A hashtag on instagram and phase used in blog posts and lately has had me thinking what you would call my style of parenting ?
To me parenting is anything but gentle. I have three children. Harrison, my firstborn was delivered early at 36 weeks, when my waters broke and I was later induced as he didn’t want to make an appearance despite a day of pacing the hospital maternity department. His birth was a speedy 2 hour something delivery (story for another day). Then there was Connie two and a half years later followed by Reubyn three years later. Both of them induced births at around the 38 mark as my consultant wanted to make sure I was in hospital given the speed of my first delivery and he was right! Both births progressed quickly and were around the two hour mark from first twinge to sitting up eating my tea and toast. All totally different births but one thing definitely was the same – they were anything but gentle.
Let move on to the next few weeks of their lives. They didn’t sleep, all three had silent reflux were difficult feeders. I gave breastfeeding a go but it wasn’t for me I never seemed to get it right. By the time number three was on the way I had already made the decision I wasn’t going to even attempt it. But I had myself together by number three and new exactly what I was doing or at least at the time I thought I did. Learning to parent is a steep mountain to climb and everyone who has ever gone before you will always have an opinion on how you should be doing things. I often heard the phrase, “you know in my day we did it this way” or “we didn’t have those in our day.” But one thing is for sure, I did it my way and each child did well and thrived.
Parenting for us didn’t come naturally. I struggled being a new mum and after Connie suffered with severe postnatal depression. I used to compare myself to my friends and how they had totally had the whole parenting thing nailed. How they managed to be supermum and have three loads of washing done the housework completed, baked cookies with the kids and still had time to wash their hair and put makeup on before lunch! Most days I would still be in PJ’s come 3pm with yogurt in my hair and scraping some sort of baby mush of every surface my kids had come into contact with. Parenting was anything but gentle. Both hubby and I were absolutely shattered most, if not all of the time and resembled extras from zombie movie. No black eye makeup or pale complexions needed we had that down to a fine art and without even trying! Sleep was something that was in short supply!
Co-sleeping, I had never heard this term to quite recently. I was selfish when it came to sleeping. I mean we were sleep deprived for pretty much 8 years in a row so if I was going to get a few precious hours sleep I wanted to make sure I had the bed to ourselves so no co-sleeping in our house. Don’t get me wrong there are often weekend mornings when our king size bed has everyone in it or on it!
I wish I could say I was the mother earth type but I’m not. In fact I would say I am pretty much winging it on a daily basis in my own unique way. My work colleagues often laugh at my stories of parenting and the rules that have developed over the years in our house. We all have rules but it is has been a hot topic when I say my kids don’t have playdough, paint or sand at home! My logic, they get to play with those at school and sand, well its for the beach! And then there’s glitter, dont get me started on glitter. I hate glitter. In fact my hatred for glitter was even known by one of my child’s teachers. When Connie was in junior school I received a Christmas card from her teacher, addressed to the whole family. To my delight when I opened it it contained more glitter than a disney store snow globe. I was seeing glitter in my carpet well in to the new year!
Fast forward, the children are now older. There are no babies left in our house. We have a son who’s eleven going on 16, complete with hair gel, too much aftershave and the inability to leave the confines of his bedroom. An 8 year old daughter who is the easiest child to parent, for her anything goes and a 5 year old son who I guess will always be my baby and is never too far from my side.
For me parenting is pretty much anything but gentle. It is a journey into the unknown. Each child arrives, grows and develops at their own pace and with their own ideas and agendas. Believe me when your child wants tomato sauce sandwiches for breakfast and you have repeatedly said no. They will get just help themselves when your back is turned! I like to think of my parenting style as, learning as you go! No two days are ever the same and my approach to parenting is slightly different for each child. They are individuals and need to be treated or parented in an individual way what works for one wont necessarily work for another.
Raising confident, well adjusted happy and healthy children is our goal and it doesn’t matter what way you do it!