I made it!
I’ve given myself the freedom to suck at parenting for 30 days. I say freedom, I basically just admitted to the world on facebook how bad my parenting days are in the hope someone felt the same (thankfully there was, phew).
I have to admit it was hard work. Saying you suck at something, and then accepting it, goes against my nature. I tend to sit and beat myself up at my inability to be good or ‘perfect’ at anything. (I have a very fixed state of mind, I’m either good at something or I’m a failure). But for that fact alone it has also been very liberating. Shouting ‘I suck and so what!’ has given me a power I didn’t think I could obtain and that’s the power of not giving a crap. As long as I am happy with my performance as a mother and and my children are happy, I don’t care what any other person, professional, or organisation has to say about that. That’s a huge step for me; I usually take everyone’s opinion on parenting over my own.
So here is what I learnt over the 30 days, and how I obtained my power:
- It doesn’t matter what you do, you will always face judgment from someone
I don’t think I could write this post without mentioning Jamie Oliver gate (I’m still trying to get over the reaction to it on my blog). It taught me that no matter what you do in life, whether it’s out of the best interest for you and your baby, somebody will always have an opinion on it. I sit in the ‘fed is best’ camp on the baby feeding issue. But after that message reached 2 .5 million people (I’m still gobsmacked) I found that for each 10 messages of support I received I had one who told me I was stupid. (Stupid is a nice term, I reckon I was called everything but a racist at one point).
Although the negative reactions to my opinion were much tinier in comparison to the positive, they were the ones that stuck with and rocked me the most. I started to question my choices in motherhood all over again. I even questioned my place as a human being at one point! But after a few days of letting anxiety over my choices floor me, I had to start questioning myself. Did I still agree that as a mum we should choose to feed our baby whatever way we want without people making us feel guilty for it? (Whether they mean to or not). And my answer is YES! I know I made the right decision for me and my children in how I feed them and I feel that the much needed breast feeding support we want is not going to be answered by having the negative opinions of bottle feeding thrown at me again for the 280 millionth time! (I’m going too back off my mummy soap box now, I’m quite bored of my own voice in this matter as I’m sure you all are).
There are so many opinions out there on how we should look after our children. We all do it differently and we do it differently because we and our children are individual human beings with individual needs. Everyone can give their opinions but no one can tell you that what you are doing is not the best for your baby. Because quite frankly they don’t know them like you do.
Plus my husband makes a good point ‘that opinions are like assholes; everyone has one, and sometimes they can be full of shit’ (my own included at times)
- We all feel the struggle
Thank you to all you legends of human being’s who follow my blog for helping me with this, because at one point in life I thought I was the only one who struggled through motherhood.
The wanting to cut your ears off so as not to hear the constant crying and whining. Wanting to hide in the bathroom swigging the dregs of a left over bottle of Prosecco because you have no energy to act out another frigging minute of paw patrol (Quick chase, *the hyper little bastard* is on the case. AGAIN!) Counting down the hours to bedtime from 8:00 am in the morning, and considering living in MacDonald’s if one more child spits out that frigging homemade Shepherd’s pie because of a hidden ‘poisonous carrot’!
We all have a day (or 365) when we want to run away from parenting. And thankfully I now realise this is normal. (Thank you again you little legends!)
- There is no perfect parenting, there is only your parenting (which frankly is more than good enough)
Social media is a lie! Well that’s a bit harsh, it’s really just a polished version of reality. It shows the very best of everyone’s lives, because let’s be honest, that’s better to look at. But a one second picture captured of someone’s life cannot show the struggles of the rest of their day. They may have the same struggles as you, they were just able to take a photo of the one second their baby slept peacefully for all of five minutes (Hand up, I’m very guilty of this).
It can be so easy to compare your parenting to someone who seems to be doing it better. But the reality is we are just doing it differently. No one is right, no one is wrong, it’s just what works for us and our little ones. (Points above highlighted!)
- A break is very much welcome (with a touch of mum guilt on the side)
It’s a 24/7 365 (and a quarter) days a year job (I use job lightly as it’s much harder, its unpaid, and If I had seen the full job description upfront I may have had second thoughts about taking it). We all need a break sometime. If you work over 6 hours a day in the UK you are entitled to a 20 minute break. In Mummy Corporation I’m still waiting on a 2 minute break to have a wee alone after 72 hours.
But even when you get that break you’re left with an unwanted mate – Mum guilt (she’s not a mate, she’s a dickhead.) Guilt for either having time too concentrate on yourself, or guilt that you’re not one bit guilty for having time alone. I experience both of these as my break goes on.
Here’s the thing though. We need a break to be able to continue to function. Happy mum = happy baby and all that. So mum guilt needs to do one!
I don’t know what I expected from this challenge, but I know I didn’t expect it to give me as much confidence in myself as a mum as it did. Or the confidence to say ‘I’m pretty shit at this part’ and feel okay with that. I have strengths and weakness which are different to other mums. I may not be a crafty mum (mixing of playdough colors brings me out in hives), but I’m great at an outdoor adventure. Does that make me bad? It used to make me think so, but now I know its just makes me different. My kids love an outdoor adventure pretending to find the stick man and return him to his stick family tree, so therefore I’m hopefully doing right by them. And that has to mean I’m doing a good enough job, right?
Thank you again to everyone who listened to my rambling’s each night on facebook (I’ll be honest, I give up updating my challenge 2 days in on twitter because I couldn’t fit them into 180 characters.) And to those who joined in the challenge with me, you really have helped me accept that my best is good enough.
If you need some help feeling a little better in your #suckingatparenting days have a look on the FTMF facebook page and make peace that there are hundreds of other parents feeling exactly how you do on a daily basis. And they, like you, are kicking ass at motherhood without knowing it!