Thursday, 8 August 2013

Thursdays Thing I Hate: The Mummy Mafia

A few weeks ago, the picture above popped up on my Instagram feed.

I don't know about you, but when I see this picture - I see a cute baby girl enjoying a little treat. I see a collection of images posted online by a mum who loves her little girl and thinks she's the cutest thing going, and wants to show her off to the world.

Much like I myself do on a pretty much daily basis via Instagram. Much like many of us new mums do. Its the most natural thing in the world, particularly as a first time mother, to be in awe of every little thing your baby does and want to share your favourite images of them.

But the mother here is not a normal, every day person - she is a celebrity of sorts. She is Imogen Thomas - former Miss Wales who had her 15 minutes of fame on Big Brother a few years back and became almost a household name following the public outing of her relationship with a certain married footballer and the super-injuction that followed.

And so - she has a higher number of Instagram followers than most people, and they are not people she knows in real life - they are "fans" in a way I suppose, perfect strangers who follow her because they're interested in her rather than because they know her.

I became interested in Imogen Thomas because she was pregnant at the same time as me - I also developed more of an interest in former Playboy girlfriend Holly Madison and Shakira for the same reason, when you see famous people with bumps growing at the same rates as yours for some reason it makes me more interested in them - so I followed Imogen on Instagram and like to see pictures of her cute little daughter who is just a couple of weeks older than Tyne.

So I saw this picture - I thought " cute"...and I got ready to move on with my day.

Until I noticed the comment thread below the picture....

First up, a comment from imsimonoakley23 - some guy who thinks he has the right to question Imogen on whether or not her daughter should be eating the ice cream at her age. 

This annoyed me a little bit....and then I scrolled down further...

LaurenCross89 - pictured with what I assume is her own child, who also appears to be a very young baby - commenting with "Just fill your baby with sugar why don't u #no1mum"

THIS annoys the living daylights out of me!!!

One mother attacking another mother for their choices.

One mother thinking themselves superior to another for the choices that they make for their baby.

One mother thinking that they have the right to judge another mother and hurl insults at them because they have a different view point on something.

WHY?!!! Why do people like LaurenCross89 think that it is acceptable for them to force their opinions onto other mothers?!

Ok, ice cream is full of sugar - yes. But this is a photograph - it's a little snapshot of a single moment in somebodys day. This photo does not indicate that Imogen Thomas is shoving ice cream down her childs throat constantly and "filling her full of sugar".

It is Imogen Thomas' call on when she chooses to give ice cream to her child - I am sure this was just a lick or two, I highly doubt there is any danger imposed on this child from a taste of ice cream.

So what makes people like these think that its ok to call other mothers out on what THEY think is wrong?!

Since having Tyne, I have constantly found myself made to feel inferior by other mothers for the choices I make...and it is NOT acceptable.

Why, when they become mothers, do some women automatically assume that every choice they make for their child is the right for EVERYBODY?! Why do they judge other people for doing things differently and think them a lesser parent for going another route?

Here are just few examples of instances where I have faced the collective I refer to as The Mummy Mafia:

1. My Birth Choice

I am a BAD mummy because....I chose to have an elective c section.

The Mummy Mafia say...."Natural birth is best!",  "Why would anybody choose to have major surgery?!", "Are you too posh to push?"....etc

I say....I have my reasons for wanting an elective c section, and they have nothing to do with being "too posh to push". I have crippling anxiety issues and my main phobia is death. My fear, like most fears, is not a rational one - and in my mind a c-section in an operating theatre feels far more controlled and safe than a natural birth. Particularly after I had read some rather harrowing statistics about people with my medical condition dying during childbirth.
I do not care how many people tell me that the statistics show c sections to be more of a risk - my mind thinks otherwise. I have the right in this country to give birth by c section and I exercised that right. And it was the right choice for me and my baby.

My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.

2. Formula Feeding

I am a BAD mummy because....I did not breast feed. 

The Mummy Mafia say...."Breast is best!", and my personal favourite from the Mafia Members who like to think they're being supportive of people who make alternative choices but are actually just as bad as the rest ... "Its your choice but obviously nobody can argue that breast milk is best for baby...."

