This is one I have been mulling over for a while….the reason being, we seem to be getting our knickers in such a twist over parenting recently, we seem to be making it so much harder than it actually is. When I say we, I don’t mean Mums, I mean us supposed “experts”. Us that are supposed to be supporting mums.
The explosion in baby businesses, most of which claim to support mum, in my opinion actually make life harder. The sharing of unhelpful articles, supposed research and the invention of problems that need to be solved by buying specific products or doing specific things. So many people now making money out of the mums and babies.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing products and businesses out there which are doing brilliant things, but the more stuff that is invented, the more parenting boxes we create, the less we trust our instincts and the more we feel the need to listen to others.
I get really cross with my mum when she says, but in my day it wasn’t an issue, or in my day we didn’t even consider that. Because in her day the world was a totally different place, you can’t compute what happened in the 70s & 80s to what is happening now. But, she has a point…
In her day we did just parent, we didn't have half the gadgets or terms we have now. Our desire to find “normal”, our desire to not do damage to our baby, we know too much! There is no other point in the human race where we try and find so much “normal”, where we worry and stress so much as parenthood, brought about in part, by the multi billion dollar industry that is the baby market. Babies are so, so important, but mums are more important! Why? Because any good mum, the 99.9% of the population of mothers who are good, will automatically put their babies first, our job as “experts” is to put mum first!
Breast is best - for baby and for mum in some instances, but breast is never best at the detriment to mum! I saw a comment in a Facebook group the other day. Mum had posted that she was at breaking point, she had 3 children, including a 9m breastfed baby. She was living in a hostel and sleeping on the floor with her baby who fed non stop throughout the night. She said she had had enough, she was broken, and one mum decided to respond with: “I know how hard it is, but your baby is having a stressful time too, I wouldn’t take the boob away from him, that his comfort thing…” this to me is totally shocking!! Breast is NOT that important, baby will get over that!
I am a massive fan of breastfeeding, and breastfed all three of mine, but I did it because it worked for me, it was easier for me, I was lucky and it just worked,I have seen women broken by breastfeeding. There is a massive lack of support argument here, and that is a different blog, but if it isn't working, stop!
Parenting Boxes - continuing to box parenting styles continues to pit parents against each other:
Attachment Parenting - insinuating if we don’t follow a particular parenting style we will have a lesser attachment (genuinely isn’t true!)
Gentle Parenting - Again insinuating if we don’t do it all “gently” we aren’t doing it properly!
Responsive Parenting - This is something we all are, if we just let it happen, we don’t need to name it!
Baby Wearing & Baby Led Weaning - Again, there are plenty of mum benefits for these, but we are sold them as benefits to baby. I HATE the term Baby Wearing, mum is simply wearing a good sling!? Again insinuating if we do these things, they are better for baby!?
Cry it out - Always a controversial one, I don’t care how mum chooses to parent. Babies cry, fact! It is their only method of communication, and always seen as a negative. I remember one mum saying leaving a baby to cry was akin to child abuse, it isn’t. Leaving a baby to cry for days on end is neglect, leaving a baby to cry whilst you go to the loo, or put it down for a nap is not. You can’t damage a child by letting it cry anymore than you can spoil it with love.
If we stop naming these things, we stop putting ourselves in boxes, and pitting ourselves against each other.
Babies are the centre of our world as Mums, we would always do our best by our child. But OUR best is not someone else’s best. What breaks one person will make another.
Lets stop over complicating this. Drop the boxes, drop the terms and just be mums.
Your baby is massively important, we will always put our baby’s needs before our own. But YOU ARE AS IMPORTANT!! So let us start supporting ALL mums, stop making her justify her actions, just let her be mum, it is hard enough anyway!