I was reading a parenting magazine recently and an article in there made me feel like a rotten mum. It was about how television might not actually be that bad for your kids. It suggested that by the time 4pm rolls around and your four year old's micro-nap is over, a program or two is certainly ok, providing it is an educationally based program with the learning objectives clearly described. I've always thought my children's education through TV has been quite thorough and well rounded. From about 7:30am, the girls have their lessons in Spanish (Dora, The Explorer), mathematics (Team Umizoomi), social skills and listening (Max and Ruby), time management (Tickety Toc), social studies (Bubble Guppies), animal welfare and environmental studies (Go Diego, Go), music (Hi5) and patience and tolerance (having to watch Teletubbies because Baby Scarlett likes it). Then it's bed time. Meals are somewhere in between. But I can tell you they're not organic. Or should even be called 'meals'. They get exercise going to the cupboard for snacks and through fighting each other.
Actually, it wasn't just one article. Everywhere I turn, I feel as though I have, or am in the process of, letting my kids down in the parenting stakes. Too much sugar, not enough water, too much television, not enough exploration of nature. Not fully toilet trained at 3 and a half? What the? Still has a dummy? Are you kidding me? Bad. Bad Mummy.
I know I'm not the only mum, or dad for that matter, who often feels quite inadequate as a parent. Unrealistic expectations are placed on all of us at some point during our parenting journey. Those who are doing it alone, those who put their kids in full-time childcare, those who put their kids in too many extracurricular activities. Hell - even those without kids are being judged about why they don't/won't/can't go down the parenting path. No one can win and there will always be someone who will question what you do as a parent. However, we can only do what we can do. It's time we stopped judging and rating each other on our ability to raise our kids. Are you with me??
I would have loved this piece back when I became a first time mum. And a second time mum. Even a third and fourth time mum. I'm glad I have come across this gem now though, with my fifth child, to reassure me that I am, in fact, a good mum after all.
I wish I knew who wrote this. I would love to give him or her the recognition they deserve.
I am a good mum.