Yesterday I read an interesting article about how we are all
“sucking the joy out of parenting.”
The reason for this is that apparently we have now become a society that over thinks everything. Instead of trusting our instincts we turn to the latest child manual or we consult Dr Google. We spend our time worrying. This is something that I can understand.
Oldest was not an easy baby but a big part of this must have been my inability to relax. Before Oldest had arrived I read every baby manual going. Including the now loathed Gina Ford. Despite my natural instincts telling me that I had a baby that would not be regimented like Gina Ford demanded, I persisted. The end result was that I felt like a failure. I had a baby, an individual, not someone who would conform like Gina said they would. So then I turned to the ‘Baby Whisperer’ looking for answers and again I didn’t get any. 6 years and another baby later and I now realise that I had set myself up to fail. Instead of trying to force Oldest to fit into a schedule I should have adapted to her schedule. By the time Youngest arrived I had learnt from my mistakes. I trusted my instincts, I followed my baby’s cues and as a result we were both happier. The key difference was that with Youngest I was no longer worrying about getting everything right. Instead I went with the flow.
The worrying climate of fear
It is very hard to go with the flow when we are a first time parent and living in a climate of fear. This climate that is fed by the multi-million pound parenting industry. An industry that devotes itself to scaring us about what will happen if we fail to comply to the latest chosen method:
- If we let them control cry they will be end up mentally scarred and suffer long-term emotional damage.
- If we practise attachment parenting then we will end up rearing clingy and needy children who will be unable to survive as an adult.
Whatever method we choose we are made to feel that it is the wrong decision. The reality is that whatever parenting theory we choose to employ, our children will probably turn out fine (touch wood). It is this climate of fear that probably explains why research has shown that those that don’t have children are a lot happier than those that do. Of course they are. They aren’t being made to feel constantly guilty for their parenting decisions. It also helps that they get to go to the pub on an evening and drink a massive cocktail whilst having an adult conversation. A conversation that doesn’t involve any talk of poo. No poop. Not even a nugget 😉 .
Another part of parenting is that it can feel so intense. I am sure that it can’t have been like this when I was a child. In today’s society it feels like we are all very time poor and therefore there are higher expectations placed on family time. It also feels intense as there is the sheer amount of homework that children have nowadays. As their parent you want them to do their best so you can end up spending hours helping them do their homework. Then there are the after school clubs and again it can feel like the more the better. Before you know it you are spending most days ferrying your children round to different clubs. What happened to letting children just be children. Letting them come home from school and just play, opening the back door and letting them burn off their energy in the garden. Why have we become a society of parents that feels like they have to hover, control and entertain constantly?
We need to relax. We need to stop worrying. It’s time that we reclaimed parenting back from the manuals. There is no right or wrong answer. Every child is different and instead of worrying about it we need to embrace it. If we aren’t careful we will miss the joyous movements of parenting because we have our noses buried in a manual. Instead of listening to the latest parenting expert we need to listen to our children.
It’s time to stop over thinking parenting and time to start enjoying our children
What do you think? Are you with me? Let’s reclaim parenting together….
just after I have asked Dr Google about Youngest’s intense dislike for vegetables and whether this will stunt her growth.