Then you probably need to take my advice. Yees, you. You’re young enough that I actually could have given birth to you. When you were in nappies, I was already changing them. When you were at school I was taking kids to school. When you were at university I’d already had a baby.
You’ve got one baby, that’s a few months old. You’ve landed into parenting and you think you have it all worked out. Your baby sleeps, and you feel all smug because your house is clean and tidy and apparently you find time to exercise.
I’m thrilled for you. Lucky you. It’s nice when it all works out and motherhood is the bliss that the books tell us it should be.
But when you start telling other women, mothers, how to parent, and how to do motherhood, off the back of a few months of a so far easy experience, I am afraid, this old lady, double your age, almost, aka me, is going to step in and gently tell you to pipe down.
I’ve been there. I thought I knew it all, and that parenting was a ride that I would manage at the first attempt, and that I’d be an expert. After all, when I had my own kids, I’d been a nanny and a children’s nurse, so of course I had motherhood sorted.
Please realise that just because motherhood seems to have come easily for you, and you read all the books and all the blogs, and your baby days so far are easy, that it’s not the case for everyone. The mum today that you were lecturing on how she should be finding time to exercise to loose her baby weight, may not have a baby that sleeps as well as yours and she may be utterly knackered and the last thing she needs to be told is to find time to go for a jog or join a Pilates class.
The mum you were judging as she allowed her toddler to eat two chocolate biscuits (I could see the look, I remember that look on my own face, many years ago) – your baby is still tiny, you don’t get to judge the actions of another mother, in a stage you haven’t reached yet.
The way you rolled your eyes when I told you that my eight year old son still wakes up several times a night some nights. I could see you were thinking “my kids will never do that”.
You’ve just started out, on this path of parenting. You are entitled to your opinions and thoughts, you can parent your kids in the way you see fit, as is your right. Feed them organic, home made food, or let them eat biscuits, it’s your choice.
But, when someone who is much older than you, who has been around the block a few times more than you, and who thinks that perhaps you need to possibly learn that all of us mums are doing this job in our own way, and that you need to be a bit more gentle and less judgemental, maybe you should take note?
Yes, I did actually tell a very young, very opinionated person, to maybe just think about how she spoke to other mothers. I think she was a bit shocked. I was polite. I was actually very gentle. I don’t know what her personal journey is or what it will be. I don’t wish to hurt others. But I also know that her words, looks and actions were hurting those around her and I wish someone had told me, nearly 15 years ago, when I thought that I knew everything there was about motherhood, children and childcare that perhaps I needed to keep my thoughts to myself.
I thought knew everything there was to know about having kids, until I had them, then I realised I actually knew very little. That mum, being so vocal, was probably me, many years ago.
Dear person who is young enough that I could have given birth to you, you know nothing, really. Sit back, enjoy your “easy, good sleeping baby”, and in a few years, you’ll have learned enough about motherhood to know that you really didn’t have a clue…