CHENNAI: Babyccinos. Manny. Mompreneurs. Every now and then a new word is born in the world of parenting. Some of them are funny (just Google mom jeans + SNL), some of them are great marketing gimmicks (Have you ever brought your child an over priced paper cup of frothed milk?) and some evoke terrifying images of ultra efficient super-humans who run a successful gluten-free bakery from home while knitting cruelty-free alpaca wool ponchos.
And then there are those that make you pause whilst reading the morning newspaper, take a deep breath and release a string of curse words under your breath. (Because you don’t want your kids asking their Hindi teacher what an MC is.)
Say hello to brexting, people. It’s the latest ‘blend’ word to describe the practice of having a quick scroll through your Facebook feed while your new born is having his or her morning cuppa at your boob.
Some so-called experts have weighed in that this habit is detrimental to mother and child bonding, and that nursing should be spent gazing lovingly at the top of your child’s head while they suckle and gnaw the life out of your appendages.
I hated breastfeeding. There I said it. I found those 40-minute sessions every two hours boring, lonely and often painful. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. To make the time go by quickly I read; anything and everything. Books, funny articles, messages and emails from friends.
What else do you do when you’re sitting alone with someone who can at best offer a gummy, gas induced grimace that you fool yourself in to calling a smile ? Also, staring down at your baby for that long with a Superman like laser stare can give you a serious crick in the neck and freak out your baby.
My problem with these kind of words is that it is one more thing for a parent to feel inadequate about. Worried about. Anxious about.
Breastfeed or bottle feed? Breastfeed in public or not? Cloth diapers or disposable? Toilet train at 6 months or diapers till 3? Co-sleep or Ferberise? Mummy and me classes or not? Montessori or Steiner? Chess or Swimming? Extra curricular hobbies or free afternoons?
Parenting is a maze of choices that one is forced to make with second-hand information and advice from other mothers or media appointed experts. Once you’ve made a choice it doesn’t matter what you decide; you will have to cower in the shadows and wait for judgement and castigation to be thrown at you by the ‘other’ side.
You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Someone somewhere is going to judge you (ummm, just read my first paragraph again) for your choices and the options you didn’t pick.
So to brext or not? Who cares? Do what you want. Read a book, listen to music, tweet about the state of the rainforests or watch a video of a cat playing Chopin. Or do none of the above and make like Madonna (the holy one, not the singer) and stare beatifically at your child?
It really doesn’t matter. Because the only other person involved in the entire process won’t remember any of it and doesn’t have an opinion. When they get their own Twitter account, then you worry.
(The writer’s parenting philosophy is: if there’s no blood, don’t call me)