Cyber-bullying has definitely become an epidemic in our country, and this "bully mom" often rears her ugly head on parenting-related message boards from behind the anonymous shroud of her computer screen. And while her slap across the face is virtual, the pain it inflicts is very real.
Here's the dirty truth about these bullies, the way I see it.
The ONLY reason these moms bully is to make THEMSELVES feel better. Do you really think she's chastising you for feeding formula because she's concerned for your baby's health?? Whenever I see someone pulling out their "holier than thou" hat, all I can think is that she must be feeling inadequate about some aspect of her own mothering abilities, and the bullying is an attempt to bolster her own self-confidence. Yeah, pretty pathetic.
OK, I'll go ahead and make a confession.
Right after I had my son, I had all these feelings of inadequacy, like "how am I ever going to do this little miracle of a boy justice?" Totally normal, I'm sure, for a first-time mom. Anyhow, I was really struggling to get the hang of breastfeeding, but was determined to do it for his benefit. I mean, I was in tears constantly, trying to get him to latch, etc., and I'll admit having feelings of resentment towards moms who formula-fed, thinking, "it must be SO easy for them!" But I was downright mean about it. My SIL and I would sit around talking about how lazy and selfish FF moms are and "how could they DO such a thing to their babies, they must not love THEIRS as much as I love MINE." Derogatory expletives were thrown out like confetti.
I'm ashamed of what I thought and said then (some of which was directed at MY OWN FRIENDS who formula fed!). Not to their faces, but still. And looking back now, I realize all that anger was a product of my own anxiety and depression. I can directly relate those negative-toward-my-fellow-mommy feelings to the inadequacy I felt about MY OWN ability to be a good mom. Calling Melissa-down-the-block a bad mom was a hell of a lot easier than calling myself one.
And just for the record, I weaned my son at 8 months because I missed my 6-cup-a-day coffee habit. God, I can't imagine what my postpartum self would've had to say about THAT! (Selfish! Lazy! Good-For-Nothing!) Not to mention I found the whole breastfeeding thing, in the end, one HUGE hassle. Yeah, I'm proud of myself for doing it, but didn't find it to be all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'm leaning strongly toward formula-feeding any future babies. I disliked it that much. But do I love my son any less that the mom who adores BF'ing? HELL no.
The difference now, is that I've had enough ups & downs, mistakes & triumphs over this past year as a mom to have confidence in myself, and have the ability to sympathize & relate to other moms, all the while knowing that the great majority of us mamas are in the same boat, just doing the best we can and loving our babies like there's no tomorrow. And yeah, when I see a bully-mom, I feel a pang of sorrow for her.
She's undoubtedly one unhappy lady.
Let her roll right off your bottle-feeding, day care advocating, co-sleeping, frozen-food-feeding (and happy!) back.
Got a parenting confession or a point-of-view of your own? We'd LOVE to hear it! Tell us now!