“It’s happened to me so much, which is why I thought I’d give those women an update…”
But there’s one thing I’ve been careful to avoid doing, and that’s judging other mums – aloud to their faces. I’m no saint – of course, I sometimes think, “OK, interesting, I don’t think I’d ever do that”. But then I figure they have their reasons and I say nothing.
Other people (more judgey mums) like to take it a step further. They ask direct questions. They doubt your parenting… and often leave you a little gobsmacked by their audacity that you’re too stunned to reply.
It’s happened to me so much, which is why I thought I’d give those women an update – just let them know it all worked out OK, despite their ‘well-intentioned’ concerns.
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Winston and Nama. Source: supplied.
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I’ve raised a confident, resilient and kind teen
Winston, now 14, is a confident, resilient and kind teen. He’s come out proudly, does activities he’s passionate about and loves his mates. And his sole parent mum.
Yes, my friends – he’s survived my substandard parenting and apparent poor decisions to become a pretty impressive young man. Sorry. You women were wrong. Your vocal concerns were misplaced. Feel free to write me a letter like this one that Winston wrote for me –
Winston’s apology letter. Source: supplied.
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But I’d like to get more specific
To the mums who shamed me for having a C-section – Winston was prem an entire trimester. It was an emergency. I was very ill. But more importantly – I’m still a mother just as much as you. And a woman.
To the mum who shamed me for co-sleeping with Winston for years – good news. Winston has not turned out with an Oedipus complex like Norman Bates in Psycho (at least not yet).
To the mum who told me Winston’s anaphylaxis to many foods was my fault – you have no idea. I ate all the allergens when I was pregnant, and carefully introduced them to Winston at the right times. Sometimes shit just happens. And we’ve rolled with the punches. Winston and I both figure if this is the worst he has to deal with, at least it’s largely manageable.
To the mum who peered into my shopping trolley and commented on how Winston still wore overnight pull-ups – He was three. Not 10. And please don’t concern yourself with my son’s pee-pee (and FYI I’m almost needing nappies these days because, you know, #45).
To the mums who expressed concern many times about how close Winston and I are – look at the video he made for me to honour my sister who died. I love our close relationship. I love that we have a strong friendship in that, too.
It’s just the two of us and has been for 12 years. Just imagine if we weren’t friends and didn’t talk to each other about most things. Didn’t enjoy each other’s company (most of the time).
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“I preferred raising a good man than trying to find one”
To the one mum in particular who told me I was “obsessed” with my son and that I’d regret it later if I re-partnered – I preferred raising a good man than trying to find one. Respect my choice. I’m so glad I made it. In my opinion, my investment has paid off big time.
I think my obsession (aka prioritisation) was worth it. Just imagine how different things could have been for me parenting a teen as a single mum, now.
And finally, to the mum who was worried that I let my son be a Sydney Mardi Gras ambassador this year when they invited him – it was the best experience of Winston’s life to date. Identity is everything to most people, and Winston figured his story of coming out may help others feel more confident.
Especially because he’s got my backing – when so many others don’t have support from their families.
He’s proud, and so am I. Source: supplied.
I will, however, need to concede some mums were right about this one – the ones who said their husbands would never allow nail polish or fairy tutus on their sons in case they “turned out gay”.
You were right. I allowed those things. And now look how it’s turned out!