Mom-on-Mom Hate: Are We Raising Mean Girls?

So let’s talk about Mom-on-Mom hate.  Why is it that every mom thinks the only way to parent is theirs?  Think about all the hot button issues in motherhood that divide us–Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding, Stay-at-Home/Working Mom, Vaccinate/Not Vaccinate…and the list goes on and on.  Most moms stand firmly on one side or the other and feel attacked by moms who don’t see it their way–sometimes unnecessarily.  Unfortunately, our insecurities force us to pick sides, go on the defensive and even get nasty.   Here’s the bigger problem: This behavior is spilling over into our children’s relationships.

I experienced a lot of Mom-on-Mom Hate late in my pregnancy.  Up to the day of his birth, I was told that my “lofty” ideas of having Baby T with no pain medication was ridiculous.  Moms around me told me their horror stories and insisted that I would “never make it” without drugs and I would “cave”.  They took cheap shots at my confidence because obviously I had “no clue” what I was committing myself to–well, joke was on them–I did it (just barely) but I did it!  In my moments of deciding between an epidural and continuing naturally, I clearly remember explaining to the nurse that I needed to do it naturally because I told everyone I was going to do it!  During a major decision in my birth plan, I was worried about what other people were going to think! SERIOUSLY?

I remember posting on Facebook that I did it with no drugs as a moment of pride–not as a knock at anyone else–and received a backlash about all babies, no matter how they are born, are a blessing–and that I must have had an EASY labor.  Talk about a buzzkill.   I received attitude about my choices including breastfeeding, making my own baby wipes and food, and using organic products on my son.  I wasn’t walking around judging other moms for how they were doing things (at first).  I never stood on a soapbox and pointed fingers at other moms–but for some reason they felt judged simply because I did things differently.  And what’s worse, I felt attacked and ended up going on the defensive.  I became a perpetuator of Mom-on-Mom hate.  I started looking at other mamas who didn’t do things my way and thinking “well isn’t she a hot mess” like I had it altogether.  How many other moms get sucked into this cycle like this?

Why can’t moms be supportive of other moms?  It is hard for us to acknowledge our mistakes or our struggles–because we are afraid we are going to be JUDGED (and we are).  I’ve seen a lot of posts on parenting sites talking about “pet peeves about other parents”–with a “no offense” disclaimer.  Uh-huh-what?  You want people to discuss what makes them upset or angry but not attack or feel attacked?  Seems like a sure-fire way to build camaraderie, no?  Why can’t Motherhood be a safe place to talk about our trials and tribulations?  Oh yeah, I forgot–we’re all saints, right?  WRONG.

I know some moms feel the need to evangelize and recruit others to their ways of life–and that’s okay–but please, please, please do it without being dismissive, belittling and nasty.  Honestly, the best way to help other moms is by not judging them and by doing what you do best–being you!  A lot of times you don’t have to give unsolicited advice–they’ll come to you–maybe even ask you why you do what you do.   I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked about Baby T’s teething necklace, for my secret baby wipe formula or tips on making baby food–and I didn’t do anything other than be ME.

Now, let’s get to the meat of this post…what does this have to do with our children, especially our daughters?  It’s easy for me as a teacher to say, “Wow–girls just get nastier and nastier each year”–but the harder and more important thing to do is examine why.  Why are they nasty? Who tells them that this behavior is acceptable?  Why do they think that friendships consist of talking behind one another’s backs?  Hate to tell you this but it’s on us, mamas!  We’re their number one role models–and what do they see us do? Attack and feel attacked by other moms–our “friends”–ALL THE TIME–over just about ANYTHING.  Moms can be catty, judgmental and rude–our daughters are sponges–they follow examples of the women in their lives.  Why wouldn’t we expect this to transfer over into their friendships?

It’s on us to teach our kids that friendship is NOT based on a mutual-dislike for one another and utter lack of support for your “friends'” choices.  When my students complained about having to work with someone they didn’t see eye-to-eye with, I told them that they didn’t have to marry the person but they did have to be supportive and polite.  Why can’t we follow that advice?  When one mom does something we don’t agree with why can’t we just accept that? Maybe that’s right for their family or their child?  Just because people do things differently doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong.  It takes all kinds of mamas from all walks of life to make up this wonderful world we live in!  

