I was invited to an event the other day, because as a ‘natural parenting expert’ they valued my opinion. Well, the event came and went, but I’ve been thinking about that whole ˜natural parenting expert’ thing a lot. Here’s a confession for you:
I’m not a parenting expert, I’m not a natural parenting expert and because I have mentors who seem to have it all together, I’m painfully aware of where I fall short of the mark.
The problem is, because there are these women and mothers I look up to, I sometimes feel ashamed of my own short comings. So much so that I often can’t write or contribute where I’m supposed to because I feel like a fraud. So this is my confession. Here are the places I fall short of my own mark.
We watch TV.
Not all the time, and Ameli doesn’t watch kids channels. But, we have a TV and we watch it. More than I’d like, it’s more Martin and me, not Ameli, but still, we watch TV and sometimes we have the food channel or similar on in the background.
We love Disney.
I know. Don’t pounce all at once. I preferred Pixar, but now they’re one, I like Disney. We don’t watch the Princesses stuff, and so far we’ve managed to keep all the true love, fairytale, girls want to live in palaces and be saved by boys stuff out of our lives, but we adore Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan and a few of the others.
We don’t always eat organic.
And while I’m on it, we eat more sugar than we should. And because I’m not all that organised with food, sometimes Ameli has to eat pre-packaged food, like shop bought quiche. We don’t have five vegetables a day either. Sometimes we do, for a few days in a row, then we don’t for a few days in a row.
We don’t wear organic clothing.
I wish we could, and if any of us do, it’s Ameli, but we simply can’t afford it as a routine thing.
Some of our toiletries are full of chemicals.
Actually, mine are. Ameli’s are carefully selected chemical free, organic and all that. It has to be, otherwise she breaks out in welts or eczema all over. But mine are whatever’s on special.
We have plastic toys.
Only about six or seven, and I really do love wooden toys and my preference would be to have only wooden toys but that’s not how it’s worked out. When other people buy toys Ameli ends up loving and they are plastic, I don’t have the heart to get rid of them. We keep the plastic toys along with the wooden toys, the brightly coloured toys and the ones that make noises downstairs in the play room, away from the desired calm of her bed room.
We have lazy days.
In fact, at the moment I’m so tired, we have more lazy days than active days. Even on lazy days I get Ameli to dig around in the garden, play at her play kitchen (one of the plastic toys) with her wooden food toys, or get her involved in the kitchen when I’m making food. But still, some days we don’t go out or have any interactive play with other children. And I’m not sure that a lazy day should be ruined feeling guilty about not feeling well, being a little tired, or simply not feeling like going out in the rain.
I’m sure there are plenty other things I can add to the list, but I find it a little disheartening.
The thing is this I don’t believe in ˜okay’ parenting, or ˜mediocre’ motherhood. When I worked I believed in doing my best, as I think the way you work is a reflection of who you are – this is my new job, and I’m working for so much greater a cause now, why would I want it to be okay or mediocre or ‘good enough’ at it?
I do believe my child is worth striving to do my best, but I do not believe that that should include beating myself up when I have ‘down days’, when I don’t have enough money to have the things I’d prefer (organic clothing, only wooden toys, and so on) or when I’m just not able to be the mother I want all the time. Even in a ˜full time’ job you have evenings and weekends off “ in motherhood, you don’t, so ‘down time’ is to be expected.
I’m not sure yet, how to feel about others in the ‘natural parenting’ community, because the truth is that I feel so inferior, sometimes, to the other parents in my network who seem to have it all so much more together. In the meantime, however, I’ll just continue doing my best, and learn to cut myself slack where I need to.