Monday, 20 June 2016

Sancti-mummy Madness


It's fair to say that most of us have either done it or experienced it at some point in our lives.

I'll hold my hands up and admit that I've been guilty of mummy-shaming myself - back before I had my own kids I rolled my eyes and tutted when a friend told me she was giving her 3 year old an ipad for Christmas, I uttered those fateful words "When I have a child, I won't let it use an ipad until its much older..."

Well I learned my lesson of course and my almost-3 year old son can already use our iPad more efficiently than me and refers to it as his own...

It's easy to pass judgement on parents when you're not one yourself...of course at the time you think you know it all because you've worked with children, you're close to your sisters/brothers/friends kids and see how they're raised etc...but nothing can really prepare you for raising your own child and the truth is, you never really know with any certainty how you'll parent your child until its happening...until you're living it.

So I have a certain degree of understanding when I see a non-parent pass some judgement on the way other people raise their kids...but what about mums passing judgement on fellow mums? What about all the so-called "Mummy Wars" we hear about?

Recently I've started to notice it more and more on social media...

There'll be a status posted by a company, posing a question to Mums and recent example was a parenting site who posted a photo to Facebook of a plate of Turkey dinosaurs and smiley faces with the simple question "Do your kids love this kind of food?"

A simple, innocent question you'd think...

When I saw it, I laughed a little and remembered how much I'd loved those meal as a kid...I looked at the comments and sure enough, the first few were light hearted responses of "YES! My kids won't eat anything without a face!" or "Oh yes, the beiger the food is...the better!" ... but then came the Perfect Parent Club...

"MY child never eats this sort of filth, only home cooked healthy meals every day..."...

"My little Jimmy wouldn't touch this, he loves his vegetables..."

"Oh no, I would never serve this to my child...he eats chicken nuggets but only organic...."

Of course, the original responders to the thread saw these comments and started to feel the need to defend themselves...stating their kids didn't eat these meals all the time, they were just occasional treats, etc....

And just like that...a perfectly nice, innocent post became another excuse to mummy-shame. To make other parents feel bad. To belittle people. To make them feel less-than.

I saw a similar thing recently on a blog post...a blogger had written a review of some baby food...and there in the comments was this

"Oh yuk, I never used jars of baby food for my kids. They just look disgusting. It takes no time at all to make them fresh food, jars of baby food are just for lazy mums!"

I just don't understand what these sancti-mummies hope to achieve by sharing these pointless, uninvited holier-than-thou statements?

I mean...what do you want? A badge or something?! A nomination for Mum of the year because you pureed some carrots?!

Do you really think the fact that you gave your child freshly cooked food and this mum gave hers food from a jar makes you a superior parent?

I can guarantee you it doesn't.

We all have our shining moments and our short falls in parenthood - getting one foot ahead doesn't win you the whole race.

If someone chooses to feed their child baby food from a jar and you think that's some kind of cardinal sin of motherhood, that's fine...nobody is forcing you to do it but for gods sake, why feel the need to undermine their choices or make them feel bad?

And don't even get me started on the breast feeding hashtags - at least 20 times a day I see a photo of a baby being breast fed - and I'll smile and think "What a lovely moment to sweet"...but then I'll see a hashtag attached to it...#BreastIsBest #OnlyTheBestForMyBaby #BreastMilkIsTheBestMilk - WHY?! Why do you feel the need to do that?! What's the intention?

I'm sure we all know that breast milk is the ideal choice but I'm sure we also know that some women struggle to feed - how are those hashtags going to do anything but make those women feel bad?!  By all proud that you're that photo! Declare how much you love it! But WHY add to it a blanket statement than belittles anybody who isn't giving their child "The Best Milk"? It's really not necessary.

Motherhood is hard enough and most of us are just doing our best to get through it a day at a time and do what we each feel is best for our children - why isn't that enough for some people? What do you stand to gain from making another mum feel shit about their choices?

Does bringing them down really raise you up in any way? Does dimming their light make yours shine any brighter? doesn't. And it just makes you seem like a bit of a dick, actually.

So next time you see one of these opportunities to paint yourself as some kind of messiah of parenthood, think twice...what does it actually achieve?

By all means blow your own trumpet if that's your bag, but please...try not to belittle everybody else in the process.

Nobody likes a sancti-mummy.

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