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I once wrote an article for Mouths of Mums, which was about things that people say to a working mum. It was an honest article; all comments have been directed at me personally.

My hope was that other working mums would read it and either laugh in recognition or perhaps could seek some comfort in the fact that they are not alone.

What I didn’t anticipate was a lot of comments from stay-at-home-mums who came out with guns blazing, keen to compete with the comments, which are directed at them.

The Mummy Wars

I don’t doubt for a minute that those comments are real and frequently bandied around. However the comments led me to think about the “mummy wars” – a phrase coined in the media.

If you Google “mummy wars” you will be inundated with articles. Authors attacking one another, making judgements, competing with other mothers. There are also posts commiserating with others and showing empathy and understanding.

I like to think that we are moving to a space where mums stop judging and start supporting.

There is no doubt that being a mum is hard. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week gig. The best-made plans can go out the window at the drop of a hat. It is tiring; there are long sleep deprived periods.

Whichever path we choose to travel, there are tough decisions and worries that we are not doing the right thing or the best thing.

Perhaps it is the tiredness and worry that we haven’t quite got it right that leads to scorn and judgement. Or perhaps it is merely a phenomenon promoted in the media. Either way, here are seven topics which, are almost guaranteed to see mums with an opposing view come out and launch an attack:

1) Pregnancy

I for one did not enjoy being pregnant. In fact apart from the end result of a beautiful baby, there was nothing I enjoyed about it. I felt terrible; I had complications, which made me worried and anxious. I was in pain. I couldn’t eat. I was huge. I was also a little bit scared to voice that for fear of offending someone. When I did complain, there were times I was told I was lucky to be pregnant and obviously hadn’t experienced loss or difficulty conceiving.

With neither of those being true, I have nothing but sympathy for women in that situation. However my physical pain and worry was still real. I don’t think it is insensitive to talk about how you are feeling.

There isn’t a competition for which is worse, being pregnant and feeling awful or suffering loss or not being able to conceive.

2) Delivery

Another topic which insights passion and argument.

Why do we need to pass judgement or make unhelpful comments about the birth of children?

We do what we need to do. I am sure we would all love to be able to have a home birth, drug free in front of the fireplace at home and be up and about the next day with a completely healthy baby. Sometimes that just cannot happen.

A safe delivery is the number one priority. Hearing about problems specific to c-section births or toxicity of drugs used in labour is not helping anyone. Often the birth decision is out of the mother’s control and we just need to keep our eye on the goal.

Instead of judging and scaremongering we should simply be celebrating a new life.



3) Feeding

Just like delivery, we often have an ideal that we will exclusively breastfeed and then wean to organic home prepared food.

I am sure nobody anticipates the pain and distress that breastfeeding can cause.

Putting pressure on new mums to do something which is making them cry and fill with dread every two hours is not helping anyone.

Judging mums who feed from bottles or those who feed from jars is commonplace. How often have we heard the “breast is best” phrase? It may well be best in the perfect situation, but is it really best if it takes the mother to a dark, dark place and damages precious bonding time with her baby? I don’t think so.

4) Sleeping

How does your baby sleep? Do you co-sleep? Do they have a routine? How many hours do they sleep in the day? What about at night? How many times are you up? This is an area of hot competition.

I remember when my 2 month old was still waking several times each night (which she did till she was 2) a mum telling me that her son slept all night and it was because I hadn’t established a routine.

Everyone has his or her opinion on how to get baby off to sleep. Don’t lie with them, don’t form dependency on you being there, don’t leave them crying, don’t walk up and down with them…..

All of us sleep-deprived mums are following our own instincts and attempting to do what we think will work for our own families.

5) Vaccination

We have all seen the raging arguments here. There is obviously a lot of passion felt.

Perhaps some would argue that this area is slightly different as for once your decision can impact on my family and me. However, there is nothing like expressing an opinion of vaccination to start a huge debate.

6) Television/ screen time

Again, everyone has their own view and their own approach, backed up by what they have researched, what they feel and what works in their family.

