Sunday, 13 July 2014

What I've learnt about parenting

A little while ago a friend asked me what I'd learnt about parenting following a whole year being a mum. My immediate answer was "nothing!" but it got me thinking about what I've learnt (if anything!)

When you've just had a baby you do get a bit inundated with advice, ranging from well-meaning suggestions to forceful opinions on the latest theory or 'rules' for parenting. It's a bit overwhelming to be honest - especially when you're in the vulnerable state of having just pushed out a little squidgy baby who needs constant attention and feeding when what you really want to do is have a nice cup of tea and afternoon nap on the sofa.

I actually feel quite strongly about not giving parenting advice, because it can be bloody annoying is such a subjective topic, so I usually only give advice when I'm asked for it, and even then all I really know is what we tried and what worked for us. So with that in mind, here's what I've learnt over the past year:

  1. You'll probably never feel like you're on top of it. Well, I never really do anyway, I think that's pretty normal. If you get through most days with both of you still in tact, and can look at it with a smile on your face, then you're doing ace.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up about your parenting choices. Being a stay-at-home mum is hard. Being a working mum is hard. Being a bit of both and trying to do both as best you can when you're a bloody perfectionist is hard (ahem). However you make it work for you is just great for you.
  3. The bad bits will pass. This one I definitely know to be true - nothing lasts forever with babies, not the cluster-feeding stage, not the crying-all-night stage, and sadly not the I'll-just-leave-him-gurgling-here-on-the-bed-while-I-nip-to-the-loo-and-know-he'll-be-right-here-when-I-get-back-again stage either.
  4. Be flexible. You can't really plan what's going to happen with a baby - the thing is that they're their own little person with their own little mind right from the get go (I don't think I was quite prepared for that) so you may need to take a different approach depending on how/when they want to sleep or feed or play or cry. I try not to worry too much about the future and just focus on getting through the now without any major disasters.
  5. Enjoy it. I'm serious - I need to remind myself sometimes. In honesty, I think I missed out on a bit of that 'oh wow I am overwhelmed by the surge of pure love and emotion' stuff in the early days, perhaps a bit blind-sided at the time. Now that I've relaxed a bit I've realised it's basically the most fun you can have - it's like having a best mate by your side, making you laugh and smile all day long. What's not to enjoy?

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, you are my mumspiration! Xx