by Kate SawtschukIn the wise words of Bunmi Laditan, to be a mum in 2017 you need to make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and social needs are met …. To be a mum in every generation before ours? Feed them sometimes.
I’m going to assume pretty much all of us have received parenting advice from:
- Well-meaning family members and friends
- Judgmental strangers
- Articles that pop up in your Facebook feed
Sometimes we ask for it to address a concern or question, but a lot of the time it is just something that parents cannot avoid!
For mothers, it starts when you’re pregnant at which point you apparently become public property to be touched, commented upon and advised. After the baby is born, the barrage of advice continues and can make the most confident person begin to doubt their ability to be a good mother, whatever that is. I mean, I was offered (unhelpful) advice from a stranger recently when I was trying to calm down one of my kids in public. Um, what? Expressing empathy, yes. Judgmental advice, no.
Why are we so sensitive about parenting advice? Because we are trying our best and learning as we go. It would be handy, but kids don’t come with an instruction manual. We love our children and make mistakes and feel guilty and strive to do better. And it’s pretty hard to find our own authentic and unique experience of motherhood with all of this advice static, especially when much of it is contradictory and subjective.
So, here are all the things that ALL mothers should be doing ALL of the time.
- You should be feeding your children a completely homemade, organic, sugar-free and unprocessed diet (don’t forget gluten-free). Don’t go anywhere fun so your kids aren’t tempted by this junk. Be strict with your kids about eating all their dinner, otherwise they will grow up to be fussy vitamin deficient miscreants.
ALSO, c’mon, you should let your kid be a kid. Chill out, let them live a little. Let them dance on the precipice of a sugar induced coma at their friends’ parties. You don’t want them to feel left out or deprived, so let them eat some crap every now and then. Let the grandparents give them chocolate biscuits for dinner followed by three bowls of ice cream. All in moderation.
- Practice co-sleeping, baby-wearing and attachment parenting. Seriously, if your baby is not on your body at all times, you’re a terrible mother. Give your baby massages with oil, read them Jane Austen, be a Buddhist, go to every baby activity, class or storytime. If you don’t, you’re impeding their physical and emotional development. If your child is chucking a tantrum, always be understanding and crouch down next to them, whispering things a psychologist would tell you to say that don’t express anything you want to say.
ALSO, you should create boundaries. Kids need traditional discipline! They need to behave in a certain way. Sleep train your child so it learns how to be alone. Leave your child with a baby sitter, put them in daycare, it’s fine! How else with they learn to socialise? Otherwise, you’ll end up with a clingy maladjusted child. Teach them manners, do time-out. After all, our parents were raised like this and they turned out ok, right?
- Be a Pinterest mum. Kids should not have a free moment in their schedules. Craft until your house looks like an episode of Mr Maker, sew them library bags, take them to music lessons, sport, do it all otherwise what will they put on their resumes and applications? You don’t want to be a neglectful mum, do you, and let them miss out on important opportunities?
ALSO, you need to let kids have imaginative space. Let them get bored. Screen time is the devil. Don’t stifle their creativity by over planning. Let them make stuff out of old cardboard boxes and string. They don’t need to wear shoes. They need to be free spirits!
- Don’t go back to work. Your kids need you. They’re only little once and you will regret it. A mum’s job is to look after all the needs of everyone in the household except her own, right?
ALSO, go back to work. Hello, have you given up on life? You need to show your kids an example of a strong working woman. Dress up in work clothes. You need to make money and get ahead. Well, at the least you need to pay for daycare.
What’s the funniest advice you’ve been given?