A couple of weeks back I had a little ‘incident’ I guess I’d call it. With a young lady at the layby counter at Target.
I was putting a clothes layby on for my kids. Who are aged 10, 4, 3, 2 and 5 months.
Obviously there would be a lot of clothes and obviously they’d all be in random sizes. The lady questioned me and asked why I had so many random sizes and asked, If I knew.
Firstly I said ‘yes I do know that I’ve got a lot of different sizes; I have 5 kids.’
‘Where are they?’ she asked.
‘At home with dad.’ I replied.
She then looked at me all smirk and snickered ‘Lucky you getting a day off.’
Being a mum I instantly thought ‘who are YOU to tell me what I can and can’t do? Are you trying to make me feel bad for not dragging them along? Do you think I should be at home chained to the sink wiping snotty noses?’
I then proceeded to explain that Glen has 9 days off per fortnight, where as I have 1 day were I go out and do my own thing. She then added the fact that ALL mother’s say that they never get a day off and that parenting is a full-time job but that it wasn’t really because we send them to daycare or pre-school or grandparents.
I THEN proceeded to tell HER that I did not have that option. That none of my kids were in daycare, pre-school and any grandparents my kids do have, happen to be 16 hours away. I am as full-time mum as it gets.
“oh but Bella is in school, so I guess your right. I’m not a ‘full-time mum’ to 5 kids, only 4.’ I said in the end.
Her smile faded and I think she may have felt guilty.
I walked away thinking what right did she have to say anything, what right did this random lady who I do not know, have to make me question my role as a mother.
And why did I feel the need to explain myself to this slightly nasty stranger?
When I was younger I guess I did care what people thought or what they said, I would worry and even if I didn’t like what they said I’d take it on board and try to accommodate for the things they’d mention. In the end I decided why am I listening to you? What I was doing was quite fine, your making me feel bad, I don’t like it and you don’t seem to be doing any ‘better’ than me. Your just a person trying to tell me what to do and why am I listening to you?
I even had a man chase me down once, look at me like I was evil and inform me my child’s shoelace was undone. I felt like a terrible mother, I knew her shoelace was undone, I knew she could have tripped, I knew but I left it untied.
Simple little thing and it took a random man to make me feel like I’d failed as a parent.
OVER A SHOE LACE!?
I know a lot of us feel like this. I’ve got emails saying so!
There is no perfect way to be a mum or dad. We are our own worst critics. We’re the ones who lay in bed beating ourselves up at night because we’d promised to go to the park that day but didn’t get around to it. We are the ones who feel bad about being frustrated at a lack of sleep when our little ones are actually missing out too AND are unwell.
We have plenty to feel guilty about whether it is valid or not without people thinking they know better than us, telling us how we should be doing things.
Can I just say on behalf of all mums who have ever felt like they’ve needed to explain themselves….
Mind your own business, look after your own children in your obviously ‘perfect’ manner and leave us ‘imperfect’ parents to bring up our well-adjusted children, the way we want.
I don’t want to confuse these people with well-meaning advice given by those who actually care about us and want to help, I mean the snide ‘know it alls’ who actually want to make us second guess and wonder about what we’re doing. It is sad to have to acknowledge people like this but there out there. Most of the time, sadly they are the ones who aren’t confident about their own parenting ways and want to make it look like they do, OR they really do just think they ‘know it all.’
There is a saying I love which is ‘wisdom is the knowledge that you will never know it all.’
I like it because it makes me realise that I can never stop learning. There will always be room for error and repeated attempts and there will never ever be an end to what I am capable of storing away in my mind and what I’ll be able to experience.
Open your mind people!
Is what I’d like to say to those close minded mothers and women, you can NEVER know it all. You can NEVER be a perfect parent. There will be days when you want to curl up and cry like the baby you’re responsible for, there are days when you are so clueless that you’ll ask random strangers in the street if they’ve ever experience a,b or c with their own kids. There will be times when you wonder why you had kids in the first place.
If your mind is not ‘open’ your going to struggle. Your setting yourself up for disaster.
Just think, if you really do ‘know everything’ then what are you going to do when one day you don’t know anything? Your so in the dark, where are you going to turn?
Who can you ask for help, support or advice?
No one because if you are one of those people you’re not going to want to let anyone know that deep down your like everyone else. You’ve isolated yourself. Your very alone in your attempt for perfection whilst trying hard to make out that you’re doing great, have no worries or struggles.
Being open and honest and talking about everything with those closest to you is seriously a better way of parenting, you’ll gain knowledge and advice that you may need now or in the future. Asking for help and being open to it if you need it will gain you far more respect as a parent.
And surely it is plain to see that you’ll be happier?
Becoming a mum is nature, being ‘motherly’ is not. We’re going to need advice at some stage but TELLING someone how to be a parent is not right.
You do it your way, I’ll do it mine.
To the mums that have felt bad, or guilty or inadequate at the words of someone else, stand up for yourself. Be yourself and feel confident in what you’re doing. Just let these people know that their way of parenting may be ‘perfect’ for them but it is not idea of parenting. Let them know that your happy with the way you’re doing things and that really it is none of their business.
Or if you’re REALLY confident…..”Shut the hell up.” Also works well.
We’re all different, we’re all going to parent differently, that doesn’t mean the wrong way or right way.
It just means different.
It aggravates me that there are people out there who get pleasure from making others feel bad.
I guess like our ways of parenting our own children, we’re all just different. Supporting each other, taking time to listen and share, AND give ‘asked for’ advice.
It takes a village to raise a child, is another of my favorite sayings and even though I do not have family around at the moment I do know that I have a village worth of knowledge and support and advice should I need it.
Just don’t be afraid to ask.
Open your mind and heart and family, be open to the good kinds of input into your life. However I suggest you promptly shut the door on those who make you feel bad. Or perhaps ask them if they are ok themselves.
Just stand up; Be you and don’t bend for anyone.