Just a little re-affirmation for the start of 2015.
Just in case you’re a new parent, stumbling around the interwebz looking for a little support or affirmation that you’re doing the right thing; and you stumble on a blog that is anti-disposable nappies, or anti-cloth, or anti-vaxxing, or anti-formula, or anti-anything you’re doing (The Alpha Parent, anyone?).
Fuck what they say.
Many of them will quite happily post that they don’t care what you think, or how you feel about their opinions. So you know what you have to do? Send all that apathy right back at them.
They want you to be hurt. They thrive off it. They’ll never admit it, but they’re getting a little thrill out of thinking they’re notorious. So don’t let them!
Take a look at your baby, or – if you’re pregnant – give your bump a little snuggle.
Be proud of the fact that, whatever choice you make, you’ve brought a new life into the world. A life that will have the chance to thrive and succeed, whatever you wrap their bum in, whatever you feed them, whatever you do to stimulate their world. If you love them and you care about them, they can’t go far wrong.
Use the people who try to knock you down as your anti-inspiration. Use them as examples of how not to live your life, and how not to raise your children. Be kind and considerate; accept that others have limitations you don’t understand. If you do that now, then the new parents who meet you in nine months time, when you’re an old hand at it all and know all there is to know, will pay it forwards.
Haters gonna hate (hate hate hate hate). If that’s what makes them happy, so be it. Put up your shield, look at your baby and know that you are doing what is best for your family. If in doubt – at least you don’t get your kicks making others feel bad. Avoid Pinterest, avoid judgy blogs and Facebook pages. Find your support network, and lean on it. Antenatal groups and warm, fuzzy, non-judgmental parenting blogs (why hello there…) are your friend.
You will sometimes give in to temptation. You’ll see a Pinterest post, or read a blog, or see a video, and you’ll feel like the worst parent in the world. It happens. It happens two weeks in, two months in, even nine months down the line. There will always be someone ready to knock you down – but there’ll always be three more people ready to pick you back up again.
They say it takes a village to raise a child – but sometimes, the village is so busy dealing with the child, they forget about the feelings of the woman (because you are NOT just a mother. You have an identity. You are important too!).
Your child’s life will not be defined by whether they were fed from a breast or a bottle, whether they wore cloth or disposable nappies, whether they were weaned at 4 months, 6 months or 12 months, whether they were weaned with purees or baby-led weaning, whether they went to nursery at three months or had a stay-at-home parent for years.
Your child’s life will be defined by having happy, healthy, adjusted parents. Their life will be defined by the support and love around them of family and friends. Their life will be defined by the morals and values you instill in them.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t write yourself off as a bad parent.
Just because you meet their definition of ‘beta’, doesn’t mean they’re better.