You’re Doing Just Fine Mammy #maternalmentalhealthweek

Sanctimammy

Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.

Adj – Sanctimammious

‘Live and Let live’ they say.

But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people. It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’.

There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting. And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.

Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply?
Have you ever been nervous of telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?

We all have. We’ve all been there.

Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes.

For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once.

But here’s the thing.

Just because YOU do things differently, doesn’t make you better.

Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.

Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.

Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or chooses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breast feed. You don’t have to. IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!

Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets from Aldi-Everything.

Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.

Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.

Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.

Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.

Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby.

What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum. Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK

Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. And the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.

You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance.
You don’t know her.
You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.

You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.

You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.

You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation with ANYONE.

You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.

You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning, because she cried all night.

You don’t know how much the Mum who SEEMS to have it all, wishes that she had something else.

You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.

You don’t know how many false smiles you see in a day.

You don’t know how Mary-Jane never throws a birthday party for Junior because the stress of it might just not be tolerable right now.

You don’t know Jack sh*t.

As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.

How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own.
And more importantly, what OTHER Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.

No one likes a Sanctimammy.
You DO know that.

So however YOU are doing things this morning Mammy, stop, close your eyes, take a breath…and smile.

Because, do you want to know something else?

You’re doing JUST FINE as you are…

I am So, Is Different Always Wrong Mum?

On Wednesday, I wrote a blog post on how an imaginary spider and a pair of knickers caused a post apocalyptic meltdown in my house before 7am. I went to work in tears, spent the day in an absolute state and only settled when Mini-Me was tucked up after a very calm and snuggly bedtime. Most of the stress came from the fact that although yes, SHE had started it, I knew in my heart and soul that the biggest reason for the stand-off…was me.

I wasn’t going to post, but as my readers know, I’m not one for pretending this parenting lark is easy. I’m not Mary of the Poppins. Nor am I Nanny Mc Phee. In fact, most days, the S is S-Mum stands for ANYTHING EXCEPT Super. But post it I did and I’m glad I did.

It never ceases to amaze me how supportive and kind other Mammies can be. (And Daddies actually.) Within an hour of posting it, a dozen Mums and 3 Dads had commented their empathy and another dozen had private messaged me to say that they too had crappy days; that they had also been dealing with similar bahaviour in their homes.

One Mammy, whose kids are now adults, messaged me to tell me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and that every mum goes through bad mornings and bad days. Her message made me cry. I went to bed feeling particularly crappy and emotionally exhausted, but Thursday was another day and thankfully, a LOT better.

For every reader who empathised with my strggle, I’m sure that there were a few who tutted their sanctimammious tuts at my post; at my honesty and at my admission that I’d fooked up that morning. That’s par for the course as a blogger. If my #mammyfailure made them feel smug and self righteous. Good. But the readers I care to impress are the ones who think “Thank God it’s not just me.”

Last night, a very followed and applauded Mum blogger in the UK and her equally popular Blogger Husband, posted on Instagram a photograph of themselves out on a date night.

The post initially seemed quite run of the mill, but as you read, it became clear that it was an #ad. The responses to the post were instant. They set the interweb on fire and within a few minutes, had hundreds of comments; most of them negative and disgusted, many of them aggressive and hateful.

Why? Because what initally looked like a typical “Yay! We’re out!” post, was actually an advert for the Babysitting App they had used that evening. “The Uber of babysitters” is how it is described. It’s an app that provides qualified babysitters, all of whom are apparently first-aid and childcare trained and have had thorough background checks done on them.

It’s quite popular in cities, where many parents find themselves without the “Village” required to raise a child. Indeed many of the comments were from people saying that they must check them out. But within minutes, the abuse of the couple began. Lots of people simply stated their suspicion of the app, or the fact that they personally wouldn’t want to leave their children with a stranger. Some went so far as to point out the fact that if the children awoke, they’d be faced with a stanger, (my first thought too.)

