I thought there would be a manual when I became a mum.

There are a gazillion how-to books and weekly columns from clueless parents (that's me) muddling their way through but no definitive way to parent, and it's frankly very annoying.

Some days I just want to be told what to do and how to do it. The days when I'm sleep-deprived and she is too.

The days when farm animal biscuits are the only thing she will eat. The days when I give up and Play School takes over.

Those are the days when I hope to goodness "mother's instinct" kicks in and we all make through to the end of the day, alive.

Some mothers are perfectionists. Some mothers are worriers. Some mothers are impossibly cool and put together.

I'm the kind of mother who is a little loose, not in the consume a bottle of wine at 5pm way (not on a regular basis, anyway), just in terms of my parenting style.

I let my daughter feed the dog and then feed herself, the other day I found her eating an eggshell, we ran out of nappies this week so she just rolled around the house naked, we don't just play in puddles, we sit in them, and her clothes are constantly dirty.

Edwina Bartholomew with her gorgeous girl.
Edwina Bartholomew with her gorgeous girl.

She's a carefree kid and I'm a pretty relaxed mum and so far, so good … until this week.

I found myself in a bit of a social media snafu after posting a video of my daughter playing with a coffee pot.

First, before you report me, it was not filled with hot liquid, was not sitting on a high bench or on a hot stove.

She had pulled it out of the bottom kitchen drawer and was playing with it on the floor, looking at her reflection in the metal and slamming the lid shut with a very loud "clang".

A mum on Facebook accused me of endangering my child by letting her play with an object that in another context could have been dangerous.

From the tone of the post, you'd think I'd let my daughter chop apart a doll with a sharpened carving knife or drive the car home.

I fired back to say I thought I was doing the right thing by my daughter and that's really all any mum can hope for. I felt good to stand up for myself.

So, as we approach Mother's Day this week, I look forward to the slippers and the candles but mostly I look forward to a little less judgment from others.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, just a whole bunch of us doing the best job we can do on a whole lot less sleep than we need.

Originally published as A mum on Facebook accused me of endangering my child



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