Just typing ‘Parenting’ into the search bar on Pinterest brings up result after result of parenting advice. “How to be a better parent”, “How to deal with an emotional child”, “How to be the parent your child deserves”, “How not to royally fuck up your child’s life forever in the first six weeks” (Okay, maybe I made that last one up, but it’s not even that much of an exaggeration).
From a quick glance, there seems to be one common theme running through them all – whatever you’re doing now, it’s WRONG. Do you go out to work? That’s wrong. Do you stay at home with them? Nope, wrong. Let them watch TV? That’s a big fat negative. Ban all screen time and force them to play only with toys they’ve made from weaved organic wheatgrass (I don’t even know if that’s a thing, sorry)? You are just a terrible, terrible parent. Someone should take your child away before you scar them for life.
Who exactly are these Pinterest Parenting Gurus, and how did they get so damn good at child-rearing in the days before Pinterest existed? Also, why do they assume we need to be told these things?
The lists seem to fall into two categories. The first category is “Do everything the way I did, or you’re doing it wrong”, followed by a list that assumes all babies are the same and all parents have the luxury of time and money. The second is “Do all these common sense things, but because I’m telling you to do them, it makes me an excellent parent”.
My ‘beta-parent’ post was probably a fair bit of ‘just common sense’ advice, but I didn’t call myself a better parent for following it – heck, I even acknowledged that I myself find it hard to follow it sometimes! Some of these lists I’ve read make me think that if that makes you a ‘better’ parent, I must be a bloody fantastic parent, because it’s the basics.
“Accept that nothing is perfect”. Well, duh. Ten months with a baby is enough of a lesson in that, without having it preached from Pinterest and parenting blogs. My sink will probably never be empty and the washing machine will probably always be running, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a parent for being a little bit irritated by it.
“Listen to music”. If I want to listen to music, I’ll listen to music. Not sure how that makes me a better parent than one who doesn’t listen to music?
“Do your best”. Ah bollocks! That’s where I’ve been going wrong; I’ve just been half-arsing this whole parenting shiz for the last ten months. Thank you, faceless Pinterest person, I’ll try harder from now on.
I just don’t understand it! Maybe I’m missing something; maybe there are people who read these posts on Pinterest and they have a little lightbulb moment where it all makes sense and suddenly you waft around with a chorus of angels singing to every parenting decision you make, and the world now makes sense… but I still don’t get it.
Then again, maybe there’s a lot of things I don’t get about parenting. My dreams of being a wonderful, healthy-eating, ‘naice middle class’ mum were dashed today, when I spent fifteen minutes trying to find couscous for SB (I don’t know what it is but it sounded healthy), and when I finally found it, it looked like too much hard work, so we said bugger it and made her a fish finger sandwich for dinner instead.
Maybe I need those Pinterest guides after all…