I’ve been warned yet again, by a good friend, about posting links to articles on my facebook page which might cause offence to some people.
I’m not talking about articles that are sexist, racist, or revolting. I tend to post articles that explore, and usually compare, different parenting choices and philosophies, like this, and this, or this . I link to them, because I find them interesting, and they usually reflect something about my own experiences.
So, why do they cause problems? Because people think I’m judging their own choices.
Yet I really don’t think I am. I completely understand that each individual – and I’m talking about every individual in each individual family unit – has their own experiences, knowledge and needs that shape the ‘choices’ they take in parenthood. I use ‘choices’ because I also understand that sometimes they’re not exactly first choices, and sometimes we have them foisted on us by outside forces (i.e. being unable to breastfeed for medical reasons).
It’s just that you don’t seem to be able to state your personal opinions without causing offence. Since when has offence been the first reaction, though? Why can’t we feel free to debate? Are we too scared of being wrong? Every opinion should be available for debate – how else do we actually discuss ideas? An opinion is just that – not a fact, an opinion. Something to be discussed. Mums, especially, seem to be very defensive about choices – when we should feel the right to be matter-of-fact about them. I occasionally tell people that my 4yo still requests boobfeeds. I don’t tell them that to judge what they’re doing. I tell them that because that’s part of my life and I’m finding it challenging at the moment.
On another note, Clever Mama had a guest post about the importance of women supporting each other through life. Now, I’m one of those people who always thinks they get along better with the blokes – I understand their humour, and I like their honesty (to throw in a couple of generalisations) – but the article got me thinking. When I had kids, I knew that I needed to reach out to find other mums to connect to, because it can be lonely. As a shy person, this was (and still is) agonisingly difficult or me to do. But I attended local playgroups, went to ABA meetings, and even organised some get-togethers with other mums who I went to uni with.
It was a rewarding experience, and I loved talking to other mums- especially the ones who I shared a bit of humour, philosophy, history or sleep-deprivation with. But I have always been shy. And I have always doubted that others like me. I realise now that’s connected to the anxiety, but that’s my problem, and something I’m going to have to learn to overcome.
What I’d like others to overcome (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) is the notion that by sharing ideas, opinions and parts of me – who I am – that I’m judging, being spiteful or trying to hurt. That’s just not me.
So….I’ve gone into exile in terms of facebook. I check it a couple of times a week for messages.
I’ve also gone into exile from life a bit. I’m burying myself in work – which I enjoy, but creates a lot of pressure for the few hours I work – and we don’t seem to visit people anymore. My 4yo asks if we can visit this person or that, and I keep making excuses because I can’t remember if I’ve possibly offended them, so best to stay clear.
I’ll get over it. And myself. But I just need a bit of clear thinking space where I can do a bit of soul-searching.
Ah, the serenity…