Run Your Own Race
It’s human nature for people to want to fit in, to be part of a majority, to be the same as others and not to stand out. Bizarrely at school it seemed to revolve around footwear, having the right brand made all the difference and could make the ride a little easier. I can remember on my 13th birthday using every last penny of my birthday money to buy a fairly ridiculous pair of trainers that had a pump in the tongue, just in case you ever felt the need to have inflatable feet. It served its purpose though and for a couple of weeks I was the toast of my class, crowds would flock to pump my tongue, that is until Mark McPhail got a pair with air bubbles in them and stole my glory.
I think it’s quite easy for parents to slip back into that schooldays mentality, with the temptation to fit in and do what the others do. Just like school where you had the popular kids you now have the popular parents, they no longer hang out round the back of the bike sheds smoking cigarettes and instead seem to favour congregating at cafes and sipping lattes. And were as the currency of popularity used to be footwear these days it’s prams.
It’s easy to question yourself as a parent, you are your only critic, until your children reach their teenage years and then they can criticise your parenting too. One of the most straight forward routes to parent self doubt and guilt is to compare your methods with other parents. Which weekly classes do you send your son too? Where do you take your swimming classes? Have you enrolled Max at any schools yet? Daddy why am I drinking water and all the others are having Babyccino’s?
Throw in the ‘expert advice’ from the magazines, blogs, websites and books and it can be very easy to question what you’re doing. One of the best things I did when I started hanging out with Max was to write a list of what sort of parent I wanted to be, what I wanted for Max and how I could make those things happen. Knowing the sort of parent I wanted to be has made the journey a lot easier. It’s proved to be more valuable than the tatty page of scruffy scribbles would suggest.
I try not to dish out too much advice to new parents, they look shell shocked enough as it is but I would say that running your own race and not being influenced will make for a smoother ride.