Blame the Mum?

Neglectful Mothers

The backlash to a Dayre post inspired this post. Before I start, Dad is also a parent too, but to share my viewpoint as a mother and in relation to the Dayre post, I will generalise parents as mothers here. Moreover the onus of parenting and bickering of such are usually on and around mothers.

The said Dayre post made me think of how to be politically right to other mothers. I know I’m not alone as I secretly “judge” others’ parenting styles, vice versa others of us. But it’s another thing to say out. Then why should we say out? Because I agree with the writer, sometimes we need to stand up and support the children and not just because #momssupportmoms. Well, if the other mothers think that the writer should not judge other mothers, then they probably shouldn’t judge the mother who has differing opinions and lead by example to be understanding and supportive (at least in words).

Anyway, I didn’t think the post was controversial until heated comments from working mothers started pouring in. Many of these mothers misunderstood her, thinking it’s about working vs stay at home mothers (SAHM). She’s actually referring to neglectful mothers, regardless of working or SAHM.

I agree with her because I do come across such neglectful mothers. People I personally know, but I have no courage to tell them straight in the face. I’m not talking about taking care of the physical and intellectual development, that’s usually well-taken care of in Singapore. It’s the soft sides of life – emotional and social. Then again, who I am to judge whether they are neglectful, probably they don’t even feel that way. It’s like people might judge me for being neglectful as I sleep trained Baby EX and let her cry out to sleep, but I have my reasons they might not know about. Like, my baby could not fall asleep easily as theirs.

Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. 


Mum Shaming or Mum’s guilt?

Anyway back to the controversy, the writer should have made herself clearer, but I also think that the working mothers’ flames got fanned because of mum’s guilt. This guilt made them 对号入座 and assumed that this criticism or comment is about them.

The post seems to be accusing them of not wanting the best for their children when they are, or of not doing enough when they are already trying hard to make up for loss time through toys, trips, and quality time. That’s probably why their wrath were incurred. I have come to learn that parenting choices are deeply personal. Hence advice, even well meaning ones, might seem like personal attacks. Mothers in defensive mode justify their choices, whether truly good or bad. Perhaps, they want to convince themselves too.

Maybe we’re all grappling with the same conditioned belief: that we’re supposed to make and defend all parenting decisions as fiercely as we love our children.​

We are all doing trial and error. But we learn. We learn from professionals — be it books, workshops or talk shows. We learn from mistakes, and learn to forgive ourselves. We listen to advice. We pray for wisdom to filter out the bad. Reflect, and take in the good. Then, change our parenting style for the better. Something like what HY wrote in the previous post about how she was parenting the wrong way and then now changing for the better.

I have strong opinions on certain parenting choices. Yet, the longer I am in this motherhood game, the more I realised that there’s no one size fits all parenting style. Because of the different personalities of mothers and babies, what’s best for us might not be the same for others. We can share what work for us, but to impose on another person might make us seem arrogant and aggressive.

Then when should we stand up for justice to call out parents hurting their kids – physical abuse is obvious, but how about grey areas such as emotional abuse or neglect? It’s likely passer-bys will stop a mother hitting a child repeatedly and not a mother lashing out vulgarities on the child.

Generational Sins

I really liked this other Dayre post that speaks about parental neglect based on her reading of “Running On Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Jonice Webb. Her post is in line with what God has been speaking to me about as I regret and reflect on my parenting bloopers, mainly screaming tirades on Baby EX.

Generational sins. Of how hurts and sins flow from previous generations to me, and how I can continue to be a conduit and let them flow through me. But with God’s grace, I have a choice to break the chain and make it all end with me. Allow God’s goodness to supersede and fill me to overflow into the generations to come.

Breaking it sounds like common sense. Except, not many people know that there’s something to break. This picking thorns out of our flesh is usually painful too. Need lots of self-reflection, effort, and sometimes counselling. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s not easy. Stopping what comes out from us “naturally” is not an easy process.

I have to first realise what’s “wrong” with me. What needed healing. God opened my eyes to see where went wrong and why I become who I am today (the negative side). And then to stop myself from making the same mistakes my parents did. I bet you have heard of children saying they don’t want to repeat what their parents did, but did exactly that?

My friend, Elaine Ho, shared something similar too, largely inspired by a church sermon shared on Father’s Day. And she put it nicely. To end of this post, here is her sharing:

All of us are fortunately, or unfortunately, moulded by our childhood experiences, every moment spent interacting with our parents etc. Unfortunately for us, our parents, for lack of choices and role models, could not model healthy and functional parenting for us. They did not have role models as well!

Generational sin is so real, in that negative traits, ungodly beliefs and lies that our parents held fast to, transferred to us. We are born of our parents, and there was no way to prevent this transference of sin.

Hence, a good part of our lives were spent based on ungodly beliefs and lies. Even after becoming Christians, not many of us realise the need and desire to be healed and cleansed of these lies and beliefs. This gets transferred to our children as well. Who and what we view the Lord, and the posture in which we have come to Him, will be the kind of parent we are right now.

The Lord is not perfect because He has perfect children. He only has one perfect child, and that is Christ. He is perfect because He is! We need to realise the urgency, acute need to ask the Lord to cleanse and heal us, to eliminate and uproot all ungodly beliefs and lies, expectations and desires we have believed in our entire lives. These creep into all aspects. The lifestyle, marriage, parenthood journey, friendships, relationships we have with everyone we know and will know.

We need to replace these lies with His foundational truths from His word. Then, only can we be the kind of individual, spouse, parent that He would deem as right, and to be able to lead a life of freedom and free of oppression!

He is a God of generations. It is not just about us and our children, but for future generations to come. What we sow will determine the seeds harvested in future generations to come.

We ask the Lord to redeem the time we have lost, and He will restore to us what He wants to bless us richly with- freedom, peace, joy, hope and rest in Him

Some foundational lies I have lived my life are:

  1. I need to be in control of everything at all times.
  2. I need to be on top of things at all times.
  3. I cannot deviate from schedules and routines because they are beneficial.
  4. I cannot love if the person doesn’t live up to my expectations.
  5. I need to correct a wrong based on what I think and feel is correct.

These are very damaging and toxic to everyone whom I hold dear to. It makes me fearful, angry, frustrated and resentful. It makes me unbearable to live with.

It’s time to allow God to heal and change us. For the benefit of us and our children.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

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