As I write this, I don’t even have a title for the post. I suppose it’s because I don’t know how to title it.
Am I hormonal? Yes; I am 6 months pregnant, a bit fat, and not opposed to crying at things as irrelevant as see cute puppies on the TV. In fact last night I cried at the sight of a baby walrus on the TV (no, I wasn’t looking in a mirror)!
Am I naive? Yes. More than I realise sometimes. For someone who is pretty clued up, who doesn’t usually take any shit, I can also be blindly innocent and naive to certain things.
I have noticed, particularly recently in said hormonal pregnant state, I keep explaining myself. Justifying myself. Giving reasons for why I am doing certain things when there is no need to; I do it without thinking; it’s like an immediate response. And I am annoyed with myself because half the time I think why the bloody hell am I doing this; why do I have to explain myself to anyone.
As Mums we constantly feel as though we’re being judged. When you are at the park and your kid does his best back arching, stiff as a board meltdown, you can be sure it will seem that every other child there is behaving impeccably and you will decide in that moment that every parent there will be judging you and thinking you are a shit Mum.
You’re not. You haven’t seen the dramas they’ll have been faced with that morning; dramas that can include them daring to give their child their cereal in a red bowl when it has been made specifically clear (in an unspoken, you should be a mind reader kind of way) that they wanted a blue bowl. You won’t have seen that Mum cursing under her breath “for fucks sake” when asking her little one to put his shoes on for the 15th time that day. But in your mind you’re the crap Mum, with the belligerent child, and they are most likely going home to do crafts and back Apple Crumble together (I tried this once…… Josh hated the crumble so I ate the whole thing. He did have a liking for the little pompoms we attempted crafting with for all of five minutes though…. not ideal).
It’s not only random strangers we do this comparison, explaining ourselves malarky with though. More often than not with friends, family and those we see all the time.
This week a group of Mum friends of mine were planning to take the kids out for a walk. I had said earlier in the week that I was feeling pretty lousy, aka fat, heavy, tired, achy, and still throwing up a lot of the time. That combined with the fact we’d had a busy week and I had work to do that morning, I said we’d be giving it a miss. I thought nothing more about it. Until one of the ladies text me asking why I’d not gone, what the problem was. This resulted in me sending a lengthy text outlining what I have just written here (what I really wanted to say was I AM FUCKING KNACKERED – GROWING LITTLE PEOPLE WHEN YOU HAVE A TODDLER AS A SIDEKICK IS HARD BLOODY WORK) and in my hormonal, upset state of mind, because I felt like I was being somewhat being scolded, I said sorry.
Why Why Why do we do this. Why do we apologise for things we shouldn’t apologise for. This baby is SO longed for. As I’ve said before, I still spend every day somewhat on edge worrying something may go wrong. And if there is one thing I’ve learnt is that I have to listen to my body, my instincts and if I want to rest, rest.
Yet I still spent half my afternoon crying from guilt, wondering if I’d upset my friend, if I was being daft and overly cautious having time at home. In hindsight I know I was right in my choice. And I am sure it’s a silly tale that will soon be forgotten. But my point is, we so often find ourselves justifying our choices, our decisions, be it as parents, women, and simple day to day life.
No one wants to be judged. It’s a horrible feeling. And it leads us to instinctively start explaining ourselves in the hope that if we give our reasons for why we, as grown adults, have come to these decisions then people won’t think of us as lowly Mums who can’t get our kids to co-operate without the bribery of a gingerbread man. The choices we make as a parent are ones we make because they are right for us. We do what is right for us and our kids. And perhaps sometimes you just shouldn’t make moves to justify yourself because you simply don’t always have to. The empowerment of not backing up your choices to everyone who you feel might be passing judgement (and half the time probably aren’t), is actually quite liberating; “I’m doing this because it’s right for my family or for me”. Just as our kids are all different, we as parents are different. I don’t believe that each of us agrees with every single thing our Mum friends do with their kids, but it works for them so we respect it. We don’t judge.
People have opinions on everything we do as parents; how we feed, how we deal with naps and sleep, how we speak to our children, and so it goes on and on. And half the time you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t; if you shower them with cuddles and affection you’re told you’re a smothering mother who is too attached and who is spoiling them (utterly stupid thing to say – every child on this earth deserves to be “spoilt” with love). If you attempt a bit of controlled crying or you refuse to give in to them when they’re having a hissy fit you are frowned upon for being too harsh; “oh go on, just let him have it”. Then when you “let him have it” you’re deemed as weak and being dictated to by a child.
Because of this constant judgement, it makes me see, we have to let it go a bit. Focus on what is right for you and your child and your family. After all, it is you who knows them best; not the checkout lady on number 8, not the next door neighbour, not the health visitor who you see once a year and defines your child with the use of a form! You know what is best, you know what leads you to make the day to day decisions you make, and therefore you should be respected for that. You do NOT have to apologise for having a day that revolved around you putting yourself first, or for having a day at home just playing and relaxing. You don’t have to apologise because you chose not to go to any classes this week. You don’t have to explain your reasons to anyone.
Keep doing you; trust your instincts. You got this.
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.