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12.1.12

How to be a Good Mother

 I will confess from the get go that I have, at this point, only watched half of this programme. With Harry not settling downstairs I needed to head to bed with him. In doing so I fired up Twitter using UberSocial on my phone and was greeted by so many tweets about Channel 4's 'How to be a Good Mother'.

A few things surprised me.

How many people were getting wound up by what they saw.

This would've been me until last year. After I had Harry, experienced birth trauma and the severe anxiety, something clicked.
I saw life for what it was/is. I realised just how short life is and do I want to spend time worrying about what other people are doing? Judging other people? Questioning what other people do?
Or do I want to just concentrate on what I'm doing with my own children?
Last year I would've watched this programme and judged those mothers.
I would've criticised them, questioned what they did etc.
But now. I respect them for their choices. I watch with almost a new set of eyes, being the best way to describe it, and really want to learn about how we are different, what we do differently, why we do these things differently.
I find it really hard to understand some things that people get wound up by. Ok this particular mum does it this way but she's not making YOU do it that way too. She might think her way of parenting is better, and is therefore sharing it for all to see, but she's no way on the tv to force you to take on her way of parenting.

We see constantly parents, mostly mothers, confessing to things we have done wrong, things we would change. You only have to search the hashtag #mummyfail on Twitter to see this and to notice how many blog posts are written about our failings and bad days.
For this I applaud these mothers for thinking what they are doing is worthy enough to go onto a tv programme to suggest they are being a good mother (no #mummyfail's here) whether or not I would follow their way with my children.
I bet if I asked you, yes you, if you were the perfect parent you'd say no.
So my question to you: If you think you are not the perfect parent, then do you think you should judge other parents?

Throughout what I saw I found myself comparing things these parents did with what I did/do. There were somethings I found a bit strange and things I wouldn't do but I accepted that these were right for the parents featured.
What I also did was to recognise where we had similarities.
Breastfeeding, cosleeping, being stay at home mums and so on.
I didn't see any evidence of this being talked about on Twitter or Facebook for that matter. Only negative comments were made.

Something that parents say that I see a lot is "we all have our own ways of parenting" Stating that we don't like it when others judge us or question what we do.
So why do we see it fit to do the same?
I've experienced this quite often with some choices I've made. Mostly extended breastfeeding (feeding Charles until he was 18 months and being prepared to have fed him for longer) and co-sleeping.
It has always surprised, shocked and actually hurt me that people think they have the right to question why I have done these things and why I do these things.
I would never question why people choose to bottle feed or stick their newborn baby into a cot in their own bedroom from very early on.
Although I am interested in why some mothers don't want to breastfeed or don't like it. This isn't in a judgemental way, simply because, as someone who loves to breastfeed, I am curious when another mum doesn't or doesn't even want to attempt too.

I have a friend who has an opinion on each of her friends parenting and probably mine behind my back I expect, never a good opinion I must add, yet if anyone was to question her parenting choices, decisions she has made with her child she would be highly offended and hurt.

So unless it effects us and our children then does it matter how others parent? No matter how extreme or different to us?