Something I’ve noticed about Motherhood, is the apparent need for us to fall into a category of the type of mother we are. There are young mums, yummy mums, natural mums, working mums, all organic mums, and the list goes on. On top of all the different types of mothers that are out there, there’s competition between them. The organic mums think they’re better than the bottle feeding mums, and the cool mums think they’re doing it way better than the working mums ever could.
Phew. That was a lot to take in (or let out? I digress).
What confuses me is our need to outline the type of mother that we are. I totally understand that we need to feel like we belong somewhere, and maybe yes, spending time with other mothers that hold the same core beliefs as us is useful, but isn’t it also useful to challenge each others beliefs and ideas and hold each other up when things are getting tough? Doesn’t having a baby/child/adult child count as “being a mum” and therefore we all have common ground? (mainly that all our babes pee/poop and that is currently/was once one of our main responsibilities).
Like, realistically, we all look like total d***s singing “The Grand old Duke of York” in the back room of the local library, while we hold our kids and pray that we left enough time after our baby’s bottle and that they don’t puke.
But more seriously, what ever happened to the motherhood pact. The friendships that are forged with other mums at the school that led to life long friendships for the children as well. I grew up with my own mother having a friend like that, and I consider that family to be closer than my own. I honestly though that I would find that when I had Teddy, but what I did find was a handful of nothing like it.
And let this be pre warning that I have probably done this to myself, and that there are probably soooo many mums not having this problem (the easy-going mums).
As a mum of a kid that vomited flat out and didn’t sleep for the first 12 weeks of his life (a reflux baby mum), I did not get out and about. I was late to start the ‘baby bounce’ class, so friendships had already been established, and my baby was the one that projectile vomited the minute I got there on our first day (and I died of embarrassment). Then the Post Natal Depression came along (one of those poor mums that got it) and now I’m just here calling Teddy my best friend and asking his advice on things at the shops (a crazy mum).
I guess the point of this blog is, we are all each and every one of the types of mum possible, every now and again. I’m a whole bunch of types of mums, and that’s pretty standard. I bought a reusable ‘eco’ swim nappy the other day for Teddy, and felt very #ecomum. But I also am 100% not cool with scraping poop off of nappies on the reg, so I probably won’t fit in with the #reducetheimpact movement or buy all reusable nappies (not that it’s bad, but ya know, I’m personally not into touching poop to save the environment).
The kind of mum that I am, and that I think we should all strive to be, is the understanding mum. As a Child Protection Social Worker, I’ve seen a LOT of questionable parenting. So I see children and mothers outside of work and they look amazing. I also see the pressure we put on each other, and understand the pressure of the mum guilt we put on ourselves everyday. I understand that inherently all of us mums want what we think is best for our baby.
I get it. We all had childhoods, adverse days in life, said s*** we don’t mean and have gone down to the shops without a wallet. We need to see the mum with the screaming baby in the shop and own that mum’s experience in solidarity, and stop avoiding eye contact and at least just give that mum a smile, even if she’s not the same type of mum.
Better yet, when you feel the need to spend $18 on a bamboo, all natural onesie, but just want to buy one for $2 at BigW also want to make sure that your child fits the mould that you feel that your parenting should help them to fit, STOP. Your child will not tell the difference (I promise), and your child is what matters.
Anyway, I should probably tie the title of this post to the beginning of the last paragraph in some witty way. So technically, we’re all mums. We all have babies, we all like something different, and we all make some totally fab, and totally drab choices for our babes. What we should really do is make sure that we don’t use our own beliefs (or babies) to make other mums feel different, or less than. We should accept each other (and each others babies) for what they are, and just accept that some mums are cooler with touching poop than others.
Here’s me listening to a Teddy’s hairdresser tell me how she used a sleep doctor to help her get her little one to sleep 22 years ago. She gave Teddy his first ever hair cut and also made me feel a million bucks by complimenting me on how Teddy looks at me like I’m “the most beautiful thing on earth”. (don’t mind the tan, clearly this mumma went a bit far with the mousse)