Parenting is the biggest minefield ever.
In fact, some days, you’re probably just as well chancing your luck in a field full of mines as navigating 12 hours with a volatile child.
As we’re told over and over again, children do not come with a manual. And yet for every aspect of parenting there is, in fact, a manual. Tons of pages of conflicting advice, if you read them all.
I was reminded of this the other day when I overheard a first time pregnant woman telling someone about the book she’d already bought about the right way to raise girls.
I’m pretty sure I need this book. I’m also pretty sure that after two pages, I will be lobbing it out of the window. Because whilst there might be a right way to raise girls, when we’re late, sobbing (me, not them) and in a state of utter chaos, there is only one way. The hell raising way. I know that this is wrong. That I am psychologically damaging them. But. We. Are. Late. I simply do not have time to consider the psychological impact of denying Beaver wearing her Rapunzel hairband to school.
Still, according to the Gina bashing I overheard the other day, I needn’t lose too much sleep about what I do going forward because I have already damaged my children to the point of no return. When I left them to cry as babies.
To people who hate Gina Ford, she is the Hitler of parenting. To people who love her, she is Jesus Christ the Saviour.
And yes, I don’t mind admitting that Gina is my Saviour. Why? Because she saved me from The Baby Whisperer. The lady who wanted me to pat and shush my children to sleep every night. The lady who stood between me and my well-earned evening glass of wine. I remember one evening, patting and shushing for 51 minutes. At the end of it, Beaver was still awake and I was left wondering if I’d given birth to a baby or a puppy.
So, books are all well and good in theory. But they are just that. Theory. And what works for one won’t work for another. Some mothers, who I like to think of as Miracle Mothers, don’t even read a book. Imagine having that much instinct! I literally can only imagine.
The truth is we all have instincts where our own kids are concerned. Even me. The Ginas and the Baby Whisperers are there to guide us on our way (and make a pretty buck at the same time), but a mother’s instinct is the biggest tool we’re given. No one knows or loves our children like we do.
Of course, this doesn’t mean we get it right. All of the time. Crikey, most days I’d settle for any of the time.
Because no matter what we feel or do now, we simply cannot guarantee what is best. Ultimately. Our kids are not much more than a science experiment and it’s only in some 20 years’ time, that we’ll know what the results are.
When our offspring are old enough to tell us where we went wrong.
I, for one, cannot wait.