I’m a sucker for a quiz. From “which side of the brain do you use” to “which ice cream flavour are you”, I’m no stranger to clicking away at the quizzes that seem to be popping up online on Facebook lately.
What I will do with the knowledge that my personality reflects that of a young John Lennon, I’m strawberry flavour, and the celebrity I’d get along with best is Jennifer Aniston, I’m not sure, but still, harmless enough.
We all like to categorise ourselves, sometimes. But I think there is one area in which it is not just fun – it can be a little dangerous.
We are all mums, and when we have newborns, I think children are the great equaliser – it doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many uni degrees, or how many younger siblings you babysat: when we are confronted with a tiny, lovely, terrifying screaming baby that we have total responsibility for, we are all as terrified, charmed and bewildered as each other.
When they get older, though, we get a bit smugger, a bit more defined in our parenting style – and that’s fine. But there is a glut of articles, TV segments, quizzes and discussion now on where we fall on the mothering spectrum. And it’s not just a bit of fun. It can create division, bad feeling, resentment, hostility – not what we need when as we all know, this parenting thing is hard enough.
Let’s get this straight, age by age:
Babies – Attachment v mainstream, breast v bottle, sleep training v no sleep training. It’s all the same, ladies. You’ll end up with a kid who is the SAME as the other kids. And if you don’t agree with the bottle-feeding mum over there: zip it right now.
Toddlers – Kindy versus time with mum. It’s all the same, ladies. Kids will have good days and bad days with you, at kindy, with Dad, wherever.
Schoolgate: Alpha mums, working mums, stay at home mums, school helper mums, disorganised mums, corporate mums, hippie mums, battler mums, well off mums. The kids – they don’t care what kind of mum you are, just don’t be too embarrassing. Any competition with other mums is about you. And it’s brought on by the media trying to define us by our jobs, attitude, what we put in our kids lunchboxes, how much we help out at school.
Don’t buy into it. It’s absolute Nonsense.