When Karen Percy started her own web and graphic design company two years ago, she thought she’d found a network of self-employed mothers who, like her, were eager to share business tips and help each other out.

So Ms. Percy was flabbergasted when she approached one seemingly helpful fellow mompreneur to do a joint project – and the woman ended up stealing the idea for herself.

“I was just so caught off guard by it. It’s just crazy. I couldn’t believe it,” said Ms. Percy, founder of Kaper Creative in South Surrey, B.C., and soon-to-be mother of three. “[Self-employed mothers] should be a group of people helping each other succeed, not trying to sort of backstab and take things away from each other.”

But in the world of mompreneurs, in which moms leave the rat race to start baby- or child-related businesses, not everyone plays nice.

Young mothers are finding that mompreneurship can be every bit as cutthroat.

With legions of self-employed moms jockeying to promote their own products and services, stories of sabotage, pilfering ideas and undercutting prices abound.

Such aggressive tactics are hardly unexpected in other business communities, said Ms. Percy who, after being burned, has expanded her clientele beyond mompreneurs. But among young mothers, she said, “you’d think they should be in a mind frame of setting a good example for their children.”

Shani Sam, founder of Vancouver-area baby sling maker Tot-to-go Design Inc. and mother of one, said she has seen mom entrepreneurs openly bash their competitors to try to get ahead.

Some, she said, go as far as naming competing brands on their websites and detailing their shortcomings while they boost their own products.

Lara Leontowich, founder of online resource Westcoast Moms’ Network Inc., has seen her share of ruthless business tactics among mompreneurs.

Price undercutting is commonplace, she said, while some mothers try to exclude others from their market. In one case, she said, one mother asked her competitor to set up shop elsewhere, claiming dibs on the area she was in.