Saturday, April 9, 2011
The joys of motherhood? or when other mothers attack!
Recently there has been a lot of media space dedicated to an attack on one of Australia's radio personalities (for want of a better term). Personally I don't listen to her or her program, but I was interested to read the vitriol which spewed forth when she was photographed walking and bottle feeding her six week old baby. Pru Goward (the incoming NSW Minister for Families) weighed into the debate likening her behaviour to the actions of Michael Jackson when he dangled his baby over a balcony. Many mothers were outraged by her comments and it got me to thinking about how quick we are to judge the actions of other parents (in particular mothers).
Many moons ago before I had children I thought I knew what parenting was all about! I am embarrassed to admit that I was free with my opinions and I am only grateful my friends didn't slap me down to size (like I deserved). I would look at children in supermarkets and wonder why their parents didn't have them under control - if I had children they would know how to behave in public. I would watch parents bargain and bribe their children out of sheer desperation - if I had children they would know who was boss. I would hear my friends complain about how exhausted they were and I would think that in their day they must have plenty of time to rest when the children were resting...
THEN I had children of my own and I quickly discovered one of the best kept secrets of all - parenting for the most part is winging it! Making it up as you go along and hoping that you don't scar your precious child and turn them into to a sociopath. Some days you get up and feel like an earth mother - calm and in charge. On other days you cower under the covers wishing someone would take away those horrible kids who are demanding to be fed. Parenting is NEVER straight forward or easy. When people comment on how well I manage my three boys I usually tell them I am like a duck, all serene on the surface, but paddling like hell underneath to keep everyone afloat!
So why do we feel it is okay to judge another mother? Is it because in pulling someone else down we feel better about ourselves? Or is it because it is somehow seen as a rite of passage, something that happened to us and we will do it to others? All I know is that it is the hardest job I have ever done. Full of rewards, but bone tiringly exhausting and never-ending. So the kind comment another mum makes about my boys or my parenting is much welcomed. Maybe we could all try to be a little gentler towards each other. And understand that for the majority of us, we want nothing more than to do a good job and raise our precious children in a loving home.
Now excuse me, but I have been hiding from my kids for long enough (in the computer room) I better go in and try to be an earth mother or at least find some clean clothes for them to wear...