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I Got Mom-Shamed and Here's What I Think About It

Disclaimer: This blog isn't about college admissions, but you could easily apply the message to it and every other milestone in your life. 

If you follow my Instagram Story, you know that over the holiday break I got mom-shamed about being a working mom. To be exact, someone very close to our family told my 14-year old daughter that I had made some poor decisions as a mom in order to have my career. When my daughter told me what was said to her, my heart sank.

Not only did I trust this person as someone who believed in our family and what we stand for, but I couldn't believe they had the audacity to criticize me to my own daughter. It is a reminder to me that despite living in 2020, working moms face judgment, pay inequity, and sexism if they want a career.  

I faced all of that (and much more) when I worked in college admissions. As much as colleges are supposed to be progressive environments, they are often very similar to any private corporation—with all the cover-your-ears and close-your-eyes moments that would make any reasonable person appalled. I was expected to return to work immediately after each baby I had. If my kids were sick, I was still expected at work. No one was there to help. It was up to me to get childcare coverage even if I didn't have the financial stability to pay for it. My parents and in-laws didn't come to the rescue. My husband was incredibly supportive, but his job left no room for days off or sick days. I paid others to help me and care for my kids in my most vulnerable state. I just prayed that they would understand my impossible predicament. 
My 14-year old daughter put up with more than my other two kids did. She saw my tears every single day when I dropped her off at daycare. She saw the heartache and physical pain I felt going back to work after having my son via C-section only days before. She watches the blood, sweat, and tears that fall from my body every single day from building a business from scratch. She could easily turn on me and agree with that judgmental individual who was like family to us. But she doesn't. In fact, she defended me. And for that, every single tear I shed for the past 14 years was worth it. 
Being a working mom is not for everyone. In fact, for a few years, I stepped away from everything. I was so broken down from years of judgment and feeling like I was the only one. I returned to work because it was the right decision for me, but I admire the women who choose not to return to work. We all have hard jobs, no matter what we choose to do. 
In this next decade, I hope we can root for each other. Women for women. Men for men. Men for women. Women for men. Student for student. Teacher for student. Admissions officer for student. The only satisfaction one gets from shaming—whether it's mom-shaming, college-shaming, or otherwise—is temporary. It leaves them feeling empowered when the words leave their lips, but the feeling is irrecoverably dark. 
For 2020, choose lightness over darkness. Choose love over hate. Choose openness over judgment every single time. 

Related Reading: So You Want to Help Your Child Get Into College. Does That Make You a Helicopter Parent?