I was once told by a former friend who for the purpose of this post we’ll name Mrs Nasty, I was a bad mum because I took my six-month-old shopping on a somewhat regular basis. Call child services on me if you must. The same woman would also berate almost everything I did as a new mum. She’d pick on what I fed him – which for a large part of his toddler years consisted of lamb cutlets, potato pom poms and peas – it was quite literally all he would eat. She told me I must enrol him in some idiotic form of baby gymnastics that involved me crawling around like some fuckstick on a rubber floor mat (sorry to those who love this shit, but it just wasn’t for me) and god forbid I let him watch anything on a screen that wasn’t labelled Baby Mozart.
This toddler survived his many shopping jaunts with his mother, unscathed…
This wasn’t helpful. It’s hard enough when you’re a new mum and unsure if you’ve got this gig sussed let alone when someone tells you you’re not doing it right. Unless you are abusing your child, those words are not necessary. I’m not quite certain if Mother Theresa herself named this woman the patron saint of motherhood, or she just assumed the role of her own volition but it never left me. Unlike Mrs Patron Saint (or is that Patronising Saint) of mums, we didn’t have any family living here so my options of shopping alone were not a luxury afforded to me on a regular basis, which meant abusively as it may have been, he was packed up in the stroller and wheeled around the shops charming every assistant who encountered the little blonde nugget of cuteness most weeks. I was merely teaching him young that charm will get you anywhere…
Which brings me to my entire point of this conversation. Whose right is it to tell a parent, and especially a mother – as we seem to be the only ones galloping on our high horses and stabbing each other with lances any time one of our own slips from the highly established ‘perfect standards’ of motherhood – if she is doing the best thing for her kid or not?
I do not give one fuck if you think my kid’s lunchbox is not packed healthily enough because it contains chips or donuts or chocolate. I don’t care either, if you think my baby should sleep in its bed for every single nap time. He turned out pretty damn good so far, and in fact is the heaviest sleeper ever known to humankind, would sleep so long, I’d have to wake him. There isn’t a mum in the world who doesn’t, at some time doubt if she’s getting it right and you high almighties flinging your mud ain’t going to help that one iota.
I’m fairly certain the same Mummy Nazi think sending a five-year-old across the Tasman, alone if you could even believe it, doesn’t fit their mould of ‘perfection’ either. The same high Priestesses who only ever feed their kids dehydrated kale crisps as a treat and sing lullabies in fourteen different languages, while simultaneously flicking alphabet flash cards into their tiny subconscious minds as they sleep would never do such a thing. It’s not your business what I do with my child, so long as they are healthy, well-rounded tiny people with good hearts and kind natures that’s all that matters to me and all that should matter to anyone else.
Intimidating other mums on what you think they should do with their kids, unless it’s risking their lives, really shouldn’t be a competitive sport. But it is. Last week, Aussie model Rachael Finch copped a bagging on social media because holy fuck if you can beleive it, she takes her toddler to her mum’s every now and then for a weekend so Rach and her hubby get a bit of of alone time together. What’s wrong with wanting to keep her marriage healthy? What’s wrong with her daughter spending time with her grandparents? And most of all whose fucking business is it what she does? The Insta Mummy Nazi thought it was time to teach the gorgeous model a thing or two about responsible parenting, they reckoned. She was clearly abandoning her role as a mum. She must be a martyr, they demanded and spend every living second with her toddler watching her every move in awe. No. Actually not your business. Piss off to your perfect pigeon hole and let her do her own mothering. And while you’re at it, shut your damn traps.
Same thing happened to Carrie Bickmore who recently revealed she sends her kid to school on his own. He’s nine and he walks to school. I’m pretty sure after my second day of school, I walked or biked – and sometimes through puddles of actual ice – on my own every day after that. I was five. Sometimes it was even dark. There were no mobile phones to check in with mum. Lord knows how it happened but I survived. It was enough to send the High Priestesses of Motherhood Perfection into high alert and they viciously spat their venom at Carrie that under no circumstance should this occur and how could she not even call the school to check if he arrived. What’s that noise you hear…? Helicopter blades overhead. Yes, I believe so. The world is no more dangerous now than it was in the ’80s. We are just more afraid. And it’s wanker keyboard warriors who make us that way.
No one is more judgemental on other mums than mums themselves. We shouldn’t be. We really mustn’t. Who needs to subscribe to ‘raising the perfect child’ with books, eseminars and entire facebook groups devoted to attempting to make our kids robotic stepford versions of kids. Is it my business or yours that some mums find a bit of freedom hidden in a glass of much-earned Chardy at the end of an evening when she finally gets her berren under control? Is it up to us to say what another woman lets her kid eat, what time they put their toddler to sleep or if her abs are visible or not six weeks post-partum? I for one could not find my abs for a good nine to 12 months after the day my son came into our world, and I was quite happy about it. But if another mum’s goal is to rinse the washing on her lower abdomen so fucking be it.
The best thing one of my friends ever told me was, ‘if it works for your baby, that’s the best way.’ I still to this day, ask her for advice. And she gives bloody good stuff back.
There are mothers out there doing the best they flaming well can, on a daily basis. Sometimes they are only just coping. Days can stretch out longer than months. Fear mongering only makes us doubt ourselves. In a time when post-natal depression has never been more prevalent, come on give a girl a break, let’s learn to support and love each other. Mums all around, it’s time to stop bashing each other and unite. In all our forms.We have good days and bad. We make good decisions and sometimes not such good ones. But they’re ones we’ve chosen for ourselves and our small people. Respect that. Don’t judge it and above all, be kind to your fellow mamasistas’s… Lov n’hugs always, Lady MamaG xox