For some reason there is this part of me that wants to appear totally in control around health visitors, like they are judging every aspect of my parenting in that two-minute appointment and so everything needs to go smoothly! Well, not on this occasion! Jonas was about six months old and I had taken him to get weighed. I had accidentally ordered pull up nappies on the online shop and this was his first time wearing them. I took Jonas into the room, putting him on the changing mat and he emptied his bowels so much that it looked like three weeks worth had come out in one go! Well this new mummy did the only thing she could think of with nappies without the sticky bits, pull them down! Well, as I pulled them down the entire contents (I won’t go into too much detail for all those squeamish ladies) went everywhere! I’m talking on his hands, legs, feet, my hands and all over the changing mat kind of everywhere! I then started the difficult task of cleaning up this explosion, feeling incredibly flustered whilst the health visitor and her assistant watched me, standing silently. She then gave me one piece of wisdom which stands me in good stead to this day “you can tear the pull up nappies on the side so they come off easily.” I felt so embarrassed and so not looking like the in control, got it all covered, nothing phases me kinda mummy I wanted to look like!
Then there’s the time Jonas had a tantrum at a park lasting about 20 minutes, while I struggled to calm down my son and he kicked and screamed on the floor all because we were leaving the beach area, passers-by looked knowingly, some smiling, some offering “helpful”, or not so helpful pearls of wisdom!
I could go on with many stories of things that have left me feeling embarrassed or flustered as a mum, but the lesson I have learnt on each of these occasions, and continue to learn daily, is not to worry what others think of me!
Unfortunately we get judged all the time, by those who aren’t parents and by those that are! Sometimes they may judge us correctly, but probably more often they judge us on what they see in 5 minutes, none of which properly reflects who we are or how we parent! I could spend, and have spent so much time worrying about what others think of me. How they see me as a mum, whether they might think I’m too strict or too lenient, whether they think I’m doing things the right way, or the best way. But most of these people who pass judgement, don’t properly know us. They don’t know the things that have gone on in our days. They certainly don’t know our children like we do and that certain things we do or say have been carefully thought through strategies in order to train them and show them the correct ways to behave.
Maybe some of my friends that know how I parent may think I’m too lenient, maybe some may think I’m too strict, but here’s the thing, I can’t try and live to others’ standards. I love my son wholeheartedly and the way I parent is by doing things that I value, things that I believe to be the best things for him. So when I tell him off strictly for something it’s because I want to train him in what is right and wrong. And when I let something pass, maybe it’s because it’s not, in my opinion, a big deal and I don’t want to be rebuking him all the time. When I encourage him constantly it’s because I always want him to know his mummy’s approval and love. And when I let him have tantrums on the floor, it is NOT because I don’t care, but because I know that my son needs to cry some things out, getting the frustration out his system, and when he’s done, we have a chat, a cuddle and move on.
What others think of me really doesn’t matter, what they think of you doesn’t matter! What matters is being true to ourselves, parenting in the best way we know how, being true to the things we value: knowing our children, our family and what we believe is right. So next time you start to feel flustered, next time you start to worry what will they think, don’t! Because maybe, just maybe, you are doing it right!