Parenting is hard and it’s made even harder when you’re worried about being judged and shamed for every move you make.
Abbie Fox, from Foxy Photography, wanted to create awareness around this issue after experience mommy shaming over her choices, and the resulting photo project has been shared more than 54, 000 times.
We got in touch with Abbie to learn more about the story behind her Anti Mommy Shamers Unite project and what the community reaction has been.
Mom shaming online has to one of the most harmful things the community is doing to itself and it can be hard to go a day without seeing it happen. What was the spark that lead you to creating this photography project and how did you get started?
I’ve been shamed for many things that I’ve done in the past, especially when I was a new mom to Maverick, eight years ago. I started with how I fed him, next was how much screen time, and after that it was about rear-facing car seats. People were mean. Friends were mean. It put such a bad taste in my mouth to see all these mommy shaming. I ended up leaving all of the Facebook mommy groups because it just wasn’t worth it.
How did the project come together and what was it like meeting all of these families and hearing their stories?
For the last year and a half, I’ve wanted to do an anti-mommy shaming photo project. I knew I wanted to give it my all, so I let the idea grow in my mind until I was 100% ready to make it happen.
I posted about the project in my client VIP group. In the end, 17 women joined in to take part in the photoshoot, which meant 30 kids in total, including my three.
The session was chaos, as you can imagine with 30 kids! We did the individual photos first, then the group photo which turned out to be quite comical. Since I had photographed most of these kids from an early age- some of them from their birth- I already knew their stories and it make it even more important to me to share them.
What has the reaction been since you’ve shared the photos on your Facebook page?
To be honest, the reaction has been both good and bad. There have been some nasty comments left on the photos- people trying to make this a negative experience, but we are all banging together to share our stories and to make sure that the entire project isn’t being tainted.
The entire point of the project is to show, through this series of photos, that mommy shaming is alive and well, and the negative commenters are just proving our point.
Most of the comments, however, have been overwhelmingly positive:
“I love this. And I love how you advocate for Mommas from all walks.”
“Love this project… ALL children should be loved! Isn’t that we all want?”
“I LOVE this! Mom/parent shaming needs to stop and I love the message you are sending. Every baby is different as is every parent. The best thing ever said to me was that it’s okay to parent differently than someone else or to even parent each of your children different. Because after all they are all different.”
One comment that really stood out to me was this one:
“This made me realize I do Mom shame sometimes. I don’t publicly, but I do internally. I need to be more open minded and not roll my eyes at other people’s decisions.”
To me, if one person can change, then the entire project was a success.