I hear the term “Earth mum” a lot, it usually refers to the more natural mothers among us. Not that they find mothering more natural but they choose to take the more natural / organic approach in feeding, birthing, medication, carrying, rearing, nappies, cleaning etc. I’m not going to begin to act like I know what I’m chatting about here because in depth I’m not an expert and I’d hate to offend anyone – all I know is there are many ways to parent and that there are many that choose ‘Au Naturel’ and are then, for this choice labelled as an “Earth mum”!!
But what if for a minute we didn’t see it as a parenting style, we didn’t pick people out of our groups and classes and gave them this label, but rather we saw it as something we all are? if you didn’t do any of the above would you say you were an earth mum? My recent experiences in life would make me answer yes, I would say any mother with a baby, however she parents is an earth mum, my view of what an earth mum is goes far beyond that of cloth nappies, co-sleeping, and organic rearing…
I have friends and family that do choose to use cloth nappies…I also have friends and myself that choose disposable.
I have people in my life that breastfed beyond the age of 1 and even 2 (or my sister that breastfed baby AND toddler) and then I know some that never had a desire to try it at all! I did it for a few weeks then round 2 was 5 months and during those months I pretty much winged the whole time!
Some friends did baby led weaning…others puréed and some (don’t freak out now) even bought it in jars from the shops (heaven forbid
I did they did that on occasion).
A few family members and friends co-sleep, others use a moses basket and some put them straight in their cot – I sometimes co slept but mostly had a lovely crib at my bedside and my sister in law had this mint hammock.
Some mums I know will not allow their kids any sugar…my kids and others I know are fine to have the occasional biscuit, choc bar or trip to mac Ds when my kitchen is cleaned and I don’t want to mess it up.
I know a few people that chose home birth (some water), hypno-birthing others that had epidural’s and some elective sections and me that screamed the hospital down until I realised 3rd time round to just take the epidural and sleep through it!
I let my kids watch Cbeebies (which at times I really wonder why I am putting myself through it AGAIN) and Dvds and play angry birds with daddy – others don’t allow any screen time or limit it.
If my kids feel ill my 1st port of call is Calpol and with that YES they have been immunized, even though some friends have chosen not to.
My point is there are many ways to raise a kid and for me all of this knowledge, all of these different ways of doing things has led to 2 things;
- Which is the right way?
- Am I really damaging my kid because I didn’t wear her? (I never knew that was an option, in my experience a sling was for the many broken arms I had??).
- Will my kids really be less intelligent because I couldn’t endure breast feeding any more?
2. Self Doubt
- “Why did I give into her.. I’m so rubbish at discipline”
- “What am I doing wrong that my baby won’t sleep?”
- “Did he catch a cold because I forgot to put his scarf on? or was it because I didn’t breastfeed long enough?”
- “I don’t think I can do this”
Sound familiar? As if there’s not enough pressure on us to do the right things (whatever that means) from the moment we test positive we also compare to other mums and are at times made to feel not as good as another because our ways are different. Different doesn’t always mean better or worse and to be honest I have reached a point where I don’t really care any more how people choose to feed or what type of nappies they opt for. It does not matter if they go to baby groups or not, or let their kids watch a bit of TV or use jars of baby food or a dummy (hello more sleep #justsaying) because you know what? at the end of the day you have your baby and the mother your comparing parenting practices with has her baby. whether yours was formula fed or breast fed, potty trained at 6months or still in nappies at 5, dummy or not.. it is a wonderful thing that you are a mother, that you gave birth and that your child lived to even be able to debate these issues.There are so many different ways of doing things but at the end of the day you have a baby and whatever way you choose to raise and nurture that baby is great and if its working – WELL DONE!
For some however we will never know the meaning of being an earth mum, not because we don’t want to or don’t feel it fits with our lifestyle or whatever but because we don’t have a baby on earth, it isn’t an option, we never can have those choices because we were never given the opportunity to make them. Those choices of which nappies we’d use or if and how long we would breast-feed, where they would sleep were all stolen when our babies weren’t born awake! I am an earth mum to Ethan and Megan because they are here with me,I am not an earth mum because of how I parent. But sadly I am constantly reminded I not an earth mum to Poppy because whether or not I wanted to breastfeed her past my 5 month mark, co-sleep buy a sling and carry her everywhere til she turned 2 or whatever , my baby was taken to heaven before she saw the world! I mix with women that don’t even know if they can officially be classed as a mother because they have no baby here to certify that fact.
I see babies everywhere, I see mothers chatting about all sorts and debating which path they’ll take with each milestone, how I long and others too that we could have those decisions to make. It breaks me sometimes to even see a baby – yes I am an earth mum, I have reared/am rearing 2 amazing (at times a little nuts) kids but I am also as some say “an angel mum”! So next time you question if your way is the right way, if natural is the way forward or not or maybe you think those Mum’s are weird that doing this, that and the other? when you go to compare yourself to another mum because she seems to have it down, remember It’s really irrelevant how you choose to clothe, carry, feed and sleep your baby, whether you buy new or second hand and if your going to let them watch mindless kids TV, the fact is you have a baby… your already an earth mum, its not a label to give to another its a privileged you took upon yourself from the moment your baby took their 1st breath…chances are your doing a grand job, so take what you want from the mothers around you but please don’t compare or imply any way is better, for any mother that has her baby is the same as you – an earth mum and that’s what matters, because there’s a lot of grieving mothers out there, battered and torn, heartbroken from loss and exhausted from life, that would give anything not to be an angel mum or mum to baby in heaven but just to simply be tired because their baby is teething, or a mess because the baby has colic but more so that they can not be in the awful club of baby loss but in your club as an earth mum.