You’d think it would be easy. Being nice. Being kind. Being supportive. However, it amazes me that there are people out there, who think they know how to do a better job at raising your child and are not afraid to put it across to you. Ofcourse, the usual ‘know-it-all’ mums exist and have existed since the dawn of time, but I’ve also come across dads and the not-yet-child bearing women out there, who think they have a right to teach you; a mum, how parenting is done.
Now, let’s be honest here. Ofcourse, we are all guilty of making judgements; I know I have done it too. However, we all must understand that there is no ‘right’ way of parenting. There is no perfect mum out there and there is no step-by-step guide which teaches you that perfect parenting technique. We all learn through experiences, one day at a time. However, there are a few tips that I think would help and would like to share, when chatting to a panda-eyed, frazzled and coffee addict mum of a young child.
Please don’t judge
We mums are humans. Humans that make mistakes, that get tired, that are very emotional and those that need a break.
I can’t tell you about the numerous times people have come up to me and commented about my daughter’s weight or eating habits. She is small and has always been this way. In my opinion, she eats and drinks well, Alhamdullilah. Yes, there are days when she is really picky about what is on her plate. Those days I get angry at her, I try to bribe her, I put her in front of the IPad… just to get her to eat something. That’s the time I need you not to judge me.
Because you haven’t been there when I spend hours of my day at the dining table with her, first for breakfast, then lunch, and then again at dinner; patiently waiting for her to finish her meals when I could be doing something else. Because you haven’t been there when I wake up early even on a weekend just to make sure she has her regular glass of Pediasure milk early in the morning at her usual time, when I could be having a long lie-in in my bed. Because you haven’t been there when I feed her 9:00 at night, just before she goes to bed with a full stomach, when I could be watching some TV after a tiring day.
Please don’t criticise
We human mums are trying our best. You see, the wonderful thing about babies is that they are all different. So, whatever parenting technique would have worked for someone else’s child, or even your first child, may not necessarily work for your current young child. Oh well!
My daughter is a smart cookie, MashAllah. She understands a lot. She also understands when she is told not to do something, yet goes on to do it. Yes, it’s pretty cute and a few of her tantrums have made me laugh. She also knows all about how to use her crocodile tears and get some extra cuddles from daddy. The criticism towards me starts when I try to discipline her, on days where she will not have her way. If we mums are too firm, we get criticised for being too harsh, yet if are too lenient, we get criticised for spoiling the little ones. There’s no winning, is there, but remember that’s the time I need you not to criticise my parenting style.
Because you weren’t there to wipe her tears when she threw a tantrum for wanting to wear nothing but her favourite tshirt that was in the pile of dirty laundry. Because you weren’t there feeling like wanting to run away, when she was spitting out half chewed pasta all over her dress and the floor, in a fine dining restaurant. Because you weren’t there to calm her down when she refused to share her toys with her cousin and pushed him hard.
Seriously, we mums love some help. Help with feeding the child, so that the mum can enjoy her meal. Help with looking after the child for a couple of hours, so that the mum can get herself a good blow dry and a manicure. Help with cleaning the vomit and the poop, because the baby honestly doesn’t mind who cleans him/her.
Remember I was telling you about the ‘not-yet-child-bearing’ women who think they know how parenting is done. Recently on the occasion of Eid, as I was going through my instastories, I came across an Instatory of a 20+ young lady who must have gone to her local mosque to pray the Eid prayers. She mentioned about mums and questioned why they bring their kids to the mosque. I’m guessing the kids were noisy, and I get it. I understand a mosque is a place of worship and you can’t have kids running around while there are others praying with full sincerity. However, instead of sitting in silence and complaining about the mother, why not try and help out? Children find it hard to sit still and they most definitely not know the meaning of ‘quiet as a mouse’, but that doesn’t mean that after a woman has children, she should not leave her house in fear she may bother other people out there or in fear the children may have a full-fledged meltdown.
There is no right way
So, you see as long as a mother is not intentionally mistreating or neglecting her child, and the child appears happy and making developmental progress, you must respect the mum’s style of parenting. Give her space, trust her judgement, advice when asked and always offer to provide help and support. I can assure you that even though the mum appears tired, forgetful, sleep-deprived and at times a hot mess, at the end of the day, she loves her child unconditionally like no one else in the world ever could.
Are you a mum who seems to get given advice on how to be a ‘better’ parent or if you have a story to share about parenting styles, I’d love to hear from you.