Dear Second-Time Moms: Please Stop Belittling Me

Dear Second-Time Moms Please Stop Belittling MeA few months ago, while picking up my then-infant son from child care, I exchanged pleasantries with a mother-of-two doing the same. All was well until she caught sight of my massive diaper bag.

I felt my cheeks flush as she eyed up the three extra burp cloths stuffed into the side pockets, the four teething rings hooked onto the handle, the bulging zipper about to bust open.

Her exaggerated eye-roll came as no surprise. “Let me guess, first-time mom?” She held up her own bag, which was no larger than my wallet. How did she fit even a single diaper in there? I wondered. Was she some kind of expert in diaper origami?

Attacks on First-Time Moms

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been criticized for my overstuffed bag or similar first-time mom transgressions. I’ve been teased for snapping too many photos of my son and for worrying too much about his nap schedule. Moms of multiple children have snickered over my kid’s matching outfits and shiny new toys.

Every taunt is accompanied by a reminder that my current way of life – which includes enough time to analyze every detail of my baby’s existence, plus enough energy to care – is a luxury that will end as soon as I’ve got another bun in the oven. “Just you wait until another one comes along!”

Gymboree Children's Clothing

I’m Not Pathetic, I’m Just New

They’re right, of course. I already know that with child number two I’ll be too rushed to read car seat manuals cover-to-cover or document every milestone in the baby book. I’m fully aware that life will be significantly more exhausting, not to mention messier.

But does the fact that two is tougher really negate the challenges of having just one?   

I don’t think overpacking for an outing or fretting over my baby’s routine makes me silly or lame or pathetic, the way moms of two or more tend to not-so-subtly imply. No, it just makes me new.

Mothering represents uncharted waters for me, and I’m figuring out as I go along what is and is not worth worrying about. Does it matter that my baby skipped a feeding today? Does his runny nose warrant a call to the pediatrician? A part of me wonders if life with two children might actually be easier solely in the sense that I will already know the answers to my many questions.

Just Another Mommy War

All the condescension thrown at first-time moms is just another example of how we women tend to divide instead of unite.

It’s how “the mommy wars” came to be a household phrase, fueling the rivalry between stay-at-home and career moms. It’s how the breast- versus bottle-feeding debate turned downright ugly. Now we’re also competing to see who’s more sleep-deprived, moms with one or moms with more than one. We’re keeping a tally of who’s gone the longest without a shower and of whose kids have more dirt caked behind their ears, as if that’s some kind of badge of honor.

When are we moms going to realize that constantly condemning and ridiculing each other isn’t getting us anywhere?

What’s it going to take for us to see that if we instead started supporting one another, we could then direct our collective criticism where it belongs – at our country’s dismal family leave policies, its lack of affordable and high-quality child care, and the inequitable wage gaps between not only men and women but also mothers and non-mothers?

(And for the record, my husband has never been mocked by a more experienced dad for being too prepared or too well-rested; he’s never gotten the “But one child is so easy!” comments I’ve come to expect. Based on my personal experience, this is strictly a mommy phenomenon.)

A Better Way?

Had that mom at child care not scoffed at my diaper bag, maybe I could have asked her how she folds her diapers so small. Maybe she could have shared her secrets for ditching all the baby stuff I’m constantly carting around, and in turn I could have gushed about the amazing new brand of wipes I discovered last week.

Maybe we could have become friends, simply as fellow moms instead of a mom-of-one versus a mom-of-two.

But instead I just turned and walked away, the overloaded strap of my diaper bag digging into my shoulder as I went.

Do you think there’s a war between first-time and second-time moms? 

image via Dollar Photo Club (affiliate link) 

78 responses to “Dear Second-Time Moms: Please Stop Belittling Me”

  1. While I am incredibly far away from being a mother, I have most definitely been attacked by other women for having less significant problems and handling them worse than they do their “more important” issues.

    Like you say, it’s incredibly divisive and uses energy that could be spent helping more inexperienced others. There will always be someone “worse off” than you, and someone far better off. So really, we all have help we could offer instead of mocking others.

    • Can you imagine what the world would be like if women truly started building each other up instead of tearing each other down? It would be nothing short of incredible!

