I love technology, I really do ... I believe it enhances our lives but I also believe in keeping more of the more traditional skills alive (says the girl who has a computer in the kitchen and married a man in a Star Trek suit).
In the Herald Sun earlier this week I read about a new iphone app to help mothering newbies (read story here). It's designed to remind you when to feed the baby, record sleep/growth patterns etc and give advice on baby friendly shops in your area. I was almost tempted to download it only 1. I don't have an iPhone and 2. I don't really have a newborn any more. So why was I so tempted to download it?
There's been a lot of research showing that people are losing the 'art' of basics like cooking, changing a tyre and all those things our grandparents could do in their sleep... I don't so much think that we've lost the 'knack', but I do think that we've lost all faith in ourselves as capable human beings... we're now more likely to ring an expert rather than muddle through and trust ourselves to get it right.
It's so easy to second-guess yourself when it comes to mothering. After all, your job is to keep your most precious posession (your child) not only alive, but developing into a socially conscious, capable human being. And mothering has now become a 'closed door' type of vocation.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I read every book I could lay my hands on regarding childbirth and child rearing. As I had very limited experience with babies and toddlers, I relied on the experiences of doctors, midwives and parenting experts. And I found that my experience was NOTHING like the book!
Whereas a hundred years ago you would have helped your sister, neighbour, even mother (-eek!) give birth and care for infants in your teen years and right through your own reproductive years, nowadays the very first birth you attend is likely to be that of your own child. Women of today are unlikely to have seen the trials and hardships felt by other women in their own circle of friends and family - never seen 'the blues' first hand, never heard someone yelp as they attempt breastfeeding, never seen the destruction an unsecured nappy can unleash on a living room rug... So it's very easy to feel that you have it (mothering) all 'wrong' if it's not as rosy as it looks in the Huggies commercial. When you are experiencing the pain and confusion of childbirth and child-rearing all alone behind a big door, you tend to beat yourself up about your inadequacies and try to hide them from everyone in the 'outside' world.
This third baby has been really liberating for me (most days). I haven't felt the need to pick up a 'guide' to parenting, ring 13HEALTH or hide my emotions/flaws/inadequacies from everyone. I just do what I can, forgive myself my shortcomings and try to do better every day.
I finally TRUST myself to do an OK job. I wish I could have felt this in control with my first two experiences of mothering a baby! I still make plenty of mistakes, but I'm learning to celebrate my successes as well... and I'm so thankful for other mummies who are so open and honest about their own shortcomings (you know who you are) :)