I truly, truly believe in mothers supporting each other.
For the large part we are all in it together: I exclude Supermums and Mums with abs that are visible – you terrify me… and those mothers who feed their children Red Bull from the bottle, you are failing.
But us normal, average, don’t like whingeing, talk a lot about poo, would like to shower more often, ‘where are my car keys?’ Mums, we are doing the same thing: our best. Our best to raise happy, healthy, societally functional human beings.
I salute you in your efforts. It’s a roller coaster. If it works for you and your child, it works. Breast or bottle, cot or co-, puree or baby-led, blah blah blah. These approaches didn’t just happen. Each of us decided it was for the best… that’s why we are doing it.
Now some ‘mothering styles’ seem to shout their cause loud and proud from the platform of social media and that’s ok … but it’s starting to crowd out what I am going to refer to (hopefully) as ‘normal parents’.
Stand up Mums who have a routine and stick to it, the Mums who do believe in bedtimes and naughty steps and not letting their child do exactly as they want. The Mums who believe a parent should be a parent and not their child’s best mate. You too are doing ok.
You are not the dragon of the parenting world, your approach is also valid and based on loving your child and wanting the best for them. The fact that your dedication to actually ‘being a parent’ and believing that a consistent approach to routine and discipline makes you the subject of criticism makes it all the more obvious that you are doing what you do because you love your child.
So next time you have to stand in a supermarket aisle saying, “I will wait here until you are ready to calm down but you are NOT having any Coke” in the face of a screaming toddler, tutting pensioners and the sticky face of someone else’s toddler gleefully swigging Coke from the can…. Stand firm. This is what you *should* be doing.
The next time you read a post debating the pros and cons of Crying it Out: Yes orphanages in Uganda are no doubt full of silent children who have learnt the tragic lesson that crying will not illicit the love and comfort they deserve and this is a travesty of humanity that makes me want to cry and rage simultaneously. But don’t be made to feel bad for the fact that you have avoided having a toddler who has you wrapped around their little finger by steadfastly holding onto a ‘bottle bath bed’ routine at 7pm and not rushing in at the slightest murmur. You have given your child a gift too. Sleep. The root of being able to handle what the world has got the throw at them.
And this gets me onto the biggest of my irritations: being made to feel like having a routine … and, you know, one I actually stick to, makes me some sort of dictator.
I will not apologise for ‘the routine’.
Not to you, not to my twins for whom it is implemented, not to my friends who cannot understand why a visit or a day out must be planned properly around mealtimes and naptime, not to my own mother who only ‘sort of understands’.
‘The routine’ is part of the family, part of the fabric of our now not-so-new ‘we have twins’ existence.
I have spent weeks deliberating over how to adjust ‘the routine’, dark days clinging to it, hours defending it. It is so much more than 6 lines pinned to the fridge, it is my family’s security, sanity and subsequent happiness.
I am literally so fed up of feeling like I should apologise for it. If you let your child choose to do as he wishes and and he is up all night, and that works for you, great. To each his own. Every family (and every child) is different. But if it doesn’t work for you and you’re whingeing about it… This is going to sound harsh but if you’re complaining and you don’t have a routine, I have no sympathy. Get one.
I am not ‘lucky’ my children sleep.
I am not ‘lucky’ that they do not often descend into screaming fits.
It’s not luck. I try bloody hard. Very often at the expense of what I want to do.
I adopt the tedium and regularity of it because I give a shit, because it hurts me to see an overly tired child endlessly screaming because it’s too little to understand it’s ‘just tired’.
Stop shunning routine in favour of choice for children who are not yet capable of understanding the concept.
It’s not that I judge (ok I do a little bit); we are all doing what we do because we want the best for our children and I for one salute that. But us ‘trying not to spoil’ our sons and daughters get a vote too.
So Amen to 7pm bedtimes and no pudding if you don’t eat your dinner. Stand up Routine Mums, Eating at the Table Mums, Limited TV Mums. I for one know you are doing this because you love your children.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.