STFU With Your Parenting Labels. This Is The Only Way To Raise Kids.
Can you hear that?
It’s the sound of a million voices in your mind.
You hear them every single time you make any decision about your kids.
Is this the right thing to do? What else can I do? Would my folks have done this? How will this f**k my kids up? Will I live to rue the day?
You compare your parenting to others you know, and you fight with your conscience about exactly what is in the best interests of your child.
And that’s all just in the space of a three-minute shower.
But that’s not the worst part.
Compounding your agony and conflict is that anything parenting-related you read online these days is all about shaming mums and dads for their so-called shitty decisions in raising their kids (whom the author of a new and brilliant study 100 percent does not know personally).
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On Monday, you carried your kid’s school bag, so you’re a ‘Sherpa Parent’. Wednesday, you emailed the teacher with an excuse about homework, so you’re a ‘Concierge Parent’. Friday, you went on an excursion with your kid’s Kindy class, so you’re ‘Helicopter Parent’. And on Sunday, you’re a ‘Snowplough’, ‘Attachment’, and a ‘Permissive Parent’, because you’re nothing if not a brilliant multi-tasker.
Since I became a parenting writer, I’ve explored all these labels; and no offence to the academics who’ve dedicated their lives to researching the science of parenting, but it’s all B.S.
I won’t even bother to explain them, because these terms are not descriptions, or even guidelines: they are labels used by society, other parents, and even ourselves, to criticise how we’re handling parenting.
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The labels tell you you’re doing too much, or too little. You’re not teaching your kids independence, or you’re neglecting them entirely.
Whatever you are, or aren’t doing, is wrong, and not enough. Their futures are being ruined, you’re raising brats and menaces to society, and just FYI, it’s all your fault.
Every ‘style’ of parenting implores, “won’t somebody think of the children?!”, when that’s all you do 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.
Precisely none of this is helpful when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, regularly feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, that everyone else is doing better than you are, and those voices in your head just will not STFU.
There’s no positivity in any of it; in fact, we’re being repeatedly told that we are a new breed of toxic parents.
It’s peak level insanity, and I’ve had enough.
I’m starting a movement, and I’m calling it Parenting Positivity.
Like the Body Positivity movement, which is about acceptance of everyone with a body, Parenting Positivity we will give us the freedom to share our stories without fear of being named (a ridiculous label), and shamed.
Let the endless possibilities of that sink in for a moment.
You could just proudly declare: “This is me parenting, and it doesn’t look like your parenting, but it’s just as legit”, and society will adore you, as you so rightly deserve.
Here’s an example of my proposed hashtag in use:
“I did the best I could with what I knew and what I had and no one died! #parentingpositivity”
Below is a more specific example: I posted a photo recently of my son eating Twisties with chopsticks, because I won’t allow orange-stained hands in my house, and, yes, my child is terrified of me.
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If I’d used #parentingpositivity, people would accept me for the unreasonable fun-killer and poison feeder that I am, and withhold all labels and critique.
That would avoid potential feedback such as:
Did you just let him eat whatever he wants? Are those Twisties at least organic? How long before dinner did he eat them?
Are the chopsticks single use? Couldn’t you at least have put them in a bowl for him?
Exactly what kind of parent terrifies a kid into doing this?
Instead, with the Parenting Positivity movement, I’d be applauded for a ‘genius parenting hack’, diligently enforcing the ‘my house, my rules’ code of discipline, teaching my son a skill from another culture, and for being an incredible parent in general.
How good does that sound?
Let’s try to share #parentingpositivity around a little, because Lord knows, we all need the reinforcement.
You may not ever be able to stop the voice in your head, but you can at least silence everyone else’s.
Viva la revolution.