I’m feeling a little ticked off. So forgive me a moment while I vent.
Over the years there has been a LOT of talk about ending the mummy wars. And that’s only ever been a good thing. I think the media and parenting websites (including Mamamia) are publishing fewer divisive stories about motherhood. Added to that is the fact current parents have become (I think) far more accepting of one another’s choices. Which is terrific! Birth choices. Feeding choices. Schooling choices. Lunchbox choices. Bedtime choices. The list goes on. The key is to feel confident in our own decisions and just do what is right and best for our own family. Because really, unless you know or suspect a child is being abused – then there’s no need to be concerned with what’s happening next door. It’s called staying in your own lane. Right? Right.
Lately while going about my day-to-day life I’ve noticed Baby Boomers (women in particular) taking enormous joy in continually pointing out how useless or selfish or pathetic today’s parents are. Here are just a handful of examples of dozens I’ve noticed over the past few weeks.
There was the older parenting expert who I saw mocking new mums suggesting they only wanted their newborns to fall asleep quickly so they could get back to texting on their phones. Really? REALLY? I have yet to know or meet a new mum who is looking for a sleeping quick fix for their newborn so they can get back to texting their mates and trawling the net. Instead I see some new mothers who are mentally unravelled because of sleep deprivation and who are asking for help only to be told to ‘suck it up’.
Well guess what? Unless you know that mother’s family situation and how much support she has or does not have, unless you know her personal ability to last months or years on four hours of broken sleep and unless you know her mental health history and whether she currently has POST NATAL DEPRESSION then perhaps stop being a smart-arse and treating her life she’s selfish and offer her some practical help. Saying to a chronically sleep-deprived mum, “Take it as a chance to bond with your baby. You’ll get sleep eventually” is NOT HELPFUL!
There was the grandmother at my friend’s playgroup who raised her eyebrows in disapproval and actually said, “Tinned custard?” when my friend dared to take a small tin out of her bag to feed her baby. Yes, lady – tinned custard. STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE.
And then there was the time I posted a story about safety watches for toddlers that can help you track them via GPS should your toddler get lost in a crowd. “Aren’t you capable of watching your own children?” a Baby Boomer asked me. “Too busy wanting to drink gin with your friends than watch your child?"
Yep, that’s it. Got me. I like to take my 2 year old and 4 year old to the EKKA every year, pin $10 to their shirts and say “Godspeed, boys!” as I head off to the Cattleman’s Bar and yell "G&T's for everyone. My shout!"
You know what I think? I think if any of these women were my mother-in-law, I’d want to move to Peru.
The vast majority of parents are doing their best.
Let's say that one more time with feeling: The vast majority of parents are doing their best.
Watch Bec Sparrow reveal what she'd like young people to know about adulthood below. Post continues after video...
So to those Baby Boomers I would ask you to try and find your empathy. And if that’s impossible then at the very least stay in your own lane. (Or better still, be a mentor not a critic. Feedback delivered with kindness is always so much easier to take.)
To the Baby Boomers and grandparents who are already providing kindness, advice, wisdom and support – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. There are millions of parents - myself included - who would be lost without the love, support, advice and random beef curries given to us by our own parents and grandparents.
And to every parent of newborns or toddlers or small kids or teens – keep trucking. You’re doing a great job. Tinned custard for the win!