What is it with parenting labels? When I became a parent I expected many things. I was prepared for sleepless nights, dirty nappies and losing my social life what I wasn’t prepared for was the plethora of parenting labels that get thrown around and the judgement that can come with them. It didn’t even cross my mind but I soon found out about them.
Attachment parent, gentle parent, crunchy mum, happy hippy mum, helicopter parent, tigers mums, Gina ford mums…the list goes on and on. Where did these parenting labels come from? I asked my mum if they were around when she was parenting small people over 40 years ago and no they weren’t, she was just a mum. But these labels certainly exist now with countless facebook groups and internet forums set up for them often complete with heated posts judging others for their parenting choices(weaning, breast vs bottle, routines and crying it out are favourite topics). There are also countless parenting books out there to go along with different styles though I have never read a single parenting book(yet) so couldn’t tell you much about those.
Of course people enjoy chatting with others who are like minded and everyone wants to think they are doing this parenting thing right. But in a time where we try not to label our children it seems odd that we label our parenting instead. Why define ourselves in that way? I have been guilty in the past of labeling myself and maybe even being a bit judgy but as my boys get older I realise that what works for one parent or child doesn’t work for all and I try to reserve my judgement(I’m not a saint).
To be frank i really i don’t think i fully fit any of these labels, I am just a mum doing what feels right at any given moment; one who sits with her toddler every night until he goes to sleep and lets him in my bed, one who lets my children eat chocolate and biscuits , one who cloth bums, who doesn’t have a set routine and one who sometimes gets cross and shouts or some days pops the tv on for 20 minutes so I can drink a cup of tea without being climbed on, one who home educates, one who loves being with my children but really appreciates the days they go out with grandma. I flit from one style to another according to what my instincts tell me.
Being a parent is hard enough without pigeonholing myself.
What do you think about parenting labels? Are they needed? Do you label yourself?