But others took it quite personally and went so far as to reprimand and scold them for their “irresponsibilty”, “Disgusting content” and “poor parenting”. Some criticised them for leaving their children with a stranger for an Ad opportunity. Basically, they and their parenting got annihilated by the hundreds of Sanctimammies who felt it their duty to share their disapproval.

Now, while I personally wouldn’t use such a service, I don’t feel the need to tell these people that I have a different view. I am however, also lucky enough to live near family and to have wonderful friends who are part enough of our girls’ lives to mind them if we need them to. But do you know what? Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has a support system on their doorsteps. Not everyone has a buddy who can pop over for an hour. And as usual, not everyone parents the same as me, or as you.

And we are so quick to judge. It made me sad to read. I can only imagine how dreadful this couple must have felt if they read some of these comments. While I find it a strange concept to leave your kids with a stranger, I only find it strange because I don’t need to do it. It’s obviously something that there is a demand for. Why would it even exist as a business otherwise?

There is a conception that if you put details of your life online, then you deserve any criticism that comes to you. Well actually, this is nonsense. No one deserves the level of abuse that this couple received last night. Of course, people have the right to say what they want and to criticise and to disagree, but when this turns into disapproving abuse and aggressive attacks, then no. People do NOT have the right to do that.

If you don’t like what someone writes, or what they share or what they say, unfollow, delete or ignore.

There’s no excuse for hateful comments and there’s no need for them. We should be lifting each other up, not putting each other down.

As parents, we beat ourselves up enough don’t we? I know I do. And someone else sticking the boot in is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

So without bashing any other parents, what’s your take on a Babysitting app? It’s an interesting one isn’t it?

(First published on Donegal Woman on Thoroughly Modern Mammy

http://www.donegalwoman.ie/2017/10/22/is-different-wrong/ )

I am Stop Being Mean Mum

Do you know what is going on in another Mammy’s mind?

No?

Well then.

Try this.
Shut the fuck up. 😡😡
I am getting so sick and tired of keyboard warriors.  

Actually. Let’s not call them warriors.  “Warriors” carries connotations of strength and bravery and valiance and greater good.

Let’s rename them Keyboard cowards.
Because if you comment negatively on ANYBODY or their decisions, or their mistakes, or their ANYTHING… you are not a warrior.

You are a bitch.

And you are a coward.
This morning, a local platform highlighted a Mammy who left her baby in a running car outside a shop.

Now.  We all know that this is dangerous and many may have been shocked or disgusted.  

And that is fine. 
Shock and disapproval, anger even, are understandable reactions to something like this. We’re all very good at disapproving something that we would NEVER do ourselves, aren’t we?
 Should the “witness” or “onlooker” even have raised the issue in the media? Should someone’s mistake or decision be reported upon? Should it even be the topic of our conversation?
 Well YES, actually.
  Events like this DO need to be discussed, because we DO need to raise awareness of the frequency of such events.  We do need to highlight just how easily a car can be stolen, or indeed go on fire, or how easily a baby can choke… We DO need to sometimes remind people of the DANGERS or possible CONSEQUENCES of their actions.  We SHOULD be able to promote awareness and have conversation about things that need to stop; Not strapping kids in is a common one. It does my head in. 😠😠
But, we DON’T need to attack or judge.
Shake your head.  Tut.  Disapprove… These are NORMAL reactions.
But, if your reaction causes you to ATTACK and SLATE the morals, ethics, parenting and CHARACTER of the person, you are no longer raising awareness.  
You are bitching. 

You are attacking. 

You are out of fecking order.
And if it isn’t something that you would say DIRECTLY to the face of the person in question, DON’T TYPE IT.
I’m not defending her. 

But I’m not judging her either, because I don’t know her. I don’t know her circumstances. I don’t have any authority on parenting.  I’m a disaster myself most of the time. 😅
If anything, I hope that if she HAS read the comments, that MAYBE she’ll think about the possible dangers of what she did…and I hope she’s OK. 
Because Sweet Jeebus on a stick, people can be nasty.
Don’t be a Sanctimammy.

Don’t be a Keyboard Coward.
And don’t bitch about someone you don’t know.
Shnot nice. 😣😣