This post prompted a whole discussion on a parenting forum I chat on.
It was so interesting to read the women post their “dirty little secrets”. So many of them share the same secrets – they (we) have the same feelings towards our children, partners, other parents, alone time and just life in general.
Why then do these things remain a secret? Why are we ashamed to say “I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom” or “I am jealous my partner seems to have more of a life outside the home than I do”
If we all feel that way then why are these feelings classed as “dirty little secrets”.
My take on it is that we set the bar to high.
Somewhere between being bare foot and pregnant and burning the bra we still have engrained on all of us the notion that babies must sleep through, children must not misbehave, we must always like our partners and never resent our kids.
Babies live in darkness for 9 months, they know nothing and yet we pop them out (push/cut whatever) and expect them to just attach themselves to our boobs effortlessly every 6 hours. HUH? Really? How does a baby know to do this? Yes they know to suck and seek food but the rest – it is learned.
Then we expect them to sleep through. We feed them, change them and pop them in the cot and expect a good nights sleep. Again HOW do they know to do this? We have to teach them – through whatever method you decide on.
They turn 2 and we want angels. We want kids who sit at the table, eat their food, never get upset, don’t challenge us. I am able to talk and articulate my needs and wants and yet some days I get so frustrated I want to scream but we expect a toddler who knows 5 words just to suck it up, smile and be cute.
And so it goes on the older they get. We want to raise children who challenge ideas and beliefs but we don’t want them to talk back. We want them to wear their slippers but we don’t want to teach them. We want them express themselves without making a mess.
Why do we want this? I don’t think we even know why to be honest. We just do it because it’s always been like that and I suppose having something to measure ourselves against is better than nothing right?
Maybe if women started measuring their success as a mother purely by their child’s happiness and ability to be a functioning part of society we would have a lot more mom’s who are a lot less stressed.
Work if you must work.
Breastfeed if you must – don’t if you don’t want to.
Smack if you choose.
Drink wine when you want to.
Hide out in the bathroom when you can.
Fake a headache.
Serve cheese curls and jelly beans for dinner.
Drop the kids with granny if she offers.
Do what you need to do and do it with conviction because at the end of the day when the lights go out and put your head on your pillow there is no one there passing judgement except you.