I say...Actually, in my case at least, you are very very wrong.
My breast milk - contaminated with all of the many different kinds of medication I have to take on a daily basis - would be like administering poison to my baby. My breast is most certainly NOT best. And this is, I'm sure, the case for a lot of other people - so please think a little harder before you go around making sweeping general statements like these. They are not true for everybody.
And regardless - how to feed a baby is a personal choice. I realise that breast feeding is difficult but it annoys me a little that formula feeders are made to feel inferior - its fine to state that you are a proud breast feeder, but to state that you are a proud formula feeder is met by a barrage of criticism. And why should it be? My formula fed baby is nourished, he is gaining weight at the correct rate, I am paying good money to keep him well fed - why should I feel guilty that the milk isn't coming out of me?
Truth be told, I don't feel at all guilty - I just feel fed up of being expected to support breast feeding and just quietly accept that the same support doesn't exist for formula feeders. 
I mean - for goodness sake, even major high street retailers such as Boots think that they have the right to judge mothers who don't breast feed by not allowing you to collect points on formula - why on earth do BOOTS get to judge me?!!! 

My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.

3. Weaning

I am a BAD mummy because....I started weaning before 6 months, and I didn't do baby led. AND....shock horror ....I am NOT making my own purees!!! *cue dramatic music*

The Mummy Mafia say...."Baby led weaning is better for baby", "Babies should be able to call the shots on weaning", "All babies should be eating home cooked food from the start"

I say....Nobody knows my baby better than I do. I know when he's tired. I know when he's not feeling well. And I know when he's hungry and when his bottles aren't enough for him any more. 
I trust my instincts. I don't like the idea of baby led weaning and that is my choice to make. 
As for making my own purees - I started off doing this. I made pear puree - it took 45 minutes and tons of pears to make a tiny amount. I then tried carrot puree - 11 carrots and one teeny weeny bowl of carrot mush later - I looked at an Ella's Kitchen pouch and discovered it contained exactly the same thing I'd just sweated over making - 100% carrot, 0% everything else.
So yes - from now on, I'll be using those pouches. Why do I need to make my own when they contain the exact same things and one is a lot less hassle than the other?!

My body, my baby, my choice - BACK OFF.

So to sum up - I just really think its time that we all started to concentrate more on looking after our own children to the very best of our ability. 

Do what you think is right for you, bring them up the way you want to. But for gods sake don't preach to other mothers and don't assume that YOUR way of doing things is best for everybody else.
When you are judging another mother for a choice she is making - I can absolutely GUARANTEE you that there will be something that YOU do that SHE thinks is wrong too. 

All any of us can do is what is best for us and our kids - support other mothers in their choices, embrace their differences and accept their choices. 

I may not agree with the choices that YOU make as a mother, but I support your right to make those choices and I wish you the best with them.

Have you been on the receiving end of Mummy Mafia criticism? What are your thoughts on mothers judging each others choices? As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. You should not ever have to explain your reasons for anything you do with your child, you are his Mother, you follow your instincts and don't worry about what anybody else thinks. They are not worth worrying about if they judge you for anything you do. I agree about Imogen Thomas, it was just a snapshot in time! X

    UK based Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

    1. Exactly!! It's a shame that not everybody thinks the same way :/

  2. You are so right, everyone has a right to bring up their children how they wish! There is no such thing as a perfect parent, I'm not even a mummy yet but I know that already!


    1. Exactly!! I don't understand why some people struggle to understand the concept :/ xx

  3. I totally agree with this, people take things way to seriously and overly dramatic about everything concerning babies, at the end of the day you do what is best for your child and that's it, it's got nothing to do with anyone else. Great post as always :) xx

    Handbags To Change Bags - Mummy & Lifestyle Blog

  4. I hate people that judge and compare! You do what works for you and your baby.. I hate people that think their way is the only way! I bottle fed, we sometimes co-sleep, I weaned before 6 months etc..who gives a frig? Rio is the happiest little boy!!

    1. Exactly! All that should matter is that you and Rio are happy, what difference does it make how you choose to raise him?! xxx

  5. So far I've not had a huge amount of mummy mafia moments, but my daughter is only 8 weeks old. I too chose to have an elective c section, and I did however get a lot of questions/raised eyebrows and too posh to push comments, like you did too. We're lucky that in this country we get a choice to have a c section, it's nobody's right to judge us

    1. I hope you don't have any other Mummy Mafia moments! But yes people really seem to think elective c sections are a massive cop out and that gives them the right to judge us for our choices - it really makes my blood boil!

