As the new year draws ever closer the pressure to make some sort of resolution that will magically transform you into a better person continues.
As parents hubs and I repeatedly feel like we’re failing somehow, if ever we feel like we might actually be quite good at this parenting malarkey, Wills throws in a curve ball. The ego of the new parent is most definitely a fragile one. Last night we had a fun journey home from my parents with Wills screaming hysterically in the back of the car. I still couldn’t tell you why he was in that state. I cried too. I’d tried singing to him, twisting round to stroke his head all sorts, if anything he got worse as the journey continued.
Often I tell myself that for the upcoming year that I will be more organised, swear less eat better, keep a tidier house. Does it last? Never. At what point should I accept that I am who I am? I’m not the most organised/slimmest/tidy person and you know what? That’s okay. I gave up trying to compete with others a while ago, that’s not to say that I’m defeatist or that I don’t notice the ‘story toppers’ or the ‘Tommy Two Sheds’ as my sister so amusingly calls them.
The moment you become pregnant you are vulnerable to competition. For the best/worst/longest/most dramatic pregnancy and delivery. Who brought the best pushchair/cot/travel system. Who had the best baby shower. Who had the best looking baby. I imagine as they start school this will undoubtedly get worse. My sister was told at a baby group that she had picked a ‘common name’ and that my niece had ‘a large forehead.’ How she didn’t tell this woman to sod off is beyond me. As I fumed my sister was quite calm about it. (MUCH calmer than I was!)
Having a baby makes you feel vulnerable, and don’t for a second think we don’t know you’ve been discussing any parental short-comings you might feel we have. (I do so adore the remarks from non-parents. Oh really you read an article on buzz-feed so now you’re a sodding expert?). Feeling vulnerable, judged and continually like you are failing in some sort of way leads to some quite extraordinary behaviour.
‘Well we must be doing okay because little Tommy can’t do that yet and our baby has been doing for weeks!’
Or ‘Tommy is counting now and we caught our baby eating the cat’s food what are we doing wrong?’
Comparison is the most dangerous thing you can do. Babies develop at different rates this doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong or there is anything wrong with your baby. It might be that the more annoying the parent, the more insecure they’re feeling. And do you really want to be the ADULT that puts a baby down to make yourself feel better about your parenting/child’s development? What a shitty thing to do!
Let’s make the ‘parent club’ a supportive place. There is nothing wrong with pride or encouraging your child to do well, but putting others down to make yourself feel better is a really, really shitty thing to do.
And if you find yourself in the presence of a truly obnoxious parent, consider whether or not they’re struggling before you write them off as a horrible human being.
I am fortunate to have a group of mummy friends who are supportive. We share our whoops moments, the times we forgot vital baby equipment, the times we lost our shit, the times we struggle, because it’s okay to struggle.
Now, I really must go, Wills has had a poo explosion and I’m told it’s reached his shoulder blades….