“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” ― John Wilmot (1647 – 1680)
I’m so over The Mummy Wars. Can’t we all just get along? Whether you’re reading magazines or newspapers, surfing the net or Facebooking or engaging in conversations with friends or family or other mums on the playground, there always seems to be passionate debates on the right way to parent and raise children.
Battle zones include:
- labour vs caesarean
- drug-free labour vs epidurals
- breast vs bottle
- cloth nappies vs disposables
- attachment parenting vs routine
- stay at home mums vs working mums
- public vs private education vs home schooling
It’s fantastic that there all these choices available to mums. However, parenting is complex and depends on the needs of a child and of the mum. As parents, we all want the best for our child but our choices need to be respected even if you don’t agree with them.
I resent the guilt or hostility directed to mums if they don’t breastfeed or breastfeed for longer than what’s deemed normal or whether they choose to go back to work or decide to be a stay-at-home mum. The list of opinions and debate goes on and on. We need to understand that not everyone will parent the same way that we do. Why does there need to be so much anger and judgement because people parent differently?
And then when so-called experts weigh into the debate, it’s even worse. They cite scientific studies to illustrate how children’s development is adversely affected if you don’t follow their parenting techniques. As if we didn’t have enough to feel guilty or worried about!
I was overwhelmed when I first became a mum with the sheer amount of differing opinions. I started to question my choices and doubt my parenting ability. I finally followed the advice that my obstetrician Oliver Brown gave me on the day my daughter was born. He said “You’re going to hear a lot of different advice. Just follow your own instincts.”
And that’s what I did. I started to trust my own judgement and mothered my daughter according to what worked best for us. I had her on a baby routine at 14 weeks, started working again when she was seven months old, breastfed her until she was 17 months old and used a mountain of disposable nappies. These choices might not be right for everyone, but they worked for us.
So let’s have a kinder, gentler Mummysphere and stop being so hard on each other. There’s no doubt that being a mum can be an overwhelming and underappreciated job. Let’s make it easier by supporting each other and our individual choices.
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