This is going to be a longer post than usual. Forgive me if it sounds like a vent, but I assure you it's not.
Recently, more so than usual, I have seen mums, and mums-to-be, judged and questioned for their parenting choices. People, whether they are parents, grandparents or just well-meaning non-parents, seem to want to share their opinion on how you conduct yourself during pregnancy, and how you conduct yourself and your baby during their first, well, 18 years.
Constance Hall, who has long been one of my favourite 'mum-bloggers,' has often spoken of the need for the much-spoken-of 'village' when raising children. And, for the most part, I agree with her. However, when does the village stop being helpful, and become just unhelpful, judgmental, unsolicited advice?
Every woman can read every pregnancy and parenting book under the sun, but she must decide what advice to take, what advice to throw away and what advice, quite simply, doesn't suit her. But why is it deemed okay for other people to insist on their own advice being accepted and blindly taken? I'm on a lot of Facebook mum's groups, and the people giving that advice get incredibly offended when people don't blindly take it.
But, here is my issue. I'm a self-confessed research junkie. I like to know why I'm doing things, before I do them. So why, even though you may tell me that "my kids were fine" doing such and such, must I take that advice blindly, even though it goes against every motherly grain I have?
Without this post going too much off into a tangent, I'll come to the point quicker.
Each parent or parent-to-be knows what type of person they are. No parent deliberately sets out to harm their child (well, apparently some do, but thankfully I've yet to meet that person). We do everything in our power to guide and aid our children into becoming well-rounded, pleasurable adults in the way we know possible.
Somebody, this week, voiced worry that I would be 'that' judgmental mummy, because of my own parenting styles with my own child. But why would I? I know, because trust me when I say I have had plenty of opinions on my parenting, how horrible it is to hear your own ways and decisions questioned. As long as your child is in no danger, I have no views I'm willing to share on how you raise them.
So you breastfed for 2 weeks and didn't enjoy it? Well no problem, at least you tried.
So you gave purées at 4 months? I'm sure your child has a great appetite.
So you let your child cry it out in the hope they'd sleep better? That must've been really hard for you, but I'm sure you feel better for the sleep, now.
So you are blue cheese all the way through your pregnancy? Good for you and I hope you enjoyed it, and I'm super jealous as I haven't! Please have some for me!
These are just 4 examples of parenting styles that differ from my own, but your children are not mine, and I don't know your household to comment.
I wish people, any people, would be respectful of the time, effort and overall guilt that goes into raising a child and offer just their support and well-wishes. It does take a village, but not the sometimes cruel village that seems to be occurring more and more these days.
Parenting is not a competition, and one parent's philosophy is not necessarily any better than the other's. We all need to be more aware of the trouble we are each going through, accept it and embrace each other as parents. No comparisons, no competition. Take that, Sanctimommies!