  2. So beautifully expressed, and a great example of how positive energy is so much more productive than negative energy. It also illustrates why the childhood bullying problem has grown exponentially– kids are literally born into a society with an adversarial mindset. C’mon, ladies, help one another!

    • Good point, Lori! I hadn’t thought about how mama-squabbling plays a role in childhood bullying, but I completely agree that there’s an important connection there. Just one more reason to be helpful instead of hurtful!

  3. My take is that it’s not about first time or second time or x^th time Moms, it’s about the mentality and perspective of the person and how they chose to live and communicate. It’s also about their perceptions and how they impact their interactions with others.

    I remember a very loving comment by my mother-in-law days after I gave birth to our daughter. When a hospital staff person came in to do something I asked if I could have “another minute to finish the last few finger fulls of dinner, please.”

    My sweet mother-in-law (who’d birthed and raised eight children) said, “Can you believe she’s a first time Mom?”

    What I heard in that was a reflection of how I was handling myself from a wise and compassionate woman with her own thoughts on motherhood.

    • Your mother-in-law sounds like a very wise and loving woman. I completely agree that the way we communicate speaks volumes. When we speak from a place of compassion and understanding, we are then able to connect with one another in a way that unites instead of divides. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I think the comment by the second time mom may reveal some issues she is having with her own confidence. If you can’t say anything helpful, don’t say it.

    Don’t let her get you down.

  5. Imagine what a mother of 10 would have to say about the ‘mere’ mother of two….perspective is everything, isn’t it? I’m with your other commenters about your experience being a brilliant example of the underlying divisiveness of our culture (or many industrialized cultures). Can also agree about the woman-on-woman part of it, but can easily conjure comparable man-on-man examples.
    Love your vision of the connection you and Critique-o Mom could have had if she’d offered support and suggestions instead of diminishing the loving and responsible preparedness you carry around in your very heavy diaper bag.

  6. Amen to this! We were ridiculed endlessly for being ‘too cautious’. During Jack’s first year, I was aware of everything that went into his mouth and I chose wisely. I didn’t let anyone hold him for the first month (or two) after he got home from the hospital. I still don’t let him have juice, I have a strict bed time, and for his first birthday I didn’t let him eat the cake that everyone else was eating at his party because it was made with processed sugar. Sure we’ve eased up a bit now that he is two, but that was after constant scrutiny. And we only eased up because we were at the point where we were ready to ease up. As moms we are the only ones (with our partners, of course) who can say what is right for our kid and what is right for us. I got that same thing, “wait until you have your second one, you won’t be as crazy.” And I agree I will ease up on a few things, but honestly a lot is going to be the same, because it is what I believe and what I feel is right. When I meet a new mom I feel like I’ve got another person on my team, another woman who has a little one and is trying to figure it all out. Unfortunately most mothers I’ve met don’t feel the same way.

    • AMEN to this comment! I really think it boils down to exactly what you said here—that as moms we are the ones who know what’s best for our child and our family.

  7. Love this! A couple of thoughts:

    1. I have two kids and my diaper bag is now twice the size it was when I had one (which was enormous) because I still haven’t figured out how to pack; I anticipate if we have a third I’ll need to start hauling a Radio Flyer wagon behind me. That woman was an anomaly and should be giving classes.

    2. And I actually don’t think “it’s a how many kids you have thing”, I think it’s a “do you have a newborn thing?” or maybe that’s just me. When you have an infant I think all your energy and juices are sucked into that little one, regardless of how many other kids are running around. Once they’re out of the newborn stage, I think you can put your head up a bit and breathe and things slow down again occasionally. In some ways, I have more time now with two because my two year old sometimes entertains the baby and, you’re right, I’m not trying to figure out how I feel about making my own baby food. (And for the record, I’m totally obsessed with my second’s sleep because it ISN’T HAPPENING.)

    3. I couldn’t agree more that we need to stop critiquing and start working together to make real changes! All of us are in the trenches, covered in baby food, and doing the best we can. We moms have real power, if we can use it for good.

    • AMEN! I appreciate you sharing all of these points, especially the newborn one. I completely agree that during the newborn phase, that is literally all you can think about, and understandably so!

