I am so bored of mum blogs and clickbait parenting articles telling me what to do, what not to do, 5 things to avoid and why I’m not coping (but here’s how). Yeah right. And the snarky comments. But if you can’t beat em, join em, so here’s my snarky response…
To the mum who said she liked the blog about not judging others then went on to say “except I just get so upset when I see mums like the one I saw today who did xyz” you are an idiot
To the mom who asked about changing her surname and mentioned in a longwinded story that one minor reason was a guy at work who’d asked if she was One of Those Feminists but she explained to him “no and oh how we laughed” you suck – aren’t we all “those” kind of feminists? The kind who believe in equality for women?
To the parents who post up that story about secondary drowning at the start of each summer. Stop it
To the dad who links to the latest pseudoscience story pertaining to something you should or shouldn’t do because it could KILL YOUR BABY or at the very least CAUSE IRREPARABLE DAMAGE even though you no longer have a baby but, like, a 4 year old. You’re just scaring people
In fact, to all the folks who link to stuff that’s supposedly “helpful” but is just some horrible scare story that makes the rest of us feel terrified and/or inadequate: please think before you click share. Please. Just for a moment. We’re not idiots, we could find this stuff online if we wanted to. Who are you helping?
To the people who crap on about how dangerous Cry-it-out is: Are you honestly suggesting that any of your peers would be doing this unless they felt like they really, really, really had to? Do you genuinely think their middle-class children with well-educated parents will end up like those Romanian orphans? OK then, shut up.
To the humans who post all that kind of stuff – who are you hoping will read it? Surely you and all your mates, just by dint of the the fact you’re articulate and social-media savvy enough and you care enough to be reading parenting articles at all, means you’re probably not doing The Thing, or are all too aware of why you are doing The Thing.
Even if all these supposed People Who Are Willfully Doing The Thing exist, they would never read the article you just put up anyway.
I hate this kid-in-danger-from-its-terrible-parents porn that seems to do the rounds. It’s a sick sort of thrill to read this stuff and think Oh My Gosh, these PARENTS! What are they doing?! Thank god that’s not me or anyone I know. In that case, why post it? If you honestly thought a friend or acquaintance was doing this shit, either confront them personally or button it.
IT’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS HOW ANYONE ELSE IS RAISING THEIR KIDS. BUTT OUT. Unless genuine harm or abuse is going on, in which case you should report it. Yep.
My advice (is it completely hypocritical to offer advice after all this? ha): Do what you feel is right for you, your family and your kid/s (probably in that order). Follow the stuff you like, ignore everything else. If you don’t know what “feels” right, well… you do.
(This is not to say never share any of those parenting articles. I actually like a lot of them, particularly the gentle parenting stuff. And I find some of the advice useful. But all the scaremonger, don’t do this, do that, IRREPARABLE DAMAGE stuff and the passive-aggressive BS comments such as “oh it’s just her kids I worry about” can fuck off).
I wrote the above in a fit of pique earlier this week and had been debating whether to publish it when a similar post from my fave mummy blogger arrived in my inbox. Her piece, When did we start trusting experts over our own eyeballs comes across as much less nasty than mine! Which, in turn made me start questioning why I was so angry. Simple answer: fear. These stories about the myriad, unthought-of ways in which I may damage or even kill my kids scares the shit out of me.
Like everyone, I’m far from being the world’s most perfect parent (although I’d like to think I come close to being the perfect parent for my own children) and it’s so easy to focus on all the stuff you’re not doing, rather than thinking about the stuff you are. And, I guess, we have to be ever-vigilant. (Do we? I dunno. Maybe we should just relax and trust our own common sense?). Anyway, I’m about to start babyproofing my house because Baby S is getting increasingly wriggly, and when I start reading safety articles online, well they’re just full of things I haven’t done (and kind of can’t be bothered with) and a whole host of new dangers I hadn’t even considered. Gah! But I managed to steer one child through early childhood without any major mishaps, so… yeah.
I also realise that my reaction to people posting “aggressively helpful” articles is really my problem, not theirs. What one mum sees as “raising awareness” another mum sees as unnecessary scaremongering. So I’m wondering how I can address my attitude to that. I think taking a Facebook holiday when I’m feeling my anxiety rise is probably a good idea. But that would result in an increase to my FOMO anxiety! Once again, life’s tough in the first world.