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Recently, I have started potty training my toddler. 'Recently' is a loosely used term. I tried a lot of different methods. I read three different books. I talked to a lot of moms who are doing the same thing and everything told me not to bribe her; that the only reward I should give her is emotional support. We struggled. The concept was not taken to and she showed no interest in learning.
I was telling my aunt this and she laughed out loud. She laughed and said that she bribed every one of her kids; that she gave them candy for going on the potty. And it worked. She raised four amazing kids (I may be slightly biased), and I've always looked up to her. So when she laughed at me, I felt really dumb for feeling like I couldn't bribe my own kid because some other mom didn't do it that way and suddenly decided it was bad to do. She's right though. Maybe not about bribing your kid, maybe I am damaging her for life, but I'm sure I'll do worse damage later on down the road. But she's right in that I shouldn't let other parents determine how I raise my kid. So for now, I take her advice. I do whatever my gut tells me to do in a parenting situation.
Mom-shaming is...something I've talked about before, but I feel like it's not getting any better and I don't know how to make it better. So the best thing to do, is to say 'fuck it.' Don't listen to them. There was a mom not too long ago, at my daughter's daycare. We haven't been in the best financial state and the woman at the front desk picked a bad moment to try to tell me how much I currently owe them. Another mom overheard and scoffed a bit. I should've ignored her. I am ashamed to say, I did not. I asked if she was okay in a condescending tone, and she kindly reminded me that if I couldn't afford daycare I should give up my daughter's spot for someone that can. I am not often at a loss of words. At that moment, I had no response. At that moment, it took everything in me to not burst into tears in front of this...mean mom.
Being knocked down by someone else who is in the same position as you; maybe not financially, maybe she's married, maybe...whatever, but we're both moms. We have both struggled. If you're a parent and you try to tell me that you have never struggled with some aspect of raising your child, I will laugh in your face because that is a damn lie. Every parent struggles. So when you're insulted by another parent it's a harder hit than if someone without kids insults you. They know your daily battle, or at least a piece of it. These should be the people that are the most understanding. I probably don't always make the picture perfect decisions when it comes to raising my kid, but I couldn't imagine fighting a mom on how she is raising her kid unless she was putting her kid in immediate danger.
There a thousand things for parents to disagree on. There are a million decisions to make as a parent, most of them pretty difficult. There is absolutely no reason to make any of those decisions any harder for another parent. Everyone talks about how horrible mom shaming is but even I've felt myself doing it, maybe not out loud, but there are moments in my mind where I catch myself making a face and that's honestly not fair. The moments that I really appreciate though, are the moments where I'm with other moms or I'm talking to other moms and we laugh at the mistakes we've made or the swear words our kids have learned from us. I love the moments where I can tell another mom that my kid now tries to give me a piece of candy every time I go to the bathroom and they laugh with me. They don't laugh at me, they don't tell me that I shouldn't bribe my kid, they laugh with me and we celebrate the smallest victories, even if every book tells us we shouldn't. Solidarity in the 'mom' world is hard to find. The mom friends I do have are some of the best that I have.
I bribe my kid. I give her a piece of candy every time she uses the potty successfully. I'm not ashamed by it. My kid is doing pretty damn good at using the potty; better than she has been. I'm not embarrassed, she's doing amazing. I bribe her for more than the potty, and I'm not embarrassed. I bribe her when we're out in public; if she behaves she gets to watch a movie when we get home or gets to play with the annoying toy that I hate or we listen to Baby Shark on repeat for an hour. I reward when my kid when she does something good. As she gets older, I'll probably cut that habit but for the moment, I'm not ashamed of it.