  8. First let me say I totally understand what pain it can to be a new mom and get more advice than you need. Sometimes you want to take that motherhood journey on your own with you and your baby and figure it out as you go. However why do we have to get so offended these days at everything. I am certain that most (not all) of these mom’s really were just trying to help because they have been there. My little ones are 17 and 15 now but I remember those days and I remember being so frustrated with other people giving me their Mommy input. But as I got older I realized my experience with my children was a lesson and a free gift that I could pass on to others. You can take or leave it but it’s never intended to harm or belittle new Moms.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Cherie! You’re right that maybe in my exhausted, new mom state of mind I misinterpreted some things. I will certainly keep your perspective in mind for the future!

  9. I love this post! I have three kids of my own, ages 7, almost-3, and 4 months, and I’ve always tried to be very careful to not offer advice (and certainly not judgment) unless asked. Every chance I get, I try to reinforce that moms should support each other instead of tearing each other down. I had a very touching moment at Starbucks once, when I was breastfeeding my youngest. A woman walked over to me, and I was worried she was going to complain. Instead, she said, “I’m so proud of you.” It made my day. I’ll never forget it.

    Moms of more than one child should know that every kid is so different. My first came out like he’d read the baby book while cooking. Slept exactly on schedule, started solid foods and ate appropriately, breastfed like he could teach a class, etc. You could still set your watch to him. I felt certain I was an amazing parent. Then I had my middle son. He laughs in the face of a schedule. He wouldn’t sleep through the night until he was almost one. He won’t eat anything except oatmeal, chicken nuggets, and applesauce, a “phase” that’s been going on for months now. I realized my first one was really easy, but at the time, I thought he was a challenge! And then, my third. Baby Z. He was a surprise from the moment I peed on the stick, and he just keeps on surprising me. Every day is different.

    But my bottom line point is that, as a mom of more than one child, I know how different they all are. Every kid has his or her challenges. Who am I to judge what’s in your diaper bag? Chances are, I’ll need to borrow a diaper from you when I realize the one I shoved in my purse is a swim diaper from last summer.

    Oh, and could you pass me those wipes while you’re at it?


    • AMEN, Brigid! I’m so glad you had that experience at Starbucks. Let’s hope more and more moms start offering each other that kind of support. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

  10. If I carried around all the stuff I keep on hand in the van for my kids, I’d need a wagon to haul it around too! And none of mine are babies anymore either. Every mom, even some of us who are past the first one, have different needs and thoughts and different levels of what feels secure, for us and for our munchkins. Throw in the fact that each child has different needs beyond the basic – there can never be a “one-size-fits-all” mothering approach. I’m sorry that you got mocked for something that wasn’t wrong at all. And if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, I’ll carry that diaper bag for you! 🙂

    • Your perspective is RIGHT ON, Alicia! I’m so glad you stopped by and shared…and someday I might just take you up on your offer! 🙂

  11. Just read your article. Love it because it sure puts things in perspective. My two cents is that Mom’s of more than one child cannot get to stage two without going through stage one! You learn from the first child as to what becomes important to you for the second. Maybe some Moms forget that. Go ahead pack your bag to the top and see what happens when the next one comes around! It’s a tough job no matter how many you have and each comes with its own set of challenges! Glad you made it and welcome to the club!

    • You’re so right that every single mom has been at that stage at one time or another. I hope I always remember that, no matter how many children I end up with!

  12. Katie, I remember what it was like to be a new mom and I always try to be supportive and encouraging of young mothers. The eye-roller has issues. If I saw you with that bursting bag it would have been a sign to me of how much love and thought was put into packing it and guess what, I bet you will do the same for the second child. Your kids will be confident to grow and explore because Mommy will have their back. I hope the mother of my future grandchildren is like you.

  13. I think the most important parenting lesson is to do what YOU think is best. If anyone has a problem with what you are doing they either (1) understand, or (2) can get over it. You are the mom. What matters most is that you are doing what you think needs to be done. If that means you always have a carry on with you, so be it.

  14. I only have one and so I too I have an oversized nappy bag. .. the one time I tried to downsize, she had a huge nappy explosion and I had to take her home in the pram with my jacket wrapped around her legs!

  15. Dear Katie,

    Can I ask why you didn’t befriend the other mom? Perhaps, she wishes that she were as prepared as you? Why let yourself get belittled? Why worry about her opinion about your momminess measured via size of diaper bag?
    I worry that motherhood has become more of a ‘will other moms approve of me?’ issue rather than “I am doing the best I can for my child, and I won’t let anyone judge me?”

