Stong Moms Empower. Let’s Support Each Other Mummies!

There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one -- Jill Churchill.

There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one — Jill Churchill.

Experts agree that motherhood is even more difficult now than it was for past generations of Mums, with nearly one in three Mums consciously make parenting decisions to avoid criticism from others — Doctor Michele Borba

A few weeks ago, here in New York City, I was invited to the Strong Moms Empower Summit and Luncheon. I have to admit, as I am invited to a lot of events, I really did not know what I was walking in to. I actually thought it was a casual get together with a few other local Mummy Bloggers. However, when I arrived at the gorgeous Alexandria Center overlooking the East River, I straight away knew otherwise. This was a really BIG deal. To start with the space was gorgeous and secondly there was a couple of hundred “movers and shakers” in the Mummy world on site.

Strong Moms Empower is a call-to-action campaign that is working towards Stopping Bullying Among Parents. Yes, you read correctly – Parents. Apparently in today’s world there is a ton of bullying going on both online and offline which in turn is making Mothers unsure of their decisions, afraid to speak their minds and causing a lot of insecurity and sadness. BUT, we’re all Mums right and on the same team? Evidently, this is not so.

Being at this luncheon and listening to the speakers, I thought back to times that I have been bullied online by other parents. Once, only just having given birth, I posted a question about breastfeeding my Son, to which another Mother commented that “I was only breastfeeding because I could not afford formula”??? Hmm, I just did not even know what to say to that, it literally blew my mind so I decided not to say anything at all. Or, more recently when I posted a picture of my 2.5 year old Son on the Willy B Mum Facebook page with his nails painted the same color as mine, to where another Mother decided it was best to comment that; “That is ridiculous, why are you creating an excuse for him to be bullied at school”?? One, he is 2.5 and does not go to school yet and two isn’t that what you are doing to me right now by leaving that comment?

Unfortunately, I am sure you can all think back to one or another situations where you have also been made to feel inadequate by another parent!

All Mothers are different, and all Mothers love their children right? So, why all the hatred and negativity, from other Mothers towards Mothers, that are in the same boat trying to do the best they can to raise their children?

LOOK OUT

Parents choose many many ways to bring up children and no matter your personal choice there is going to be another parent who is doing completely the opposite and unfortunately may give you a hard time about it!

  • Do you breastfeed versus formula feeding?
  • Do you feed your child meat versus a vegetarian diet?
  • Do you spank your child if they are naughty versus talking your child through problems?
  • Do you have much money versus not having much money at all?
  • Do you send your children to a public school versus a private school?
  • Are your children overweight versus rearing very fit and active children?
  • Are you a single mother versus in a stable relationship?
  • Are you a Stay-At-Home Mother versus a working Mother who is not home much?

DURING THE LUNCHEON

While tweeting away with the hashtag #StrongMomsEmpower (as was encouraged by the host to help get the word out) a girlfriend and fellow blogger leaned over to me, quite shocked and said “Have you seen this”? She passed me her phone and showed me hundreds of tweets (with a different hashtag) that were going on in real-time basically talking derogatively and IN EFFECT BULLYING the campaign and what was hoping to be achieved. It was so Ironic! This was, because news to both of us, the major corporation Similac was sponsoring the event.

So let’s back up a bit here. Most of you know I am a holistic mother, and for me feeding my Son formula was a “Hell No over my Dead Body” kind of feeling. I even took that one step further and ended up breastfeeding my Son till he was 26 months of age!

This was my preference, and I do not have to justify my reasoning to ANYBODY.

I am not a fan of Similac and it was my choice not to give my baby formula, just as many Mothers are a fan of Similac and  choose to give their baby formula. However, at the end of the day, we are all Mothers and we all make the right decisions for our family and it is nobody else’s business to make another Mother’s life difficult because one does not agree. End of Story.

RETROSPECT

I thought for a long time about whether to even post this article, and in the end I decided knowing that Similac is a big corporation, what they are doing is a helpful & positive thing, and probably something that only a big corporation could have the means to do?

I am happy that I had the opportunity to attend the luncheon, as now I am aware of what is going on out there in “Mummy Land” and I really want to help Stop the bullying. Personally, I am working on being more understanding, considerate, kind and supportive to other Mothers (even if I do not agree with their choices).

I know that being a Mother is sometimes lonely and often confusing and we ALL need to support each other no matter what our choices under our roofs are! I urge all you Mummies to do the same. Let us Strong Moms Empower!

What about you, have you ever been bullied by another Parent?

Thanks for reading my BLOG.

SME

Strong Moms Empower. Let’s support each other Mummies!

10 thoughts on “Stong Moms Empower. Let’s Support Each Other Mummies!

  1. Sarah Willis

    I so appreciate your honesty and ability to articulate the nuanced issues around being a mom, fielding criticism and hardest of all, being a mommy blogger who is sometimes pulled in different directions by being invited to corporate sponsored events whose intentions are sometimes murky. Great piece!

    Reply
    1. Willy B Mum

      Thanks Sarz.
      You are right, it is challenging at times, however I always manage to make the most of each situation as in this one.
      At the end of the day Strong Moms Empower is helping Mothers and that is the thing that counts the most to me.
      I appreciate your thoughts and thanks for posting a comment!

      Reply
  2. Not surprised that Similac hosted this!

