When was the last time you didn’t justify a decision you made as a parent?
Examples of things we seem to feel the need to justify from as soon as we give birth range from;
1. I tried to breastfeed but I just couldn’t because…
2. We weren’t going to use a dummy with them but…
3. Yes they’re going for a sleepover with the grandparents tonight but we’re just so *insert appropriate word related to parenting here*…
4. Sometimes my kids eat freezer dinners because…
I’ve spent the last few days feeling really guilty about the fact I start a full time job on Monday. Every time I talk about it I feel the need to say ‘yes it’s full time but it’s also term time so I’ll get lots of time with them still…’
As though I somehow have to justify the fact I’m going to work full time.
To who? Not myself. I am VERY excited about my new job, it’s a role that I created through my interview almost and the job specification has been adapted to reflect skills I bring to the table – that makes me feel pretty cool tbh.
To me partner? Nope. Although he’s not exactly excited about the fact I’ve put together a cleaning and washing rota whereby ‘everyone chips in’ he’s 100% supportive of my choices. I know that when I’m upset I can’t make a nativity or a parents evening then he’ll go. Because we’re a team and we share responsibility.
To my family? Nope. My Dad worried about me in my last job, for both my mental health and my safety. Maybe it was just parental worry but both my parents know just how excited I am for my new role and they would certainly never make me feel as though I need to justify anything.
To my friends? Nope. Whether you work or don’t work, work part time or work away for a month, it makes no odds to me. As long as my friends are happy then I would never think to comment on their lives and I’m fairly sure they feel the same.
So why this guilt? Why this need to justify every parenting decision you make?
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed the important thing is you fed your child. It’s no one else’s business how or why you chose to feed so don’t justify it. This particular issue is one that grips mothers in neonatal classes and toddler groups for months after birth and why? Why concern yourself with how someone else views the choice you made? Just don’t ever admit to feeding them rusks in a bottle at 5 weeks old.
So you gave them a dummy. Welcome to real life! I was adamant that my eldest was never getting a dummy. We lasted three weeks. She just wouldn’t settle. We walked around like zombies on no sleep wondering how on earth we would ever get through another day, and then we tried a dummy. And she slept. And we’re now 11 years down the line and her speech is fine, she doesn’t have wonky teeth and she’s not had a dummy for 9 years. It’s really not the end of the world.
So your baby goes to it’s grandparents for a night. GREAT. How lucky your baby is to have grandparents that are around to love it and cherish it and let you get some sleep. Who cares if they’re 3 weeks old or 3 years old, sometimes parents need a break, and sometimes Grandparents want to see their Grandchildren. No justification required really.
So your children eat chicken nuggets sometimes, SO WHAT. We go to the Chippy on a Thursday sometimes. No one is dead, no one is obese, it’s not a daily thing. Sometimes it’s not possible to make everything from scratch every day. And no one should be judging anyone for cooking the odd fish finger.
Parenting is a funny old thing. So much to think about, so much to worry about. The last thing we should be doing is worrying about what people think about the decisions we make.
Are you happy? Are your kids happy? Have you smiled today?
Good, you’re doing just fine. Keep going.