I think it would be a dishonest mum who has never used a screen to get a minutes peace.

Unfortunately there are still many who will judge and will be quick to stand up with unkind comments and supporting research of how we are damaging our children’s development.

7) Working mum or SAHM

My previous article saw the comments start. The reality is that there are tough days for all mums. They are not exclusive to working or SAHMs. Both have positives and both have negatives.

It is hard not to defend our positions, after all we put a lot of time, thought and emotion into decisions, which affect our children’s lives.

Trying to convince others that we have worked through it all and have come to the best decision is understandable.

However, we do not know other mums’ stories nor do we know the reasons behind their choices.

Next time you find yourself judging or questioning another mum’s decision which has no impact on your life, remember that she will be facing her own challenges.

Instead of judgement, let’s offer kindness.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • The biggest Mummy war is a battle between :

    Breast is Best & Do You Work?

    Guess WHAT each Baby and Family are different & putting down the opposite of Your way never works well….
    I’ve done it in my younger years without realizing and I’ve seen other’s do it – Is it intentional like bullying NO! but for someone who is sensitive YES is certainly feels like bulling!

    A good point I saw at the very start of Parenting forums was:

    Walk away from the computer (well now days its a tablet) and think about what your going to type if your hyped up by the post.

    Reply


  • Definitely come across ALL of these. I find a couple of people in particular that I avoid for this reason (one in particular seems to act as if she’s the only one that has ever been through things like teething etc and feels that its necessary to berate others who tell her how they coped through the situation ). My best friend however, we can have conversations about what her son is doing and how I handled or am handling it with my son realize we handle them differently and not berate each other for the others decisions and choices.

    Reply


  • Delivery is definitely one that stirs up a lot of emotion and opinion in some women – I was just grateful I was able to deliver at all – It’s a great blessing!


    • Me too. My peaceful, drug free, water birth quickly became an emergency c-section. The immediate skin to skin contact was delayed. However I was not disappointed for a moment when I saw her face and realised that the actions of the doctors were likely to have saved her life.

    Reply


  • Such nasty judgements and apparent need compete is what makes me shun a lot of “mummy” related social media so thank you for putting this out there. I try to see both sides of everything, seek the positives (even if up to my neck in bad stuff) and just be there as an ear or to answer a question actually directed at me.

    The amount of times I have just removed myself from a thread as some stranger feels she is an expert in my life, my parenting, my children – while not knowing a damned thing about me – just makes me grit my teeth and move away.

    We’re all different, and although our paths may cross, we do indeed walk our own seperate paths as we are all gloriously different. Embrace it, don’t judge it. :-)

    I saw a great pic the other day of 4 monkeys. You had your ‘see no evil’, ‘hear no evil’, ‘speak no evil’ and the fourth had a laptop and said ‘post no evil’. Damned straight! If you don’t have a nice thing to say, bite your tongue and walk away – be better person! ;-)


    • I love the fourth monkey. I agree, there are so many keyboard warriors ready to attack. Life is so much easier, happier and more harmonious if we just stop and think about the impact of a negative comment or statement.

    Reply


  • i read those comments. I think that it was more a case of “i can sympathise and here are my experiences”…… which is what you were aiming for (as stated at the top of this article)

    The grass isn’t greener on either side so you do what is best/needed to take care of your family. I don’t think that anyone should be attacking anybody about their choices as that is discrimination. Motherhood and the journey that it entails, is a different experience for everyone but it would be a lot better if we all stood together like sisters and helped each other get through it WITHOUT JUDGEMENT!

    I will be looking forward to reading your future articles. I am a stay at home mum but i love hearing about other mother’s experiences.


    • Thank you. I look forward to writing many more articles for this wonderful site too!



      • I agree with you! I thought the comments were about sympathising rather than competing or being nasty. Were the comments on this site or on fb? I re read the comments and most people seem to be sympathetic and offering their own experiences.

    Reply


  • Yes we are all very passionate about our mum ideas.

    Reply


  • very well said. it’s sad but very true

    Reply

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