    I think Similac hosted the event, because in my experience some breastfeeding moms (and lots of recent ad campaigns on TV and on trains) tend to make it seem like those using formula are harming their children in some way. Even if our young children rarely get sick each year (maybe one cold a year, never had the flu, no allergies whatsoever, no diseases, no developmental issues, no behavioral problems) for many years and even if they grow up to be healthy, happy, intelligent, social teens (not on meds for any disorder ever), if we mention we used formula for the first year of life and then they were on solids with no problems at all (eating a variety of foods, not limited), we will still hear criticism re: our choice *not* to breastfeed. I think some believe that Similac wants to turn that around and wants women who breastfed to come to these events too and perhaps stop blogging that breastfeeding is superior to formula (touting how many months they were able to keep it going, like they are in competition with other moms). I personally don’t care what others choose to do (in terms of meals, clothing, education, exercise, vaccines, grooming, vacations, discipline, spending money, the environment etc.), but If all moms took a look at their own Twitter comments from the last YEAR, they would see that they are more judgmental than they believe (take a look!). All moms have moments of wondering why is THAT mom doing that? Like when I see normal 3 or 4 year old children still in a stroller to get from one location to another quickly, for convenience sake (when it’s healthier to walk everywhere – mine could walk 1-2 miles at a time with no problem at that age, of course stroller manufacturers see differently for a reason, $$$$$) and these preschoolers are using iPads for hours every week for *years* already (which will affect attention span for school or attending shows probably, mine never used gadgets under the age of 5, even on long trips, and it wasn’t so hard) – I am tempted to offer constructive criticism, but I don’t. It’s not my business and maybe that family is as happy as could be with their choices. Since a majority of mom blogs focus on the moms trying to appear like experts on every area of parenting (even when they are new moms), bragging about what they did right. I wonder where that’s headed now (if the blogs will even exist!) since the definition of bullying is expanding to encompass any negative comment anyone makes toward anyone else anywhere, no matter their age or occupation or the intent. Good luck navigating the sensitive online waters.

    Reply
    1. Willy B Mum

      Great comments, and you are right in my opinion on a lot of things.
      Similac has done a great job by creating the Strong Moms Empower campaign and are successfully getting the word out about bullying. I did not even know that it was an issue until I attended the luncheon.
      Yes, it is tough with everybody claiming to be an expert on a lot of the blogs – great observation.
      I am all for each Mother doing what she thinks is best. If it works for you it works for you. We all have the same goal at heart and that is to bring up healthy and happy children. Why not help each other to achieve that as we all know how hard it can be at times!
      Thanks for posting.

      Reply
  3. Anne G.

    “Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others.” Similac wants mothers to believe that other mothers (breastfeeding mothers) are bullies. After all, who wants to be considered unkind, inconsiderate and unsupportive? They want you to take a stand against “those” mothers. The campaign takes normal parenting worry and uses it to create a rift between mothers in a misguided sense of retaliation. Why? They want to sell more formula! If not joining the StrongMoms Campaign makes you a judgmental bully, then the only way to be a good mom is to be supportive of Similac and the formula industry. Does that sound like a positive, unifying campaign? Or does it sound more like bullying?

    Reply
    1. Willy B Mum

      Thanks for posting this comment Anne.
      I understand what you are saying but I just did not get that feeling at the event, it was quite the opposite. However, I am merely writing about my personal experience and everybody interprets things in different ways.
      It was a beautiful day, with many other inspirational Mothers and some insightful keynote speakers. I did not see any bullying besides online from breastfeeding supporters, and it was sad & cruel some of the things that being tweeted too.
      As I mentioned, I breastfed my Son till he was 26 months of age and in no way am I a fan of formula. With that said, I walked away from the day confused with what was going on and why any other Mother would want to slander another Mother for her choices.
      To me, every Mother has the right to make the decision best for her and her family.
      At the end of the day somebody has to make the formula for the Mother’s who cannot breastfeed or choose not too. Are people angry at all formula companies or just BIG formula companies? Cannot we turn that frown upside down and be happy that there are options?

      Reply
  4. Anne G.

    Infant formula is literally a lifesaver when breastmilk is not available. Yes, I am happy that it exists and glad that the more we know the better it gets. But, then, I don’t think I know anyone who feels otherwise. The problem with the Similac campaign, as I see it, is that it reinforces the belief that Lactivism is about taking away people’s choices and being anti-formula. That’s is just not true. Lactivism is about getting accurate, evidence based information to mothers so that they can make choices that are right for them. The formula industry’s goal is to sell formula. They had a fun, upbeat event and I am glad that you found it enjoyable and empowering. But I can’t help but wonder if your comment about how some mothers “slander” others emerged as a result of the campaign. If the campaign were truly about empowerment and unity, I do not think you would have left feeling confused and incredulous about “those mothers”. I think that is exactly what the campaign hopes we will feel. Is it possible that somehow there was a negative undercurrent to the positive hype? Big formula companies spend millions of dollars on advertising and advertising is all about emotion. I’ll bet those unsettled emotions leave you with a vague, negative opinion of breastfeeding supporters or, at least, certain ones, yes? I think creating negativity toward breastfeeding activism is the purpose of the campaign and the positive, warm aspects are the hook.

    Thanks for letting me respond.

    Reply
    1. Willy B Mum

      Your opinions are very valid. It was, like I said, a slightly confusing experience that I was not aware of walking into too. And, yes I did also mention in the posting that only a company of that size would have been able to pull off such an event.
      My thing is, I am a BIG believer of positive thought. I can make anything work and try to make the best of every situation. Maybe, because I am choosing really not to focus on the negative it is not really effecting me, I do not know?
      I think, all we can do is just take it with a grain of salt and try to make the best decisions we all can as parents.
      Thanks for posting Anne, it’s really lovely to have some feedback on my posts.
      Libby.

      Reply

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