By Haylee Hackenburg
Had Haylee Hackenburg listened to the myth of the mummy wars, she wouldn’t have the amazing friends she does now.
Society would have you believe motherhood is some kind of competition. The “Mummy Wars” gets thrown about through the media as if we are all engaged in some kind of Hunger Games-style battle at the park – lattes in hand, judging each other’s choices as if it were an Olympic sport.
So ingrained is this idea, that after my first child was born, I avoided anything that even resembled a mothers’ group. I told myself it wasn’t for me. I didn’t need their judgement.
I kept to myself. Avoided parks, coffee shops, shopping centres. Anywhere I might encounter one of the judgy mums I had read about online.
And you know what? I was miserable. I was lonely. Never alone, but so lonely. With no close family, and a partner working long hours, I spent most of my time chatting away to a gorgeous little creature who could only coo or cry in return.
Everything turned around for me when my daughter was four months old and I was brave enough to strike up a conversation with another mum while out for a walk. She kindly returned the favour and we chatted for a while and exchanged numbers.
She was lovely. I was sceptical. OK, I told myself, one mum friend is OK. One on one is different to a group. It’s the groups that are judgy.
It turns out, my lovely one-on-one mum friend was part of a mothers’ group, which inevitably she invited me to. I scoffed internally at the idea. I didn’t need those mothers judging me for not feeding my baby enough, feeding her too much, for not taking a shower that morning, for having too much me time. I’d read the stories. It was lose/lose with those mothers.
It took me two more months to work up the courage to actually attend my local mothers’ group. I pictured a room filled with women casting sideways glances at each other, rolling their eyes and muttering under their breath about how much better a mother they were than the mother sitting across from them.