Tag Archives: opinions

Are we not allowed to have opinions anymore?

I love a good debate. I love talking to others about a range of topics and I like to hear others opposing views.

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Having strong opinions and being able to discuss and justify your beliefs are very important skills. Listening to others point of view,  accepting other people will think differently,  and sometimes even conceding someone may have a better point then you to make, are even more important arguably and something I admit I haven’t fully got the hang of yet.

Yes, there are times I may think people are Knobheads for their opinions (look at anything Donald Trump says) but this is part and parcel of being human. We all get hot headed at times. We may all fume at headlines or quotes of what people have said. We may read blog posts that set our souls alight with rage. Maybe we just don’t like what someone has written because it’s just really badly written.

You will at some point say something flippant and “bitchy” because as I said, we are human. It shouldnt be the norm but you have to accept that its a part of life. All of us have people we don’t like for whatever reasons.

However there is a difference in thinking these things and writing them down for all to see.

Parenting is difficult enough. There are so many choices and ways of doing this. There is no manual so there is no right or wrong way. Yet others out there have a manical, evangelical attitude to try and convert the world to whatever it is they are passionate about. Nappies, feeding, clothing, menstrual supplies, car seats and buggies are all topics I have seen this happen to recently.

My question is: Are we not allowed to have opinions anymore?

There are those who will always stick to the most common and well liked opinion; the safe option maybe.

There are those who sit on the fence and tread the thin line between one opinion or the other.

There are those who will totally disagree and may believe something totally different.

That is life.

We can’t like everyone all of the time. People seem desperate to be on the “right” side of a debate and seem to have saccharine opinions in an aim to please the most popular people. To be in the “in” crowd.

People are scared to say what they actually think for fear of a backlash within their (I’m talking online here) communities.

No matter what happens in life, you can’t avoid confrontation. Someone, somewhere at some time will disagree with you.

I’m getting tired of seeing how critical others can be of opposing views which buck against the popular consensus. I’m tired of seeing those who will criticise others for daring to say what they think or believe.

Healthy debate is good; and if you disagree with someone I think you should say it.  In a mature way.

We will all never get on. The world is not a Diet Coke advert with us all holding hands singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing”. Having a different opinion is ok. Agreeing to disagree is something you CAN do.

It’s the way we all deal with these opinions which need to change. I am sure I am guilty of all these things at some time in my life, I’ll be the first to admit.

It’s OK to agree; it’s OK to disagree. I’m going to try from now on to remember that and respect it.

Thinspiration?

What is this new word being bandied about?

Thinspiration?

I don’t know what to make of it really.

There has been a lot of publicity about this word recently. People are questioning the use of this word. People are questioning whether magazines are using this word, and whether their intention or not, they are encouraging young women to lose weight. This word is used within pro anorexia sites as some sort of mantra, some sort of way of encouraging each other to get thinner. I understand why there is such a backlash. People want others to not use this word. Anything that can glorify such awful conditions such as anorexia or bulimia should not be splashed about the pages of a magazine.

But how do I feel as someone clearly obese and clearly not very thin when I see words like thinspiration?

Are these words, these articles, aimed at me?

I wonder why anyone would get ‘inspiration’ from being thin?

What does thin mean anyway?

Can someone get ‘fatspiration’? (To be honest this just reminds me of being fat in the summer and sweating).

I have never liked magazines or newspapers that glorify weight as if it is the holy grail of life. The be all and end all for a woman is to be really thin. Really? I don’t actually feel anything when I see these words. They don’t hit me in the eyes, they don’t insult me, in a way I mentally roll my eyes and walk on by.

I guess it’s because those women, they have never been my idols. I have never tried to be as thin as them, as I have never in my life been as thin as them. I have never had a stomach so flat that it disappears when you stand up. I’ve never had a thigh gap. I’ve never been able to fit into their clothes. Nothing about them makes me want to buy things they wear, or to be them. It’s just too unattainable for me.

But I know, for some people out there, they are the sort of people they want to be. And that’s where people are coming from.

I may have never idolised these celebs, but I know how your weight can make you feel anxious, stressed and pretty shit. Trying clothes on used to cause me a lot of sadness. I can see how these images and words can upset people, or push them over the edge.

Why can’t we be celebrating people’s talents on these front covers? Photographers, artists, writers, people who have achieved things other than getting into a size 6. Why is it always about diet, weight, celebrity-ness?

