I am not a mom yet. There are lots of things I look forward to… and one thing I definitely don’t. The mom bullies. That’s right! Bullies don’t completely disappear after high school and they rear their ugly heads when you become a parent.
Mom bullies are those who judge every single parenting decision you make. Their way is the best way and if you do not subscribe to the same parenting philosophies as them, expect some side eye and judgmental comments.
A mom bully, for whatever reason, cares about whether you breastfeed or formula feed your baby, buy organic food or not, make your own baby food or buy it, go back to work after having a baby or stay at home, vaccinate or not, use natural remedies or modern medicine.
In a local parenting group recently, I came across a thread asking for advice on a formula that wouldn’t give her baby gas. Instead of getting names of formula, she was met by a large number of commenters stating how she should try harder to breastfeed and giving her the numbers for lactation consultants. Nobody knew this woman’s situation or why she was requesting formula brands.
Perhaps she had tried everything to breastfeed and it just wasn’t working or maybe she had been sexually abused at one point in her life and is uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. Perhaps she had her breasts removed due to a life-threatening illness. Or maybe she had thought about it but had decided it just wasn’t something she was interested in doing. Some people have even gone so far as to compare formula feeding to child abuse. Don’t get me started on that, but if you are interested in reading more, take a look at When Breast Isn’t Best.
Another thread was posted asking for details on what it looked like to get induced. She had never had a baby before and her doctor was talking to her about the possibility of doing an induction, since she was over 40 weeks. All this woman wanted to know was the process of induction. Instead, she was bombarded by comments about how her doctor was wrong, how her baby would come when it was ready, to switch doctors, and carry out a number of home-induction methods because she is a child abuser if she chooses to subject her baby to the evil Pitocin for hers or her doctor’s convenience. You can read another perspective on Pitocin here at Pitocin is Not Oxytocin’s Evil Twin.
Did these women know why the doctor was suggesting induction? Maybe her fluid levels are low and they are worried. Maybe the baby has been registering a little lower on the non-stress tests and they want to make sure they get ahead of it by having her there in the hospital being monitored. Or perhaps they want to avoid a cesarean, her Bishop Score is favorable for induction, and they want to make sure the baby does not just hang out in her womb for weeks on end, getting larger and larger.
The point is, it is nobody’s business. You don’t have to explain yourself or your parenting choices to anyone. Disengage with those who do not treat you with respect. You are not ‘allowing them to win’ if you stop talking with them. Sometimes it is healthier for yourself to release the negativity in your life. These people want to make themselves feel better and they think their way is the best or only way. It is really more about them than about you.
Have you encountered any mom bullies? How do you deal with them?