I’ve been shunning social media recently, after receiving a comment that bothered me. It niggled away at me, until I found myself mentally justifying my actions as a parent; weighing up the pros and cons of my behaviour as a mother. Should I have responded the way I did? Could I have reacted differently? If I had responded differently, would that have been better?
The conclusion I came to was that, actually, I wouldn’t have changed anything. Because we all parent differently. We have to. After all, our little people are individuals. We need to be adaptable, to recognise and respond to their own unique set of needs.
Our parenting styles will be different, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an alternative approach is wrong. Perhaps we should be less quick to judge others? Growing up, I was often advised that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, it would be better to say nothing at all. Isn’t that also the case when it comes to parenting?
I know I’m putting myself in the line of fire by blogging about my experiences as a mother. I’m conscious that any criticism I receive now could only get worse, and that I should brace myself for that. But, let’s face it, this doesn’t just happen on the screens of laptops and mobiles. It happens in everyday life; at toddler groups, in supermarkets, in cafes.
We’ve all been the person with the crying baby receiving endless comments as to what they need. None of our toddlers are really little angels all day long. I’m pretty sure they’ve all had the screaming abdabs and refused to move at some point. We could all pretend that we feed them on organic spinach and water from the purest springs. But do we really need to? Could we not all just play nice and be a little bit kinder to each other?
Maybe just tut at the way that blogger online dealt with that situation, mention it to a friend. But refrain from typing out a response in the heat of the moment. Maybe just nod and smile at the parent with a screaming baby. But not suggest that the poor little mite needs feeding again. Maybe just talk to the parent hovering near the thrashing heap of toddler. But not presume that they’ve elicited the trauma. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to muddle through. To be the best parents that we can be, because those small humans are our worlds.
I’m making a pact to play nice. To be the support for the Mum who’s having a bad day. To talk to the New Dad sat alone at the toddler group. To send messages of kindness. To recognise the benefits of alternative parenting styles. To be accept that I’m not a perfect parent, but that I’m doing my best and you are too. Who’s with me?