PARENTING

Tuesday Tips: 5 things we’ve learned about parenting

Esther and family

Esther and I have both recently been asked to share five things we’ve learned about parenting over on the Wear&Where site. What a great series! I read Esther’s answers from last week and thought her tips were so good that we should share them here as well. Spoken like the super experienced mama of four that she is:

  • Take care of yourself and your relationship: Becoming parents is a big change and a big challenge. It’s easy for us, mothers, to focus entirely on our family and to forget to take good care of ourselves as well. But our own wellbeing is just as important as that of our children and partner! A mother that feels good about herself is a happier mama and a sexier partner.
  • A change of scene can mean a change of spirits. When things are not going very smoothly, consider a change of scene. It can be as simple as putting everybody’s wellies on and splash puddles in the park for half an hour. Dinner can wait.
  • Step back and reflect. In the bigger scheme of things, hugely important parenting decisions like ‘which organic nappy brand is the absolute best for my baby’ are maybe not as important as they appear to us, over-worrying and over-achieving parents. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, and reflect.
  • Take things with a grain of salt. No-one is perfect. Don’t be fooled by what you see, or what you think you should be!
  • You don’t have to do it all! Kids generally love doing what you’re doing, so if you do something you love, your kids will love doing that with you. (For example, spending hours on the playground is not my biggest hobby, but I love cooking and crafting, and my kids love to cook and craft with me. It’s a way to spend time together we all enjoy.)

 

And I thought I would share my answers as well:

  • Everyone does it a little bit differently, and that’s okay. One of my closest friends, also a mother of four, just sleep-trained her 6-week-old baby to sleep through the night. My first instinct was to judge her as one of those crazy, straight-laced mothers with a tight schedule, but then I reminded myself that it works for her and that her children are all happy and healthy. My babies all slept in our bed and nursed on demand for the first six months of their lives, and I’m sure she would think I’m a crazy, hippie mother with no routine! What works for one family might not work for the other, and that’s okay.
  • Take the parenting books with a grain of salt. There is so much advice and so many books targeted at new mothers, and it can all seem overwhelming and confusing. I think we often forget to listen to our gut and trust that we can make the right decisions for our family. Sometimes the best thing I can do is to slow down, tune in and listen, really listen to my children to truly understand their needs.
  • Kids don’t have to be bathed every day – they’ll survive without being squeaky clean! I’ve become way more relaxed about baths over the years, and I’ve realised that my kids are just as healthy and happy as before, even if they’re only bathed twice a week.
  • Despite coming from the same mould and being raised the same way, each of my children is unique and individual. I’m constantly surprised by how different my children are from one another and even how different they can be from me. They are little individuals with their own ways of doing things, and I really find it fascinating to observe this nature versus nurture phenomenon and encourage them to be their own individual selves (no comparisons).
  • It’s addictive! I love having babies; I loved being pregnant (apart from the first few months), I even loved giving birth, and I especially loved those first few months of sleepy newborn magic. I’ve now gotten to a point where our baby is two and we are pretty sure we won’t have any more babies, and yet I still don’t want to close that baby chapter. I guess I always assumed it would be an easy decision to reach, that I would just feel finished. I had no idea it would be so difficult!

Now it’s your turn! Please share what you’ve learned about parenting. We would love to hear.

Courtney xx

Image of Esther and her family is by Katrina Campbell


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Comments (6)

December 1, 2015

Hi, wonderful suggestion… it shows how much dedicated you are in all stages of life… 🙂 god bless you…


Lisa
December 1, 2015

Love all these. I find reminding myself how fast this time goes and reminding myself how lucky I am always makes me happy – I think the gratitude makes me happy. I also have a way of doing things that people would probably think is crazy ; co sleeping; no nanny or help w 4 (nearly) 5 kids 7 and under, but I love our tight family unit and know that my husband and I will have (I hope) years ahead Of us to travel alone and do things without them when they don’t need us anymore. I know women who go on girls nights and girls vacations without their little ones and I choose not to. As I don’t judge them I hope they don’t think I’m
A boring stepford wife !!!! My parenting worries mostly come
From other mothers I’m afraid to say!!! Xxxxx


Katie
December 1, 2015

Clearly not ready for your baby Marlow to grow up… Because you wrote she is 2. I love your IG and I think I saw 3 candles on those pancakes! =D
Thank you to both of you for sharing your parenting experience.
As a mother of “only” 3 kids I love to see how you handle things with 4.
I have learned to trust my children, they know if they’re cold, or hot, or still hungry…
I have learned to trust my judgement, I was ashamed of the cosleeping and nursing on demand for my boy 9years ago, now I am proud of it for my baby girl. Makes me happy and she is healthy.
Katie


Rachel
December 1, 2015

I’ve found that even though I really don’t judge other parents (everyone has their own ways), I constantly have people raising an eyebrow that I don’t give my toddler sugar and that I like to keep to a strict sleep schedule, including naps. I just don’t think that a cranky or over-sugared child is good for them or for us, but it’s always viewed as uptight. This seems to be what the comparison is based upon – are you uptight or relaxed as a parent?
Thanks for sharing your great learnings.


Jen
December 5, 2015

so great, thank you!


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Lisa
May 8, 2018

I have two boys and have always wanted a third, finally we decided to try for baby number 3 last year and sadly lost her at 12 weeks, it took us a while to be ready to try again and we lost our baby girl at 21 weeks this time, which was so hard only 3 weeks ago. I am 39 and I don’t know if We should try again or if I am too old now? I crave information from families who were in a similar situation to me a few years ago and how they feel now whichever route they chose to go down. Did anyone else go onto have a healthy happy baby after heartache and not regret it? did anyone decide not too and regret it… so many questions and so many worries and like you said Courtney it is addictive and I crave that chance of a daughter and pregnancy and birth and early years all over again….I worry that being nearly 40 it might be too late and that I may be judged by other parents, I worry that our boys may miss out on things as I try to mananage the age gap 🙈 so many worries and questions….


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