Parental eggshells

Have just spent a few days with some old friends, many of whom have babies around the same age as Bub. It’s been a fascinating and generally very positive time, seeing how their little ones are getting on and sharing our experiences so far.

What it did highlight to me though was the sensitivities mums often hold that can come to the forefront when a group gets together.

It seemed like many mums (me included) had some aspect of their baby’s life they were sensitive or defensive about, something that was a disappointment or a challenge. It might be their birth experience, their challenges with breast or bottle feeding, their baby’s sleep or some other aspect of their shared life together.

It was an eye opener for me as I had considered myself pretty laid back about how things are going. But it wasn’t till I was with four mums all of whom have babies who sleep through the night that I realised how defensive I quickly became. It’s amazing how you can interpret the slightest comment or action as a slight on your situation. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one to experience this over the course of our time together.

It made me reflect on how sad it is that our society sets such impossibly high standards for mums and babies in almost all aspects of their lives.

This isn’t to belittle the experiences of those who’ve faced tremendous difficulties, as I’m sure it can be incredibly hard to overcome a bad birth experience or other challenge from your first few months. Clearly these things do take time to recover from and you need the support of those around you. But there must be something wrong with our society if a majority of new mums find themselves feeling defensive or upset about a range of issues. Why is it seemingly normal to feel bad?

I’m sure very few mums (or the babies themselves) will dwell on these perceived shortcomings in later years, instead recalling all the good times. But we blunt our enjoyment of our own babies first few months by focusing on the few things we couldn’t or wouldn’t get ‘right’.

I’ve no answers to this, just interesting to note it in myself and (I think) in others. Anyone else recognise this?


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One Response to “Parental eggshells”

  1. MayBee Says:

    I love the title of this post and totally recognise with what you are describing. Mine are nearly two and four now, still have to remind myself to be nice to myself about my parenting! Have you heard the term ‘good enough parenting’? Apparently that is the best parents can strive for, ie you can’t get it all right. My mantra!

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