17 February 2014

Love is the answer

There have been a few articles and blogs recently about stay at home parents versus working parents and how we all understand and love each other's perspective and shouldn't buy into all the us versus them stuff.

But I found too many of them a little bit smug and patronising.  Oh look at you SAH parent - you dedicate yourself 24/7 to your children every day of the year and never get that adult stimulation - how brave.  Oh look at you working parent, you work all day and then come home and guilt parent so you never really get any you time - even though you do get to pee on your own.

You know something.

It's middle class angsty bollocks.  Judgemental, middle class, angsty bollocks.

The fact is - the vast majority of parents are doing the very best they can, with the resources they have, in a manner that works for them and their families.  Nobody is right.  Nobody is wrong.  We do what we have to do to make the life we choose for ourselves. And we are lucky to have those choices. Some people's choices are inexplicable to us because they seem downright bonkers.  But that's fine.  One person's bonkers is another person's sane and reasonable.

Bringing themselves up beautifully
It's like home birthing.  A number of my girlfriends wanted (and got) home births.  See this just seems ridiculous to me - not because of all the medical vs natural vs psychological vs whatever - but because giving birth is really freakin' messy and I can not fathom why you would want to spend all that time pushing a baby out your hoohar and then have to think about the housework before you fall into the dazed and confused sleep of the new mother.

It's not that it's wrong or right.  It's just daft to me.  Because I never want to think about housework. Especially when I have just given birth.  Or the 18 years after. #Justsayin'.

Or consider the recent fuss around 'stimulating' home environments.  Sometimes when the kids and I are at home we do craft, or blow bubbles, or dance, or yell, or do something which is considered 'structured play'.  But we don't do it because it's 'structured play', it's because hanging out with my kids is fun and sometimes they want to do craft, or blow bubbles, or dance, or yell.  We're not doing it for the development of their brains, we're doing it because I love them and they are really, on the whole, very easy to please. Especially when you spend the $12 on a bubble machine and you don't actually have to blow them, you can just play with your smartphone or photograph the little darlings trying to catch them.

Sometimes all they want to do is lie on the couch with me and watch the same episode of 'Dora' 357 billion times. So we do.  And I don't worry about how many minutes of screen time they have had on that particular day, because I'm not that kind of parent.  Those are not the parameter's by which I judge my own parenting.

My own.

Not yours.

If structured play and counting minutes of Dora is your comfort zone - go absolutely gangbusters on that. And please invite my children around because they'll probably have a ball.

Don't judge yourself by other parents, or your parents, or your in-laws, or your work colleagues, or your friends or that nosy cow in the supermarket who decided to add her ten cents of advice - because no matter how much you love them, they are not you.  They are not raising your children, living your life or dreaming your dreams.  It doesn't matter that they disagree with you - you're probably doing just fine doing it your way.  So listen to them.  Then ignore them.

You don't have to do it anybody else's way but yours.  Stay at home, go to work, take them to work, whatever.  Just love the kids.  Love them big.  Love them boldly.

And it'll all work out fine.