Wouldn’t it be great if our girls could follow that example and be who they are without worrying about being judged?  Wouldn’t it be great if they’d allow their peers to “do their own thing” without wasting their energy on ostracizing and judging them? Wouldn’t it be great if they just accepted each other for who they are despite their differences?

Wouldn’t motherhood be easier if we could TALK OPENLY about our trials, tribulations and mistakes?  Wouldn’t it be easier to ASK other moms for help without the fear of being JUDGED?  Wouldn’t it be easier to know that if you child is having an absolute meltdown in the supermarket or at a social gathering that other moms EMPATHIZE because THEY’VE BEEN THERE–rather than feeling their GLARE and feeling like a TERRIBLE mom.  It’s an awful cycle–we feel judged even when we aren’t being judged–wouldn’t it be awesome to NOT feel that way all the time.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Mom-on-Mom Hate wasn’t the norm?  Here’s the challenge: I dare you to be the difference, to defy the norm, to change the course of “Motherhood” and bring an end to Mom-on-Mom Hate.

via Bellani Maternity

via Bellani Maternity

Think there is a connection to Mom-on-Mom Hate and our kiddos (especially daughters) having to deal with NASTY peers?  How do you stop yourself from joining in on Mean Girls: Mamas Edition?

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16 thoughts on “Mom-on-Mom Hate: Are We Raising Mean Girls?

  1. How have I tried to stop mom hate? This has been the strategy for my friends and me.
    Surround yourself with moms with whom you have the anti-hate conversation. Talk about the fact that you plan to stay away from judging them and their choices and that you would like them to do the same thing. Then, practice the love for each other. Accept each others’ choices and still love each other. Our kids learn from our examples. So, our daughters will learn to love other girls if they see us loving our mom friends. This also includes not cutting down others behind their backs in earshot of our little ears

    • You’re absolutely right–it’s the elephant in the room–so why no just get it out in the open and talk about it! Duh. So easy! Love this idea! In fact, I am hoping this blog will be a way to open the conversation with my mom friends 🙂
      And yes, we all need to PRACTICE loving one another–no one will ever be perfect at it but we can all do BETTER!
      Thanks for commenting–you’re always a voice of wisdom in my Mommy Circle!

  2. Amen! A very well written point of view. I totally agree! I see this kind of behaviour really blossoming in grade 2. But with my daughter in kindergarten this year, she has already come home and won’t wear a favourite shirt because someone else remarked that they didn’t like it. My response was that as long as she liked it, that was enough. I hope that my daughters learn tolerance and acceptance of others, as well as to stand up for themselves from me. I need to be their role model and I will try my darndest!

    Shannon
    http://www.mamamusing.ca

  3. I discovered mommy hate in myself when my oldest was very young. I saw a friend who was “attacked”. People felt they could freely comment/judge because her son was a chunky boy. I had never seen in my life a more responsible eater, this kids diet was extremely healthy, he was just genetically thick. Seeing what she was going through opened my eyes and made me realize that not every situation is as it seems. I’ve faced judgments myself, used to bother me but not so much anymore. It will annoy me at how narrow minded people can be but that’s about it, it doesn’t feel like a personal attack anymore.
    When I see a mom who is doubting herself or judging others and looking to me to join in the bashing I’ll reply that I’ve never known a momma who intends to wrong her children. I’ve never known a momma who didn’t have her kids best intentions in mind and who wasn’t doing the absolute best she could! Yes there are a few women out there who are awful mothers, we’ve seen reports in the news about moms who have done unthinkable things but they are not the norm!
    Moms are too hard on each other when we should be the ones helping and supporting one another. Who other than moms know how hard it is to be a mom, why make it harder?

    • Yep, being a mom is a tough job–Motherhood should be an elite society of sisters, not a shallow club of frenemies. Thanks for spearheading the change!