    Mothers or otherwise: not everyone can be friends. I can be judged by you, only if I let you. So I won’t. I am a mother of two (nearly 7 and 4) and I always have a change of clothes + wipes with me. So? Enjoy your upper body strength to carry that big diaper bag. And extend a hand of friendship if you want one to be extended to you.

    • Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I think you are very right that in the end, we are in control of our own mindsets and reactions, and therefore if I feel judged, it is up to me to deal with it, move on, and even extend a hand of friendship. I appreciate you sharing!

  16. I love this post and agree that the mommy wars need to stop and we need to consider how to support each other rather than tearing each other down.
    As I read the part about your many extra burp cloths and teething rings in your “overstuffed” diaper bag, I smiled because I present the same image when I’m out and about. But I’m actually a second time mom 🙂 My little one spits up so much (just as his siter did) that I need at least three burp cloths per outing, as well a change of clothes for both kids. If it’s a long day, I’ll even bring a change of clothes for myself as I’m sure to be doused in spit up or pooped on before being able to head home 😉
    You’re so right that it’s not a competition. We should be able to sit together and laugh over our experiences, sharing what knowledge we’ve gained while feeling able to be vulnerable enough to share what we are uncertain of without receiving a condecending reply.
    Kudos to you for doing what works for you and your little one. One thing I learned going through infertility is that no two people are going through exactly the same thing AND what works for one person isn’t necessarily what will work for another. It applies in so many areas of life, including parenting.
    I hope it encourages you to know that as a second time mom I’m still rocking the overstuffed diaper bag (as well as an overstuffed purse with what won’t fit in the diaper bag) and it’s working for us. I’ve been forced at times to dash in somewhere sans diaper bag and have just had one diaper per kid and a burp cloth, but those moments are few and are super-short trips. Once, as a first time mom, I didn’t pack enough diapers in the bag (trying to minimize for once) and I ended up having to piece together several newborn sized diapers I still had floating around the trunk of the car to take the place of a size 3 diaper. We still laugh about that. It taught me that I can be ingenuitve when necessary, and that it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared. And if you ever end up at home and realize you have zero diapers to be found anywhere, a sanitary napkin in a pair of shorts will make do until someone gets back from the store (don’t ask me how I know this). 😉
    You’re smart. You’re capable. And your child is YOUR child. Only you can know what works best for you. And, as you implied, you will figure out what works best for you as you go along 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this comment, Julia! It is so true that what works for one child or parent doesn’t necessarily work for another. And that’s totally OK! Also, high five for being super creative and resourceful when you need to be. Your stories have me chuckling and nodding my head; I’m right there with you.

  17. Actually I have a different view on this. My initial response was that I don’t feel I’ve ever been mocked by a more experienced parent. I’ve been given advice certainly but never mocked. Then I realised that I wouldn’t have been offended by the sort of comment you described. I am fully aware that I am a slightly anxious parent (and definitely was when I only had one) and I’ve certainly over packed but I have a good sense of humour and a healthy ability to see the funny side of my own personality. If someone had made that comment to me I probably would have laughed and agreed and said something silly like “you should see my big bag – this is the little one”. I generally assume that people are good and mean well. Interestingly I think I’m usually right. Some of the things we do are funny if you can relax enough to be open to that perspective rather than being sensitive to every perceived slight. The only time I have ever really been hurt was by a woman in my mothers group when I opened up about my baby’s frequent night wakings and how hard I was finding it. She said she wished she could have her to sleep over because she was sure she’d be able to do a better job. I was really upset but then I was already really upset!

