Mothers Need More Support

(Last Updated On: July 10, 2019)

 

support for mums

When Kasey was a newborn, I used to breastfeed her to sleep. I was promptly told: No, you can’t do that! What will you do when she’s 4? Are you going to breastfeed forever? I did it anyway. She was particularly colicky and clingy and no one would get any sleep unless I did that. I did what worked for us, to give us that little ounce of sanity we needed.

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My bub weaned off on her own gradually and by 6 months, I stopped breastfeeding. Now, she was on the dummy. And the nurses and experts and even friends would go: But you can’t do that. When are you going to wean her off? You’re not going to let her be one of those talking 3 year olds still on the dummy, are you?

We weaned her off before she turned 2.

I think mums can all agree that when it comes to our children, there is always pressure coming from everywhere. Multiple external sources and internally from ourselves. The stress is never-ending, the expectations are stifling even though it is usually out of goodwill and concern for the well-being of our kids.

I recently met up with a friend who is a first-time mum with a 13 month old who doesn’t sleep through the night. Her husband is also working away so she has to cope with first time motherhood on her own most of the time.

She confided that she stopped going to playgroups because it just got harder and harder dealing with unnecessary comparisons between children or well-meaning advice/pressure from other mums about her parenting. If her child wasn’t sleeping through the night, she must be doing something wrong as a mum. In fact, when she was talking to me about her routine with her child, she kept putting herself down with “Oh I’m just not good with this” and “It’s my fault, I know.”

It made me very sad that instead of feeling well supported, she felt weak and lacked confidence in her own efforts as a mum. Solely because people were constantly telling her she was doing things wrong.

I’m a firm believer in the view of “whatever works for you”. No two people are the same, no two kids are the same and no two situations are the same.

I don’t believe in pushing personal opinions down another’s throat because what might work in one situation, might not work in another. I don’t believe in putting people down, intentionally or otherwise.

At the end of our little playdate, my friend said to me that she felt like she should have met up with me a lot earlier because it was refreshing that someone was not blasting her every action and practices!

Motherhood is hard enough as it is. I just wished there was more support all around, especially for mums who already have it hard (eg. first time mums with partners who work away and have no family, friends with them, mums with special needs children etc.) and really need that confidence boost instead of another talking down.

Have you been on the receiving end of a ton of often well-meaning but stressful pressure about your parenting?

*Linking up with Essentially Jess

photo credit: sindorella //cc

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17 Comments

  • I agree- women spend an awful lot of time judging and criticising each other- ever read the comments on articles about breastfeeeding in public or choosing to formula feed, for example? We would do so much better to lift each other up instead of tearing one another down. Tell your friend- my 23 month old has slept through maybe twice. It’s normal and it will pass and I hope she has a good partner that helps her to have a rest xx

    • Thanks for your lovely message, Amy. I will be telling my friend that 🙂 I wish mums were more supportive and uplifting towards each other too. Though sometimes, I guess it is unintentional…

  • Yes, support is definitely what is needed for new mums, not criticism and adivce only if asked for! We co-slept and you can imagine how many people told us not to do that. By the time he was 2 he was in his own bed! He’s now 6 and mostly stays in his own bed (has been coming into us quite a bit lately, not sure why). It doesn’t “ruin” or “spoil” them. They are only little for such a short period of time. We should enjoy them – and do whatever it takes to get the most sleep/function the best! x Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

    • Sometimes there really isn’t any need to worry! I really believe things just work themselves out most of the time. I agree we should just try to enjoy. These short childhood years go by too quickly!

  • Absolutely and I have decided to ignore it all. My baby needs to be fed to sleep but in my mind if it’s not one battle it’s another so shouldn’t be a big deal. Fingers crossed she weans herself too!

    • Hi Hayley! Oh sometimes it’s so necessary for our own sanity to ignore it and do what works best for ourselves. Good luck!

  • I wish I had truly accepted that all babies are different and parents can all do their own thing, I hope your friend knows she is not the only one with a toddler still not sleeping through. There are tons of differences but there are also tons of things we are in the same boat with iykwim, xxx

    • I think my friend just feels the pressure because all the other kids she knows at playgroup are sleeping well. At least that’sthe impression she’s getting and everyone’s telling her she’s doing this and that wrong. There are tons of differences with every child and I just feel sad when mums are made to feel like they are doing a terrible job!

  • I stopped going to mothers groups because of the same reason your friend mentioned. There was just too much comparing and not enough support. I think people don’t stop to think before they say stuff. If people just filtered their thoughts and opinions a little more often, life for new mums would be a lot easier.

    • I agree, Grace. Would be great if people stopped to think about how their words can affect someone else, even if they mean it for good!

  • Going through this twice I wish I have learned all babies are different. I lived through so many of you’re supposed and not supposed to this and that. I lived with my MIL at the time and she gave so many advises including so many superstitions. Mother’s group made me felt like my babies weren’t ‘normal’ but I still went because I didn’t have friends and I needed to get away from MIL.

    • It must have been so hard for you Coco. I’m glad I don’t live with my MIL lol. I have 2 MILs, 1 I get along with, she’s very nice. The other will go ahead and do things I said no to my kids about!

  • It’s worse with first babies. Everyone is so fixated on what they are doing and how it’s working, and it’s all they focus on. All mum’s are sure they are doing something wrong, so we are all hypersensitive about something, and then overcompensate by being too proud over other things.
    I find once mum’s have got a few kids under their belts, playgroups are much nicer places to be. 🙂

    • I think you nailed the whole analysis! It really is some sort of hypersensitivity to begin with then an overcompensation of some kind afterwards.

  • It can be hard being a modern mum these days. The pressure, expectations, judgements … and you’re your worst critic. You try and do what you think is best but then second guess yourself when you read something different or a friends tells you how their doing their parenting gig.

    Before kids I use to judge parents thinking they’re doing it wrong when they looks like they’re struggling but now being in their shoes I’ve realised they’re doing the best they can and not to judge anymore.

    Great post

    • Hi Camielle, I used to judge other parents before I became a mum too. Let’s say I will never do it again! Most parents are just trying their best to get through and doing what they think is best for their kids. I think everyone just needs to be more supportive of one another and understand that there’s no one way of doing things 🙂 Thanks for popping over Camielle!

  • I loved reading this post! I think the mummy groups I’ve been to always has some folks comparing notes but they do it more out of a desire for solving existing problems. Though having said that, I’m sure people get envious or jealous as well. Have I ever felt pressure to keep up? Yes, but with some limit. E.g. I felt the pressure to continue breastfeeding till my son is older (maybe 2) but it was not working out for us because he only pretty much bf-ed to sleep and he was getting most of his nutrition from formula. I cut out bf-ing when I sleep trained him and I told my mummy friends about it. Did I feel judged? A little but I think sleep is more important for my son and me. I firmly believe everyone has their own way of doing things and at their own pace.

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