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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

It’s been a good two years since I last blogged, I never had the intention of stopping but somehow life just kept happening and I never quite put pen to paper… so to speak. In the time since my last post I have completed most of my Naturopathy degree (one more year to go) got knocked up, had another fabulous bout of hyperemesis gravidarum, birthed a beautiful little boy in the peace of our own house, did a number of other little things including starting a proper garden, run a beehive making workshop, enter the Queen O’ the Heather competition and developed a thriving pinterest addiction.

So why haven’t I been blogging? Well good question, I could argue that I didn’t have enough time and with a part time job, a lousy pregnancy, a toddler and then a newborn, as well as full time study no one would have argued with me. But the reality is that I did have time, I just chose to witter it away on other things.  I have an online breastfeeding support group that I admin and a Dunedin Locavore page that occasionally needs my attention as well as my facebook family of course, but I found the biggest diversion was online parenting forums and one in particular I enjoyed spending time on. I loved sharing ideas with the other mums as well as engaging in what I thought was healthy debate or simply being there to support other mamas. A breastfeeding support thread I started was one of the longest running threads and it helped countless mothers at all stages of breastfeeding.

The problem was that as with many forums it started to get toxic, there is only so much healthy debate that can go on before it reverts to name calling and the ubiquitous final common denominator of ‘who is the better mum’ and ‘You’re Doing It Wrong’. All of which goes right against my parenting ideals, as one wise woman said ‘there are many different ways of being a good parent’ Too often when I’d spend time defending personal choices and decisions I would get into a pointless no win situation where you’re trying to convince someone who will never be convinced of your perspective.  At some point the conversation is bound to end up in the realm of godwins law and then it’s all over red rover.

After a particularly toxic stoush I decided enough was enough and deactivated my account, it was a rough decision to make because of all of the wonderful women I met on that site and the great debates I had with some interesting thinkers who I shall miss. It also meant killing my breastfeeding support thread but it was 100% the right decision to make as the second I did it I felt a huge weight lift and I realised I didn’t need mothers (and fathers) I don’t know and will never meet to be nice or even polite to me. And that’s the lesson right there. Parenting forums are a great place to share information and support but don’t expect everyone to agree with you or to even respect your opinions, they are not a place for affirmation and they certainly aren’t the best place to meet like minded mothers, after all in most instances the only thing you will have in common with 90% of the people is the fact that at some stage in your life you bred. Much better to find a specific parenting group that have ideals in common with you and better still, a group of people who can share differing opinions without losing the plot.

The result of losing the toxic forum has been to reinvigorate me and allow me to divert my energy into blogging again. Looking back on some of my posts I realise how much I have grown since my first few shaky words. Being able to talk to other like minded mothers and spend time reading and absorbing other parenting blogs and pages has helped me refine my ideas and find a place on the parenting spectrum that I am comfortable with. I have been so lucky to have the collective wisdom of so many mums and dads which has allowed me to build on those first few blocks of knowledge.  It’s so true that the preconceived ideas we have change the minute our children are born – and keep changing! So with that in mind I’d like to thank the bloggers and mums who helped me get so far.

A big thanks to Peaceful Parenting, PhD in Parenting,  Analytical Armadillo, The Feminist Breeder, Parenting Science, Kellymom, The La Leche League,  Sassy’s Sanity, The Natural Parent Magazine, The Leaky Boob, Cotton Wool Kids, Donnelle from Parental Guidance the wonderful women in Mama’s Milk (you all know who you are), my first antenatal group, my Due October group, my mum and mother in law, the best midwife in the world, my SPCNT friends, the fabulous couple who are Guideparents to our sons and not least a group of cheeky, hilarious mums whom I have the privilege of knowing and loving and without whom I would probably sink into a black hole of nothingness.

So what’s my new years resolution? Stay away from toxic parenting forums of course – particularly those that are sponsored by nappy companies!

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