    • I’m so glad you shared your perspective, Victoria! And I think you’re right; so much of it is in how we/I react. Perhaps in my overtired state I detected more mocking than was actually there. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  18. I can totally relate to this post, and I have three children. It seems like some mothers often want to “one-up” each other over everything. I know someone that very often refers to how difficult and time consuming things are because she has four kids, and it feels like she is implying that my life with three is so easy breezy. Ironically, she did the same thing when she had three, and I had two! 🙂 I agree with everything you said, and I felt the same way you do when I had my first, and I still feel the same way with my third. Having your first baby is incredibly stressful, and I totally think it is the hardest period of parenting because literally everything is new! Hang in there, enjoy every minute of it, and realize that most of the “one-upper” club are just trying to make themselves feel superior with their snarky comments to anyone they deem less experienced than themselves. It’s so much easier and more enjoyable to stay in the “I totally understand what you’re going through” club! 🙂

  19. I love having moms of one around because I always know they will be able to lend me a helping hand. The moms of 2 or 3 haven’t been able to accept their loss of control quite yet, so they have to make it okay by belittling you. I am on #7 and run out of diapers ALL the time and frequently grab a handful of tp for a spit rag. I am nostalgic when I hear a mom of one talking of needing to hurry home for nap time and i hope they never mistake that for anything else.

  20. I’m a fifth time mom. My diaper bag is huge (my babies are all extremely prolific spitters, and you never know when your baby will have a diaper blowout requiring a complete outfit change.

    I don’t think you can take too many pictures. As much as you think you’ll never forget things, you will, and you’ll be sad about it. Pictures help a lot.

    Regardless of experience, what works for one mom/baby will be different from what works for another, and you are your baby’s mother for a reason. Regardless of anything else, if you enjoy every moment you can with your baby (not all moments are enjoyable), and love them the best way you know how, you are a great mom. Learn everything you can that helps, ignore anything that doesn’t. 🙂

  21. I know of the mommy war you talk about, but I can honestly say I haven’t encountered it too much being a mother of one toddler so far. I do have to say tho that an amazing resource for me has been my local MOPS group. I am constantly blown away by the women in my group who are always on each others sides and there aren’t those clicks like moms of 1 or multiple or twins or whatever the difference is. Everyone is honestly united it’s really great.

  22. Sometimes people of one child are almost apologetic when they see I have five kids. It’s like they don’t feel they have a right to think parenting is hard when they see that I’m juggling five. I always tell them that for me, the hardest transition of all was from 0 to 1 child. And honestly, having five kids can be easier at times because I am not my child’s sole entertainer. Plus, having older kids you can have a conversation with really helps you enjoy your baby or toddler more. Yes, I had a huge bulging diaper bag with my first, and now I throw a diaper in my purse and call it good. But that’s because I have way more kids to get to a place. I just don’t have space. 🙂 And because those older kids will entertain the toddler. I don’t need to bring toys to do that. 🙂 Blessings on your journey… motherhood is a huge joy and blessing no matter how many kids you have!

  23. This is great! I have to say when I had “only one” I got a lot of these comments and it bothered me for several reasons. The main one was that we were having secondary infertility, so it was like a knife when people would say, “Oh, you just wait, when you have more, you will see how easy one” or something like that. We didn’t know if we could have more and I wasn’t going to tell everyone that! Plus, it demeans the experience of having only one and that it isn’t challenging or something.

    The other reason that these comments are way off is, despite what people say, I am always going to be the same type of person, with one kid or five! I am always going to be a little OCD about things like safety and supervision (contrary to those with multiple children who told me I would just let them run willy nilly everywhere because I won’t worry as much) and I am always going to over pack a diaper bag! I am always an over packer, bringing way more stuff than we could possibly need- for fear that the Armageddon will happen while we are out of town! 😉

    I always try to remember, however, that in terms of the mommy wars, that lots of comments and judgments are based on insecurity and trying to make oneself feel better than because they are questioning themselves. I do it all the time without realizing it. It’s the classic thing where we put others down to build ourselves up! I try to be better about parenting stuff now that I am older, have 3! and see that we are all just doing are best to survive here. Motherhood is dang hard with one kid or 7 kids and sometimes are ideals get thrown out the window in the name of survival! =)

    Sorry to write my own blog post here, but boy did this get me going this morning!! (In a good way!) Maybe I will have to write my own response to this over at my blog! =)

  24. I think being the mother to any kid is a challenge. Seriously, I think just life can be a challenge for anyone, and no one deserves belittling, whether they have 1 child, 2 children, 8, or none at all. I have 6, and I don’t remember any time in my parenting journey where I felt like I had all the answers. I still don’t. It has always been hard. One thing I didn’t expect was when I was pregnant with my 6th, and all my friends were telling me that it was going to be so easy for me, because isn’t it always the first or second or whatever that’s the hardest, and after 4 it’s just like rolling of a log…? Or something like that. Ladies, I was still terrified. I wanted that 6th baby so much, as much as all the others, but by no means was I expecting that little boy to make my journey any easier. There’s no room in motherhood for judgment. It’s a rough haul for all of us. But I wouldn’t trade my part in it for anything in the world.

