Breast or bottle, co-sleeping or cot sleeping, a sugar-free diet or free-for-all feeding – there’s plenty of things for mums to be judged on these days. And a recent survey by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital has found that nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of women reported being criticised for how they raise their kids.
The poll of 475 mothers with at least one child under the age of five found that the biggest source of criticism came from the people closest to them – spouses (36 per cent), their parents (37 per cent) and their in-laws (31 per cent). It’s a small sample size but, let’s be honest, a pretty accurate reflection of most mothers’ experiences.
Surprisingly, women even felt less judged by their friends, random mothers out in public and social media commenters than they did by their loved ones.
And when it comes to the hot topics up for questioning, discipline, nutrition and sleep were the biggest points of contention for the survey respondents.
"Our findings tap into the tensions mums face when parenting advice leads to more stress than reassurance and makes them feel more criticised than supported," said poll co-director Sarah Clark.
"Unsolicited advice – especially from the people closest to her child – can be perceived as meaning she's not doing a good job as a mother. That can be hurtful," she added.