This week there just seems to have been one article after another where mums have slammed other mums for their parenting decisions. First of all there was the furore over whether mums should drug their children for long haul flights followed by the Amanda Holden interview in the Daily Mail about the bitchiness that she has found on Mumsnet.
In both cases I was truly struck by how disgusting mums were being towards each other. And that was nothing compared to when Madeline McCann went missing all those years ago. The pages and pages of vitriolic abuse, savage criticism and sewer-like language on a number of websites (Mumsnet included) was frankly utterly gut-wrenchingly disgusting. I simply couldn’t read on.
Had we forgotten that at the heart of this was a beautiful little girl who gone missing, two distraught parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and grandparents not to mention an entire community that had been left utterly bereft by their loss? And all us mums could manage was deep seated criticism and judgement. Where was the support, kindness and warmth that make women so nurturing?
And the criticism and judgement seems to be even more profound because women can hide behind seeming innocuous sounding pseudonym. Beware ‘Fluffy Bunny’ or ‘LovelyLou’, there is nothing ‘fluffy’ or ‘lovely’ about some of these ladies. God help us if any of us were to inadvertently find ourselves the subject of their nastiness.
Aren’t all of us mums just trying to do the best that we can, with the knowledge that we have, within the belief systems that we hold, under the pressures that we face? Have NONE of us made decisions or done things that we later thought better of? Have none of us done things that we look back on and thank our lucky stars that nothing bad happened? Are the ‘ladies of judgement’ so flipping pious that they have never ever done something questionable in their parenting careers. I know I have.
We are all just trying our best.
For goodness sake, thousands and thousands of parents have used holiday resort baby listening services long before Madeline went missing and not questioned their actions. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
What’s more I’ve discovered that things that I would not have done, never ever, ever, ever, with my first two relatively well behaved children have gone out of the window with my third. With the first two, I was in a position to be far more pious because they weren’t that challenging. I probably did opine about how I wouldn’t put a lock on the bedroom door or bribe them with sweets or any other questionable parenting strategies.
And now, third time round, with a child that is variously described as a ‘livewire’ through to ‘thug’ (worryingly by his grandmother) that’s all gone out of the window. It’s a tactical game of survival and a long haul flight without some sort of doping strategy would be impossibility.
So I’m much less judgemental these days. 11 years on in my parenting career I know that I definitely don’t have all the answers and that different children demand different strategies. Having boys is different from having girls. A first child is different from the third. What works in one scenario is different from another.
So I think we need to give each other a break. I’ve learned that we never really know the whole story so we’re likely to be making judgements based on our own assumptions which are quite probably wrong.
Let’s stop with the disgusting, bitter comments, veiled behind a fake names and show each other some support. I think parenting would be a whole lot easier if we were nicer and more supportive of each other, regardless of what we think of other people’s decisions. Or at least we thought carefully before penning ill thought out and unhelpful responses.
Any thoughts folks? I look forward to hearing your comments.
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