UniMUM: CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve passed! But is it ever time to celebrate?


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By Hannah Wong,


“Hannah, you have nothing to worry about, you’ve passed,” said the Practice Educator, reassuringly.

I suddenly felt the rush of relief wash over me. I passed. The rush was gone in a second and I was still waiting for something. I felt something was missing. I was waiting, waiting for criticism, constructive at least. My evil air traffic controller was trying to make contact with it’s favourite Boeing-101 Judgement plane, but in that moment, the sky was clear. Is it time to start feeling good?

Normally, there’s just too many opportunities out there to criticise and judge yourself and others. So, when you find yourself thinking that everything is ‘ok’, for someone like me it feels false, awkward and so very unnatural because the skies have rarely been free of the darkening judgement clouds. Most days, the clouds and judgements are everywhere and coming from everyone and no matter how many positive comments you receive it doesn’t always equate to a merit pass. Especially when it comes to parenting because everyone knows whatever you do/don’t/ for/around/ your child will determine what kind of adult they will be. It’s your responsibility to shape them and if they don’t make the approval others then you are made to feel like you suck at parenting and you may as well hand them into the social.

And what’s more mind boggling is that people make such a fuss about nothing in the grand scheme of things. The most recent media frenzy, for example, landed upon a mother who was asked to leave John Lewis because she was experiencing her 16 month-od toddler’s category 6.8 tantrum and was unsettling customers who complained to the staff. John Lewis apologised by sending her flowers and a gift voucher to spend at the store after this incident sparked a debate among mummy bloggers. One journalist firmly suggested that children didn’t belong in ‘adult’ places at all – e.g. shops like John Lewis and restaurants – because they ruin the atmosphere.

Funnily, that said, the journalist admitted she wasn’t a bearer of tiny humans herself but had close friends/relative with kids so felt she was able to contribute to society with her opinion. It seriously didn’t count for anything. Fair enough, it is so easy to make judgements on other people and their tiny humans but you won’t have the same opinions once you’ve had your own. Unless, you’ve fought a rigid angry narcoleptic octopus – then you might have idea.

Cut the tiny human makers some slack; it’s not like we enjoy having to wrestle octopus’ in public with the many eyes scathing that we’re turning their coffees sour.

It feels like every moment or situation in our lives is a test. Are you a good student? Are you a good friend? Are you a compassionate stranger? Or, how are you at any social exchanges?

Each has the same consequence: you either pass or you fail. You can be the type of person who, if you fail, you can accept it and freely move on; or fail and be miserable and contemplate where you went wrong. Or you can pass and still feel dissatisfied because you feel you could have done so much more; or you can pass and feel great, like normal, or nothing at all. But that’s just my black and white thinking.

I’m finding that the parenting game is very much like snakes and ladders. You move a couple of steps forward with your tiny human, you climb up the ladder but if you so much as make an error, however drastic or not, you’ll find yourself sliding down that snake and starting over again. Those damn snakes. Where’s Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?

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