From the minute we see that faint positive line we are bombarded with what we should and should not be doing as a parent. So what are the supposed right and wrongs?
Pregnancy – too much or too little exercise
Last year I read this story of Lea – Ann Ellison, who posted pictures of herself online lifting weights while eight and a half months pregnant. This caused a stir while the world decided this mum needed criticizing and reminding that pregnancy is all about baby. While pregnancy is a time to take things easy it’s also important to keep fit to help with labour and those early days. As long as you maintain your fitness level from before pregnancy there is no reason exercise would be dangerous to you or baby. Some mums spend most of their pregnancy suffering spd, morning sickness or chronic back pain while for others the urge to ‘nest’ is so strong they find they can’t sit still. Every pregnancy is different.
Birth – natural or c section/ Pain relief or at one with nature
Natural birth while desirable is not always possible for some mums. Those that have c sections have the horrible ‘too posh to push’ stigma and its often seen as the easy way out when its not. Equally some people like to remind us natural birth is ‘like shelling peas’ with scant regard for those that experience difficult and traumatic births. Some mums during labour want to be at one with their body and without drugs while others, like myself are screaming for everything going. Does it matter how baby got here as long as they do safely?
If you give in your weak and asking for horrendous morning sickness, if you stay strong you’re depriving baby of what it ‘wants’. I ‘gave in’, my baby “wanted” pickles so thats what he got. Of course giving into Pica, consuming inedible items such as soil or sponges, is dangerous for you and baby but if thats what you crave then you’re going to eat them regardless.
Scan – Find out the gender or a surprise
We originally wanted my pregnancy with Jack to be a surprise but we got fed up of white and neither of us are that fond of yellow or green. I lost count of how many times I was told I should find out what sex baby is so I can get everything pink or blue. Once we found out we were having a boy we had people commenting that we shouldn’t be so nosey and wait to see what nature decided for us.
If you buy everything blue for your son or pink for you daughter your gender biased. If you buy everything neutral you have no imagination. Cute costumes and outfits with funny slogans are a whole new ball game ranging from envy at how cute your child looks in their gruffalo costume to disgust that you would dress your child in a cute little top that reads tiny terror.
Milk – breast feeding or formula
If you breastfeed, especially in public, you’re labelled a tramp or flashing too much and people get offended but if you formula feed your lazy. If you extend breastfeeding past 6 months the opinionated amongst us like to remind you you’re a hippy and only doing it for your own selfish needs to maintain the bond.
Nappies and wipes – cloth or disposable
While cloth nappies are brilliant for the environment and kind to baby’s bottom they are not for everyone. Disposables are great for traveling or visiting family when you may not be able to do a wash. They give you the freedom to go places you wouldn’t be able to or would find very difficult with cloth. Some parents choose to use disposables during the day and cloth at night, the fact is there is no wrong choice as long as baby’s bottom is covered by something.
If you hold off potty training till little one gives you the signals you’re letting them rule your life and if they’re still in nappies past 2 you’re a lazy parent. If you push them to get dry your damaging them and imposing yourself upon them.
Weaning – purée or baby lead/Jar or homemade
I had to early wean Jack on the advice of my health visitor due to an insatiable appetite but you’d have thought Id started world war 3! The puree stage was horrible (all that mess) but at 4 and a half months old Jack was too young to be nibbling on pieces of bread or soft fruit. Even though I had a reason to early wean my son some silly old bag in the supermarket still felt the need to tell me I was harming my son by forcing food down his throat so early. I hated that buying jars made me look like a lazy mum even though I cooked him fresh dinners too. We don’t all have the time to puree carrots and saute pears although its obviously the healthier option.
Sleep – cot or co sleep
Jack went straight in his cot the day we came back from the hospital but due to my back injury when he was around 8 months, we started co sleeping so I could look after him in the night as Daddy doesn’t hear him. He isn’t spoilt and our sex life isnt dead however I will agree with the stigma that you spend most of the night with a toddlers feet or bum in your face. Some mums have a problem with baby going straight in a cot as they see it as not bonding with baby as well as you would if baby was in a moses basket or crib right next to you. Jack was in his cot on the other side of the room and we have a brilliant bond.
Bedtime – pamper or control crying/Dummy or self soothe
If you rock your baby to sleep, like I did with Jack, you’re spoiling your child and letting them wrap you round their little finger. If you use the control crying method your cold and heartless. Using a dummy labels you stupid for jeopardising your childs teeth but letting your child gum or nibble their hands to death makes you daft for not giving them a soother!
Going out – buggy or sling (babywearing)
If you put baby in the pram while out for a walk or doing the shopping you’re not bonding or engaging with them but if you carry them in a sling you’re a pack mule. I did both until Jack became to heavy to fit in his sling.
Stay at home or working parent
If you stay at home to look after your kids your sponging off the system and too lazy to do anything. If you’re a working parent you’re putting money before the needs of your child and let someone else raise them.
10 kids or just 1
If you have more than 2 kids you’re ‘asking for trouble’, if you have just 1 they will grow up spoilt (apparently!). More than 4 kids and the comments about “haven’t you figured out what’s causing it yet” start appearing.
Its time for some truths, there are no right or wrongs. You as mum or dad know your little one best and what works best for your family, what does it matter if you breastfeed till little one is 3 as long as their healthy. Does it matter that your child takes a little longer to get dry than Mrs Bloggs son did?
No one can tell you how to raise your child. Your a great Mum/Dad, keep up the good work!
I went for gentle strolls while pregnant, I had a natural birth after induction with an epidural. I ate what baby craved, I found out the gender. I bought gender biased clothes and cute little outfits. I breastfeed, got into difficulty and turned to formula. I use disposable nappies mixed with cloth, I tried potty training (Jack wasnt ready). I weaned early (always consult your health visitor), I co sleep during the night and put him to bed on his own. I used the pick up put down method, I gave Jack a dummy, bear and a blanket! I use the buggy, baby wore when he was smaller and now he walks when he can. I am a stay at home mum for a while, enjoying the time with my son while working on my blog. I have just the 1 child at the moment and we are working on number 2.
If all that makes me a bad mum then a bad mum I am, but my son is happy and healthy and I’m not about to change that to please others.