Mummy Wars: It’s Got To Stop


Mums, here’s looking at you. I’m leaving the Dads out of this because the number of men I see attacking other people online about their choices about work and children is extremely minute.  Quite frankly, if that sounds sexist then I dare you to go and look at any women’s website where the debate (read: attack) is raging about staying at home with your children versus working.

This has got to stop. I can’t go to any women’s website lately without reading an article by a working mother, or a SAHM. Just last night 60 Minutes ran a story on attachment parenting, once again sparking debate. All the stories sound the same after a while – justifying and defending their choice to either work or stay at home. Cue a flurry of comments from women. These women don’t hold back. They are vicious in their judgment of the women that make the other choice and equally defensive when someone does the same thing to them about their choice.

I don’t have children. I don’t see myself having them for a while yet. But the amount of vitriol I see between women about staying home versus working makes me FEARFUL for the amount of judgment I am going to get when I choose to reproduce. Because even though most of the judgers wouldn’t say it to my face, they will be secretly making smug comments behind my back about whichever choice I make. Or they’ll be anonymously commenting about it online somewhere using me as the “example” as to how little Jimmy has problems because I work, or how the mighty have fallen if I stay at home.

This. THIS. Please stop it!

Where’s the sisterhood, girlfriends? Why are you, SAHM, blasting comments that “you shouldn’t have children if you’re going to dump them in childcare“? And why are you, working Mum, looking down your nose at women who stay at home because they’re “setting themselves up to have no skills and be unemployable should their husband die or leave“? Where’s the support for each other?

Women before us had to fight bloody hard for equality and for women to have CHOICE. You’re all making a mockery of their hard fight by attacking each other and judging other women’s choices. It’s outrageous and it is down right mean. If your kids were doing it in the school yard, it would be bullying. As adults, it’s putting someone down to make yourself feel better. Or, if we’re honest, it’s bullying. 

Wouldn’t it be great if the SAHM vs working parent debate just STOPPED because everyone stopped commenting on the articles, or making comment about how the other option is inferior?

If you’re a stay at home Mum, why do you care what the woman next door does? So what if the woman next door goes to work? Why don’t you just support the sisterhood and help her out? Don’t judge her. She’s doing what is best for her family.

If you’re a working Mum, stop rolling your eyes at the SAHMs. Don’t think that you’re superior because you’re working and you have a career. Don’t think they’re bored and unchallenged, because they are not. They’re doing what is best for their family. Is it really that hard to support each other and look out for each other?

I actually think that the internet, with all it’s wonderful advantages, is caustic in generating animosity among women. The “Mummy Wars”, where online (as well as traditional, to a certain extent) media, blogs and websites are publishing deliberately inflammatory articles so that women attack each other. Well, I’m sure they don’t do it with that purpose – they do it for hits, to drive up their advertising revenue. But it’s become clear: if you want guaranteed hits, write an article about parenting, particularly something that pits women against each other. It’s not just the “Do you undergo paid work or not?” articles, it’s the attachment parenting, the breastfeeding and even the way someone chooses to give bloody birth!

Support each others choices and help each other out. Stop tearing each other down. It helps no-one and just creates negative feelings between women.  Just stop reacting to the “baiting” articles! Most importantly, DON’T go onto the internet and slag each other’s choices off. Enough already! Just bloody stop already. PLEASE.

What do you think of the media’s “mummy wars”? Do you think that women are each other’s harshest critics? Do you think the internet has helped generate negativity between women about parenting?

  • Melinda

    It’s for this exact reason I don’t bother with Mamamia anymore. They always publish articles which spark SAHM vs working mum bullying and I think Mamamia do it on purpose to drive more traffic. It’s ridiculous.

    Being a parent can be hard enough without being judged about every parenting decision one makes!

  • Detachable Princess

    I’m with you on all counts here, Snaps, except one. I agree that the deliberately inflammatory articles drive me up the fucking wall. I don’t CARE what any other mum chooses to do, if it’s working for her family go for it.

    But please, don’t let this artificially inflated desperation for ego-boosting defensiveness put you off having children. If children are what you want, children you should have. You’ll find other mums who are similar to you, even if you never do EVERYTHING the same. You’ll find allies where you never expected them, and friendships that mean the difference between going round the bend or sitting quietly with a cuppa while you commiserate together. And I promise to be one of those friends for you. <3

  • Mandi Aylmore

    I am also sick of the mummy wars. It’s ridiculous! But unfortunately it’s not just the mummies that cop it. If you are single, you get judged. Married with no kids, you get judged. Not married but in a relationship, you get judged.

    The judgement needs to stop. It’s not helpful. And the majority of it is done hidden behind “anonymous”.

