I recently read an article (in fact, I’m still sitting here reading this article and it’s got me so riled up that I needed to write this all out to vent) which is all about what a terrible parent you are if you yell at your children. Ok, ok, it doesn’t ACTUALLY say that, but that’s the undertone. Now prepare for the rant….
For years now parents (specifically mothers) have been bombarded with articles, advice, and tips telling them all about how poorly they are parenting and exactly what it is they are doing wrong.
Here’s my advice to you: If your child is fed, warm, happy and as healthy as you can facilitate….you are doing a great job. You don’t have to be supermum. In fact, my new motto is “good enough is good enough”. Your child doesn’t have to be the best, the smartest, the prettiest, the most well-behaved, know the most languages…they just have to be loved.
It starts when you’re pregnant. Actually, strike that…it starts when you are trying to conceive…take the right supplements, stop drinking caffeine…focus on making your womb the most hospitable environment possible if you want to be a good mother. Then (with a bit of luck) you get pregnant and suddenly everything that goes into your mouth has to be checked against a list of what you should and shouldn’t eat while you are pregnant. And you start the reading…oh god the reading. How to get your baby to sleep (should you go the attachment parenting route, or leave them to cry it out?), the feeding (if you want to be a good mum with a healthy, clever baby and a good strong bond then OBVIOUSLY you’ll breastfeed. Everyone can don’t you know), how many layers should they wear? Cloth or disposables? How will you discipline your child when the time comes? What are your beliefs on daycare (or Montessori, home-based childcare, never letting your child out of sight until they turn 24). Actually GIVING BIRTH…again, if you want to bond with your baby, you’ll birth naturally. Of course.
I’m calling bullshit.
My children arrived in their own fashion – and none naturally. Breast feeding seemed something sent from the devil, so they were bottle-fed. I yell when I’m really angry. To be fair, I probably yell more than I should (but where does that ‘should’ come from?). The bottom line for me is this: my children are beautiful. They are smart. They are quirky and imaginative and healthy. They are loved utterly and completely and know this absolutely. They are smothered with hugs and kisses and return that smothering in large doses.
I am the best mum I know how to be – flaws and all. I’m drawing my line in the sand. No more parenting articles. No more advice from experts. I AM the expert on my children. I don’t need anyone to tell me what I’m doing wrong – I look into the sunny faces of my children (with all their idiosyncrasies) and know that I’m doing exactly what’s right.