Parent Shaming: Are You Really That Bad

We’re talking about mum guilt, well not just mum-guilt of course because we understand that dads too can have it, but it’s often only spoken about from a women’s perspective.

As parents we can fall victim to the invisible pressure from others to live up to a certain standard of parenting. With hashtags such as #familygoals & #parentingwins to describe people success and generally brag about how well they’re raising their children or holding their family together splashes across social media, it’s no wonder we’re feeling a little bad about ourselves now and again.

getting the same outfit is a sign of great parenting

you can also make outfits out of grandma’s curtains

Why invisible pressure? It’s an invisible pressure because what we view either in real life or portrayed on social media is a tiny pixel of the whole picture. We know all this yet still we measure ourselves against false idols. It may be that you especially need a clean and tidy environment in order to feel calm, you may need this before you can do anything else. Your house might be so insta-worthy it makes a show-home look inferior and that’s ok, it’s also ok if you’re reading this surrounded by mess, avoiding the dish pile stacked in the kitchen. It’s all ok.

Our house is always messy. I like it that way. I don’t worry about children spilling things and I don’t worry about cleaning too much. It means people live in the house and I always try to reflect that relatability into my movies.

Steven Spielberg

Next time you visit someone’s house that’s immaculate, rather than making it about you and feeling inferior, think for a moment about the panic attack they could’ve been avoiding by ensuring their house was spotless. Alternatively, next time you visit someone who’s house is a mess don’t let them feel ashamed, let them know that we’re human and that’s more than ok. In fact, it’s a damn relief. That mum may leave your unruly mess breathing a sigh of relief, you could be mortified she caught you off guard but she may be secretly thanking you that she measures up just fine after all.

The current stigma seems to have us believe that if your and your kid’s outfits aren’t coordinated and matched, if everything in your house isn’t labelled and put in its specific box then you must be doing it wrong. If you are living that way: good for you, if you aren’t: good for you. Our friendships and personal relationships are not chalked up to how perfect our houses are or how often we bake cookies with our little darlings.

vintage pre-covid french approach

worried couple searching online for guidance

Banish that guilt for good, set yourself as your only competition. Start small, if the big things are overwhelming break down each day, hour or activity down into a more manageable way of working. Allow yourself to admit your misgivings, you won’t believe how liberating it is.

Everyone is so busy these days that doing even the simplest of things with children get overlooked and often these are actually great opportunities for connection and bonding with your child. A local Mojacar mum tells us; “Believe it or not some of my best moments spent with the kids has been when I’ve felt a little under the weather and had to slow down, it wasn’t until I laid on the sofa watching them build forts and work as a team that I could see things more from their perspective.”

Sometimes we seem to be afraid of letting them get bored. Comparatively how often did we think we were bored as kids? Did our parents think being the ultimate activities facilitator was their role? I doubt it. Why should we be scared to let them be bored? As parents striking a balance is a tough job but among the messy faces, grubby clothes and mismatched socks I’m sure we can find a little time to relish just being with them and not focusing on ‘what society tells us we should be doing.’

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