The power of Mommy Guilt

Mommy Guilt. That powerful feeling that forces mothers to buy into something because if not, surely their children will live a life filled with pain and misery.

It’s usually other mothers perpetuating mommy guilt onto other parents. “Oh your child isn’t talking yet? I bought my child this (insert expensive, new toy here) that’s designed to aid in their speech development and he started talking 20 minutes after playing with it! (Cue frantic mother knocking down patrons at Toys R Us trying to find aforementioned toy, because without it, it’s obvious her own child would be destined to a life of silence).

You think I’m kidding? I suffered another case of mommy guilt yesterday. I attended a baby shower for a girlfrend (because yes, Kim and I are at the age where someone’s either getting married or having babies!). The topic of conversation turned to the evil plastic found in many baby bottles.

In case you missed it, apparently the plastic compound found in certain baby bottles is toxic to humans, and therefore should be discarded in favor of new GLASS baby bottles (which are supposedly treated to prevent shattering, but it’s glass, people).

Now, I’m pregnant with Baby #2, and have a whole cabinet full of Dr. Brown’s plastic baby bottles left over from my first child (who’s not even two years old). He used the Dr. Brown’s bottles as a baby and I’ve yet to see any negative side effects. And I was excited about being able to recycle most of the baby items I already have in my house with this new baby, rather than dropping the year’s worth of college tuition on the items required by infants these days.

But apparently, when I mentioned this at the shower (many of whom are pregnant themselves or have recently had children) about re-using my plastic bottles, I might as well have said I was going to drive around with the baby in my lap in the front seat.

“You CANNOT use plastic bottles. You MUST switch to glass,” said one. “My doctor thinks plastic bottles may be contributing to the rise in autism,” said another.

Mommy guilt came in waves over me. What should I do? The frugal person in me wants to use the plastic bottles I have, but what if, by some teeny tiny chance, Baby #2 suffers some weird, mysterious illness as a result of my cheapness in not wanting to buy new bottles?!

Marketers are aware of the power of Mommy Guilt. You see it every day in commercials for anti-bacterial, organic, non-toxic, designed-to-make-your-child a genius products. It’s a lucrative business, because every mother wants to provide her children with the best the world has to offer (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that).

I’m on a personal campaign entitled, “Let’s Cut Each Other Some Slack.” To all mothers I say, let’s support one another. Don’t make others feel bad for choices they make. You don’t want to breastfeed? That’s your choice. Don’t let the nurses in the hospital, your friends or anyone else bully you in to it (you think I’m kidding?? Those nurses are incredible bullies when it comes to breastfeeding). You want to breastfeed? GO FOR IT! I think it’s great! My point is: do what’s right for you and your family.

As for me? I’m undecided on what to do about the bottles. In the end, I’m sure I’ll end up switching over to glass, which will mean my cabinet full of plastic bottles will be thrown away, ending up in a landfill where they’ll sit for thousands of years. It’s a no-win situation. Guess I’ll go feel guilty about that now.



  1. […] admin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI attended a baby shower for a girlfrend (because yes, Kim and I are at the age where someone’s either getting married or having babies!). The topic of conversation turned to the evil plastic found in many baby bottles. … […]

  2. Congratulations, Liza!

    Great point on marketers tapping into that guilt or creating it in the first place…

  3. Fear sells, I guess.

    And thanks for the congrats!

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