A mother’s greatest critic? Other mothers.

Recently, I took part in a twitter discussion on parenting stigmas.

My, do we live in a judgemental world.

It seems mothers can’t win no matter what they do and guess who our biggest critics are? Other mothers.

To be honest, you’ve barely come down from the euphoria of giving birth before it starts.

Mums in the beds next to you in hospital are gloating that their baby slept through while you were wondering what to do with the crying bundle that they’ve trusted you with.

From the discussion, it seems single parents and young mothers feel they get the most flak. I’ve seen it myself where older people look down their noses at young girls with prams-especially on public transport-I have no idea why. The ironic thing about this is that surely the older generation  were more likely to have children younger themselves so I have no idea why they think these young women are deemed inferior.

breast v bottle

Next up is breast versus bottle. I was under the false illusion that it was women who choose to bottle feed who were getting abused for somehow depriving their offspring, but no. Breastfeeding mothers are also under scrutiny. Just this week, the terrible story emerged of a woman being labelled a tramp for breastfeeding her child in public. It seems all baby feeding is destined to be banished to public toilets. I didn’t realise it was a crime. Surely no matter how we feed our babies, the very people who complain about breastfeeding in public would complain even more about screaming, hungry babies. If we’re going to ban baby feeding in public, we should also ban walking and eating at the same time. If a nipple offends, so too does a dribbling, crumb dropping glutton who spits sausage roll crumbs all over the pavement (and I am not referring to the under-fives).

The working mother versus the stay at home mum (SAHM) is a nasty faction. Forget breastfeeding. This really is where the fur flies.

On one hand you have them women who work full time who say things like: “I’ve become a successful leader in my chosen career” to the women who don’t mind putting their careers on hold  to bring up their children. Are both working and SAHMs just jealous of each other? One wants to be at home more, the other wants to be out at work more and then there are the ones who enjoy what they do whether it be in the boardroom or the nursery. The animosity which is present between these groups of mothers however is quite scary.

Is it the government’s fault? SAHMs are viewed as lazy people who have given up on their dreams. While working mothers seem to get all the perks just for leaving their children to earn money.  The fact of the matter is, it is just not socially acceptable any more to stay at home and look after our children. It is much more acceptable to go out to work and pay someone else to do it for you.

Motherhood is not seen as a viable occupation. What people don’t see is that working mothers are still mothers. They just juggle work and home-life. Similarly, SAHMs still work very hard.

I work part-time and I always make the point of saying ‘I work in the office two days a week’ because being at home with a toddler (and a farmer) is not an easy task. I personally feel mothers, in both paid employment and at home with everything in between, should give themselves (and each other) a break.


Not satisfied with tearing shreds out of each other, mothers then go on to compare their children for the sole purpose of belittling and turning their victims into worried, emotional wrecks.

‘Does he sleep through the night? Is she potty trained? Can she count to ten? Is he walking?’ Whether you’re at the baby-weighing clinic, the playground or the school gates, this constant bickering and one-up-(wo)manship, happens day in, day out. So what if my child does ballet but you would rather send them rock climbing or fencing.

Get. A. Grip.

Someone told me that most children walk, talk and are potty trained before they go to school. It is hard if your child is slower than others but in most cases, they will get there.

As mothers, we already scrutinise every single thing we do as a parent. For goodness sake, let’s stop doing it to each other.

We all have enough to deal with in our lives without this added burden. It is just ridiculous.

If you don’t like the way another mother is bringing up their child, I have some advice for you. Go and walk a mile in their shoes.





  1. Ooh Emma wait till ur little one starts school and it’s who’s on the highest level book ooh mines a level 6 at 6!!
    I have a swf that always tries to better me it’s actually funny make stuff up for her to beat!!

    1. I know I’m dreading it 🙁 I think I will start making things up though hehe!! ps what’s a swf? Am I being dim ;-0

  2. So very true! Mums become so competitive and end up obsessing over when milestones are reached rather than simply enjoying their children. I’ve seen mums made to feel like inept parents by other mums who credit their children’s “successes” to their better parenting skills. As a mum of five I know how different children are; they do things when they are ready and all get there in the end. Chillax mums! If you can’t say something supportive to other mums then say nothing.

  3. Amen, to all the above. It can not be more true in every aspect. I am so glad you joining in Share With Me. I really really enjoyed reading this. I get flak for being a SAHM and my 2 1/2 yo not being potty trained and breastfeeding one baby for a year and not be able to do the same for my second. The list is endless. People really are cruel and judgmental. Like you said aren’t we hard enough on ourselves. You would think mothers would pool together. What gets our back up I wonder? It should be like a band of mothers instead. Sad it isn’t so. My favorite post this week thus far. Thank you for sharing. #sharewithme

    1. Thank you so much Jenny that is such a lovely comment. We are all in it together but most of the time it doesn’t feel like that. #sharewithme

