in parenting (me especially). But I hate to see anything that might discourage a woman who chooses to breastfeed. Four a.m. feedings are a lonely time, and sometimes you just need to watch your dancing cats on Facebook. Perhaps while eating a donut. And speaking of …

2. Eat junk food while breastfeeding

This is also a no-no, according to the Brazilian Pediatric Society of Rio Grande(SPRS). The organization’s 1000 Days Campaign depicts mothers breastfeeding infants, with their breasts shaped like a donut, cola and a cheeseburger.

I’m clearly not their target audience, because I happen to think my children might enjoy donut or cheeseburger-flavored milk now and then. (They can’t have my soda, though. That I’m keeping for myself.) But any ad that makes moms feel like they have to eat 100-percent clean in order to breastfeed is counterproductive. It sets too high of a standard for those of us who need an occasional Diet Dr. Pepper to make it to lunchtime without going all Paleo-crazy on someone.

3. Work part time

If all publicity is good publicity, then the Issaquah, Washington-based Costello and Costello Real Estate Group is doing just fine. Chase and Jeffrey Costello drummed up a fair amount when they distributed an ad that showed a harried, literally tied up mother with her three children on one side, with men in suits in an office on the other. The mom’s side was titled “part-time agent” with the be-suited brothers titled “full-time professionals.” The question at the bottom said “Who would you rather have represent you?”

I work part-time and surely can relate to the woman in the ad. I’m always a little harried, and it’s a juggling act every day. But the implication that a woman’s contributions to the workforce are any less valuable because she is also a mother — which, sorry not sorry, is the hardest job in the world — make my blood boil. And I’m not alone. According to an article on KIRO7.com, the business received so many complaints  that the agents quickly offered an apology, saying that they “completely failed.”

4. Shop with a baby carrier

Sure, 5 might seem a bit old to be in a baby carrier. But when a Tampa Bay-area store manager took a picture of a customer with her 5-year-old in said carrier and posted it to social media, she made a lot of moms angry. Especially when the photo went viral. (Read about it here on WTSP 10 News’s website.)

If you’ve ever tried to take two children shopping at a crowded accessories store, as the secretly snapped shopper did, you’ll know it takes a bag full of suckers and promises of a pony to make it through the excursion. If it had been me, I would have tried to wear both of my children so they couldn’t escape with a fistful of $2 earrings.

Posting a photo of someone to social media without her permission is never OK, especially if you’re doing it with the express purpose of making fun of her. It’s hard enough being a mom without worrying that your questionable parenting moments might end up in a viral video. That kind of mockery should be reserved exclusively for your dancing.

5. Bail on a wedding when you can’t find a babysitter

There are few things as frustrating as when a babysitter falls through, but sometimes as a parent you are just stuck. According to this Scary Mommy article, Jessica Baker of Minnesota was sent a bill for $75.90 for the two plates of fish she and her husband didn’t eat at a wedding. She couldn’t come because her babysitter bailed at the last minute.

Weddings are expensive, and emotional, and this is hardly the craziest thing to happen in the history of the world’s nuptials. But I can’t conceive of ruining a friendship over two plates of fish.

At the end of the day, we parents are all on the same team (you know, against the creators of Sharpies). I don’t know how to say this without sounding preachy, but instead of judging, scolding and shaming each other in person and online, wouldn’t it be great if we funneled that energy into helping one another and cutting each other a break?

We could even go out for a cheeseburger, Diet Coke and donut afterward. I’m game if you are.


Elyssa Andrus has worked as a journalist for 14 years, most recently as the lifestyle editor at the Daily Herald newspaper in Provo. She is a contributor to the KSL-TV show "Studio 5" and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking" (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Natalie Hollingshead. She lives with her husband and four young children in Utah Valley.

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