Humans of Agni

Chrissie, Cincinnati

06.02.20

"There is so much mom shame no matter what you do, no matter what type of mom you are. If you stay at home, people say you’re not empowering yourself as a woman — you’re 'just' a stay at home mom, there’s a story about the luxury of not “doing” anything all day. If you go to work, you’re guilted into thinking you’re not being the mom you should be, you’re not really there for your child. There is seriously no winning.

The hardest part for me by far is not being able to be with my own daughter during the day and feeling like I’m paying someone else to be her mom. It feels like there’s a hole in my heart. It’s like every single day I’m not being the best mom that I can be, even though being the best mom that I can be is my number one priority in life. I haven’t found a solution yet — I’m still dealing with this day in and day out.

I think women are generally harder on themselves than men, often trying not only to meet but to exceed expectations across every single category of their life. When you’re a mom, that’s just not possible. It’s so hard. On top of this, it feels like we’re also so hard on each other — which only makes things harder for everyone. I don’t think it’s even on purpose, I think it’s a bigger cultural thing, but people often don’t realize how even the small, sometimes super well-intentioned, comments made in passing can really hurt.

People keep congratulating me on how amazing I am for going back to work two months after my daughter’s birth. I know they mean well, but it’s like rubbing salt in the wound because I wish I hadn’t done it. People often only see things from one side but their words can come off in so many different ways depending on what that mom has gone through.

I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong for most of these questions. Each mom is different and each mom’s values and experiences are different — none of them are inherently right or wrong. The best we can do is be supportive of one another and appreciate that no matter who you are and what decisions you make, you’re working through a lot of really hard things every day. From the big decisions that require months of planning to the smaller, spontaneous moments like when your kid does something that might require disciplining, how do you do it? Some things you’ll do well and others you’ll mess up. But if it comes from a place of doing what you think is best for your baby, that’s always the right decision, no matter what. We can’t keep critiquing each other on every little thing, like whether or not to have your baby on a specific sleep schedule and whether or not to let your baby use a binky. Those are decisions that a mom has to be able to make for her baby and we should be supportive. None of us really know what to do, we’re all trying our best.

I know my story doesn’t stand out — every woman deals with this regardless of who they are and what they do. And I don’t have a solution. I just know a lot of people struggle with this, so I think we should rally together. Let’s just be more supportive of one another."

Read about Chrissie's Agni Moment here.