Here’s the Story Behind the Viral Mom-Shaming Meme
We love this illustration and the message behind it.
A viral illustration has caught the eye of moms across the world, and now the artist has explained her inspiration for this anti mom-shaming meme.
Australian artist Paula Kuka, who created the What I did vs What You Saw illustration, said the artwork was made in response to a cartoon that ran in an Australian newspaper. The cartoon depicted a distracted mother who, while looking at her phone, unknowingly let her baby fall out of his or her stroller.
While Kuka admitted that people spend way too much time on their screens, she believes society should break from the toxic mom-shaming.
"I do completely agree with sentiment that we are addicted to our phones and it is to the detriment of social engagement," she said in an interview with Good Morning America. "But to specifically target new mothers seemed unfair and possibly harmful.”
She added that the negative effects of mom-shaming go beyond simple social media shares.
“Post-natal depression and anxiety affects more than 1 in 7 Australian women,” Kuka said. “When I saw the cartoon, I couldn’t help but feel defensive for any new mother who takes a moment for herself to look at her phone and is judged by strangers for her parenting."
Kuka also pointed out that moms are often on their phones to take care of family business. From contacting schools and making doctor appointments to creating shopping lists, moms are the best at multitasking.
"My drawing aimed to highlight what you don’t see,” Kuka said. “I just sat down and drew all the things I might do at home with my kids, when the public gaze isn’t on me. Playing, cleaning, cooking, reading, dancing and comforting them. I drew it in not as a way to vilify the original cartoonist, but out of compassion for other mothers, with the hope I might make something stop and think before they judge a mother in public, as they are only seeing a tiny fraction of what really goes on."
Kuka also suggested that, even if a mom is on her phone while she’s with her baby, it’s the new norm of motherhood to always be connected. And also, that moms today are more hands-on than ever, and the last thing anyone should do is judge them when they are at their most vulnerable.
So, if you catch a mom with her eyes on her phone and not her babe, don’t assume you know what happened every other minute of their day. Instead of judging a mother, try lifting her up instead.