Yesterday afternoon I was scrolling through my Instagram feed while my baby was asleep, like I always do. While I was mindlessly scrolling, something caught my eye. I came across this person who was talking about the different 'types of mums'.
Now mind you, this wasn't a post that was casually or playfully talking about how mums are in general. This post talked about the different types of mother stereotypes, and the person who wrote this post was talking about how mums should parent kids the 'right way'.
What made me angrier was that this person was preaching and promoting these outdated stereotypes in 2020!
Before I get to the different types of stereotypes we commonly come across, let me talk about why we tend to form stereotypes in the first place. Simply put, we learn stereotypes from parents, teachers or anyone who influenced us growing up or even the media. Another reason why we do this is because people like to, want to, and feel the need to categorise the world into neat little groups or boxes and to a certain extent, this happens subconsciously.
What we sometimes forget is that it's the 21st Century. All of us are so different, and it's simply impossible to put people into boxes. I firmly believe that it's so crucial for all of us to support each other rather than bring each other down.
It's no secret that just like anything else, parenting has evolved over the years, and it will continue to. To tell a mother how to live her life or parent her children when she's trying her best isn't just rude; it's straight-up wrong!
Here are the most common 'Mum Stereotypes' that we're flagged with on an everyday basis:
A stay at home mum is lazy: I often see people giving stay-at-home mums a hard time simply because they choose to stay home with their kids rather than work a job. As long as this is something the mother wanted to do on her own, we shouldn't be questioning her choice. Period.
Working mums don't pay enough attention to their kids/ families: This is probably one of the most common criticisms we face. If men who work can be great dads, then women who work can be great mothers. It's as simple as that. In fact, a study that you can read more about here showed that these stereotypes are only faced by working mums and not working dads!
The ‘Ideal mum’: This is a stereotype that has been popularised over the past few years - thanks to social media and mainstream media. The 'ideal mum' is usually painted to look like she's doing everything right and looks great while doing it. If you pay close attention, you can often see advertisers and mainstream media promoting this stereotype to make us feel like this is the mum we need to be. Needless to say, the 'ideal mum' doesn't exist, and you shouldn't let anybody tell you otherwise!
Expecting women to change themselves entirely after they become a mother: When a woman becomes a mother, she changes as a person. Everything from her body to her priorities change, and it's hard. Although this is something we all probably know already, we still tend to judge mums and tell them that they shouldn't do certain things just because they're a mum now!
Judging a mum who puts in extra hours at work, judging a mum because her parenting style is different, or because she travels often is something we see happening all the time. This is something that definitely needs to stop!
These are probably the most common stereotypes around mothers we come across all the time. A lot of times, this happens subconsciously. If you catch yourself thinking this way or see someone else doing it, I urge you to educate them.
Since I run Our Baby Nursery and I'm a mother myself, I get to interact with a lot of other mums on an everyday basis, and I know that these mum stereotypes are something all of us face all the time.
If you're a mum, you deserve so much love and appreciation for what you do! After all, you are raising the great minds of tomorrow. My team and I believe that you are so much more than these uncanny terms and stereotypes.
To add some fun to a world where we're constantly told what to do and how to parent our kids, we decided to add some positivity and create an Instagram filter around mums.
This fun filter tells you 'which mum you are' and once you use the filter, you get results like 'loving', 'funny', ‘socialite’, ‘organised’ and more, because I believe that many of us have these qualities and you're not just an awesome mum but also a really cool person! :)
Here are some great snaps of women having fun with our filter: