'You're doing parenting wrong!'

Saturday, 14 May 2016

I get annoyed with the media for encouraging 'Mummy wars'.


Oh shut up, Time Magazine.

First of all: it's a bit sexist. Why are women encouraged to attack other women all the time? Why are mothers blamed for every parenting decision but not fathers? Last time I heard this was 2016 and a lot of fathers quite like to be involved in how their children are raised. It's not like we've warped back to the dark ages where all husbands have to do is, well, you know, and then pace around in a hospital nine months later whilst smoking a cigar, before proceeding to have nothing to do with childrearing.

Anyway.

I just hate unnecessary judgement about other people's parenting choices. I understand disagreeing, or being concerned in extreme cases - but mostly, I think we waste way too much time and energy to critiquing other parents.

What do we get out of judging each others choices? Satisfaction? Confirmation that we are making the right choices? Maybe. But if that's all we're getting our parenting confidence from, then something is seriously wrong there.

Take buggies. I've overheard a conversation before about extended buggy use. (Frowned upon. Very). The consensus seemed to be that, past the age of two and a half or so, buggy use is unnecessary and possibly damaging to children.

First of all: if you object to buggy use for older children, then you object to children being driven around in cars. I have to walk thirty five minutes to get to my GP surgery - there's no way I'm making my toddler walk the entire way there and back on her little legs. Most people would just drive there, but I can't. But have you seen cars? They are like giant mechanical buggies. At least with buggies you have the option of turfing them out to walk around for a bit along the way. The last time I heard it wasn't considered safe to do the same thing whilst driving along in a car.

But I don't judge people for using cars. I would if I could. I'd drive everywhere, probably. But I can't. Yet.

Self-righteous anger aside, this kind of thing really sucks for parents that have children with not-instantly-obvious disabilities. Parents need (expensive) bigger buggies for much older children that may not necessarily look disabled from the outside, and this kind of mindless judgement just adds an extra layer of pressure and stress for people.

Listen, I was a great parent before I was one. I knew I how I was going to do it. Now? Sometimes I let her watch too much Paw Patrol because I take an age to wake up in the mornings, and one of her favourite types of food are 'chicken noogats' from McDonalds.


And yet ... in a massive stroke of hypocrisy, I find myself doing the same thing to other people sometimes. I might see, I don't know, a child running around with no coat on in the winter and think (before I can stop myself) 'tsk!'. Then I remember the time that Jellybean was really poorly and we had to take her outside three times a day in the cold, in just her t-shirt and leggings, to try and get her stubbornly un-shifting temperature down. (Doctors orders). Then I remember that sometimes actually letting them get cold is the only way the message 'but you'll be too cold!' will get through.

I really dislike myself when I judge other parents. But I still do it sometimes.

I'm really trying not to, though. I like to see the best in people. So what if someone pierces their baby's ears/lets them eat a giant slab of cake sometimes/still gives their closer-to-three-than-two year old a bottle of milk every night? (I hold my hand up to the last one). Unless you a) think you can make a real positive difference to that child by intervening directly or b) think they are actually in danger because of their parents' choices, there is literally NO point in bitching about it. You won't gain anything from it and the parent in question definitely won't, either. In fact, what we moan about probably says more about us than the other parent anyway.

And yet we do it anyway. Human nature! It sucks.

Self-control is the key, isn't it? To life in general. If we could all be a bit more sympathetic, there'd be a lot less pointless drama going on in the world - and maybe we'd be less distracted from serious issues that children are facing every day.


Life with Baby Kicks


4 comments:

  1. I love this post, I feel like you've written down my exact thoughts! I hate judgemental parents, we're all trying to do the best job we can right? But then I find myself doing it sometimes and need to give myself a mental slap on the wrist! #effitfriday

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    1. Ah thank you! I get very cross when I hear blanket statements like 'dummies are bad', but then I realise that I make the same sweeping judgements sometimes. Trying really hard not to though! Thanks for reading :) x

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  2. Personal growth :)

    Life is a mirror and it says much about society doesn't it ... if there was no interest then the media wouldn't be writing about them. And the media love a subject that promotes dissent.

    Great post Megan. x

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  3. Oh yes I was a perfect parent, then I became a parent and whoops. Turns out I'm not. I did the whole bottle until he was 3 as well - he's ok ;) xx

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