Updated: Mar 9, 2019
After speaking to a friend recently, who has two small children, I was inspired to write a post about being a mum in recent times. She feels that there is so much pressure to do things a certain way and that other parents (and even non-parents), are judging your every move. We’re seemingly in constant view of our peers and subject to feeling guilty about screen time, bedtimes, too many extra- curricular activities, not enough extra- curricular activities, and the list goes on.
It appears that from the time you conceive, you have websites and books telling you what you should be doing, what you should be eating, are you exercising enough, exercising too little and how your emotions during pregnancy affect the baby for the rest of their lives. Accordingly, we would live in a serene bubble for nine months, consuming freshly prepared whole foods and exercising moderately and keeping our emotions in check, avoiding all negative stressors. And how lovely would that be? Yes, we can try to adopt healthier habits, but we shouldn’t feel guilty if we don’t meet all of the advice given to us. Pregnancy can be an emotional time for many reasons, especially with different situations that women find themselves in, which may not be how they’d imagined or planned when they thought of having children; let alone all the hormones that come into play when a little one is on its way.
And then the real fun begins: the baby and toddler years. They are such a source of amazement and joy, and you feel such pressure to do absolutely everything right by them. The thing is, advice changes every so often- babies should sleep on their front/ on their backs/ on their sides. It’s hard to keep up with all of the information out there as to which is best practice, because of course, you want to do the best for your baby and child.
As I’ve written in previous posts about reward charts and naughty steps- it’s advice that I’ve picked up from experience along the way and trying to figure it out for myself. If you want to use the naughty step- go ahead - It’s your child. If you want to let your child stay up until 9 pm: your decision. You are in control, and you know your life inside out and what makes your child tick. You know where the parenting books are if you need them, and you know how to find advice online, or from friends and family. Unsolicited advice is a bugbear of so many parents and I completely understand how my friend is feeling in regards to feeling that no matter what she does, everyone has an opinion on it.
If I were to write a book about parenting or childcare, the theme running throughout would be: Trust Your Instincts. Somehow, for 200,000 years, humans have managed just fine in raising their children without books, magazines, online articles and TV shows. On saying that- I’m sure many had friends and family that gave their opinion and advice. Maybe that’s just how we’re wired. I’m guilty of giving advice when I wasn’t necessarily asked for it. It comes from a place of wanting to help, and to problem- solve, not because I don’t think they can do it.