Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Letter To A Friend

To my lovely friend,

You complemented me on how well behaved my children are today, ooh, if only you knew! But thankyou, actually they aren't too bad and like any mother I take immense pride in them so comments like this always make my heart swell with pride!
You are currently in the family way yourself and asked me if there was anything I did in particular as you had been reading some books. I do seem to have some weird compulsion for giving people advice and I have been thinking all afternoon about what would be the best piece of advice I could give and I think it's this:

To be the best parent you can just follow your instincts.

Read as many or few books as you like, research all or no parenting styles, talk to as many people as you can about what works for them then cherry pick the bits you like. When your have your children the best expert for them will be you. No one else has the experience you have of being you and parenting your children. It can feel a bit like you have no idea what you're doing but you'll all be learning together. For what it's worth, after Meanderingdaughter1 was born I thought I had this parenting thing down pat. Total pro. Then Meanderingdaughter2 came along and proved me otherwise.  I've spent the last 11 months feeling like I'm winging it. That's because each child is different and there is no best way of parenting.

It's likely that you'll often feel that you shouldn't be doing what you're doing because it goes against what you may have read or heard but if it feels right to you then I wouldn't worry.  You may well hear the phrase 'building a rod for your own back' bandied about but frankly if you don't want a back rod then you shouldn't have gotten pregnant!

So in answer to your question, I would say that in our family we are broadly attachment parenting orientated but I haven't read in depth about attachment parenting so couldn't accurately describe it to you. What I do know is that we have a fairly unhealthy amount of bribery, shouting, swearing, sweetie eating and television watching going on in our house which all piles on more of that parenting guilt but which really shouldn't cos no one is perfect and the girls are pretty much ok!

Also, there is a lot of baby equipment out there. You probably don't need 99% of it but something you swear by will be something others will swear off! You should use what suits you. For me I couldn't live without my sling(s). Purely because I like to be able to strap grumpy babies onto my back and crack on with whatever I'm doing. Mainly baking cakes. But I know that for many a sling is just a large bit of pointless material!

So what I am really trying to say is, the best person to listen to is yourself. You'll work it all out and you'll be great.

Good luck and much love xxx

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