Three years into parenthood, every new day’s an adventure, and the rules change as quickly as our kids do. We parents learn to do the best we can with what we’ve got, and with two sons whose faces light up whenever I get home from work, I’d say I’m not doing half-bad.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Back when this journey started, everyone had an opinion—what sunscreen to use. Which songs to sing for our baby’s best development. My peers put every move I made under the microscope, everyone considering themselves experts on parenting. After all, they were once kids themselves, right? They’d all hold me to some idealised standard from what they knew as kids, or what they saw online—and therein, folks, lies the problem…
…the way they thought parenting was meant to be wasn’t the real picture at all.
Parenting ain’t easy. We constantly compare ourselves to everyone else— we see their funny family stories. We like their perfect photos. They have sitcom-worthy lives that we’d love to give our children. But we often find ourselves falling short: life’s already challenging, and conflicting priorities, personalities and problems only get in the way!
But what we forget all too quickly is that we’re prone to sharing nothing but our best selves with the world. What we often see on social media’s but a filtered version of the truth, and we leave out the stuff that tells the entire story. We leave out the messes, unpleasant surprises, and the things that don’t go according to plan. Instead, we agonize over showing a pristine version of our parenting—the one that blogs, magazines and movies galore say is the right way to do things.
But to quote an album title from The Weeknd, there’s Beauty Behind the Madness. Rather than feel insecure by the parts of our parenting lives that’re less than perfect, we should feel empowered by the authentic and unpolished bits that make our families what they are.
And that’s why Quaker Canada’s come up with the #stopCOMPAREnting campaign, looking to showcase the real side of parenting, reminding us that we’ve nothing to live up to but the happiness, healthiness and prosperity of our families. The opinions and info that come from onlookers are just that—we take them with a grain of salt, and embrace the lives we’ve built for ourselves… the ones no one can live but us.
#stopCOMPAREnting: Because There’s So Much Amazingness That’s RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.
So don’t fall victim to the hype—sure, we’d all love to be Parent of the Year, but it’s more important that we be the right parents for our children than try to reach some bar that may never have even existed. We need to beat ourselves up less and just allow ourselves to be—no other parent can truly do what we do, and we’d be wise to remember that.
It’s time to #stopCOMPAREnting , and who better than Quaker to help us do it? They’re a brand that’s supported families since 1902, and one that wants families to be confident in the decisions they make.
Parenting’s hard enough as it is without audience participation. It’s time to give yourself credit for the hard work you do—at the end of the day, there’s only one you.
Keep fighting the good fight, fellow parents, and until the next, I remain,
Disclaimer: The folks at Quaker Canada were kind enough to compensate me for this post, asking me to write on a subject I very much agree with. In fact, elements of this post were to appear in a piece called “Don’t Tell Me How to Parent My Kids,” but this version told the tale far less… harshly.