Part of it is my definition. I know there’s a lot of rudeness/meanness on the internet and I’m sure most of you have had trolls post a nasty comment on your website, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a face-to-face snub. Like when you say you use formula and someone makes a face or when someone says “how can you send your child to a daycare center?”
When I never had a mean comment about breastfeeding/formula I just assumed it was because I was on the so-called “right” side of the debate, being a breastfeeder. I haven’t heard of many formula-feeding moms publicly telling other moms breastfeeding is stupid. But even after I had to start supplementing when Meg was 9 months old, no one ever told me I hadn’t tried hard enough. No one (but ME) said if I’d just pumped longer or took more milk-boosting supplements or quit my job so I wouldn’t have to pump, I’d have been able to “save” Meg from the evil that is formula. In fact, many moms encouraged me. They said the amount of effort I was putting into pumping wasn’t worth it. They told me a couple bottles of formula a day wouldn’t hurt her and some breastmilk is better than none. These were mostly stay-at-home moms (at MOPS) who breastfed their children for a year or more, and they encouraged me.
I thought stay-at-home vs. working moms is the area where I’d really be left out, since I work part-time. I figured stay-at-home moms would label me as a “working mom” and pity my daycare-going baby. I thought working moms would say snarky things like “it must be nice to only have to work three days a week” in a tone of voice that implies I spend two days a week sitting around eating bonbons. I thought if I attempted to commiserate with either group, they’d act like I shouldn’t complain since I have it so easy. That if I said some days being home with the baby is really hard, the SAHers would say “try doing it ALL THE TIME” or if I complained about a long day at work, the WOHers would say “at least you don’t have to work tomorrow.” Hasn’t happened yet.
And those are only an example of two things moms “compete” over. I’ve never had a conversation with another mom about vaccines. Or cloth diapers. No one has ever come up to me and said “I can’t believe you have disposable diapers in your diaper bag.” Have you ever experienced anything like this? Either a stranger (maybe someone gave you a dirty look while you fed your child a bottle) or someone you know judging a choice you made as a mother?