Before I became a mother in 2014, there was no way I wanted to become a mother. Now I say that in the most logical sense. Parenting was not for me, and in ways, it still isn’t for me. I find it incredibly hard to parent when other parents are looking over your shoulders at your every choice at raising your children.
Nowadays there is some war (mostly on the internet) about which parent is best. Helicopter vs free-range, stay at home vs working mother, natural mother vs perfect mother, breastfeeding mother vs bottle fed, natural birth vs drugs, dummy vs no dummy. The list goes on (sigh) and on. Why is it we put other parents down as opposed to lift and praise them, after all, they’re raising children, and that itself is absolutely amazing. We need to pat ourselves on the back and be kind to mothers and fathers around us.
My parenting style is a reflection of who I am as a person, how I want to be treated and right this moment, to say I am a perfect mother would be wrong, I am in fact struggling and would call myself a hot mess, often my son has one too many ice creams a day, a happy meal at least once a week and his bedtime isn’t always on time. I juggle parenthood with being a working mum and a career driven mum too; I tend to fall more on the laid-backside mum with the messy bun and trying to schedule in my next eyebrow appointment. I like to watch from afar and let my child make mistakes. He walks mud through the house and challenges me each day. Sometimes we get a cleaner, often have a messy house and we co-sleep too. Growing up, we Breastfed, bottle fed, expressed and used other peoples breast-milk. Tried a dummy, he didn’t want it. Got attached to a teddy and took it everywhere as well. I believe we shouldn’t have labels telling us what type of parents we are, and I am baffled the amount of judgment that is still placed on parents, more importantly, our children. Who says your way is any better than mine?
I am fortunate in my tribe of woman;
I have mothers who are honest and raw and fuck up, yes you heard me right from time to time they fuck up, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, I encourage it. You need a night out with your friends? Go for it – toasties for dinner, hell yes – Don’t want to clean today, don’t. Don’t feel guilty for having a break. You are only human. I will respect you either way.
The point is, with exceptions unless the child is being hurt, abused or clearly mistreated than of course, there are reasons to step in and speak up, absolutely. But if your opinions are on how they should parents their children than that’s a whole different ball game, Karen.
We need to stop judging other peoples parenting.
Any parent can easily recall moments where they felt judged by others. It’s embarrassing when we put shame on someone else’s parenting because it’s not what we do. It’s awkward when in public your loving, sweet kids are uncontrollable, running crazy, wanting toys, wanting food, need to pee, wanting whatever they can get their hands on. You can see the judgment from others when those terrible moments happen; You can feel it. It ruins your confidence. It makes you want to drown a whole bottle of wine and, perhaps drown your children too,
The constant judgment from others carries with you. I get it; you feel as though you failed as a parent that day.
Despite all the horrible feelings we get when someone judges our parenting, we continue to place judgment and unkind words upon other parents. Why do we have such unrealistic expectations, how is it any of our business what you do with your children.
You know your children more than anyone does – and if it works for you. Then you go Mumma, do you!
There are so many ways to be a good parent, and unless you are walking in those parents shoes. Who are you to place judgment, you don’t know what that family has gone through. Instead of pointing fingers, be a leader and an example, give suggestions and knowledge and share your wisdom with others who may be struggling. Learn something from someone whose parenting style doesn’t align with yours. We need to find ways to support each other on our parenting journeys instead of beating each other down because we all go through the most rewarding and challenging job there is and it makes no sense, to belittle one another. I’m not going to change who I am as a mother, but I’m also not going to shut you down because you do it differently, it works for our family. And, if it works for you too then, you deserve so much more credit than you’re giving yourself.
Be kind and reap the rewards.