Thursday, August 29, 2013

What I know about mothering - Part 1

I've read a few blog posts here and there recently where younger mothers are really struggling with various aspects of their lives. Whether it's not feeling fulfilled being a Stay-at-Home-Mother or just not quite feeling up to the challenge.

I'm no "expert" expert but I've been at this game for over twenty years now and it's fair to say, it gives you some perspective. Here's what I've discovered -

There are no medals. Nope. None. Actually, despite the huge wars that often rage on in comment boxes, in the news and even on TV, most people don't really give a flying fart how you raise your kids, as long as you're not starving or smacking them.

Drug-free births? Breast-feeding? Baby-led weaning (whatever that is)? Really, pat yourself on the back because no one else will. They might shout and ball about these issues over the ethernet, but in most cases, (and in my humble opinion) that's just parents who aren't really sure about their own choices. Which leads me to discovery number two....

You don't have to argue your point. Yes, most of us who are active on the Internet usually have an opinion or two to share, but it isn't necessary when it comes to parenting. Do your own research, ask a few friends for advice, then get on with it. If you're confident that you've made the right choice, you won't feel the need to shout about it or put down people who don't share your approach.

Ignore the voices. As I said above, those who disagree vehemently with you are usually just crying for a medal (see above) for the choices they've made. And even more usually, the louder and bitchier the voice gets, the more that person is trying to vindicate her own choices. (I'll say "her" because, let's face it, I don't see a lot of dads going at each other in quite the same way.)

This too shall pass. Just remember, every phase of your kids' lives is just that - a phase. Whether it's taking off their diaper/nappy and smothering the walls in poo (been there), whacking all your tulip heads off with a kids' Five Iron (got the t-shirt) or not paying attention when parking the car and almost taking the side off (sigh), it won't last forever. That obviously doesn't mean you needn't be annoyed, upset or downright terrified at the time, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Until the next one!


12 comments:

  1. @Jean - takes years of getting worked up about everything and anything, then being old and thinking....Nah! Not worth it.

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  2. Too true. In fact, if I were to have a baby now (GOD FORBID!) I know that I'd most likely be less worked up about everything, since now I know what I know.

    And those that feel the need to call someone else out on their style of parenting? Yeah, maybe they are looking for a medal...but they are going to be looking for a long, long time.

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  3. Very good advice.

    Most of it is just muddling through, which has worked ok for millennnia.

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  4. The older I get, the humbler I get. We'd all like to think that if we raise our children perfectly, they'll grow up wise and industrious and able to make thoughtful decisions. But at some point you start realizing that a lot of it is the luck of the draw. As we get older, we all know fantastic parents whose children have made heartbreaking choices Nature? Nurture? No idea.

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  5. This has to be one of THE best parenting blog posts I've EVER read! I am so sick of all these "new style" parents who think they know it all when they actually know bugger all, and as you quite rightly point out, are just looking for a pat on the back, a medal and someone to agree with them. It's all bollocks. Our babies/children are individuals and what works for one, doesn't work for another.

    Whenever I read parenting posts written by so-called experts (none of us are, by the way) it always reminds me of the breast feeding post I wrote last year (I didn't attempt breast feeding - MY CHOICE) where one commenter accused me of being "extremely selfish" and went onto say a few others things too. I just laugh at these new age parents I'm afraid. There are so many methods connected with parenting that I don't agree with - co-sleeping and breast feeding till after 6 months being just 2, but do I shout from a great height that I think it's wrong - do I buggery! They should all just get on with parenting by their own methods and stop trying to push their ways on other people.

    CJ x

    p.s. sorry for the rant!

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  6. Great post EPM; my life got so much simpler when I stopped caring what other people thought about me, my parenting choices and style, and my life in general. If I'm happy with my decisions then (with one Significant Other exception, obviously), anyone else's opinion doesn't really matter...

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  7. Well said.

    No manuals, no medals and no thanks seems to sum it up for me so far!

    And don't get me started on the guilt of being a working mum - I really need to stop worrying about it and say "It's what I do"!

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  8. Great post! My oldest is 20 in December and about to cast off from the safe harbour of home into the wild waters or university and life beyond.....I too am a working mum and feel great waves of guilt when i think about all the stuff I missed ....not out of choice, but the need to pay the mortgage! What I've learned is that you cannot be too kind or loving and that love really is all that matters in the end....and you are right, there are no medals - your kids doing well, being kind, having friends and having a good life is reward enough...! xx

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  9. Totally agree - we all get far too worked up these days about every little thing. My default attitude is to be quite laid back, but over the years I've found everyone else's worrying quite infectious. But now as the children get older, I look back at the choices I made and wonder whether it really made all that much difference...

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  10. What everyone else has said: point well made and I think actually this should be made into a poster and put somewhere.

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  11. Great advice! I became a Mum again after an 8 year gap to my 3rd child. Wow! I am so much more relaxed and my daughter is such a chilled out happy baby as a result. Chuck out the manuals, trust your gut instincts (these are mother natures own version of baby books and advice), and find other parents/supporters who you can have an occasional rant to but more importantly who you can have a laugh with. That gets me through those moments of self-doubt. I also highly recommend loads of kisses and cuddles with your kids and having lots of giggles with them too. I make sure I do this as much as possible everyday and that always melts any guilt away.

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