Friday, August 27, 2010

This might ruffle some feathers..

But y'all love a bit 'o' controversy so here goes...

Being a connected parent is meeting your children's needs. I always liked the Dr Sears 7 Baby b's.
-birth bonding
-baby wearing
-bedding close to baby
-belief in the value of baby's cry
-beware of baby trainers

As children get older it's about respect, not using manipulation and staying connected.

Somehow this has blown out. Now there are some Mamas who make it seem that to be connected you have to do a whole lot more. Like elimination communication, cloth nappies, homebirth, homeschool, making meals from scratch and eating only the most organic, local food there is around. I think a lot of these things are great! I'm a big advocate of lots of the "extras", but I know a lot of families who do it differently who are just beautiful. A mother who's kids drink green smoothies and wear all re-purposed clothes is no better than a mother who's child wears the latest season brand name clothes and eats maccas. You may argue about who is more sustainable but that is NOT a pre-requisite of great parenting.

It's OK to hate hanging out the washing. It's OK to use disposable nappies. It's OK to take your child to the Doctor if you are feeling unsure. There are no medals for the most crunchy, eco-friendly, local eating, longest breastfed, off the grid, raw vegan, op-shopping, nappy-free, TV free, school-free families. Chances are your kids don't give a shit about any of this.

If you love doing these things then great! Do them, enjoy them, set whatever type of examples you are comfortable with.

What I'm concerned about is the pressure a lot of other Mamas feel. Some Mamas are struggling with the day to day of being there for their kids and can feel intimidated by what a "good mother" is becoming in the eyes of the hippy-la-la world. Having a pram does not make a disconnected parent unless there is a baby in said pram being ignored while it screams to be picked up. If you are ignoring your children while you struggle to perfect the art of lacto-fermantation the maybe eggs on toast would be a better option.

Get back to basics. Concentrate on listening to your kids. Stay connected. Do what you can. Find your community. If you want to do any or all of the other stuff go for it! But if none of those other thing appeal to you remember they have little to do with being a connected parent.


katepickle said...

Love it!

Same can be said of more mainstream things too... when I am more worried about how many after school activities my kids are doing than whether they are happy... that is time to take a reality check!

Bel said...

Timely reminder, thank you. x

Leah said...

Here here! or is it hear hear! I dunno LOL

Overall, I think what we need to do is strive to enjoy our children and the time we spend together, that makes a magical childhood ... everyone has their own values and priorities, interests, limitations, resources and personalities which affects how this looks from the outside. There's not many an emotionally checked-in mama who can be happy when her children are sad, so that gets checked off the list pretty fast ... then she needs to make sure what's going on makes her happy too. I think that's where we get led astray, it's important to keep checking in with yourself (I need to check in regarding my multi store food shopping problem lol .. but costco, you know??)

i like the term "downstream" from law of attraction type thinking, which means to go with what feels easy/effortless AND good ... the former not always being attainable with kids but certainly not persuing what feels difficult and effortful ...

Rachel said...

I never understood the whole competitive parenting thing. Everyone does it different, that's what makes life interesting. I love hearing about how other mums do it, what is most important to different families, where you draw the line, what you let go. All that stuff is fascinating, not better or worse, just complex and interesting.
One of the things I like most about your blog is the lack of perfection. We all have days where takeaways are the best dinner option, any mum that tells you they don't is either lying or has home help.

Garden Pheenix said...

I think this is a fantastic post. While I, personally, believe strongly in all the eco friendly, sustainable, crunchy stuff - I can rarely accomplish it by myself due to lack of funds and being a single mum with shitty health. It's easy to get caught up trying to do it all perfect but every time I do I notice the connection between me and my daughter gets neglected which kind of defeats the purpose. Thanks for the encouraging reminder that none of that is paramount to raising the wee one well. <3

mum+dad=akira and linkin and elijah said...

SO well said!!

Narelle said...

Ahhhh, I love it! It really does feel like a competition sometimes, doesn't it?! But as long as kids are happy, healthy and loved, that's all that really matters!

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