The media just love to pit women against each other, don’t they? Especially mothers. There are a million different ways to parent – everything from breast vs bottle, spoon-fed vs baby-led, attachment vs authoritative – the list goes on. And that’s just in the first few years! I try not to think about parenting a teenage Caterpillar.
The media will have you believe we are all fighting an enormous battle. That soft play areas across the land are a breeding ground for tired, angry mums fighting about the benefits of disposable nappies vs cloth. But that’s not actually my experience. Really, we are all just real women, bumbling along and trying to cope as best we can day to day.
Or is this simply because I only surround myself with honest mums?
If you look at the extremes there are two kinds of modern mothers. First, the picture perfect Facebook mums who only show their living room from the clean side and won’t admit when their toddlers have had an all day tantrum. Second, the ‘Slummy Mummy’; a supposed wine-slugging, swearing mess of a parent who loves celebrating her failures in a contest to be the world’s worst mother.
In truth, I don’t think either of those mothers truly exist. The Picture Perfect Mummy is probably just sharing a good moment from her day to cheer herself up, and The Slummy Mummy isn’t actually a hot mess verging on alcoholism because in reality she loves her kids to bits and is raising them beautifully.
Does is wind me up when someone smugly shares their perfect life with kids? Of course. But it also upsets me when someone is slammed on social media for being too happy and for enjoying motherhood too much, subsequently accused of not being ‘real’. In reality, it’s all about balance.
That’s what I try my utmost to portray in my writing; that parenting is hard as hell but also bloody wonderful. Some days I’m going to rant and some days I might gloat. Some days all I want is an hour alone with a glass of wine, sure, but then as soon as Caterpillar is with the babysitter I miss him like mad. Parenting is a constant contradiction and it’s more than okay to share it like that.
This is one reason I love these new milestone cards from Ace. Instead of soft pastel shades portraying first smiles or first steps, these cards offer a much more honest and humourous take on some of the slightly more messy firsts.
To me, these cards represent the Honest Parenting Style perfectly; not being afraid to show the, frankly, disgusting side (“Today I pooed in the bath” – eeek!) but without shying away from the adorable side either (“Today I spent the day pretending to be a dinosaur” – aww).
I don’t really mind mess, to be honest. I’m a pretty messy, untidy person and I’m more creative than logical; so if Caterpillar wants to get the kinetic sand out instead of building a Lego spaceship I’m okay with that. But I still like to restrict the mess a little or at least confine it to one room. And, importantly, with no permanent damage.
A few weeks ago Caterpillar and his cousins came up with the admirably genius plan of pouring bubble solution down their garden slide to make it “extra slidey.” Unfortunately, my son shot right off the end and through a muddy patch of grass, potentially ruining one of his cutest pairs of shorts. Three washes later and the mud still wasn’t completely gone but with a drop of Ace For Colours I think they are finally saved (until next time at least).
I wish I had had these cards when Caterpillar was a little younger as I think this one in particular would fit beautifully…
Would you like your own set of Ace’s honest milestone cards? Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win. And, as for my motherhood style, I think I’ll ignore “helicopter” and “permissive” and just stick to honest.
Parenting; it’s a messy business but somebody has to do it, eh?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Ace. Words & opinions are all my own.