Being a mummy is a minefield, full of decisions you never knew you would have to make. Whilst pregnant, we had thought about birthing preferences and about how I wanted to feed Rory. Past that we hadn’t really got far with our decisions on how we would parent him. I knew we would need to make decisions about weaning and sleeping etc – but I decided we would cross that bridge when we came to it and just see what came naturally to us. And that’s exactly what we’ve done – had discussions as we have reached a big decision and seen what felt right.
I know for sure that some of the decisions we have made are not the ones that other people would have made, but in my opinion that’s ok – the world would be a pretty boring place if everyone made the same decisions and parented identically.
So my question today is why is there so much mummy shaming going on?
Why do we, as mums, feel we have the right to judge other people’s choices and question their decisions?
I have really been genuinely shocked by the way some people criticise other’s parenting choices as if they are not as valid as their own. I do understand that some people feel very passionately about decisions such as breastfeeding and baby-led weaning but I genuinely don’t think that these decisions should be forced upon others or that parents should be made to feel inadequate for doing things differently.
Let’s be completely honest, each and every one of us is completely winging this thing called parenthood. None of us know what is around the corner and we are all just doing what seems right in the here and now! Just think how regularly the official advice from the government changes, based on various studies and pieces of research. No one knows the perfect way to parent because, in my opinion, there really isn’t one.
So, rather than criticising, why not embrace our differences and instead support each other and educate ourselves on why people are making these decisions. We might actually learn something that changes our own outlook on parenting.
With this in mind, since having Rory, I have made a real effort to ask people about parenting choices that are potentially different to mine or that I know very little about. For example, I spoke to someone recently who has chosen to home educate, which is something that really interests me and that I was really keen to find out more about. This might seem strange as a primary school teacher, however with the current changes to the education system it is something I would never rule out. Especially as, with Rory being an August birthday, he will head to school when he has only just turned 4. I know that realistically it is unlikely that I will home educate, however I found it really interesting to know more about how it worked and what was available to support those who chose this option.
Another person I spoke to has chosen to naturally wean from breastfeeding. Obviously, as I only breastfed for the first few weeks this wasn’t something I needed to consider, but the reasons behind this choice, how it worked and the research surrounding this was something I wanted to be better informed about.
There are many parenting choices that people make and will continue to make that are different to my own, but rather than criticising other mummy’s on their choices or shaming them for their decisions, why not educate ourselves on why people have made these decisions! Find out a little bit more, offer support and advice, congratulate a Mummy or Daddy on what they’re doing and tell them they’re doing a blooming good job!
Above all remember that we are all novices in this parenting malarkey. Even if it’s not your first child, every child is different and what works for one might not work for another. Let’s wing it together rather than on our own!
Picture taken from Selfish Mother where you can get your hands on a whole host of empowering mama wear