Why Parenting Is Getting Harder Series - Blog 2 - Social Media, Parenting Labels & "Experts"

So here we are, blog 2 on how parenting is getting harder! This week I am focussing on Social Media, Parenting Labels/Boxes & “Experts”

Social Media
Social Media has exploded in the last 5-10yrs, I admit to being totally addicted, but it drives me insane in equal measures!

I can’t tell you how frustrated I get with the things I see shared, that add to mums anxieties, and take away from her instinct. Some things are beneficial, others make me want to pull my teeth out! The supposed “scientific research” we talked about on the last blog, one post in particular shared by many of my “birthing & baby” colleagues talked of the “dangers of ignoring a crying baby”. Melancholic music, images of tiny babies being left to cry, switched with older children looking sad and forlorn. Now I will say It again, ignoring a baby for prolonged periods, will teach your baby that there is no point in communicating, this can lead to damage, but this is commonly known as neglect! Very different to a mum who puts down her baby to go for wee/shower/poo, or even a mum who chooses to do “cry it out” “controlled crying” (check out the labels below).

Some things shared on social media just add to our stress, anxiety and take our instinct. It can also give us a massively false sense of how everyone else is coping! We put a front on for our social profiles, mums coping, baby happy/smiling, mum in control, the reality is likely to be very, very different. I used to be very prevalent on social media when I was at the height of a very difficult time, running recently launched business and dealing with a brand new baby and 2 other children. The most commented thing on my posts was “I don’t know how you do it”, what those people didn’t see was the chaotic, totally messy house, the husband who would frequently be on the end of my unable to cope rant, and my frequent melt downs, but none of that made it to Social Media. I talked about how busy I was, and how hard I found it, but people perceived me to be some kind of superwoman! I really, really wasn’t!!

Parenting Labels/Boxes!
Cry It Out, Controlled Crying, Baby Wearing, Attachment Parenting, Gentle Parenting, Baby Led Weaning AGGGHHHH I hate boxes!! All this does is put us mums in “camps” and usually ends up with us pitting ourselves against each other…”I follow “Attachment Parenting” so couldn’t possibly do “controlled crying””.

For me personally, I have never had to use “controlled crying” or “cry it out” but all of my kids have been left to cry at various points, for various reasons and for varying lengths. My third born spent most of the first 12m of his life in a sling, but I didn’t “baby wear”. By labelling stuff, we are putting ourselves in boxes, which can then impact how we deal with others. I have had so much negative (and for negative see really bloody rude) comments when I have talked about it being ok for a baby to cry. The reason is that they immediately presume I mean “cry it out” and this has been so negatively portrayed and labelled by some channels.

We seem to be totally loosing the ability to understand what is “normal” in a baby, and “experts” out there plus an array of commercial products on sale to supposedly help mum (see blog 3) aren’t helping!

Some of these “experts” are amazing and doing brilliant things, some I can't help but feel, are jumping on what they perceive to be the cash cow of the birth & baby industry. If you are reading something, or someone is offering advice that doesn't sit right, check out why they are saying it. If they have a financial interest in you questioning your instinct, or they are suggesting something that doesn’t feel right, and they financially going to benefit, you are right to question.

Sometimes the more books, website, articles and the more we listen to supposed “experts” the more cloudy our judgement gets and the less we trust that we have most of the answers, but it can be really hard to trust that in ourselves! That isn’t to say you shouldn’t list to “experts” it is to say if something doesn’t sit right, if you don’t like what you are reading or hearing, YOU ARE THE EXPERT - Trust and believe in that, I promise it Is true.

This has literally just come up on my news feed….

“How do you mummies put your little one to sleep? I feel like I’m a rubbish mum I didn’t realise you weren’t meant to let them fall asleep at the breast 😖 need some advice!”

There is no “meant to” in motherhood, you do whatever the bloody hell you want, IT IS YOUR BABY, and EVERY SINGLE one of them is different.