I have just watched How to be a Good Mother with Sharon Horgan, shown on channel 4 last night. When I saw this was on I knew that being the perfect mother already there was nothing anyone could teach me.
Obviously I am joking. I just had to watch as although I knew it would infuriate me, and in places it did, I was also really intrigued to see the mothers that were so sure that there way was the right way. I am expecting that most people reading this saw the programme but in case anyone hasn't the faintest clue what I'm on about, Sharon Horgan visited six very different mothers with contrasting parenting styles and views.
Firsty, we had the mother who had six children, number seven on the way, meaning she had been pregnant and breast feeding for 11 years! Rather her than me! She chose to home school them all and also had her own stretch mark cream. Pretty impressive and clearly supermum!! However I had to agree with Sharon's views on this one. I am currently a stay at home mum, not really through choice, but I had the same concerns as Sharon and at times long for a job. What an awful person I must be!! Seriously though whilst I admire the patience of someone who home schools it is not something I agree with as apart from the other skills that school provides, I don't believe it is healthy for parent or child to be together 24/7?
Mum number two- the continuum mother. This was by far the most irritating mother in the programme, in my opinion (and all of this is just my opinion!) There was a whole lot about this one I just did not get. Co-sleeping for example. OK, so it's not high on the list of priorities soon after birth but at some point surely most couples want to resume other bedroom activities?! This woman admits that motherhood is hard so why make it harder? Oh, I get it, to look like you are supermum. Not only did this woman breast feed, she offered herself as a wet nurse. Yep, that's right- she breast fed other people's children. I cannot get my head round this one at all. Eeeeeewwwww. She states that people opt for formula and nappies because they are easier. Yep. Shoot me. I did not want to breast feed twins. I wanted to make my life simpler! And the lack of nappies, or elimination communication as she called it (was she just making up words and jargon?) I'm not sure if this is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Surely there is a reason most of us wait until around 2 years old! My boys are about 19 months so I will be considering potty training before long. I'll be sure to use the 'piss piss' and 'poooooo' method???!!!
Ah yes the placenta lady! I've given birth to (if that's the correct turn of phrase?) three placentas and can honestly say I never had the desire to even look at them let alone cook and eat them, or drink as a smoothie. Quite possibly one of the rankest things I have seen. However, there is clearly a market for it and therefore I have to say 'good on you' to this mum who has found a lucrative, albeit bizarre, business. Her opinions on c-sections were just wrong though. I have never had one but I imagine had I, I would not like to be told I bonded less with my child as a result!
Mummy number four- the working mother into technology to the point she has a daily video call with her little boy and even had a photo of his first poo! A little odd. But also a little sweet. (the video call not the poo pic- that is just weird!) This working mum is highly organised beyond belief. I admit I am one to favour the lists! My family make fun of me over my list making, but no-one is more organised than this lady!
Mummy five is waaaay too overprotective of her painfully embarrassed teenage son! I have two sons and I can see me being protective of them, as any parent would be, my daughter also. However, surely being that strict will lead to him rebelling? And then..and then we discover what she does for a job!! She says she doesn't care what others think of her and that she's earning a living. True. The carefree attitude is one to admire but still way too humiliating for a fourteen year old. Oh, and her phone makes sex noises when it rings or she gets a message. Enough said.
Mum number six is a trained stunt woman who thinks children should take risks. Risks that include her own very young child not wearing a helmet on a bike. As well as having her own child she is step mum to her husband's son and daughter and refers to herself as the evil stepmother! By her own admission she never wanted children but her description of her bond with her children, particularly her baby, are actually quite good. She explains how the love grows each day and I think that is a fair point. Our children can drive us crazy but on a daily basis I can find something, or learn something new about them, to make me smile. She does however claim that having a child is just like having a dog. I can honestly say none of my children have ever crapped on a pavement. Perhaps if I was continuum mummy??! I also struggled with her sitting at the table until everything was eaten rule. With my nearly 5 year old daughter I'd never leave the table. She is the worst eater and it is the bane (or one of the banes) of my life!!
So what did I conclude from this programme? Well, apart from developing a new found fondness for nappies, I think the programme shows that each of these women are happy and completely confident in their parenting methods. Their children are also happy and that is what counts. I don't really agree with a lot of what I saw but that doesn't make it wrong, just not right for me and my children. I think to be a good mother you just need to do the best you can and believe in yourself- something I have never been good at. If you find something that works for you then go for it. There's always going to be someone or something making you feel guilty but so long as your children are happy I am sure that means you are doing a good job! That said I am in no rush to eat a placenta!