Getting rid of the Mummy Martyr


Is it just me who sometimes falls into having a victim complex? Sometimes I start thinking I’m a martyr and forget I’m mum.

So I’m at a BBQ and another Mum asks me about how my baby is sleeping. I tell her she is in bed by about 8.30 and usually wakes up twice during the night.

“Mine is in bed by 7,” she replies. “Otherwise he becomes over tired. Actually its great, he’s been sleeping through since 6 weeks.”

My first reaction is to think that this mum is so judgemental. She thinks I’m a bad mum because my baby doesn’t sleep through the night. She thinks she’s so bloody superior!

Well lately I’ve been telling myself to just get over it. I’m not a victim and I should have confidence in myself as a mum. The other mum is probably just proud of her own child. And even if she does think I’m hopeless – who cares?! I know I do my best.

If a mum tells me they adore co-sleeping, it doesn’t mean they think I’m evil for using a cot. If I talk about how I love breastfeeding it doesn’t mean I think mums are bad people if they use formula. It’s great that mums have the freedom to talk about their opinions with each other. I actually love it when a mum is informed and passionate, even if I don’t agree with everything she says.

I don’t want to waste another second worrying about feeling judged. I would hate to pass on insecurities to my daughter. I hope she always does her best, does what she loves and what she know’s is right. Only she can truly judge the integrity of her actions.

So goodbye mummy martyr. I never liked you much anyway.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bekside
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 11:41:22

    Great post, Clare. Actually, I’ve often been surprised at how much small-talk at social events or in office lunch-rooms seems to revolve around the different ways we do things. What do you take or put in your tea when you have a sore throat? What is the magic ingredient in your carrot cake? etc.

    There seems to me to be a real culture of comparison that pervades that type of conversation generally considered to be “polite” and “safe”. How often we walk away from a conversation feeling deflated because we feel judged by someone who does something differently to us and comes across as superior about it.

    All that aside – great to see you’re wriggling out from the grasp of the opinions of others. A priest I know always says “What other people think of you is none of your business!” It’s truly freeing, isn’t it?

    (Long time follower, first time commenter.)


    • Clare Horsfall
      Oct 01, 2013 @ 21:31:58

      Thanks for commenting! I was a actually thinking as I wrote that post that this worrying over being judged is not just a problem for Mums. As you said, we can feel threatened by all sorts of little things – even the way we have our cup of tea!


  2. Olivia
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:18:06

    We all fall victim to the mummy martyr, you’re not alone x


  3. Louise Jeffree
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 09:12:40

    One can remind the other, playfully, with ‘Ouch!’ when they ‘stab in the back’ with a coded attack. ( It helps people to remember that being light-hearted yet sensitive is showing mastery of one’s human relating capacity.
    It’s especially the case in familial circumstances, but also when people want to see if you’re listening. One then needs to act positively in one’s favour by acknowledging the feeling, being non-judgemental, then as a decision, staying with it (to let it inform you and so as to not be controlled by fighting/denying it). [The ANS technique it’s called, as Iearnt 12 years ago at the Aquinas Academy course offered by Fr Whelan S.M. PhD and Sr Marie Biddle RSJ Sydney.]


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