After my last post I was encouraged and buoyed by all your support, concern and just listening, giving me a virtual rub on my back. So thank you. I got a few emails and one in particular from a reader who was just so freaking spot on that I had to share her pearls of wisdom with you all. What she wrote just instantly clicked with me. Yes, ohmygod YES! She is one smart cookie. A parenting guru if you will. This is what I should be saying to you all, but instead panic and freak out and scream for help. But enough with the “shoulds’ already. Right.
Ok. Over to the guru who agreed that I could copy and paste her email into a post. She isn’t really guest posting, but she should be…
The reason I decided to write the email to you was because I feel deeply about the importance of sharing and supporting in this parenting business. The problem with advice is that it is always so varied and can cause more harm than good. Advice is one of those pain in the arse things that you don’t realise the importance of until it is too late. I am not for a second assuming my words are any more special or influential than the next mum, but one thing I have come to realise in my nearly 12 years on this job, is that the fundamental support that is so desperately needed to be a mum is slowly, slowly slipping away as the generations pass. SO many mums “appear” to be doing OK, they function, they get through the day, they wash the clothes, they pick up the kids and they appear to the world that they have this gig sorted. But from my own experiences and in witnessing others, it can often be those strong mums or in-control mums that don’t get the ongoing and constant “hand at their back”. These mums don’t need advice in the form of “try this, don’t do it this way….” they need the linked arms of other mums who have been through their own experiences to encircle you and gather their learned wisdom and strength and channel it through to you, so you can take an ounce of that strength and do what YOU need to do with it.
I have found the most shocking and disappointing part of mothering is that I needed to actively seek some advice when I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. How can you ask the right and relevant question when you don’t even know what it is that you are meant to be doing ? Sure, some mums have got their own mums or sisters to answer their questions or guide them, but it seems that people don’t want to “butt in” when you appear to have it all under control. If they only knew that by regularly letting themselves in the front door, throwing a load of washing on, putting the toddler in the pram and then taking you by the hand and tucking you into bed, no questions asked, would (make you cry like a baby for hours on end, and) make you feel so less alone in the world. This is what I hope to gift my daughter when she is a mum – that she is and always will be my daughter and even adult daughters (& sons) need to know that the safety net is under them.
I know, right? Genius! She goes on…
1. You are doing an excellent job. Be proud.
2. Your kids are most definitely born with their personality, and it is this personality that determines whether their brains choose to get out of bed at 3am and walk into your room. Personality cannot be changed.
3. You were born with your personality and it is this personality that determines whether you scream, cry, yell, swear, carry frustration, question her behaviour or challenge your strengths. Personality cannot be changed.
4. The entire planet is filled with humans whose personalities clash, or gel, or blend, or settle.
5. Whenever trying to sort through the endless advice or suggestions from the “well meaning people” – always, always, ALWAYS reflect on “historical” parenting and “global” parenting – knowing that something like this has happened to a pioneering woman in her tin shed from 150 years ago, who did in fact end up raising her children with all their “issues” and that they all grew, lived and died, kind of (weirdly) gives some peace. Knowing that there are mothers in Africa who face such different lives and challenges as us, but fundamentally want EXACTLY what you want for you children (peace, strength, survival), and are working just as hard for it, also gives peace. Knowing that you are currently experiencing something that another mother 100 years from now will hopefully reflect on, highlights the magnitude of humanity, and somehow reduces the magnitude of your current situation.
6. All that emotion and energy and stress and tension that I flung around during that time was an absolute waste – the energy it took for me to be that stressed did not determine the outcome of the situation, only my memory of it.
Where do you start with all those pearls? Number 6? NUMBER 6 has seriously changed. My. Life. Number 6! Thank you “BabyMac better than Dr Phil reader ” for all of this. YOU are amazing. YOU have helped me and no doubt many others too. Enjoy that glass of red tonight my friend, your good deed for the day is done.
This internet village thing we have going on is a pretty amazing sometimes isn’t it? Happy Weekend!