For years I fell into the trap of “mummy guilt”
Were we doing enough? Did I play with them enough? Were we going out enough? Did they get enough exercise? Were they being ‘socialised’? The mummy guilt was strong!
Well, do you know what? Fuck that shit!
Yesterday I met another mum who was bowled over by how other parents treat each other, especially online. We had a good chat about how parents, lets be honest its mainly mums, deem it necessary to give you their opinion. Bottle feeding vs breastfeeding, disposable nappies vs cloth, car safety to name but a few.
I was 34 when I had Big L. I had big plans on how he would be raised
I would be a gentle parent, I hoped to home school (yes I still have an urge to do that, he’s 7 now – there’s still time, right?) he would attend a forest preschool and so on and so forth. But, reality bit me on the arse.
First of all, when Big L was one, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease
I was very poorly. When he was 2 I had an operation which left me hospitalised for a month. But this is not the only reason I’m not the parent I planned on being, it just helped give me an excuse.
I subsequently went on to have another son who is currently 2 and, this time, I feel the guilt much less. That is not to say it’s not there, I am just able to put it into perspective.
Let me explain. I hate baby groups
I mean HATE. With a passion. I’m not dissing them if you enjoy them then fine. I appreciate they are a life line for many – they were the end of the line for me! I didn’t enjoy them. I wrote about my dislike of them and when I published that post I got LOT of stick, nay, abuse. Basically, other mothers questioning my ability to mother and asking what else we did all day. Let’s lay that mummy guilt on good and thick!
I’m pleased to report that Cagney and Lacey is back on Channel 5 btw so that’s our afternoons full. I jest, of course (mostly). But what gives people, especially other mothers, the right to judge my parenting skills? In fact, I would wager that my sightly more enlightened way of thinking might just be better for you and your kids than the judgey pants that are likely restricting your ability to breathe.
I see mums on Facebook taking their children out here, there and everywhere
That’s just grand but it’s not for me. Of course we go out but I don’t feel the need to go out everyday. To be honest I find it physically quite demanding to go out but even so, even though I have a legitimate reason not to go out (basically I’m knackered), I used to feel guilty.
This takes me on to the use of electronic devices…
I’m talking tablets, Kindles, iPads, your mobile phone, whatever you have or call them. You embrace the fuck out of them!
You want a lie in you make sure that gadget is charged right to the top! No less than 100% is sufficient in this household. You want to drink a cup of tea in peace let them watch YouTube Kids or play an age appropriate game. Long car journeys – they’re a godsend.
Look, if they’re not for you that’s fine but for me it means an extra half hour in bed or a shower in peace. People turn their noses up in disgust at a two year old playing on a tablet but, let me tell you, they were thanking their lucky stars a couple of weeks ago on our flight. “We didn’t hear a peep out of them the whole journey”
No, no you didn’t. And frankly I’m not sure my two year old knows we’d even left the ground!
Of course I’m not suggesting you neglect your kids and let Mr Apple or Ms Amazon raise them for you but, for fucks sake, don’t beat yourself up if they’ve lost an hour (or 3) playing games. It’s not the worst thing you can do as a parent. It’s YouTube, not crack cocaine.
The same goes for kids TV
When I was pregnant I read all sorts of articles about how much they should watch and how too much television addled their tiny, developing brains. Thankfully I decided it was all bollocks because I’m fairly sure Big L can only spell due to Alphablocks – annoying as it is.
Do watch out for some of the programmes though, that Bing is a whiny, butterfly murdering, little shit and no-one wants that for a son.
My lack of people skills (I’m actually very good with people I just don’t tolerate bullshit well) leads me on to playdates
I’m not keen. I’m going to be honest here I push my children to be friends with the mums that I consider to be “my people”. Basically people I can have a laugh with and not pretend I’m well-read (I’m not) and preferably those that will have a tipple.
I also don’t want feral animals wrecking what little is left of my home so I’m afraid Tarquin will not be coming for tea.
Speaking of tea let’s stop beating ourselves up over a beige buffet
I’m talking nuggets and chips or pizza. What’s the saying? Fed is best? How about we remember this past the weaning stage? And dare, say it, the odd fruit shoot. Even, shock horror, Cola won’t kill them (lord knows I’ve tried).
I’m lucky that Big L is now 7
Although he’s as mad as a crate of badgers, he’s bloody lovely and the years of neglect have had no ill effects. He’s also fairly intelligent thanks to educational games and YouTube Kids. In a way I am lucky, being diagnosed with Crohn’s and the aftermath has forced me to rethink my priorities. Lucky for you I can
force my opinions impart my wisdom on you!
So, come on parents. Lose the mummy guilt. Embrace what is at your disposal to make your life a little easier, or at least less of a chore. Enjoy your kids and raise them YOUR way.
*Disclaimer – my children also play with actual toys and enjoy fresh air once in a while. Stop judging me you bastards!