At one time I thought that women could save the world. Now I know we can't. We're too busy judging each other. Sad, but true. It starts with hairstyles and clothes, before moving on to our figures and boyfriends, and then lands with a merciless thud on Motherhood.
I usually like to go my own way in a pretty relaxed manner, closely followed by my own little gang of four. I like to hope that we can all be friends. Once you've become a mother, unfortunately it seems that there are a few nasty judgement bullets you need to dodge.
Firstly, the working mums vs stay-at-home mum's debate - what ever. You can go to work. I'm just gonna wait this motherhood thing out a while, till my kid doesn't need a nappy change, or they can speak for themselves. We might have some different values, we might not. But I'm not judging you. I'm just doing something different, is that o.k? In fact, I'm delighted to go for coffee with you and hear about your work stress and your unreliable nanny. That's if you haven't stereotyped me as an unambitious failure, who wants to stay in my house forever making marmalade.
The breastfeeding vs bottle feeding debate. Well, this is a little worse than the work stuff. The judgement starts to smolder here, but I find there is usually some level of understanding. I know, because having managed to breast feed only one of my four children I've been on the receiving end of the usual comments which were ever so (not) helpful. But, I understand when it works, women become fiercely patriotic of their special skill and sacrifice, and the rest of us who failed to breast feed prematurely born twins, well we suck, or not suck, that is the question.
However, I recently had the misfortune of joining a face book group which I thought was for Stay- at-Home-Mums. It will be nice and supportive I thought. There was talk of 'Gentle Parenting', which I consider myself to be. I don't have a naughty step or a sticker chart, thats about it isn't it? Apparently, lurking behind the 'Gentle' parents there's a much more ferocious beast. That would be the advocates in this particular group of 'Attachment Parenting'. I thought the extreme of this was just a joke, the whole 'why would I want to push my baby away from me?( in a pram ) scenario. It's not a joke. Don't laugh, don't make a move, because I'm telling you these bitches are fierce. I'm actually scared to write this because I know how they are. They don't get a lot of sleep.
One Mother wrote a blog questioning her belief in Attachment Parenting, after attempting it led to serious mental and physical issues for her. She had made a pretty fucking massive attempt in my book. She'd had a natural birth at home, she'd co slept, she'd carried the baby in a sling. But when all this had pushed her to fatigue and over whelm she'd felt she had no option but to...I'm going to whisper now, in case they hear me... 'sleep train' her baby, which meant that her baby... sssshhhhhh.. 'cried himself to sleep'. She said it. I did not. As a baby who cried herself to sleep every night for years (obviously I was un-trainable) I promise you bitches, I have never let a baby cry themselves to sleep. Granted, I only have a twenty-five percent success rate in breast-feeding, although B+ for effort - but there was no crying your honor.
These women Ate. Her. Alive. Like a pack of hungry wolves. "Who cares if you needed a back operation, I've had two, and I still carry my ten year old in an Ergo on a hike each morning." "Who cares if you had fatigue, you're just selfish." "You let your baby cry it out?? You are a horrible failure of a Mother who's child will now have permanent abandonment issues and will breakup with his future wife on a post-it." etc etc. The 'gentle parenting' group was harboring some of the angriest, most judgemental Mothers I've come across in a while.
So I think I'm going to leave said group quietly, while they're all busy 'exploring the flooring' or whatever it is they do. Yes I get it, I'm the one being a little bit judgemental of this particular group of women now. But honestly, someone needs to stick up for the poor woman who tried to be the perfect mother, and then had to let her baby cry it out because she was too damn tired to pick it up. And besides, I can run faster than them because my baby's in a pram and they're wearing theirs.
Mothers. Everyone is fucking up something. Can't we all just be friends. Can't most of us just be friends anyway. I didn't mean what I said at the beginning. I think we can save the world. If only we can find the middle ground.