Mum Life

I’m So Done With Competitive Parenting

pexels-photo-411207.jpegI recently wrote a post Dear New Mummy that was shared on Bump, Baby and You and became my most ‘viral’ post so far. It was shared nearly 500 times and had thousands of likes and comments from women saying that it was exactly what they needed to hear and that it had brought them some comfort and reassurance. This was amazing to me; I love that a blog post that I wrote on a random stroke of inspiration ended up resonating with so many women one way or another. Head over and read the post if you haven’t already but here is a section that sums it up:

“You’re going to be bombarded with advice over the next few weeks, months and probably years of your life. You might not want to take on any more, but if you listen to one thing, please let it be this.

Hold your baby. Cuddle them in close. Bond with them. Forget about everything else right now. You and your baby are the centre of the universe. Please forget about the housework; the cleaning, the tidying, the food shop. If you have visitors coming over, let them help you with it all, and if you don’t have many visitors coming then who cares what the house looks like anyway. You will only get this time with your child once and you will kick yourself so hard if you don’t make the most of it.”

I wrote the post because I know how much pressure there can be on mums, particularly new mums, to have it all together. To have a content baby is of course the most imortant thing, but often we feel we need to also have a perfect house and to always be ready with a full face of makeup and proper clothes on ready to greet those visitors. In reality what most of us want, and need, to be doing during those first few weeks is just to be enjoying our babies, getting to know them, bonding with them and also allowing ourselves to rest and recover. I wanted to let new mums know that it’s more than okay to take a time out and that, in my opinion, the best thing you can be doing for those first few weeks is cuddling your baby.

I was so pleased when so many women commented on the post saying how much they had needed to hear this advice and how they were going to take it on. Sit back and cuddle their baby, and let someone else whack the hoover round and empty the dishwasher.

But there’s always one isn’t there. Or a couple in this case.

A couple of people took it upon themselves to leave lengthy comments explaining how perfectly spotless their houses are, how happy their babies are (even though they aren’t wasting too much time cuddling them) and just generally how amazingly they are carrying on with normal life despite only giving birth three weeks ago. And that’s great. I’m happy for them. But the thing that they don’t seem to understand, is that by leaving these comments on a blog post that was all about building up new mums, they completely undermined what I had been trying to do and instead tore everyone right back down again. But never mind everyone else, at least they have proved to the world what a hero they are. I hate that a new mum could have read my post and felt reassured that it was okay to take some time out, to listen to her body and cherish her baby, could then have gone on to read these comments and regressed back to thinking that she would be judged for not having a spotless house or freshly blow dried hair.

(For the record, the post was never about having a messy house. It was about accepting help from other people to allow you the time to bond with your baby.)

Generally I love the bond that Motherhood brings. I love that we can empathise with each other and help each other through this crazy roller coaster ride we are all on. But these few Mothers who are just out to prove how amazing they are, no matter the effect that it could have on somebody else, can seriously just do one.

If a mum is asking for advice about her babies sleep; now is not the time to brag about how amazing yours has slept from day one. And definitely don’t chime in with criticism of something she must have done wrong when he was a newborn for him to still not sleep through  If a mum is feeling down that she just can’t seem to lose the baby weight, don’t show off the fact that your size eight jeans are actually too big for you since having a baby.  Just don’t do it. You don’t need to tear anyone else down just to make you feel good about yourself. I think it says a lot about a person if the main way they know to feel good about themselves is to stomp on everyone else in the process.

It’s all well and good to share our achievements with one another. We’ll all be happy for you when little Tommy takes his first steps at seven months or if little Sally has never thrown any of her organic home cooked meals on the floor. But if somebody else is struggling with something, then it’s not the right time to start bragging or criticising. We all have things that go well for us in life and in Motherhood, and we all have things that we struggle with, so let’s just be a bit more understanding of that. We’re never going to be graded, you can’t get an A* in being a mum, so the best indicator of how you are doing is simply on your’s and your child’s happiness, and you don’t need to try to prove it to anyone else, and definitely not at the expense of anyone else.

I hope that Motherhood always stays as perfect as it seems to be now for those women that commented. But if it doesn’t, and if they ever need a piece of advice or a friendly face to talk to, I hope that somebody is more understanding and empathetic to them so that maybe they can learn how to behave in the future. Kill them with kindness.

It’s nice to be nice guys!

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