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
  • The older I get the more I think it’s best to say nothing for fear of upsetting someone.


  • This can be true I’m lucky to have two amazing mums groups who support each other


  • It seems everyone has to put in their 2 bobs worth these days and for the most part they would not even have any background info or context relating to the person they are commenting on. For the most part, parents are simply trying to do their best and we dont always get it right and are probably our own worst critics anyway, so we don’t need anyone else having their say.


  • I find it even worse when it’s people who haven’t even had a baby judging decisions a mother makes. Mother’s make the best decisions for their babies. That decision doesn’t always look the same and that’s okay.


  • No two circles are the same and we all do what we believe is best for our families and in the end that’s the most important thing.


  • Taking your own advice is best along with others advice too but it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Our own intuition as mothers is normally right.


  • Hallelujah! I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone judge me, I was lucky to have a really supportive mothers group. But it really ticks me off when I see others judging. I had problems breastfeeding and I really hated a lot of websites who were so hellbent on having everyone only breastfeed. I know a woman whose baby almost starved because she was so adamant about breastmilk only, due to the messaging that is out there. she couldn’t see the woods for the trees in her sleep deprived state.


  • The biggest mummy wars for me started when someone said to me ‘you’re not a good mum’ I hated that! Hated being judged and hated people thinking wrong things


  • I think both work perfectly for the children as long as you care for and support them.


  • I have 7 children with a set of twins thrown into the mix.

    I’m now a working mum but for many years was a stay at home mum.

    I believe that children are resilient and adapt to every scenario of parenting.

    What is the “norm” for my family may not work with yours?

    No one should be judged for the decisions that they make when raising their children providing the children are loved, fed, clothed,educated and have a safe warm place to sleep.


  • Mums need to stop judging each other and just support each other.


  • Life would be boring if all mothers were the same and our children did not differ from each other. Think of the boredom knowing that when your child reached a certain age he/she would be doing this. So well planned out and so easy, like a machine. Six children with a set of twins there and no one is the same. My first child was a horror, the next slept 10-12 hours a night from two weeks on. Mt twins never slept or wanted a feed at the same time but would only settle if both were in the same cot. Until the twins were five they shared a double bed together. It took finding out from school friends most people had their own beds, did they want to be apart. That i was told was not normal and not right as they are boy/girl twins.
    I like that everything is different but do at times wish things were the same.


  • Very true! I think mums on some of the mums pages just want to disagree with anything someone else says because they like the confrontation!


  • How true are these topics in here


  • The working mum vs the sahm… this debate has made me see who my real friends are that support my choice and current life with kids, and those who don’t…. very sad that people just can’t support each other and realise we all have different things going on that lead us to our current situation/lifestyle as a mum


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