Parenting in my opinion is hard, and it is getting harder…not because parenting itself is getting harder, but the society we live in is making it harder! We know too much, we are all trying to find reasons and diagnosis for everything and we blame ourselves for everything. Human beings are incredibly complex creatures, we can’t put one behaviour or attribute to a particular thing, that we as parents did…for example, I blame myself for my daughter getting eczema, in my head, it was obviously something I did when she was a baby. Was it because I introduced formula too early? Or because I used too many Baby Products on her from birth? My boy has a stammer, I have been offered “parenting” workshops, which immediately, in my head, means it was caused by something I had done! You need to have a pretty thick skin nowadays to be a parent!
But do you know what, the further down the road I go, the more I learn, the more I trust and understand that our children are complex human beings, and without the ability to turn back time and change things, we will never know a root cause for anything that we do. So what do we do to make it easier? We need to be kind to ourselves, trust and believe in ourselves (because we are 100% in charge when it comes to these little beings). How can we be the best parent we can be? I think it is pretty simple, we need to stop worrying, listening, blaming, judging and being so hard on ourselves! Below are my top tips for being the most amazing parent ever!!
Stop trying to fit into Boxes:
Parenting boxes seem to me more and more prevalent “Attachment” Parenting, “Gentle” Parenting, “Routine” based parenting, “Baby Led Weaning”, “Cry it out”, “Controlled Crying”, do we all have to fit into one box? If we keep giving parenting tools names, surely we are all going to feel the need to fit into one box. If I talk to a mum who actively pursues “attachment” parenting, and I talk about listening to her baby cry, you can see her physically recoil. If I talk to a “routine” based mum, about rocking her baby to sleep, or co-sleeping, she thinks she will have a baby attached to her for life. The truth is, we need take bits from all of these schools, I don’t fit any of the boxes above, if I try and do too much from the “attachment” parenting box, I feel suffocated, if I try and do too much from the “routine” based I feel restricted, so what do I do? I forge my own path! I co-slept for a bit, I instilled routine when I felt I needed, I fed on demand, I then had to impose a schedule, I chose EASY parenting….
Choose EASY parenting:
I am a big believer in making parenting easy! It is hard enough without making it harder! So if my baby didn’t sleep when I thought they should, I would try a couple of things, then give up. If I was spending 45mins trying to get my baby to take a 45min nap, it clearly wasn’t going to be worth it! Weaning - if it isn’t easy, stop, slow down and start again. Potty Training - if your toddler is having loads of accidents and potty training has been going on weeks and you are still getting though 10 pairs of pants a day, stop, they aren’t ready! It should be easy. All of these things, sleeping, eating, peeing not in a nappy, are physiological things, we will all do, when we are ready. If it is difficult, stop trying, relax and start again.
Stop trying so hard:
Before we have kids, we work hard, we see results. This DOES NOT apply to babies! The harder you try with a newborn the harder you will make it on yourself. Spend the first 3-6m (Fourth Trimester) learning about your baby, let them learn about you and the outside world. Let him lead the way and you will learn together.
Stop listening to advice:
Most of us that have now moved out of the baby phase, have forgotten most to it! If I look back at my youngest (who is now 4.5yrs), I would say he was a great sleeper, eater, and generally an easy baby. I look at Timehop and Facebook Memories, he wasn’t! Our parents, grandparents, some friends, don’t have that luxury. So when they tell you they weaned with baby rice in the bottle at 6wks, or that they never fed their baby sleep, or their baby never took that long to feed, they have forgotten. It doesn’t matter what other peoples baby’s have done or are doing, it is irrelevant. They are NOT your baby, your tiny human is different to their tiny human.
So how to be the BEST parent ever? Just be yourself, relax, all babies are different, you WILL learn who yours is in time, go with the flow and treat it as a journey, a journey you will be forever learning on.