I’ve realised that having a View (note: capital V) on parenting practices is often just jazzed up judgmentalism. Saying certain parenting practices are “right/wrong” is judging, like it or not.
Even though I’ve always thought of myself as what I call a right-on parent (cue two finger peace sign), I’ve had many, many Views. They are mostly “progressive” “peaceful” views (against cry it out, pro breast-feeding and what have you), but nevertheless they are Views.
I’m here to unravel and undo that. We need to come together fellow parent folks, and I want to support not divide.
Back to the beginning…
I remember seeing a family in the airport while I was pregnant for the first time, not yet a mum but feeling very righteous in the place of mum to be. They were towering over their child, shouting at her, telling her things like “oh it’s always about you isn’t it, why don’t you behave, you spoil everything” etc etc. They seemed like evil monsters, I would never, ever speak to my child that way. Their children would turn out BAD and it would be THEIR fault.
Years pass, more kids come along.
At some point patience wears, you find yourself losing it. More than once. In times of extremis losing it becomes daily. Then somehow you find a gap, maybe an understanding comment gives you a ‘lightbulb’ moment, something you read (a blog post, perhaps!). You get a moment to think, and with that tiny space you change something, remove a stressor or two, life balances, you lose it less, or deal with it better, or best of all use those moments as modelling good behaviour moments.
You don’t get it right all the time, just most of the time. You learn humility, that good enough is good enough. You learn that all parents are doing a bloody hard job, doing it well most of the time, and need understanding, not judgment and blame.
You learn that there are many ways of doing this thing called parenting, that the outcomes depend on so many factors, that there is no perfect, and that is ok.
If I could rewind and say a few words to those parents I would like to say “this too shall pass, you are doing a good job, we have all been there.” I don’t judge them anymore, and actually writing this has lifted another layer of judgment: judging myself for judging them…we all deserve another day, another chance to get it (almost) right.