  4. I can’t speak as a Mom, but I can offer this from the teacher perspective….and from working with literally hundreds of adolescents over eighteen years: I find the hating syndrome is pervasive. It seems the only way we define who we are is by donning armor and launching blows against those we are NOT. Perhaps it’s because we are so deeply…atom-ized….isolated in our constantly virtually connected world, yet fiercely alone despite it all. How often do we talk with a neighbor across the street? Exchange a few words face to face while hauling in the garbage barrels? We scurry to accumulate more “stuff”….to feed our sense of ourselves, and fail to accumulate laughter and shared simple moments of camaraderie. Can we only “make ourselves feel OK” by acquiring more, harping more, etc? It seems so. Certainly, the adolescent–perhaps particularly the young girl, awash in advertising (bogus and Photoshopped, as it all is!) cannot help but try to define herself by building walls instead of bridges? Insecurity is rampant, and you’re right: the biggest role model is Mom, for better or worse. Let’s hope this kind of opening up of the discussion gets the ball rolling toward more empathy all around: the consequences are dire and happening all around us. Hillary Clinton has it right: It DOES take a village….

    • I homeschool because I have seen the village and I don’t want it raising my children. lol unrelated to this blog post but your Hillary Clinton reference reminded me of it.
      It does remind me that when some parent’s find out that we have chosen to homeschool the responses are sometimes hurtful and discouraging or they take offense that they are not homeschooling. I’ve heard, ‘I love my kids, but not that much or-‘we’ll see how long you last doing this’ or ‘why would you want to do that?!’ or ‘you’re homeschooling them all?!’, ‘don’t they drive you crazy?’ or people just assume that there’s some problem with the school. It will often start with Good for you! and then one of the above discouraging statements. It would be great to get support from my homeschooling friends and my friends who choose public or private school. Some have come around so that’s a start! I could honestly care less how parent’s educate their kids, I do assume they are doing what is best for their family, much like I am.

      • Amanda, I laughed out loud–I, too, have seen the village and am not sure I want it raising my children–Bhaha–it’s crazy for my teacher-self to hear my parent-self think that! Glad to hear your friends are coming around–I feel like homeschooling may be more mainstream than the general public would like to admit (joke’s on them). Agreed–as long as your taking care of your child and keeping them safe, happy and healthy–who cares what road you travel? Thanks for commenting!

    • And, yes, Ms. R, I hope just by saying the words aloud (er-writing them) that people can acknowledge that we are a society of “haters” and we need to OWN IT and CHANGE IT.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen moms fighting on FB pages claiming one method is better that the other. Isn’t it about the welfare of the kids and what works for each family? Instead of bashing each other why not give helpful tips so that other moms can have more options and see which will work best for them.

    • Thanks for commenting! So true. FB is a rampant with hate in general but especially Mom-on-Mom Hate–and I think a lot of Parenting sites like BabyCenter, etc., like to stir it up by posting known controversial statements/articles. Sad really.

  6. Pingback: How Moms View Other Moms: Like Wild, Dangerous and Unpredictable Villains | Mompson

  7. I totally agree.. unless a child’s well being is in danger, physically , mentally or emotionally… sometimes.. you have to speak out for the child.I know of parents bragging about giving their babies medicine or even alcohol to make them sleep when they are cranky or teething.. and they think its OK… or calling their kids names when they make mistakes, or play too rough with toddler boys to”make him tougher”, I could not live with myself if I didn’t speak my mind.. I even had my own sister tell her young( preschool) daughters that they didn’t really want to eat( whatever they had asked for) because when they get older.. boys won’t like them if they are fat..

    • Thanks for commenting, Pattie! Certainly the world is full of not-so-stellar parents like the ones you’ve mentioned above. I understand where you’re coming from–and you’re right about speaking up when a child’s safety/well-being is at stake. I also think, as moms, we need to teach our kids how to share their opinions (in non-life threatening situations) without being offensive or attacking people of differing views. When it comes to differing viewpoints moms can get critical, defensive and catty over things that don’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, ya know? Thanks again for reading!
      ~Kayla~

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