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When you read the news today, “shame” is a pervasive theme — from “mommy shaming” over parenting decisions to “slut shaming” teenagers to “body shaming” people who aren’t beanpole thin. When my son was about 4 months old and I returned to work, I quietly endured the occasional comments from my parents’ group and even my own mom about that decision. But my family lives in an expensive city, and staying home with my child is a choice we cannot afford. Not to mention, I like working and my son is enrolled at a great daycare, so who cares? But, I admit, I still felt uneasy about the judgment.
I regretted not being more vocal about my decision to return to work, and a few months later I got the chance to do just that — but on a much bigger platform: Yahoo. In October 2014, days after my son turned 1 year old, we launched Yahoo Parenting with a major goal in mind: No judgment. No “mommy wars.” No focusing on just moms of babies. (Imagine a father wanting to parent his child! Or a gay family. Or any other combination beyond a mom, dad, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. There are shockingly few outlets where you can find coverage of today’s modern families all in one place.)
Now Yahoo Parenting is turning 1 year old this month, and we wanted to blow out our coverage in a big way to celebrate. So we’re taking back the negative connotation associated with “shame” and instead introducing the empowering #NoShameParenting. You may not agree with the way I raise my child, or that I work outside the home, or that I occasionally let him eat crackers for dinner, but I’ve got no shame about it.
Over this week and beyond, we’re drawing in a lot of voices of families from all over the country to share their stories. Maybe after reading about the mom who feeds her kids at a soup kitchen, you’ll feel more compassion the next time you meet a struggling family in your neighborhood. Or you’ll learn something from the divorced mom who lives just steps from her ex-husband (and his new wife) so they can raise their son together. Or you’ll be so enraged about a woman who was forced out of her job after maternity leave that you’ll start a campaign for paid family leave. Or you’ll agree it’s not the end of the world that one couple lets their teen daughter eat whatever she wants for dinner, even if that’s often chicken fingers and ice cream.
We’re also releasing the results of a study Yahoo conducted of more than 1,000 moms. (We studied dads earlier this year.) Some of the results are surprising, especially surrounding discipline (spanking may not be so off-limits), co-parenting (divorce is a different ballgame these days), and who’s judging whom (shaming runs higher when kids reach a certain age). And we’re very excited to debut our original video series, “What It’s Like,” which will provide an intimate look at the way families across the country live today. Our first episode stars an inspiring single dad to a 9-year-old daughter, who is grappling with everything from how to help her do her hair to guiding her into young womanhood. And we’ve got the Yahoo family involved, so you’ll also be hearing from Katie Couric and many more on their personal experiences raising kids and caregiving for others.
Despite the different roads we’re on, we all have the same thing in common: We want what’s best for our children. So I want to hear from you. Has there been a time when you felt shamed or judged? What’s your family’s inspiring story? You can always leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter. (Or Instagram or Pinterest.) Be sure to add #NoShameParenting.
Thanks for going on this journey with us,