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...

Warm regards,
Lisa xx


Anonymous said...

So,So very True..Each one of us Mum's , (then-Nana's,) hope we're doing the right thing..There's Not one --Book that can be %100 fool prof, except-For -Good Ole commonsense,intuition, Love,& a tad of experience, all of this can help to a small degree, when we're faced with the challenging, loving role of Mothering..Those that throw stones,dont fully understand this --HUGE----Role woman are faced with-- SO WHAT if a Mother feeds her baby on the run,what about the ones,-who DONT FEED their babies, children..!!!
P.S--Your doing a great job with your gorgeous boy's..
Aunty ( M ) XXXXX

RhondaLue said...

I've felt this same way. Why are we so hard on other women/mothers? Why don't women support and help and encourage each other rather than ragging on each other, judging each other and talking trash about each other?

I HATE that females could be the BEST support and help to one another but instead we waste that natural nurturing most of us have and instead choose the negative part. :/ I wonder if it's just because women feel down on themselves so to give themselves a supposed boost they have to put down someone else? I dunno....

good post!

Anonymous said...

Yep Lisa,
Sadly this is nothing new. The most painful is when it comes from the females within your own family and esp if it is continuing :-(

As the first of my generation to give birth, the family criticism, had to come from the inexperienced (of course)and it sure was "full on" and didn't come only from the females! When it comes from outsiders, you can blow it away.

I was wrong in thinking that the judgments would lessen when I wasn't the only mum of this generation. Seems to me that, within families, it's more about "family dynamics" than anything else.

Criticism coming to mums, from outside the family, is just "par for the course", I reckon, and not to be bothered about. i.e. as a woman, you're likely to be "damned if you do and damned if you don't".

Know exactly what you're saying Lisa about cowering "under the covers" and wishing it would all go away cos I've sure been there.

Be kind to yourself Lisa and accept, within the very depths of your soul, that you are a great mum and doing the very best that you can, your boys are lucky to have you, and you have no need to look for outside validation.

Much xxx as always,
Auntie Catherine.