Parenting. Doing it right.
Who determines that do you think? The doing it right bit?
I saw a meme on Pinterest today that described an ‘ideal’ childhood; there was mention of hours of unsupervised outdoor play, ‘soda’ with sugar and no TV (unless it’s Saturday morning cartoons, which for some reason is excepted).
Not long afterwards I read an article on an online news site discussing the results of the NAPLAN results, which are being released at the moment.
Basically it suggested that kids who come from middle-class homes, with mums that don’t work or work minimal hours, produce the smartest children. Or depending on your view of NAPLAN, the children that test the best.
The article said that the school your child was at didn’t really come into it, it was more about the mum being available. Phew, because we couldn’t have a private/public school debate while they were busy stoking the fires of the working/at home mum one.
There was also much chatter on the interwebs this week about parenting topics as diverse as fast food, home work, technology, after school activities and even right here on my blog, sleep overs.
Some of this chatter was supportive; simple question and answer, information and opinion seeking. Others were laden with judgement. In fact when I saw one tweet which stated “junk food is an excuse for lazy parenting” or some such thing, I had to close my browser.
For here’s the thing: doing it right? I firmly believe, that much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
If you can stay home and that’s an option that works for your family, great. If you work full time and your kids go to daycare, that’s great too. If your kids eat only organic, un-processed food, brilliant. If your kids can be left for unsupervised to play, well that’s awesome. If your kids spend an hour playing on iPad while you get some washing done, fabulous.
But if none of that is you, or if it’s a combination of all of the above and then more, it doesn’t mean you’re not doing it right.
In fact, as long as you’re doing it right for your family, is it anyone else’s business?
There are so many options; we get to make choices every day when it comes to raising our families. There’s no doubt our values and our own upbringings influence these decisions, but sometimes it’s simply trial and error.
Other times there is no choice. We have to do what we have to do, and we make the best decision we can with the information and resources we have. It’s as simple as that.
We all have moments when we doubt our parenting abilities, feel out of our depth (and if you’re anything like me, wonder how much of my parenting is contributing to her future therapy bills), and we should be able to reach out and seek advice without fear of being shot down by our peers.
So, doing it right? Well I think as long as you’re making those decisions in an informed way, not beating yourself up for the things you can’t change and doing it without judgement of others, well, to me, that’s doing it right.