Warning: You may be offended. Look away now if of a nervous disposition.
Nothing brings out the self-righteous judgemental side in a person quite so much as having a baby.
Sometimes I feel myself slipping into some of these ways of thinking, and have to give myself a mental slap in the face. Here follows some parenting myths that I would like to dispel.
Myth #1: You are a better parent if you...
breastfed for a year/ used only washable nappies/ feed your children only organic food fed by mountain streams and farmed by virgins by moonlight/ would never give your kids sweets.
If you harp on about these things (delighting in your own self-righteousness and thereby condemning all 'imperfect' parents to the scrap heap of failure) all the time then you need to know two things.
1: You are boring.
2: If the last 2 examples apply, your kids will be the ones who fill up on ice-cream and sweets at friends' and granny's house.
Have you ever been to a job interview when the potential employer asked how long you were breastfed for? No? Me neither. Neither have I been asked about my nappies of choice. Guess it doesn't matter that much then.
(Note: breastfeeding is very good for your baby, I do it and think it's great. I just don't feel superior about it.)
Myth #2: Your baby is more intelligent if...
He walked at 8 months/ potty trained at 18 months/ went to baby music, yoga and novel writing classes.
We should celebrate our children's achievements, of course. And that's great that your baby was an early developer. But that doesn't mean that they will be the next Einstein; every kid grows at their own pace and they get there in the end. Competing with other parents over these sorts of things is not nice or attractive.
Myth #3: Your child is more important than anyone else because...
Some children have learning difficulties. Some have physical disabilities. Some are great at sport. Some are maths geniuses. Some are pretty. Some like eating mud pies.
None of these things make your child more important than anyone else's. All children deserve love and respect and have their own strengths and weaknesses. File under 'Normal'.
Myth #4: Your child is not a miracle.
All children are miracles. Your child might be the result of a drunken one-night stand. This doesn't make her less of a blessing than the offspring of a couple who have been trying to conceive for 15 years and had IVF.
If your parents didn't plan or want you, that doesn't make you less important than someone whose parents were happily married and lived on a farm with ponies and who hosted wine-tasting and bridge-playing parties.
God doesn't love one type of child more than another. He loves us all equally and without prejudice. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.