  6. So far I've not had a huge amount of mummy mafia moments, but my daughter is only 8 weeks old. I too chose to have an elective c section, and I did however get a lot of questions/raised eyebrows and too posh to push comments, like you did too. We're lucky that in this country we get a choice to have a c section, it's nobody's right to judge us

  7. I love this post! I've given Caleb chocolate and Wotsit...alert the authorities!!! xx

    1. Thanks Rebecca! OMG chocolate and wotsits?!!!!! :o :o :o Did you at least make the chocolate yourself?!!!

      Lol! xx

  8. My son couldn't latch. When he got dehydrated the hospital made the choice to bottle feed him. Due to him waiting till he was dehydrated he got fissures and 6yrs of hell with toilet phobia. I got looked down on even though I pumped as much as I could for 6wks till I dried up. Due to the toilet phobia the dr put him on solids early to see if it would help. He held his no. 1 upto 48hrs and no. 2 upto 10 days. I then got looked down on by everyone for feeding him solids-until I told them the dr ordered it and then it was ok. It's up to me I was the one with a child screaming in pain and I shouldn't of had to explain anything.

    1. That is horrible to hear :( People should really feel ashamed of themselves for the judgement they pass. You should never have to explain yourself for things like this xxx

  9. I had a cute photo of N licking my ice cream a few months ago but I was scared to share in case someone told me off! Boots aren't judging you btw, it's because giving points would class as advertising xx

    1. That's really sad - why should you feel like you can't share it for fear of being judged? The world is going crazy!
      I still see that as judging - why aren't they allowed to advertise formula feeding? Because its seen as some kind of disgusting sin. No amount of Boots points on formula make it free like breast feeding, so I highly doubt that allowing points to be earned on it is going to discourage a potential breast feeding mother and sway her to formula. xx

  10. Great post! Everyone has the choice to bring up their child how they want to!!
    Ohh I've been on the receiving end of the Mummy Mafia...Mainly for the same reasons as you...having an elective C-section, bottle feeding & weaning before 6 months! I said on a certain parenting message forum that my daughter had her first proper food at 4 months old and it was mashed and I was hated!! But this is going back nearly 11 years there were no real rules about weaning....Anytime after 3 months was fine....

    1. Lol! Thats part of what bugs me - people get so het up about weaning early, but they forget that this 6 month rule has only come into place very recently - all of us were most likely weaned much earlier than that and we're all still here!

  11. I love this post! AMAZING! you do what you need, its your baby and body and no-one can force views on you. I hate people who make stupid comments like that on photos. It really gets my back up! x

  12. You know, Nathan was so hard on me for not wanting to breast feed. After the first few days of Ozzy not taking much bottle though he soon changed his tune! How do you know how much breast milk they're getting?! Lol. Other mums have tutted at me about that too.

    Oh, and apparently 100% natural childbirth is best - until I went through 29 hours of labour with no pain relief - then I should have taken all the drugs I could get my hands on! You just can't win.

    I've heard of Imogen Thomas but I wouldn't know who she was if I passed her on the street. I'm sure she's making the right choices for her baby though. I'm sure a lick or two of ice cream isn't going to hurt the little cutie.

    We may not all be the perfect mums but hey, as long as I know I'm doing the best I can I just couldn't care less :)

    Louise xxx

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper

    1. Was he?!

      Exactly! I just wish everybody just worried about themselves and stopped paying so much attention to the choices other mothers are making :/ xxx

  13. You're NOT making your own purée? OMG you bad bad mother lol... Seriously.... Your child, your choice! Xx


    1. I know, I am terrible! Clearly I should be taking 45 minutes to make my own puree when I could just as easily go to the cupboard and take 4 seconds to unscrew the lid off a pouch containing exactly the same thing! lol xx

  14. This aggravates me too! We all parent our children by listening to them, every baby is different and every mother is different, if you breast feed, great, if you formula feed, great..if you do baby led weaning, excellent, if you don't, excellent! Imogen's baby looks happy and healthy to me, she's not giving her a bowl of Haagen Dazs for breakfast, it's a few little tastes!


  15. Well written!! Sorry its taken so long for me to read it though!!!

    Women are bitches - and it is mainly women who do all this bitching. They want something to moan about so will pick on anything that they don't agree with.

  16. The thing is, I tend to agree with the Mummy Mafia with some of the stuff they say - but I tend to add *FOR ME* at the end. Breast is best for me and my child. natural birth was best for me and my child. It's none of my business what anyone else gets up to. (and incidentally, I was very lucky to be able to have both of those options)
    If I saw that photo on my Instagram feed I might think "ooh, I wouldn't give my baby ice cream at that age..." but she probably wouldn't do half the things I do. And I'm fairly sure both babies will grow up to be happy and healthy.
    Incidentally, I didn't make my own purees either, and I felt like the world's worst mother for it until I just came out and went, ya know what, I can't make purees as good as the organic stuff you can get in a packet for 99p. So balls to it.


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