  4. My god, I couldn’t agree more! I have never experienced any nasty comments about returning to work part time and I dont know any mothers who did either. What really gets my goat is the whole breast feeding vs bottle feeding issue. Even now, reading through the replies to your post, there is a mother talking about how she breast fed one baby but couldn’t breast feed her second child. There it is again – the most offensive and upsetting thing I have had to endure hearing over the past 13 months – mothers who feel they have to justify and explain themselves to other mothers/ midwives/ health visitors for mixing up formula and pouring it into a Dr Browns. I did it myself, endlessly trying to justify why my daughter was drinking from a bottle, and I still find myself doing it now despite my baby being 13 months old and drinking from beakers. It would break my heart having to listen to first time mothers getting all flustered, desperately trying to explain how they tried really hard to breast feed but couldnt, or that they had medical problems or that it was the baby that wasnt interested. WHO CARES!!! some people cant, some people can, some people dont want to. There you go. Ive said it. I will now go to hell for being a bottle feeding Nazi and for subjecting my child to a life of diabeties, low IQ, and a weakened immune system, all because I expressed for 2 months then couldnt bear the terrible joint pain and weakness it caused in my pelvis and legs.
    The fact is that we are all handed the same mind-boggling little bundle. There is no one out there who knows more than me or who knows less than me, we are all – each and every one of us – completely and utterly clueless. We just take each day as it comes and hope that we get through it without breaking them. If they go to bed happy, with a full belly and a smile on their face you have done a damn good job. There are far too many parents out there who abuse, threaten and dismiss their children, and far too many children sat in foster homes and children’s units waiting for a lovely family to come and take them in and love them. A mother who bottle feeds her baby is not a bad mother, despite what other mothers might say in ‘passing comment’ or your midwife or health visitor might say to you – as they did to me, often leaving me in tears and feeling ashamed of myself.
    I am neither pro breast feeding nor pro bottle feeding, I am pro choice. We should all be able to sit together and whip out our boobs or our bottles and just get on with it whilst showing each other the respect we all deserve. No one, whatever feeding choices they make, should be made to feel inadequate as a mother. Oooh, rant over!

    1. here here! thanks for commenting :0) I cried in Mothercare when a breastfeeding advisor asked if Boo was breastfed. We put enough guilt on ourselves. xx

  5. “If you don’t like the way another mother is bringing up their child, I have some advice for you. Go and walk a mile in their shoes.”

    That is one of the best bits of advice I have read in ages. It is all too easy to criticise when we are all just doing the best we can given the lives we are dealt.

  6. Thanks Rosie no one knows what parents go through and the problems they face behind closed doors. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  7. It is amazing how women criticise each other a lot. Not just mother actually. I would see this in other social media networks. Girls commenting bad things about other girls, women pulling other down. What ever you do its wrong.

    Someone ( an old classmate) once belittle me when my son is not yet potty trained and not yet eating by himself.

    This made me feel ashamed of how I am bringing up my son. It resulted to me not joining playgroups cuz I feel incompetent.

    I know its wrong but .. but words hurt and even though I try not to get affected I am only human and I am alone here in the UK. I am affected.

    Thanks for posting this, I somehow feel better knowing I am not alone in what I am feeling.


    1. you are not alone! What a shames. You’re right though it’s not just mothers. I suppose it is human nature but it seems so cruel xx

  8. Really lovely post! I have to say that I have been really pleasantly surprised by the lack of competition among mums I’ve met but I’ve had health visitors that have made me feel awful. I do find myself justifying/explaining why I’m a SAHM, which makes me angry sometimes. Lord knows it’s not easy and when people imply that I’m being lazy or ‘taking time off’ it’s really frustrating!

  9. That is all so very true!!
    If you don’t like the way another mother is bringing up their child, I have some advice for you. Go and walk a mile in their shoes. That is the best advice I’ve read in a long time x

  10. There are always a couple of mums that seem to love making others feel bad. I think it’s their own insecurities.
    Thank goodness we have a supportive community on here. Fab post. 🙂

  11. I agree that the sahm/ working mum thing is bad. I have been both of those and am now currently a work at home mum, which is every bit as rewarding and challenging as the other two. Mothers seem to find it so hard to accept other ways of parenting without judging and Twitter can be the worse place to find that unfortunately. I say that as long as your child is happy, warm, fed and loved then you’re doing it right. No matter what my opinon is!!
    x x x

  12. Great post Emma, and so true. Since having O one thing I really try to do is not judge other mums/parents because, like you say, you never know what is going on.
    I always remember one really smug mum at our baby group who would bang on about bloody tummy time. O hated it and wouldn’t tolerate it for more than a few seconds but her daughter loved it, which she went on about all the time. I must be a totally crap mum because my son doesn’t like tummy time. Well, 2 years on does it make a blind bit of difference he didn’t like it? Ermmm, no!

  13. Very, very true. I can find that women are the most unsupportive, supportive people in the world – to each other! I do wish we could be in a live and let live situation but it just doesn’t happen that way when emotions are involved! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

  14. I’ve felt alot of pressures as a first time mum – working full time, potty training, breast feeding etc. Its hard enough trying to convince yourself that you are doing the best job you can be as a mum, let alone having your choices compared all the time. It does frustrate me that we live in a world where we have to be the best of the best rather than just concentrating on being the best parents we can be, in the way we want to be!
    Really enjoyed reading your blog post hun xx

  15. Your post is very true, i think us mums make ourselves feel worse by imagining what we think others are thinking of us and our children, we definately need to give our selves a break. I am a SAHM and always find myself defending my ‘job’ when I tell someone what I do all day!! #pocolo

  16. You’re so right. Other mothers are the absolute worst sometimes. All that matters is that we are doing what we think is best for our families and our children. I am fed up to the back teeth of competitive parenting! Thanks for sharing this!

  17. It’s so true. It’s also really hard not to judge in some way, because as a mum if you’ve been pleased with the way you did things, you want to share that experience with others because you might think it’s worth everyone trying it. But to do that without coming across as judgmental is so difficult.

  18. This is such a great and true post. I really dislike how motherhood has slipped from being this beautiful, natural amazing thing to be bestowed onto a woman, into some sort of weird and unnecessary competition to who has the cutest and most well behaved offspring.

    Personally I take no part in it. I have five children who have all crawled, added, asked and been potty trained at different levels. At their own paces and in their own time. That’s how it’s meant to be.

    Fab post n and ants so much for linking it up to the #madmidweekbloghop

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