The mommy wars: let’s be nice
We’ve all felt at one point or another that we’re being attacked for the way we choose to raise our children.
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What are the mommy wars?

Mommy wars start with barbed comments made by mothers over the choices other mothers make. It could be about cloth or disposable nappies, breast or bottle, dummy or breast for soothing, pram or baby wearing, co-sleeping or not, natural birth or c-section. 

Read more: Baby food battles - the mommy wars

It is a pretty endless list.  Mostly these wars are about personal choices on what works for one mom, baby or family. 

Why are people so mean?

Hurtful remarks are often made because of the speaker’s own insecurities and feelings of failure. Other times, an innocent remark can become twisted in the recipient’s mind because of their own feelings of inadequacy or guilt. 

Mostly, people are just making general conversation with no intention to be mean, even if it unfortunately comes across the wrong way.

But then, you get those who get up each day and make it their goal for the day to be as nasty and miserable as possible. 

The big one, of course, is breast vs formula

The thing is, sometimes a mother is just sharing a special moment on social media, or mentions something she had set her heart on doing and achieved. Say she posts a picture of herself breastfeeding – it is almost guaranteed that among the supporting comments there will be a comment or two about how the commenter’s own child was formula fed and is intelligent, good at sports etc. and how dare this mother shame this other mother by posting her photo. 

All this tells me is that this commentor has a huge chip on her shoulder and reads a lot more into an innocent picture than is there. 

Read more: Embrace the 'mommy wars'!

I have both breast- and formula fed and the amount of nastiness I’ve been exposed to has been quite astounding. I’ve had elderly ladies march straight up to me while I was formula feeding and tell me I was harming my child (personally I think starving him would have been more harmful, but there you go).

When breastfeeding, I’ve had people tell me I’m making them feel guilty and should therefore not feed in public. I’ve been stared at, had “sies” yelled at me, and when someone asked if it was possible to breastfeed an adopted baby and I answered that it was, but with a lot of effort, I was met with “here we go with the pushy breastfeeders again”.

Being nice

I suppose it all comes down to someone taking offence where none was intended because of their own personal feelings. Very few insults were deliberate, and when they were, they were very clearly deliberate. Yelling “sies” and glaring at someone can’t really be misconstrued. 

I try to never deliberately upset another mother, as we are all doing our best, and I try my best not to take offence to what other mothers say and do – as usually it is about them and not about me.  

All in all, perhaps we all need to take a step back. Unless someone actually says, “I think you’re a bad mother because you don’t parent like I do,” perhaps they aren’t actually criticising you (or me).

And if we see someone doing something differently, perhaps we shouldn’t offer help unless they expressly ask for it. And moms, if you ask a question, let’s not attack those who answer it. 

Have you ever deliberately said something to upset another mother? Let us know at chatback@parent24.com.

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