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Mommies Unite…Or Stab Each Other in the Back

24 May 2011 13 Comments

by Christine Lee-McNaughton

As a whole, I think moms generally tend to stick together, help each other out, give comfort, advice, and form long lasting bonds and friendships with fellow moms. This said, I have been present in situations where moms don’t always have each other’s back and end up making others feel awful.

Why is this? One would think that as moms, we’d be understanding and compassionate and not hurtful, spiteful, or competitive. I haven’t really experienced it first hand, but have been witness to a few dirty, underhanded deeds.

A new mom was having a challenging time nursing her newborn son. Her friends knew this. Many were supportive and tried to give tips and share stories of what worked for them. Still, the new mom couldn’t produce much milk, her baby was screaming, she was frustrated…and she desperately wanted to breastfeed her child. In the end, she had to resort to pumping breast milk (though her milk supply was not high) and had to formula feed as well.

Mom A: Oh, you’re bottle feeding  your baby?
New Mom: I have been trying to nurse him, but it’s just not working out. I really want to breastfeed.
Mom A: Oh. Formula? Well, my child has never ever had a bottle or a soother. Breast is best,  you know.

New Mom suddenly burst out in tears.  Post-baby hormones, lack of sleep, frustration over not being able to breastfeed her child and now having to hear another mom tell her that breastfeeding is best (even if she already knew that and was trying to do that).

I was once at a gathering and gave a new mom some BornFree products for her baby. Another mom piped in, “Why are you giving her bottles?! She should be breastfeeding!!!”

To this I replied, “Actually, those are sippy cups. Not bottles. She wants to transition her child from breast to sippy cup and BornFree has a fabulous training cup. But, thanks for asking.”

Another scenario – New mom to a very colicky baby boy is at a play date with other moms. She tells her peers that she is having trouble sleeping at night because the baby won’t go down and is constantly crying. She can’t function during the day, her housework is suffering, her relationships are suffering, and she is just on the verge of a breakdown.

Sleep Deprived Mom: (in tears) I just can’t handle it. I am so, so, so exhausted all the time. I don’t know what I am going to do. I feel like I’m going to lose it.

Mom B: Hmph. And, you just have ONE child! I’ve got four and I manage.

I just don’t understand statements like that. Au lieu of saying something like “Maybe you can get a family member to help out for a few  hours a day so you can rest” or “You can call me if you need any help”, Mom B just dismissed Sleep Deprived Mom’s feelings and needs. Yes, we’re all moms and we all go through rough times (having to juggle everything all the time), but the snippy attitude doesn’t help anyone. It is by no means productive or beneficial for anyone.

For me, being a first time mom, I’ve found that my greatest resources are family members, Little One’s medical team, and the moms I am friends with. They’ve all been instrumental in helping me along in my journey as a mother. They’ve all been with us through many scary moments with our preemie, shared in our joys and milestones, as well as offered sage advice and comfort through some very frustrating and challenging situations.

I am thankful for the mom friends I’ve got. Whether it be hanging out at a play date or going swimming, or chatting via websites like BornFree, MomCentral, Canadian Moms, or Mom Nation, I’ve been very fortunate to have such wonderful and supportive ladies in my life.

What do you think? Have you ever noticed this kind of knock-you-while-you’re-down attitude as a parent or are other moms generally very supportive?

One person who answers will win a BornFree Formula Dispenser!

The winner is Leslie with the email address lesl****@gmail.com. Leslie, please email moms@newbornfree.com to claim your prize. Thanks for the great entries, everyone!


  • Kristi said:

    I don’t want to be entered into the draw as I already have 2 of the dispensers but I wanted to comment.
    I don’t understand why some moms feel as if motherhood is a competition or a race: “I wouldn’t give my child___” or “You shouldn’t be doing____ as you should be doing this____” or “My child talked so early and walked so early, don’t worry, you’re child should probably start_____ soon”.
    I mean, seriously, yes, I have judged people before I had my son b/c I just didn’t get it. Case point: I never understood why you couldn’t just put the baby in the crib or a safeseat and take a shower. Was it that hard to do?”….Fast-forward years later when I had my son and I finally realize: YES, it is that hard b/c there are times where you realistically cannot get a few moments to yourself and if you do and your baby is screaming the last thing you’re thinking of is a shower!! lol
    So, why do some moms feel like they can say this kind of stuff? I don’t think I had any negativities but instead had many supportive friends along my journey into motherhood that provided breastfeeding and other supports that I still value today.

  • shauneen said:

    I am pregnant with my first and am shocked and apalled at how awful other women are to me. When I mention I want a natural birth, they smirk and say “oh you say that now” “yeah, good luck with that”"what are you trying to prove”. When I talk about the depression I suffered they ask how I am going to handle being a mother. So few women we supportive. Most just wanted to tell their horror stories. I stopped telling people my plans and share only with women I trust.