I know it’s not always the slimmer celebs that get the column inches. Magazines seem to either highlight how much weight a celebrity has supposedly lost, or highlight how much they’ve supposedly put on. Fat or thin they just love to tell us all about it. They even have their own diets and success stories from readers.

I know. They wouldn’t write these magazines if people didn’t buy them. (Ps. I don’t buy these magazines). I can’t help feeling though that these magazines have a responsibility, they can set the agendas, if they took initiative and started to do things differently, slowly but surely things could change.

Why can’t we just be inspired by other women, and what they have achieved, rather than what the numbers on the scales say.

When’s the next one?

It’s the circle of life to assume, and ponder, and ask questions about our family and friends’ lives.(cue hairbrush singing along to the Lion King) but I’ve been thinking recently how really irritating it can be.

First of all, you reach an age, and People bug you about being single. They try and match make, they talk to you as if you have some sort of terrible disease just because you haven’t got a boyfriend.

Then, once you manage to find a boyfriend, one that isn’t a complete gimp, you know that ‘special someone’, all they can moan about is “when shall I buy my hat” or “when are you going to have a baby?” You smile, you nod, you mumble, you avoid all reference to the subject.

If you get married, lovely day, lovely spread, but then BAM! Next day the assumptions are all about planning your ovulation.

THEN, once you actually have a baby, and are sleep deprived, sick stained and zombified as you are, they start mentioning “when you have the next one…” “Save those small clothes for the next one”

THE NEXT ONE? Are they insane?

My womb had barely contracted and people were talking about more. More babies! Dear lord, don’t they realise that for most of the last year, I felt like I’d been hit in the face with a lorry. Another baby was as far removed from my mind as was stripping off and doing a photo shoot with playboy.

Another one? Hold your horses, I don’t know about that yet. I’m still getting to grips with the one I’ve got. And gorgeous and lovely she is too. But also I am tired, and tired, and tired. I can’t imagine being more tired, and another baby equals more sleepless nights. That terrifies me, as much as all the crap I had to put up with at the start too. It’s not like that’s been erased from my brain. I still get very panicky when I think about those first few months.

People make a lot of remarks about When. When you have the next one. When you can afford the next one. I feel sometimes like people are planning this conception in fine detail. Without me.

It amuses me that people assume so much about our lives. Weddings, boyfriends, babies. These steps in life we all take some, or all of, or maybe even none of. I am sure I have done it myself. Isn’t it funny how people can almost live their lives through you. Probably with all good intentions. Nothing like a wedding or a birth to make people happy. But still, it’s a lot of pressure for some, and can be quite annoying for others.

I saw in the news today that people are speculating that the Duchess of Cambridge may be ‘showing’ and may be pregnant with baby number two. HOLD ON.

She had a baby a mere 5 MONTHS AGO.

Has anyone considered she may be enjoying her maternity leave, enjoying her time with her son, and not worrying bout fitting into a size 0 designer dress?

Maybe she has decided to have another baby. I don’t know, I haven’t asked her to pee on a stick recently. But it seems a little far fetched, the evidence being the look of her tummy. You should see mine now, I look like I’m having twins. I really can not bear to think about getting pregnant again yet and it is 10.5 months since I gave birth! Why should people write this stuff? I didn’t actually read the article as I just didn’t want the people writing the article to get that ‘hit’ and people think we are interested in this non-news.

If anyone speculates a pregnancy based on my midriff I think there will be a lot of wrong assumptions.

We may all do it, but maybe it’s time to think before we speak, and stop wishing peoples lives away, as well as our own!

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Best Practice in Parenting

Now when I was pregnant I had all good intentions on reading up on methods, and styles, and ways of parenting. I bought Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer. But they’re both still gathering dust on the shelf, never opened. I personally ended up doing a ‘wing it’ approach, coupled with what words of wisdom I picked up on from my twitter buddies and blogs I read. So, three months on, and I think I have done pretty darn good really. Considering all the issues I had with breastfeeding initially, and coming to terms with the realisation that Bubba’s birth did not measure up to my expectations, I have somehow made it through the wilderness to quote Madonna in a completely inappropriately named song.

