A Word on Mum
A lot has been said on mum judgement, I’ve written about it myself.
I virtually high-fived the fish-fingered maws that were involved in the recent #solidaritea campaign after an article condemned modern mums for what they put on the kid’s dinner table.
Yay, I thought, and shouted a resounding toddler ‘No’ to mum judgement!
It's not you it's me…
However, this weekend, after a particularly trying time with my bonkers, boundary-pushing tot I realised something. It’s not actually other mums, or other people that are doing the judging that bothers me the most as a parent. It’s me.
There, I’ve said it. I’m a mum and I judge; except I’m not judging you and your ability to parent, in fact I probably think you’re ace and doing a significantly better job than me. The one person I am judging is myself.
This is more than a LOL #mumfail, I guess because I’m not kidding. Every day I question the choices I make as a parent. Whether I’m doing the right thing or not; and most of the time I’m terrified that I’m not. So often my chest feels tight as I go to bed wondering if today has been a good day or whether tomorrow will be better.
I judge myself for decisions I made about breastfeeding.
I judge myself for letting Indy watch Peppa Pig (because it’s terrible, I snort.… judging myself again). I judge myself for letting her cry in the mornings because I’m too tired to get up. I judge myself for giving her toast for dinner, or pasta three nights in a row. I judge myself for looking forward to her bedtime. For still giving her milk in a bottle. And for putting her in childcare. I judge myself for ignoring her tantrums, then for trying to cuddle her through them or bribe her out of them…
The list could go on. And it will grow as she does.
I could get into the psychology of all this pressure. Blame society. Or social media. Or a perfect parent culture. It’s not them, though, it’s me - I realise this column sounds a bit like a break up! I’m sure these things are a part of it but it’s not the whole (bedtime) story.
This is the real parent trap, not that 90’s film with Lindsay Lohan. Because what if all this judging of my own parenting is the real issue of whether I’m a good mum or not? I lack confidence and when you lack confidence you’re more likely to be defensive and less tolerant. Not a winning combination for parenting a toddler (or of a child of any age).
So, along with the realisation of how harshly I’m judging myself, I’ve realised how badly I need to stop. Especially with another baby on the way. I’ve celebrated not judging other mums so it’s time to stop judging myself.
Because, the only person I need to measure up to is Indy. And, deep down, I know she thinks I’m better than Peppa Pig AND chips (trying to not judge myself for her love of those either). I guess I just need to remind myself of that more often.
And, if you’re judging yourself as a parent, so do you.