Parenting under a microscope

Saying that it’s tough to be a parent is the biggest understatement of the year.

Aside from the usual pressures and demands of parenting, we are constantly scrutinized, picked on, and observed under a microscope. Parents’s flaws are magnified, their ways are criticized constantly even while they sleep (Nine Ways You are Endangering Your Child’s Life While You Sleep… ring a bell?).

Their choices are defined not by what they deem are important to raise their children well anymore but by what other people would say. They avoid doing things because they are scared to make mistakes, terrified of people’s reactions. Parents do not want to be judged and as such they hide, pretend that everything’s okay and that they’re doing fine. Even while they are bone tired, confused and want to reach out for help.

The stuff on their feed makes them feel more paranoid, and stirs guilt and regret. “Maybe she’s right maybe I’m over parenting” , “I wish I can quit my job and spend more time with the kids” (cue ugly crying in the bathroom).

Because of this modern day witch hunt, where just about anyone can be a parenting expert, mothers walk on egg shells afraid to be called out for every little mistake. You do something and you get called out for it, you do the opposite and you get called out some more. And then the witch hunt ensues, all these experts ready to throw digital rocks mostly at the mother.

Every single day she is told that she is not good enough, that there is something wrong with the way she parents her children, with the methods she choses to raise her kids. She is told that she is over parenting, not parenting enough, doing it too much, but then not just quite enough, or not parenting at all. Her kid is too fragile, too headstrong, too fat and too skinny. She is made to feel that everything she’s doing will end up with a sick or worse dead child.

But why? Since when did everyone become an expert in raising other people’s children? Everyone else is an expert in raising this child, everyone but the child’s own parents, everyone but the kid’s own mother.

Do this, don’t do that. Bring this, leave that. Remember this, forget about that. Get this, not that. You’re this, not that.

Parents have forgotten how its like to enjoy being a parent, savoring this blessing of having little human beings. Parents get too preoccupied with avoiding getting criticized, living in fear and guilt that they miss the joys of raising their children.

Parenting should be fun, everyday instead of listening to people who make us feel inept at parenting, we have to wake up and enjoy our children instead. Parenting is a precious gift, each day is a beautiful blessing that is meant to be savored. It’s tough yes, messy, tiring but beautiful.

You, yes you, who have been lurking around this blog making it your business finding fault in parents and their choices, please stop obsessing about what parents are doing wrong and focus on what they are doing right. You do not have any idea about the kind of pressure parents are already on. They are raising actual human beings, not a simple feat, and it’s time you cut them some slack.

Author: Loraine Balita-Centeno

I'm a Manila based journalist who's been working in the industry for 12 years. I've written pieces for newspapers and magazines based in Manila and some abroad. I'm a work-at-home-mom of two so I spend my days writing or editing with a toddler clamped around one leg and a pre-schooler asking me questions every 10 minutes.

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