The most frequent phrase I have read since I first found out I was pregnant in April 2016 is ‘breast vs bottle’.
To the mama who breastfeeds (or fed). To the mama who desperately tried to breastfeed and for many reasons it just didn’t work out like you’d hoped. To the mama who chose to bottle feed because she wanted or needed to. You’re a good mother.
There should be no ‘this vs that’ in parenting. It’s hard. We’re all horrifically sleep deprived. We constantly question whether we’re doing the right thing and then there’s always some Patronising Patricia (sorry if you’re a lovely lady called Patricia!) who will say “I’m not judging but…”.
We are all just desperately trying to do the best by our child. But you’ll see it everywhere. Breast vs bottle. Cloth nappies vs disposable nappies. Baby led weaning vs spoon feeding. Pouches vs homemade food. Screen time vs no screen time. Natural birth vs c-section. Dummy vs no dummy. WHY is there ‘vs’ anywhere in all of that?
We are not against each other. Or we certainly bloody well shouldn’t be.
If a child is healthy, happy and somewhat clean. I mean we all try our best but Daisy spends half her life looking like I’ve lost her in the back garden for half an hour however many times we bath, change and clean her up. Surely that’s enough?
I know I have previously been guilty of thinking “well if that were me…” well it’s not Frankii. So I stop myself in my tracks and remind myself how hurt I’d feel if somebody had been silently judging me.
I remember, particularly during pregnancy and in the first 6 months of motherhood I was so painfully overwhelmed by trying to make choices for Daisy. I had no idea what I was doing yet I needed to make a decision on all aspects of her life. I’d look on Google and it would be full of divisive messages boards and I never felt like I could make the right decision. Chris and my mum were the ones who helped me see through all the fog. They said “ignore all that you’re reading and listen to what YOU think is right for Daisy”. I focused on that and have done ever since.
Maybe we could all take a second to think about the wording of things. Most of the things parents are pitted against each other for, are none of anyone else’s business. “How do you feed your child?” None of my business. I hope however it is, that it works for your family. “How was your child born?” None of my business. I hope that you all were safe and healthy.
Those sorts of things.
Let’s not help create or support the ‘vs’ culture that has descended on parenting in more recent years (maybe before, but I wasn’t really aware of parenting things, y’know – pre-parenting). Let’s focus on the joining of forces. Ask a new parent how you can help. Tell then well done. Remind them they’re doing a good job, they’re doing all the possibly can and that above all else they love their baby unconditionally.
Let’s push our efforts into accepting parenting is different for everyone and stop trying to sway people to replicate the way we do it.
I have to say that Instagram, of all places, is a place that has saved my sanity and loneliness on many occasion. There is a community on there of women who are mamas and just stand up and give other mamas a round of applause. Whether we do things the same way or not. THAT is what people need. Love and support.
I guess the sentiment of this post is true for a lot of things. I can only speak of things as a woman. But I see it on websites and magazines everywhere. Women pitted against each other. Who wore it best? Weights vs cardio for women. Can’t both be right? Can’t both people who wore the same dress (God forbid!) look beautiful. Can’t a woman who enjoys lifting weights be as happy in her routine as a woman who prefers cardio?
In a world where it seems there’s a lot of things – enormously huge and teeny tiny – trying to create divides between people, I’m going to work hard at opposing that. Everybody can win when lifting each other up, there is no need for ‘vs’.