  • Michelle Proulx said:

    I am not sure what provokes another mom to degrade or push aside another mom’s feelings, I have wondered if it is maybe due to the bully mom not having recieved much encouragement during her struggles. Being a mom is not always the easiest job, but having a coliky baby, or having breastfeeding struggles makes it that much more difficult.
    I myself have been lucky and have had lots of “mom friends” support through out both pregnancies and births. When my 1st child was born I was not prepared to have dry breasts, and was under the assumption that once the baby gets here so will my milk….but this was not so…the first night home I tried to nurse my daughter but all I had was a small amount of colostrum left…and once that was gone she continued to try and nurse without success…..so after trying off and on for about 3-4 hrs I sent my hubby to make a bottle…but this only caused my daughter to choke and cry even more…so about 5 A.M I decided to call my midwife…she came over right away, when she met me at the door I was a mess..I felt as though this was a sign that I was not meant to be a mom…but she reassured me that this is normal feelings and to keep persisting with the breast, she checked my latch and once she saw that there was no milk showed me how to syringe feed my baby….just her being there with encouraging words and ideas made me feel stronger …10 days later my milk finally arrived and I was able to comforatably breatfeed from then on! Without the support I think I would have just given up…so from this experience I am always willing to lend a hand to any of my Mom friends whenever it is needed..Support is the key!!!


    Michelle Proulx

  • Ash said:

    I have been vary fortunate in having a great group of friends and supporters I think it is so important to surround yourself with people who understand and respect your feelings and decisions. I am often on my own with a husband in the military and I think my great group of friends has been key to my sanity!!! That said I have witnessed people putting their two cents in …in a hurtful not helpful way which is very unpleasant I think with a little practice and our gut feelings we can all muddle through parenthood in the right way for us. I think even worse and I know we are all guilty at times is how often moms can’t wait to put another mom down as soon as she is out of ear shot gossiping leaves another person a victim without them even knowing it! Before speaking of someone else I ask myself how would I feel if I heard someone saying these things about me!

  • Leslie said:

    In situations like these, which unfortunately do happen, I try to remember that it’s probably something in the unkind mother’s life – some dissatisfaction or personal hurt – that’s making her, in turn, say things that are hurtful or insensitive. It can be hard not to take things personally, but I think that’s what we need to do. I like to believe that no one would be intentionally mean if there wasn’t something else going on.

    I was really lucky to have a great friend tell me, when I was still pregnant, that you’ll hear all sorts of crazy things, largely well-intentioned, though sometimes insensitive, and that one way to deal with it is to take everything with a grain of salt.

  • emma w said:

    I feel sometimes I get knocked down by older moms or moms with older kids. I feel like saying “hello, first time mom here! It’s all new to me and you could be a little more supportive” If I only had enough balls to actually say it! Hang in there and go with the flow is my motto!

  • Amanda said:

    It upsets me so much when anyone does this kind of thing to another person. I think it gets me more when it’s mom to mom. I have been privy to such situations and had such things said to me, but I just remember that where it counts I have lots of support and give information as I can. I proudly use my Born Free bottles and even though I couldn’t breastfeed I know she’s getting her nutrition in the best way she can :)

  • cassandra said:

    I am glad to have friends around to help me. My family lives out of town, and i turned too a coworker of mine for advise. She was there for me all the way. I think moms and moms to be should help out each other as much as we can. other mom might have solutions/ideas for situations we might not know how to deal with.

  • Christine said:

    Wow! Great comments, everyone! Thanks so much for sharing your views. I agree with you, Leslie…about the largely well-intentioned part. When women are pregnant, it seems everyone wants to throw in their pearls of wisdom. A lot of it, I graciously accepted. Others, I took with a grain of salt. After all, we know our babies better than anyone else does. What works for some may not work for others. You do what you’ve got to do.

    However, the unsolicited advice and criticism, I think we could all do without :) Grain of salt…remember, grain of salt! ;)

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  • KristenCruise said:

    I know those comments! My mother says that because I breastfeed that the baby only wants me and it will be hard for anyone to babysit. Well regardless if I BF, I am home alone with him all day long, of course he’s going to get used to being with just me. I also get comments about him sleeping in my bed! Oh my gosh….he will never sleep in his own bed! My sister is now pregnant and I tell her to do what keeps her sane!! You will be more of a “bad” mother if you are stressed out, sleep deprived and frustrated! Whatever works now, do now. Deal with consequences later when the baby is sleeping through the night (and so are you) and you have more patience to deal. ie) getting baby to sleep in his crib after getting used to sleeping in your bed!

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  • Dr. Erik Goluboff MD said:

    Dr. Erik Goluboff MD…

    BornFreeMom » Blog Archive » Mommies Unite…Or Stab Each Other in the Back…

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