Calling a truce to “the Mummy Wars”

November 16, 2012

For Mum, Parenting

I don’t know about you, but I reckon that of late there’s been too much said – in the media, at playgroups, on Facebook, amongst the posse of mums in front of the school gates etc etc  - about mothering. Yes, about mothering – about the right way to mother, the correct way to mother, the preferred way to mother.

Even the perfect way to mother.

Of course this then opens the can of worms that is the discussion for all kinds of critique, tsk-tsking and head shaking judgy-judgement of how other women choose to raise their children.

They’ve coined this “The Mummy Wars”.

The debate that’s possible to be had on so many elements of parenting could continue forever and then a day or two. Yawn. It’s been said and done before and to be honest, my position remains unchanged.

At the end of the day, I firmly believe that most mums do the very best they can for their kids, using the resources they have available, each and every day. I believe that most mums desire to be the best they can be at parenting, and that they are actually their own harshest critic.

I know that sadly, there are some instances where mothers do choose not to act in the best interest of their children but I believe that this is just not the norm, thankfully, and is associated with mental illness issues best left discussed by experts.

I’m no candidate for mother of the year – heck remember my motto is something about surviving it all – but my professional career of 20+ years involves working with adolescents and in this time I’ve met and taught literally thousands of them.

This is what I’ve learnt.

By the time a kid walks into my Year 9 English class, I just CAN NOT for the life of me tell ….

  • if they were breastfed or bottle fed
  • if they co slept or if they went straight into a cot in their own room from hospital
  • if they wore cloth nappies or disposables
  • if they were worn in a sling or pushed in a pram
  • if they were born via caesarean or if all pain relief was refused during a home waterbirth
  • if they were a blessing after rounds of IVF or if they are adopted
  • if they were fussy eaters who were calmed with McHappy meals once a week
  • if they sucked on a dummy and carried a blankie
  • if they were plonked in front of Sesame Street in an effort to gain an hour’s peace a day
  • if they spent their childhood barefoot
But, I CAN tell if they are a happy, well loved, respectful and confident young person. I CAN also tell if they are keen learners and if they are well connected to their world. All big picture stuff isn’t it, so maybe it’s time for mums to drop their weapons of words about the little things and keep all eyes on the prize? Just saying.

Would love to hear your thoughts, really.

 

Hooray for the end of another week and that means it’s Friday linkup with some fabulous blogs
Grace’s Flog Yo Blog Friday and Bree’s Flash Blog Friday.
These 2 gals host awesome Aussie linkups, so head over for some great blog reading!
I’m linking up this week again with a US blogger I’ve been following who just cracks me up, so
go check her out at You Know it Happens at Your House Too!

photo credit: Dunechaser via photopin cc

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32 Responses to “Calling a truce to “the Mummy Wars””

  1. Housewife in Heels Says:

    I love this Shari! This puts everything in perspective. Thankfully I’ve largely been able to avoid the mummy wars- my mothers groups/ play groups have wonderful mums who (at least publicly) withhold judgment.

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Thanks Helen, I’m so glad you’ve found a wonderful group of supportive mums – it makes all the difference doesn’t it? x

      Reply

  2. Annie Says:

    Very true words.

    And I think social media is making it a lot easier for others to criticise other parents child rearing – its not just in the schoolyards or playgroups anymore. You see it in forums etc. It’s becoming all too easy to pass judgement.

    Annie
    (via FYBF)

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      You are very right Annie – social media is making it too easy for the judgement passing – the criticisms that some people make from behind key boards are cause for head shaking at times, aren’t they?
      x

      Reply

  3. Sis Says:

    Love this post Sis, and as you know this kind of behaviour irritates me no end!! I have pretty much avoided it so far, but with little miss starting mini school next year I am sure I will encounter my fair share…. And if it becomes more than that which I can just shrug off, I think I will say something along the lines of ‘if you can show me evidence that you are the first perfect mother in history, then I might think about listening to you. Until then, please keep your opinions to yourself’. Well, that’s what I’d like to say ;) More likely I’d just say ‘there’s no one perfect way to raise a child, everyone’s circumstances are different’.

    Reply

  4. Me N my Monkeys Says:

    Fantastic post!
    I Love it, everything you have mentioned is so true.
    I enjoy reading about other parents experiences with bring up their children, but To be totally honest, i couldn’t care less how other parents choose to bring up there children. Each to their own i say. :)

    Reply

  5. Lydia C. Lee Says:

    Soooooo over it. I also don’t get why some people find it so interesting.
    That said, as a child, I was always barefoot. My daughter constantly takes her shoes off. I have only, 4 years in, just learnt that I was a bad parent cos I let her walk around barefoot…I genuinely didn’t know this was a ‘thing’

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Oh Lydia, I know – it can get so tiresome can’t it. And for what it’s worth, I spent much of my childhood barefoot too and I’m ok ;)

      Reply

  6. Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye Says:

    It gets so old doesn’t it! Can we not just support one another and accept the idea that there are many right ways to parent our children.

