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Can we stop with the politics of division?

I’m not sure if someone somewhere has realised that parents have the potential to be a powerful force and therefore the best way to stop us joining together and turning up at the gates of power wielding pitchforks and burning torches is to ensure that we are divided

Either way it feels to me that every day, in many ways people are trying to push wedges between parents

I feel rather uncomfortable reading about a budget designed to help the ‘hard working’ – how do you define hard working? Does the government not realise that most people are trying hard and in this current economic climate we are all working, harder, longer and trying to scrimp and save every step of the way

If you stand back from it all – surely the fundamental thing about being a parent, that holds true for almost every single parent, is that you are trying awfully hard to do the best you can for your child. End of.

Yet the media and politicians, in particular, seems determine to divide us into camps and to set us at each other’s necks on issues which shouldn’t be a major battle ground


Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding

The main point is that you are trying to do your best, that yes breastfeeding is great if you can and if you have the right support but formula is not poison and far better than letting your child starve


Co-sleeping vs cry it out

Different things work for different people, every parent is trying to do the right thing to install healthy sleep patterns in their child and every parent is trying to find a way to get enough sleep


Purees vs baby led weaning

People have different tolerances for mess and control, people have differing hang ups about food and how to eat – base line is we are all trying to ensure our children get a healthy diet that will help them to grow


One working parent vs two working parents

In an ideal world we would all be free to make the choices that work best for us and our families without money being an issue, unfortunately it isn’t like that and a whole lot of us are forced into places that don’t really work out for us. Surely we should be about trying to enable families to make choices rather than being forced to do (or not do) things that aren’t right for them


TV vs no screen time, free range vs helicopter, homemade organic food vs pre-made pouches, private vs state school, school vs home educating, babywearing vs buggies, brand new vs pre-loved and on and on it goes

Are these really massive divisions or have we just been made to feel that they are?

Parenting should be about looking at other parents and thinking we’re all in this together, trying to do our best

It should be about more of those moments where you find yourself trying to deal with a trantruming child in public and look up to see another parent smile at your with a look in their eyes of sympathy that says ‘I’ve been, I survived – good luck’

It should be about those incredible moments when a stranger, usually an elderly lady, comes up to you and out of the blue congratulates you on your delightful children

It should be about accepting that we do things differently and differently doesn’t mean that our choices are wrong or not respected but that other people have decided to do things differently, in a way that works for them and based off their life, their circumstances, their family

Together parents can be an almighty force

We all want the same thing – a better world for our children, support whilst we do our best to raise them as well as we can and more sleep

Are you in?

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20 comments to Can we stop with the politics of division?

  • Charlotte

    Just wanted to say – hear, hear!

  • The problem though, I think, is human nature (although the media and government don’t help, clearly). Because there’s no one set way of raising a child, every different choice that another parent makes is, implicitly, a rejection of a choice that you have made.

    So if I decide to bottle feed my children and you breast feed, that’s because you’ve decided that bottle feeding isn’t the right thing for your child.

    Now that’s all well and good and your child is your child and your life is your life and so of course what’s right for you may not be right for me and vice versa. But if I’m tired and hormonal, and worried (because we all are, constantly, aren’t we?) about whether I’m doing the right thing, then your choice, made for all the right reasons, probably none of which apply to me, can feel like a criticism of me, and of what I’m doing for my child.

    It’s not, of course it’s not, but it can feel like it. Because we’re all vulnerable and frightened and searching for the ideal of perfection we’re fed (and here I do blame the media – as you’ve blogged about before).

    So yes, while I think outside forces could help us get, and work, together, and in our rational moments I’m sure we’d all want it to be like that, perhaps it’s our less rational selves that are, sometimes, our own worst enemies.

    But to your final question – when I’ve got my sane hat on – I’m in!

    • Hannah Brewer

      You make good points but do you think that if culturally we began being supportive of other’s choices rather than seeing them as a challenge of our it might help? Perhaps if we felt confident in our own choices and knew we’d made them based on the best information?

  • Absolutely I’m in. I’m all for a laissez-faire attitude to childrearing. Whatever works, to get you through these years. Of course we’re all going to be judgemental about something – that’s human nature (for me, it’s parents who let their kids watch TV while they eat dinner, and give them loads of junk food). But getting hung up on purees is ridiculous, and the choice whether or not to go out to work should be completely personal.

  • On the whole, I think a lot of parents do accept each others’ choices. The media definitely blows divisions out of proportion. And anyway, most of us pick and mix from all those options!

    • Hannah Brewer

      Totally – was told I wasn’t properly AP because I went out to work, irrespective of finding AP childcare, breastfeeding and co-sleeping – is a set of choices not so black and white

  • Such a good post! i’m going to link to this in my post tomorrow 🙂

  • I’m in and all for it. I know it can be difficult for some to accept another’s way of raising kids but a bit of respect and a healthy dose of tolerance makes life a heck of a lot easier!

  • Great rant Mrs M, made me feel positive about all my choices! Yes I blame the media, if there weren’t aspects to disagree about they would have less ‘debates’ to write about I suppose. We all have to trust our own decisions, and sometimes it’s difficult to be that confident, as Harriet pointed out.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Very hard to be confident when all you read is about how each choice is going to ruin your child’s life – but then I guess parents are all fab doesn’t really sell newspapers

  • Oh my God, I’m so in!! All that matters is happy childhood and then a content adult with happy memories of his/her childhood at the end of all this! Whatever my parents did, they did it well because all I can remember is lots of laughter and love!

  • fab! and we should put the books down to some extent and go with our motherly intuition and advice from family & friends, adapting as we need to suit our own lives. We all need to do what’s best for ourselves but everybody’s different and complicated.

    I wanted to do better with breast feeding than i did second time around but it just didn’t work out, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up, as long as you are doing your best, it’s good enough.

  • Absolutely, I detest all the in-fighting. It wastes everyone’s time and energy and we end up with the same outcome – we all like to do things a little differently.

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