  • Eloise

    Whippersnapper, I completely agree with Detachable Princess – other peoples’ choices and opinions are such a tiny part of parenting, so please don’t let it put you off!

    I have found very little of this judgement anyway, in Real Life – I think it’s one of those things that becomes black and white and very vicious online, and I avoid those articles now too. In reality, we are all just trying to do our best, and make good choices for our families and ourselves.

    • carohutchison

      I agree Eloise, in our day to day life I couldn’t care less about how other families decide to live and it doesn’t come up in coversation, the vitriol only seems to appear online. Or maybe I just don’t hang out with bitchy people. :)

  • Valentina B

    I think in alot of these debates, people are trying not only to convince others that their decision is right, but convince themselves as well. It’s the only reasoning i can give that some women are so spiteful towards each other about something that really has no impact on them personally. How some woman in WA raises her kids has absolutely no impact on a women in VIC, nor should it.

    Why can’t women just agree that most parents are trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got?

  • Melissa Savage

    The thing about this that really sucks is that we (women) are attacking each other for the individual choices we make within a system that is set up against us. We don’t need to fight with each other on vaccination or breastfeeding or how much time spent away from your offspring is too much, we need to fight the system that says looking after kids is women’s work and only women have to balance work and raising kids while dads just keep on working. It’s not fair and it’s not workable. Our current economic system has made dual income families the norm, and we all need to work out how best to manage that change, rather than sniping back and forth at one another for making one or another Faustian bargain in a system that is fundamentally anti-child and anti-woman.

    We need to reframe the debate so that childrearing is recognised as valuable and that balancing children and work is a parenting issue, not a mothering issue. And we can start by refusing to engage with the silly debates that distract from the real issue.

  • Naz Kovacs

    Completely agree! I don’t even bother reading these types of articles anymore… first off I don’t even have kids so I don’t find it necessary to read them anyway and I think if I do ever have kids I will stay away from reading/commenting on just articles!

  • Naz Kovacs

    *such not just!

  • Cassidy

    I agree with what you say, but I’ve noticed this for a while and hope I don’t get shot down for it…So much content on Kiki & Tea is straight from Mamamia, and no one seems to pull you guys up on it. Such as this post, identical theme to the one posted the same day on MM called “Dear Media: Enough with Mummy Wars”.

    It goes without saying that you guys have done a bang up job on this website, it looks awesome, and the new content is great, but there is just so much that seems like you’ve read it on there and just used it on here as your own fresh material. And please don’t think I’m specifically hitting up at one person, it’s been across the board. I guess what I’m saying is that as a regular reader of MM (for the time being), I don’t come here as much as I would like as the content is far too similar.

    I know a couple of you do still head over to MM from time to time, but for those who don’t just know that quite often regular readers have been asking where you lot all have gone (especially lately a lot of people are becoming disgruntled with the site, and the bitchy commenting). I agree, it’s just not the same without you guys, it’s all gone down hill!

    • Whippersnapper

      Cassidy, I can’t speak for the others but personally, all of my articles are actually written BEFORE they seem to appear on mamamia. This article, in particular, was published at 7am and MM’s was published on the same day AFTER mine had gone live. Any similarities, at least in my articles, is coincidence.

      • John James

        Yep, gotta back Whipper up on this – I’m not aware of any of our writers consciously deciding to write on a theme based on any article on another site…

        Having said that, there will be times when we’re going to publish content with similar themes to other sites simply because something’s in the news…

        Many of our posts are written 4 or 5 days before they get posted on KK&T – sometimes longer – so any similarities between our posts and posts on other sites is purely coincidental…

    • Tamsin Howse

      Hi Cassidy,

      Thanks for your feedback, we’re not in the habit of shooting down anyone on here so you’re pretty safe there :).

      As Whippersnapper has said most of our content is written days before it is published, the schedule for each week is done at the start of the week and only changes a bit during the week as things come up in the media and we reshuffle things to respond to current events.

      I honestly don’t know what it is that inspires similar articles at a similar time, but I guarantee you it’s not us intentionally copying. If any of us write something inspired by any article we will link back to the article as we very strongly believe in honesty, transparancy and integrity.

      As you have rightfully noted, many of us aren’t around there anymore and while I would like to be (and make an effort to be – you’ll see me pop up on a few different articles at once when I do drop by) as anyone who works two jobs (which is essentially what we’re all doing) would attest – we have got less time.

      Thank you for your feedback on the site, we are really proud of what we have created. I do hope you can find plenty on here that’s different, and what you’re looking for. And if you don’t, feel free to submit something :).

      xx T.