An open letter to the International Mummy Olympic Committee

Dear IMOC,

I’ve been a proud member of your organisation since September 2008 when my daughter was born. I didn’t know this then, but I was thrust into this organisation by association, rather than membership. For the most part the members of your ‘infant, baby, toddler & pre-school’ divisions are supportive, informative, constructive & compassionate. And then there’s the other part – the judgy, high-horse & disapproving members that seem to have a louder voice than the members I feel I have more in common with.

I try to avoid interactions with these members, or remain tightly lipped when in their company because frankly, it causes me to become defensive, bring out my sarcastic smart-arseness & get my back up quicker than anything you can imagine.

I often wonder why these members are so judgemental. Sometimes I rationalise it by saying it’s because they’re covering up their own insecurities, questioning their own parenting decisions & choices & gripping onto their own anxieties. There are other times I actually don’t care why they are the way they are, I just want them to stop it & shut up – respectfully of course.

We all want to be the best parents we can be. We all want to have happy & healthy kids. We all want them brought up to be contributing & respectful members of society. We all do the best we can with the means we have. Why can’t we all just support one another through this hard, unrelenting, testing, tiring, confusing & all encompassing part of our lives? There are so many events in the mummy Olympics & I’m just not interested in competing.

I know there is the other layer to my parenting decisions & actions based on the whereabouts of Patty & Selma as those bitches often cloud my brain making me over-analyse, over-think, deplete my motivation & energy & I have to work extra hard sometimes to just make it through the day. And I’m well aware that Selma often rears her head when it comes to Flynny because of the start he had & because of his ongoing medical & behavioural issues & concerns, but this response is because of the feelings & memories that come about when thinking about it all & no one can judge me about that (can you see my back up through your screens yet?) One thing I can say is that I’d fair well in the ‘mad sad mummy’ events!

If my kids have taught me anything, it’s that they do things in their own time. Orli decided to crawl at 19 months & got up one day at 25 months to walk. There was nothing wrong with her. We still had a Pead assess her & also do a hip x-ray in the case there was something medically compromising her. Despite all of this, I got questioned as to why she was being lazy, being a ‘lump’ for just sitting & blaming me for her delayed walking as I carried her everywhere & had her in the pram at the shops, or worse, let her crawl around at her age.

Years later, Flynn couldn’t drink more than 40-50mls from his bottle because of his Laryngomalacia, but we got to the stage that he was drinking enough so that he maintained or even (slowly) gained weight. He was also called lazy, often bothered the nursing staff that had to tube feed him as they had other things to do & other patients to attend to.

I often get questioned by mothers of kids that are (luckily) healthy & never been unwell as to why we are pursuing certain therapies for him. Flynn has feeding delays & due to his reflux & sensitive gag reflex he’s still eating puree as he chokes & gags & then vomits any food that doesn’t feel safe for him to swallow. He eats dissolvable snack & even biscuits but it takes him a long time for him to find these snacks ‘safe’ to eat. I watch him & read his queues & he tells me when he’s ready. We’ve spent days playing with food before he’s put anything in his mouth, but when he does, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever & keeps me motivated & hopeful for days. And that’s something that some high-horses won’t see from way so up high.

As a result of Flynn’s feeding delay & lack of chewing (hence jaw development) & a number of ear infections last Winter, at 22 months he’s not speaking yet – he only has about six words. He can hold full conversations, but only he can understand them. I am not concerned about this because I know he will speak one day, but if there is something I can do to help him I will. So we started speech therapy this week. That’s right judgies, my less than two year old is having speech therapy. (I’m giving you some time to mumble mumble your opinions here – yes, I know it’s considerate of me). And I am crying as I’m typing this, but the same place, they also have a feeding clinic so they’re going to help my little boy learn to eat & to trust food & textures & provide him with confidence – something that I try each & every day but aren’t able to provide him on my own. So, yes, I’m taking him to feeding therapy too. My 22 monther that looks healthy, is engaging, is lovely & edible & my heart explode to a feeding clinic.

No one can understand the level is sadness, frustration, disheartening moments, anger & dread when your child can’t eat. Being able to feed your child is primal & when this is taken away from you the grief & feelings of being robbed overtakes you & take a long time to dissipate, if ever. To even know that my son can attend a feeding clinic is beyond thrilling for me. To those judgy high-horses, no my son is not lazy, I have not enforced his eating preferences, I have not delayed his feeding because of my anxiety & because it’s easier. He chokes, he gags & he vomits. And if you’re comfortable watching your child do that, then kudos to you.

No parent, whether the members of the compassionate committee or high-horses, would avoid, delay or refuse to provide their kids anything that would help them. So do it, don’t do it, but don’t judge me for doing it. And if you’re going to judge me, make sure you’re far enough away from me or my family or be prepared for me to hand my shoes to you & offer you to wear them for a day (thank you Kirsten xoxo). Oh & if we’re going to be honest, I give myself enough judgmental crap… I really don’t need any more from you gavel holders! Now, gallop along to the next Olympic event with all your ribbons & medals as you head back to the stables.

Thank you IOMC for providing me with so many supportive, wonderful, caring, generous & beautiful mums for me to ask advice, lean on, cry & celebrate with. One thing I know for sure, is that this gig would be a lot harder without them. And for the ‘other’ members, good luck & don’t hurt yourself as you climb down from your horses or break a nail on your gavel.

PS. If you would like to become a member of the most non-judgmental group ever, join the Mama’s Comfort Camp. I’ve written about them previously herehere & we are celebrating our anniversary (or birthday) the month of March. To join the group, click on the link below. This URL goes to the Mama’s Comfort Camp open FB page. If you would like to join the closed group, please let us know on that page & you will be added. New members are added every week on New Member Monday, so I’ll just say, see you on Monday!