  25. Love this! I’m a mom to an only, and oh boy, do I get the condescension. For me, there is also a bitterness to it that hurts, because I’m a single mom and focused on being a mom (not putting myself out there) so I will likely only ever be a mom to an only. I dreamed about being a mom to a baseball team (!) and I truly wish I could have more children, so when I get the comments it just rubs salt in the wound.

  26. Sorry about the novel but I thought I’d share…

    I am by no means a first time mum!
    I have 3 beautiful little bundles, yet I am guilty of doing most of the first time mum “mistakes”.
    I like to tell people that I actually AM a FTM – it’s my first time of being a mum of 3.

    To start off with, My diaper bag is always full to the brim!
    And having 2 in diapers, I usually end up taking a second bag along with me!

    Secondly, I take a ‘gazzilion’ pictures of my kids.
    I always carry my mobile on me so I don’t miss any quick snapshots!

    -All 3 of my kids have a “sleep-schedule”
    Although, admittedly, they put themselves into the routine, I just follow it!
    And I absolutely will do everything in my power to allow them to have their sleeps because we all know, wether it’s your first child or your tenth child, if they miss there “nap” time, it throws the whole day out of whack!

    -9 times out of 10 my kids have co-ordinated clothes on… Sometimes I even make them match…
    Just today, I had all my children wearing red!
    Baby had a red top, white pants and white socks with a bow headband.
    Toddler had a red & white dress with black shoes and a bow in each pigtail.
    My eldest had a red (ninja turtle) shirt on with black denim pants and black shoes on!
    And that was just to go to the shops!

    -My kids toys may not be new, but they certainly are shiny!!
    Most of the baby toys have been used by each of my kids but before the baby gets the, they get a thorough clean and come out looking as good as new!

    -I read most manuals before I do anything!
    Including the new car seat manual I bought for my eldest!
    (Baby gets the hand-me-down seat and each child moves up to the next seat!)

    I think all Mothers need to stop judging each other and just do the best for their own family!

    • AMEN! Thank you for this comment—it is VERY much appreciated! I especially love what you said about always being a FTM in some ways, because the experience of having 2, 3, 4 or whatever is always new. Thanks again for sharing!

  27. I now have 3 amazing young people in my home. It has been a while since I have needed a diaper bag, but I do know I went thorough lots of them trying to find the perfect one. Mine was always so over loaded LOL and I wanted to streamline to make access to necessaries easier. I never did find that perfect diaper bag. Anyhow, I did catch myself sometime missing the days when I just had my first. The hours I spent just gazing at his tiny toes and fingers, endless raspberries on his tummy and snuggling together on a chair with a book. Having more than one is more physically and mentally draining because of the simple math of having two ( or more) small people demanding your time and who need care and help with all things. However it is only now I see it, now that I have 3. When I had one, it felt as hard as 10, because its your first time. All the worry spent trying pack the perfect diaper bag, find the best highchair, getting the feeding/sleeping schedule adhered too, making sure the food is healthy and safe, the clothes a good fit and clean, and being prepared for any eventuality on an outing. The very first time I went out alone with my firstborn I parked the car, got him into his stroller, and got about 20 meters down the main street before he cried. I turned back, put him into the car and went home ! LOL .
    Its all part of the learning curve and we should not take away from that process as new mothers go through it. Its necessary part of finding out what your limits are.

  28. Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better myself! It is so sad how so many moms are constantly trying to one up other moms, belittling their way of doing momhood along the way, seemingly forgetting that being a mom is no small task. For first timers (that’s me right now) it’s spirit crushing (actually I would imagine it would be spirit crushing no matter how many littles you have). I just wish moms of many would stop being hypocrites, and would be kind and loving just like they teach their littles. Thanks for putting to “pen” what we’re all thinking! Have a blessed day!

