Barrios & Virguez April 2018

WHAT IS MOMMY-SHAMING And Why Does It Need to Stop?

Social media is a great tool for keeping up with family members’ busy lives and sharing many aspects of your own life, including pictures and updates about your children. However, some parents opt to keep information about their children off social media because they have found themselves harassed by a new group on the internet: mommy-shamers. Mommy-shaming is when people such as relatives, strangers, or other moms openly criticize a mother for her parenting choices, which may cause her to feel ashamed or doubt herself. Mommy-shaming is very popular with celebrities — take Chrissy Teigen for example — but nonfamous mothers fall victim, as well. It’s a popular and unkind trend. Why do mommy-shamers feel entitled to bash other moms for their parenting choices? Some experts, like Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, point to scientific and historical evidence that people within a social group tend to gain structure by tearing down others around them. By being mean to outsiders — or moms who parent differently — the clique is strengthened, and a mommy-shamer’s status rises. It’s very characteristic of junior high students, but it’s also not uncommon in adulthood, and the results can be damaging to a mother’s self-esteem and confidence. Heather Quinlan, a psychotherapist in Connecticut, has seen many patients who have dealt with mean moms. She says, “Whether it’s a mom being snarky, exclusionary, judgmental, manipulative, or outright cruel, it can cause major distress for the women on the receiving end of the behavior, and it creates hugely unhealthy relationships.”


Our office assistant at Barrios & Virgüez, Jannyn, is the first point of contact for our clients, and she’s the perfect person for this role. Her compassion and eagerness to help others make her a valuable asset to our team. Jannyn works closely with attorneys Jorge and Keren to stay informed of legal policies. When she first interviewed at the firm, she knew instantly it was going to be a good fit. “I really liked how Jorge and Keren are as people. They try to help us out as individuals, not just as employees. They check in with us and ask about our dreams and goals, and they help us work toward those goals.” While working at our firm, Jannyn is also pursuing a degree in criminal justice, and the cases she sees at Barrios & Virgüez lend a real-world context to the terms she learns in school. “It helps with the schoolwork (I learn terminology and background information), and vice versa — what I learn in school helps me be better at my job.” As the first point of contact, Jannyn has a lot of empathy when clients share their personal experiences. When it comes to immigration stories, they hit close to home — she is petitioning for her mom and husband to become citizens. “I feel like it helps me better understand what a client is going through.” At the end of the day, Jannyn looks forward to returning home to her 3-year-old daughter. She also finds a creative outlet in coming up with makeup tutorials for her popular YouTube channel.

Parents post photos of their children online to share about their lives, not to expose them to the harsh opinions of other people. Sharing photos and stories of your child on social media shouldn’t mean you have to deal with ridicule. If you feel the need to share your opinion about someone else’s parenting style, ask them if they want your advice first. Hopefully, the mommy-shaming trend will soon fade, and women will support each other in raising healthy children.

We’re so glad to have someone as knowledgeable and compassionate as Jannyn at our firm, and we know you will be, too. 2

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