I spent time recently with some young professional moms who were experiencing something I honestly thought was over: shaming from other moms who weren't in the workforce. Shaming is such a negative word. It implies some kind of shortcoming and can cause guilty feelings and unnecessary stress. At it's heart it is really cruel.
So why are parents still making other parents feel bad for choices they are making?
On both sides of the choice, whether a parent doesn't go back into the workforce after a child or does pursue his/her career options, there are things they give up that cause pause and reflection. Parents need all of us to validate their choices rather than judge or smirk because we might have made a different choice. The world is hard enough and so is raising children; let's all work together with families. Children today need responsive, caring environments, whether at home with a mom or dad, informal care with a relative or neighbor, or licensed child care setting. Let's think about the child and make all those environments the best they can be. This isn't the time to draw artificial lines in the sand about who made the better choice; the fact is, research supports strong attached relationships as the most positive foundation for children and luckily, they can have multiple attached relationships with several caregivers. Let's let parents know that we believe in their choices and then, let's make sure early childhood is all it can be!