I’ve been getting messages on Instagram recently from mums who want to know how I do things. How I manage, how I cope, how I parent.
First of all, I love that we all parent in different ways and I love that the choices we make form each of our little individuals and their unique personalities. Coming up in the next few weeks will be a blog I have written about choice and how many choices mother’s are expected to make, and I guess this one is a post about the choices that I have made in parenthood.
Secondly, I find it laughable that people perceive me as someone who copes and manages well. I’m a constant collective of organised and calm, and a complete anxious mess. I guess it depends what day/week you catch me on and which of my many moods I may be in. Despite that, I’m always happy to share what has worked for me.
Like a complete hippy, I wanted everything with Ted to be as natural as possible and nothing to be forced. I guess I’ve suceeded in some areas of that and failed in others. I wish I’d done things like breastfeed for longer, weaned more slowly and used cloth nappies. But that’s what round 2 will be for, right?!
I chose not to use dummies. As a newborn Ted used his nursing for comfort largely and although there were times (normally whilst I was awake at 4am wondering why I’d spent more time awake that night than asleep) that I didn’t know how I’d cope, Rob and I realised that there weren’t any points when we actually needed it. Ted eventually in his own time has learned to self soothe. Teething has never been a massive problem for us other than his sleep stealing, and whenever he is upset I go through the mental checklist in my head of what may be upsetting him until we find an answer.
Working in education, I’m driven to making sure I teach and educate Ted the best I can. We read to him often and limit his TV time as much as possible. Part of educating him for me too has always been by surrounding him with positive people and experiences. Taking him to the farm, drawing, letting him help me with mundane tasks, visiting family often, attempting to play sport together, visits to parks, letting him run around and be a free spirit. He is turning into such a sweet little soul, and I put so much of that down to making sure we leave the house every single day, come rain and shine
I chose to breastfeed until Ted was 13 months. The choice to stop then was more his choice than mine. He’d had enough and would push away and I knew it was time to stop. I’m so proud of our journey with feeding and that my choice made him the super strong little lad he is now.
Our sleep journey with Ted has been a challenging one and we have slowly and gently weaned him off of being fed to sleep, rocked to sleep and now left to fall asleep himself. I’m glad we have let him find his own way with sleep and that we have finally got to a good place with it. Maybe our decision to feed and rock him to sleep made the sleep situation worse, but for us it was the best choice based on what our boy needed at the time.
I chose to go back to work full time, and consequently chose to put Ted into a nursery full time. I needed work to stay sane as spending that amount of time at home wasn’t good for me, and luckily nursery has been a breeze for Ted. It’s made him a confident, independent child and bought out nothing but the best in him. I think we were lucky that we just found the right place and that he slipped into his new routine with minimal problems.
Being the ultra-feminist I am, everything is evenly split between me and Rob and I am so grateful for that. Particularly since being back at work, I’m so grateful for all that he does to keep me sane, keep us fed and help keep the household running smoothly. I honestly don’t know how some women do it, so massive shout out to them!
I’m the mum who likes to cuddle often, but I’m firm when Ted pushes the boundaries. I want to raise Ted understanding that he must work hard in order to get what he wants. I guess my values in life are reflected in my parenting style- kindness, persistence and education.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that how I parent is how my parent’s parent, and I’m lucky to have those role models in place. How they grandparent is funnily enough also how my grandparent’s grandparent- constantly trying to feed me, showering me with affection and adoration and allowing cheekiness that parent’s don’t!
It’s important that we share what works for us, as it may help others make decisions about how they do things. How do you parent?