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Exactly Bree!! Such a clear, simple and good concept unfortunately made so hard! Thanks for hosting a great link-up x

      Reply

  7. Declutterbug Says:

    It is always worth taking a moment to remember this. Especially when you are stressing out because of a bad day

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Oh it’s especially the bad days when it all needs to be remembered and support, not criticism, is what’s helpful then. Thanks so much for your comment x

      Reply

  8. Toni - The Aussie Hausfrau Says:

    I love this!! I really don’t have anything more to add – You’ve said it all perfectly! Just perfectly!! xx

    Reply

  9. Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right Says:

    Definitely agree with the early childhood choices, but not sure about the teenage years. It’s something we’ve been talking about on our forum lately – what responsibility parents have for their child’s behaviour as they get older and older. We are all trying to raise respectful, good kids, but in the teen years, they can be very stroppy and disrespectful and reflect badly on their parents, despite having good, firm parenting at home. Always interested in the perspective of a teacher!

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Hi Rachel – thanks so much for this – I hear you. I definitely have seen teens who despite having great, supportive parenting choose to do unwise and disrespectful things. It’s so hard and frustrating on the parent in this case. In most cases though, things do tend to right themselves sometimes after a few ‘serious’ mistakes are made. Parents shouldn’t always take responsibility for the decisions made by growing children and nor should they be held entirely to blame as the combination of circumstances in such cases is usually too complex to generalise about.

      I’ve also seen many teens who would be considered to have been raised in a ‘less than ideal’ manner but in the majority of cases I still believe that the parents have acted from love and have tried to do the best that they can with limited resources (financial, emotional, social, educational etc) and the way forward is through support and education and not judgement and criticism. Luckily schools and agencies have clear child protection policies – which though not problem solvers – can raise awareness of issues to spur action.

      Love this type of conversation – so much to say, so thank you :) xx

      Reply

  10. Kirsty @ My Home Truths Says:

    You speak truth Shari. I don’t judge others for their parenting choices as I have been judged so much myself for having kids with special needs. People don’t often step back and think before they speak. There’s been many looks and muttered comments about my son’s behaviour when he’s in full meltdown in public but I can’t care about them anymore. I need to focus on him and make sure that i do my utmost to give him the best chance in life, whether that is acceptable to others or not. I believe in saying nothing if you have nothing good to say – I wish more people believed that too, it may make things a little easier on all of us!

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Good on you Kirsty! As mum, you DO know what’s best for your child despite what onlookers might think or say. Love your attitude ;) x

      Reply

  11. Ai Sakura Says:

    Well said. I believe that everybody has their own parenting style that suits their family best for reasons we don’t need to, or may not, even understand.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Thanks, Ai! You’re right, often it’s not our need to be concerned with how anyone else parents their kids and everyone does have their own style that suits them best :) x

      Reply

  12. Alicia Says:

    It’s all so very true.

    Reply

  13. iSophie Says:

    Great post! Thanks for putting that all in perspective!

    I bet they don’t have tantrums when they are told no either? heheh

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Thanks Sophie and hahahaha at the tantrums – yep some still have them and I’ve seen some awesome dummy spits in my time hahahaha! ;)

      Reply

  14. Azara Says:

    So true! One of the reasons I didn’t want to have kids when I was younger was because I was so disgusted by the judgmental attitude among parents. Now as a mother I just try to stay away from people like that. My kids are healthy, happy and loved and that’s all that matters.

    Reply

  15. Kristin from Mamacino Says:

    Well said Shari, I absolutely agree.

    Reply

  16. Elise Says:

    Kind of puts it in perspective doesn’t it? I was having a similar conversation with my mum just yesterday when she tried to argue about something she did for me that I didn’t want to do for my newborn. We can only follow our best instincts based on the information we have available to us today, regardless of what worked for someone else. Loved the post :)

    Reply

  17. Grace Says:

    Well said, Shari!!! It’s such a shame that we’re all so hard on each other when all we should be doing is giving each other support.
    Motherhood isn’t easy for anyone and if someone tells me it is for them, I wouldn’t believe them. I find myself much more connected with mums who are open and frank about what they go through.
    Thanks for putting it out there x

    Reply

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