  29. It’s definitely difficult being a “new” mom. I have a one year old girl and have never seemed to get anything done, but how can I complain when my aunt-in-law has 4 very rowdy boys and not only cooks from scratch nearly every meal, but works part time AND from home. The neighbors down the street have EIGHT kids (including one new born) and are remodeling and moving in to the house they just bought and I can’t even get a cleaning or meal plan figured out. Just getting the laundry put away is an accomplishment to me, let alone meal planning and cleaning schedules, but it feels like nothing short of failure. Having grown up in foster care, I never really was taught anything beyond school and the most basic of personal care. Nearly everything I know I learned online and all those picture perfect homes are hard to live up to. Just ran across your site today and so far I love it. 🙂

    • So glad you stopped by! I think that no matter how perfect things seem on the outside, we all have our struggles. Believe me, getting laundry done (and put away, gasp!) is a major accomplishment for me most days.

  30. So glad someone has the guts to say it like it is. I had to fight the war of epidural or no epidural… And that was with my second. I hoped I was beyond remarks that discourage… But instead felt more discouraged than my first. I had a boy and then girl. Both made me feel like a first time mom… I do think I handled it better with my first when I had comment but both made me want to scream, “post partum depression is real!!!!” I got it bad the first, but the second it was worse.

    I learned a valuable lesson about weeping with those who weep and being joyous with those filled with joy… Basically my new mom mission is to come along side any and EVERY mom I meet. When I see a mom struggling with one or five in the store I stop to encourage her out join in the gushing over the first new baby in this mother’s life… Needless to say I have made SO MANY friend this way. One mantra I say to other moms is, “we have got to stick together! We need each other to finish this mom thing well!”

    One friend and I loved the doors down and we would regularly save each other from baby madness. One got a shower while the other did the dishes. Instead of leaving reach other to drown in home maker duties, we helped reach other succeed. 🙂

  31. You still could have asked your questions. We moms with more than one are genuinely envious of you with one, because we didn’t realize then how good we had it. You didn’t have to react the way you did.

  32. I never can understand why anyone would critique a diaper bag. When we had our first child we sent him everywhere with everything but the kitchen sink. (I probably would have if it had fit). When baby #2 came along we had learned our tricks (such as a formula container that held 3 bottles worth, leaving two sets of clothes at daycare, and diapers and wipes EVERYWHERE). We had diapers and wipe sets at our parents and siblings homes, in every car our children possibly ever rode in, the diaper bag, and sets that stayed at daycare. We may have looked like we had nothing to tote around but we kept stuff stashed everywhere.

    I can honestly say I’ll never scoff at the first time or umpteenth time mother’s diaper bag because I’ve been there. Actually, that would probably be the conversation. How I remember fearing that I would forget something he would need and that with time it gets easier…even lugging the bag that is digging into your shoulder.

  33. I was a severe overpacker even with my fourth. Confession- I would carry at least seven binkies at any given time. If my son dropped one, I wouldn’t give it to him until I could wash it. He sure loved throwing those binkies.
    I think for most women they think you are judging them, so they feel a need to explain themselves. It is usually due to their own insecurity.

  34. I know how you feel I use to get criticized all the time for using my bags for a babybag for me it hold more then the baby bags in babies r us i honestly just became immune to the comment. I think it really doesn’t matter what people say if I know what best for and my child and if it work for me n benefit my child then (excuse me for my French) to hell with everyone. That goes for anything if it what bag I use or If I overpack for my son or not if I breast feed him or not. I think as women we should stop competing and start coming together as you said. It bad enough that we have men belittle us seeing as we accomplish so much and handle much more then men do; do we really need us women to belittle eachother as well.

  35. Great article! I think I’ve been on the receiving end of comments, and also unfortunately the giving end sometimes. Most moms, I would assume, aren’t meaning to cause harm to each other. I think it’s mostly that we all want to feel validated, feel like others know our job is tough, etc. I think the Mommy Wars will end yes, when women watch what they say, and stop trying to compete for who the harder life. But also, when we all stop being so sensitive, and taking everything as though it was meant as a dig. We’re all human, and sometimes we all say stupid things. If we let things roll off our back, and let it cause us no hurt, the battle is over before it’s begun. Easier said than done I know! 🙂

  36. My experience as a mom of 2 has been entirely opposite to the naysayers in your life. My bag is just as big as with my first, and had my kids been closer together and in diapers/trainers at the same time, it probably would have been twice as big! And the second kid has definitely been easier, and more enjoyable. My first was entirely overwhelming. I knew nothing. I actually feel like i have a clear head the second time around. I don’t have the depression and memory problems i did with my first, probably because I’m not so overwhelmed.

