I’m standing in the school parking lot waiting for the doors to open. I am not alone. There are other moms here, some dads, and grandparents, we are all waiting our turn. As I stand and hold Anissa’s hand a young mom walks by, she appears to have on pajama pants, a bonnet, and house shoes, not my choice for this morning, but hey, I’m sure she is doing what works best for her. She stands there hugging her little guy, they are laughing and playing while we all wait. It looks joyous. I get this feeling like someone is watching me, as I peer over my shoulder I see a gathering of older women forming a circle. They are pointing, whispering and shaking their heads. It’s apparent they do not agree with what this mom is wearing. I look over at the young mom again and she has caught their gaze and asks “What the bleep you looking at?” The older ladies quickly look away. The young mom, now upset, rushes her son to the front door and angrily returns to her car. The gathering is standing there upset as well, because she used such foul language in front of the children and how dare she.
The scenario above is all too normal in our communities. We as women will judge each other, shame each other, all without truly knowing each other. I may not wear pajama pants to school drop off, I may not swear (I do), that doesn’t make me a better parent than this young lady. I don’t know her story and neither did those other women. I do however know I experienced her showing her son some love, listening attentively to the story he was telling and being present with him. That part appears to have gone unnoticed all because she did not have the approved look. I also witnessed these older women, teaching their children to stare at people that are different from you, to gossip about them, and to make them feel uncomfortable. I don’t know about you but I can appreciate the former lesson greatly.
Have you experienced another mom shaming you? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it?