I meet Bubs’ needs the only way I know: I think outside of the box, I remain calm, I use my noodle. I guess some people will say I use my instinct. But to tell you the truth I don’t think my instincts kicked in for a long while. I used my survival skills – got through it, although I am not sure how. I feel quite proud of myself really for having got this far, and things feel like they are falling into place a bit really. I like nothing more than snuggling and cuddling Bubs, seeing her smiling face, and making her laugh. She seems to be doing really well. If I have a question or think about something, I may ask someone I know, or look online. However this can be the cause of great anxiety or anger and frustration. Seeing things on the news, and issues highlighted in various forums I am a member of, it made me think about what I was doing. What parenting style I adopt. What way I was bringing my baby up. Was I doing it right or wrong? Was I following best practice, like I would within my job?

In the news this week there has been some new about bedsharing. Now I don’t co-sleep or bedshare now, but when Bubs was first born, the very first night in hospital even, the only way I could get to sleep (and get her to sleep) was to sleep with her on my chest. When we eventually got home, after being up and down all night, I eventually caved in, fed Bubs in my bed, and we fell asleep together. Now when I say sleep, I say a half way point between sleep and awake, as I was so terrified I’d roll on her, suffocate her with the duvet, or something like that. We did it a few more times when she was younger, but I was so anxious about it that we stopped, she got used to her Moses basket, and we all slept better for it. But it seems to me this piece of news is yet another way of criticising us. I did what I did, as it was the only way I could get some sleep. Others may do it because of ease, or because it’s what they want to do. What we forget due to the media is that research undertaken is about probability, about chance, and how much of a chance we have of something happening. It is not saying for certain, because nothing ever can, although there are methods of undertaking research which are seen as gold standards and are seen as most reliable. Any variation from this gold standard increases the doubt and reliability of the research.

Research is something that I am familiar with as I am completing my degree, and within my profession you have to look at evidence based practice and keep up to date with research. I’ve even been involved in research. So, whenever anything health related comes up on-screen, or in the news, I try to ascertain what information is fact, and what is fiction. Newspapers will take research and make it into what they want it to say – easy to do as results can be easily manipulated one way or another. Until you read the research yourself you can’t really ascertain what it is saying. I find it funny how we can believe research such as car seats, seat belts, use of paracetamol, or effects of smoking for example but then dispute other research because it doesn’t fit with what we want it to say. Some bits of research we take for granted within our lives and don’t even realise that we are doing things a certain way because research has been so well implemented within our lives. But still it is down to probability, chance, or are we the 1 in 100 people, for example. It is our choice whether or not to do what the research says.

Now I said I haven’t really followed much advice, I haven’t read books, I haven’t even really looked at what is considered best practice in parenting. A few things though I realise I do: I put my baby on her back to sleep, and she sleeps in our room, because research tells me this is the best. I give my baby breast milk as that is considered best (although she does have formula milk too, due to our feeding issues), I put her in a rear facing car seat because this is considered best. However other than that, I am not sure. I pick her up when she cries, because I don’t want her to be upset, and I think you can’t spoil a baby with cuddles and kisses. I play with her, talk and sing to her. I have to leave her to cry sometimes because that’s just the way it is. I give her a dummy as she finds comfort in it. I rock her to sleep because she likes this, and it works. She goes to sleep when she is ready to, she feeds when she is hungry. I bathe her every other day. She wears a melange of clothing which others may consider girl or boy clothes. She doesn’t wear a coat when we go outside as she doesn’t like it. I could go on. But what I mean is, I don’t always think about best practice. I think about what I think and feel is right for her. I don’t know whether I am more attachment parenting or gentle parenting, or whatever else someone has written a book about. I don’t know if there is research out there about the long-term effects of bathing every other day. But it is how I feel, and what I think is right. I feel attached to her, and I think she feels attached to me. In that we smile, we laugh, and we generally have more good days than bad.

I respect every Mum out there as we are all figuring it all out, in our own way. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I just think people who comment and try to say you’re doing it wrong, well you’re not. Because its horses for courses, it’s what works for one may not work for another. We are all united as Mothers yet all our experiences will be totally different, because we are all different people, living in different places, living different lives. We have to take information (if we are looking for it) and decide for ourselves whether we believe it or not, based on what it written down. Newspapers are full of scaremongering, forums are full of people waiting to tell others they are wrong. The only person you should believe in is yourself. It is about having information to make informed choices, not being told what to do or feeling bad for doing something different to others.