  37. Yeah comparing your 2 with my 1 can be annoying, but it’s a petty annoyance. Not something I would write a whole article about or even think much about.

  38. It made for a great blog post. Maybe she was trying to chit chat? Do people do that now or are we so sensitive that everything is an issue? Can’t talk about breastfeeding, or not breastfeeding, goldfish, or cut up fruit, plastic toys vs. wood toys, because you never know if the other mom might feel offended and write you off. Why do women turn on each other? It takes a village to raise a child, this means looking for one another and not assume the worst. It doesn’t mean that just because someone is suggesting something, you are doing a bad job. This is why we have the crap forced play dates setups instead of just freely hang out and raise kids together. The burdens that women and mothers carry are huge why complicate even more by always being on the defense always feeling attacked. I don’t give my kid juice or many snacks. That’s me. It doesn’t mean just because I mention it to you now you’re a bad mom and you start feeling weird. It just starts a conversation or maybe you just read in your health magazine that Juice and snack is ok and you’re sharing info….passing on knowledge. This used to happen in small communities women came to help each other. Now we don’t ask for help even from friends from fear that they may think how we can’t do it by ourselves. A blog like this doesn’t help. Why? Because now you’re just one of those moms that get offended easily and other moms gotta walk around like on eggshells. And now I know how you really would feel about me had I made a comment like that. Yikes. Belittling is quite a strong word. I’m a first time mom and I don’t have a big diaper bag. Because I grew up in a third world country and I never even saw a mom carrying one. My child is well taken care of and loved. Sometimes I pack three bags leave all of them in he car and realize I don’t have a second outfit. Maybe I would’ve made a comment about your big overpacked bag but certainly not in a derogatory tone, more like a lighthearted comment about something we can talk about randomly. I just wished moms stopped being so sensitive to everything. I doubt many criticize others on purpose. Who’s got the time. And even if they did mean it that way I’d move on. For some, they’re still the mean girls in high school. You don’t want to be part of that anyway.

    It really doesn’t bother me what people think because I just assume they don’t have the same outlook as me. They don’t know me or why I do this or that. Doesn’t mean I’m worse or better, just different than someone else.

  39. As a first time mom I hated when people commented on my new experiences in motherhood with condescension, or corrected the way I mothered because they had more kids and obviously knew better. As a mother of 4, I’ve found that simply expressing to another mother that I remember fondly those times, and that each new phase is hard and wonderful at the same time, brings a bond that welcomes them into motherhood and acknowledges our common link. I’ve seen their shoulders straighten and their spirit relax as we talk about the crazy things that happen, and the sweet tender little moments that you never want to forget. I’m happy to give them small pieces of advice that will help them in their moment, such as “write these moments down, because as much as you think you’ll remember them, they do float away from our minds,” or “I was so thankful when a seasoned mom gave me x,y,z advice, it really helped me when I was a new mom.” My favorite piece of advice to give new moms is to trust their instincts and honor that voice inside, and when that voice stays silent, that is the time to reach out to trusted friends. I started saying I hated advice, and ended sharing advice I give, which may seem hypocritical, but I’ve found that when you speak from common ground, rather than a perceived perch, advice can be reassuring rather than anxiety inducing. Much love for your wonderful thoughts!

  40. I pack incredibly light for my guy. But, he’s an incredibly easy baby and I thank my lucky stars every day. Meanwhile my mom friends have the over stuffed diaper bags with the various things they need. One really needs 4 outfits for her guy because he is incredibly messy, but she doesn’t pack tons of food because he’s not picky what he eats. Another mom is opposite and still another has diaper rolling down to a science because her precious one goes through twice as many diapers as any baby I’ve ever met. Does it make me or mine better, NO! Just different. As he’s gotten older I’ve actually had to start packing a bit more because he needs more snacks, he’s discovered what fun it is to cascade dirt over his head and sanity saving toys. Hang in there mom!

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