Remember when parents used to add rum to their babies’ dummies to help them sleep?
And strap their bundles of joy into a hand-me-down car seat that most certainly did not come with a five-star safety rating?
No, me neither. Because I never got to be a parent back then. I got to be the rum-sucking baby instead. Which I’m not complaining about.
But wouldn’t it be great to return to the world of parenting pre-social media, where parents did what they needed to do without the side serve of unwanted advice and passive aggressive judgement?
Ahh the 80s… simple and shame-free parenting
Back in the day, our parents were far too busy perming their hair, dressing their kids in awful technicolour outfits and letting their babies sleep on their stomach to worry about judging others. And, although the old-school Rainbow Bright outfits can stay in the past, can we bring back this 80s-inspired non-judgement? Pretty please?!
Nowadays it’s pretty much impossible to fit into the mould of a ‘good mum’ (whatever that is). While we try to be confident in our parenting choices, it’s hard not to feel like we’re doing something wrong when there are so many conflicting opinions out there.
We live in a world where breastfeeding in public is offensive but formula feeding is wrong. Where co-sleeping is dangerous but sleep training is mean. Where holding them too much is spoiling them but putting them into a bouncer is harmful. Where staying at home with your kids is lazy but going back to work is selfish. Where sticking to a routine is controlling but letting them run wild is reckless.
With these intense double standards, how are we ever supposed to feel like we’re doing it right?
It seems as if parents feeling that they are constantly screwing something up for their kids is pretty standard now. And it sucks. Big time.
All of a sudden raising kids is like a competition – getting your baby to sleep through the night, making gluten-free Ariel-themed cupcakes for her birthday, mastering toilet training, sharing perfectly staged pram pics on your Instagram. Is this really what constitutes being a good parent?
Bugger that. Kids don’t need sleep deadlines (or do they? This report might prove otherwise!). What about toilet charts? Do we really need Disney-themed cupcakes, even though they are delicious?
Kids need time, love, play (and yes, sleep!). Kids need us parents to do what we need to get through each day without losing the plot. And without getting judged by others for the choices we make.
Calm down Carol
There are always going to be Susans and Carols out there, side glancing us at the self checkout as our toddler throws a tantrum at our feet. Or muttering something about caffeine as we attempt to order a coffee with our newborns. Or rattling off a bunch of statistics from outdated studies when we post a question online. No one cares about the studies, Carol. We care about what’s right for OUR kids. Not the 108 test subjects in Denmark in 1998.
Mumming is already hard enough without the added dose of shame. So ignore the Susans. Focus on you, your kids, your life. And, if you feel the urge to put on your Judgy Pants, try to refrain. It’s not a good look on anyone.
Instead, let’s return to the realm of parenting in the 80s. Where parents could chop their kids’ hair into mullets and no one batted an eyelid. Because we could all use a little less judgement and a lot more encouragement, even if our hairstyle choice is all kinds of wrong.
Looking for more reasons why mum shaming needs to stop? Have a read of this mother’s viral vent about parenting judgement.