Ever get that sinking feeling that you’re doing it all wrong? The kids are playing up, you’ve lost your cool, everyone’s miserable. Worst mum EVER, you think. Well don’t fret, you’re not alone. Not by any stretch.
A radio presenter’s post on Facebook outlining doubts about her parenting skills unleashed a flood of similar tales of uncertainty and guilt from other parents, and sparked a fascinating new series that looks at parenting challenges across various cultures.
“Sometimes I feel despairing that I must be a truly terrible mother,” 1233 ABC Newcastle’s Sunday Morning host Helen Clare wrote in her post. “When I lose my temper, when my kids are rude and disrespectful and I feel ashamed that I haven’t managed to teach them better. Maybe I haven’t given them enough time, perhaps I’ve not been a good role model.”
The mountain of responses led Clare to wonder how many parents really reach what she dubbed “Parentopia” – a place where they feel completely confident in how they have raised their children. After all, we only get one shot at it for each child.
She embarked on a series of the same name, interviewing parents from other cultures to find out if they were any closer to feelings of parenting perfection. Her interviews with parents from Korean, Tongan, Indian, indigenous, Italian and Filipino backgrounds uncovered various challenges and rewards, but ultimately found that some insecurities crossed all ethnic lines.
Interviewees already aired include South Korean mum Haok, who wonders if she has given too much of herself as a mother. And Shabnam, originally from Pakistan, tired and sometimes angry from her days caring for three children under four years old.
It’s well worth a listen if, like most or perhaps all mums, you sometimes wish you could start over when it comes to raising your kids. Parentopia can be heard on Sunday Morning from 10am on 1233 ABC Newcastle if you are in that part of the world, or listen to audio of past episodes here.