I have a simple philosophy on parenting and that is this… I am not my children’s friend, they should have enough friends if I’ve done my job as a parent properly… I am their parent. Their teacher, their chef, their nurse, their confidant, their coach. but in my opinion, while they’re still children I’m certainly not their friend.
I have made many mistakes as a parent, especially with my eldest two sons. I allowed the emotional and messy break-up with their father affect me and I neglected my boy’s needs. I made it difficult for my eldest to confide in me and without realising, I allowed him to feel that it was his fault and because I was wrapped up in how I felt, I became unapproachable in his eyes.
But part of being a parent is being able to recognise when we’ve made mistakes and trying to adapt and be a better parent, I patently didn’t learn that from my own parents!
Children should be nurtured. I use the ‘Earth Mother’ loosely but I had natural births, I breastfed until they self weaned, I BLW, Cloth nappy, co-sleep, and pretty much follow my instinct.
I am a bit of an Earth Mother… I believe in a Mother’s Instinct and Intuition, that feeling you get that tells you if you’re right or wrong. I believe in my instinct and I am in tune with my intuition.
We co-sleep. On hearing this, people are so quick to point out how ‘dangerous’ this practice is but I’d like to bet that most of us have at least had the odd night where we’ve put baby in our bed to get a night’s sleep…
I read an article once on sleeping arrangements of babies. Parents were asked where their babies slept and all answered “In his/her cot/moses basket”… when questioned more indepth, a huge proportion then admitted to having their baby in the parental bed for the majority of the time.
We just admit to doing it full-time for at least the 1st year. I breastfeed so it seems the most natural thing to do so that baby has his/her feeds and goes back to sleep without being disturbed. At around a year old, we’ve put a bed in their room and introduced the joys of having a ‘big boy’s/girl’s room’ and they’ve been really happy with it… then again, although they’ll go down great, by morning they’re very often in our bed again and we’re absolutely fine with that. My attitude is what could be more natural than sleeping in the warmth and security of the people you love the most?
I breastfeed… I believe it’s simply what we’re supposed to do. I have no idea what the ingredients in formula are and to me they sound like a chemistry lesson, so I choose to breastfeed… I don’t try to make others do the same and no-one should feel guilty either way, though I do believe there’s not enough information for those wishing to breastfeed and there’s a lot of misinformation which worries new mums into quitting early, believing they ‘aren’t producing enough milk’. Breastfed babies DO feed every hour or two for the first few weeks and they do often stay on the breast for half an hour or so… that doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk, nor does it mean you’re not doing it right. At 6, 8 and 12 weeks, babies tend to have a growth spurt and demand to be fed more often… these are often times when mums quit thinking they’re not producing enough to sustain baby’s needs. I have found health visitors to tell mums to ‘top-up’ with formula (which will hinder mother’s milk production!) as baby won’t be gaining the right amount of weight. (you know, the amount the chart in their red health book says they should!)
The Health Visiting Team are an OPTIONAL service that I opted out of, I gained my own support network of like-minded mothers and I feel I am wasting the time of a Health Visitor to be honest, though my last one was fantastic, I just felt that after 5 babies, I kinda knew pretty much all they could tell me.
Weaning… I follow my child. Baby-led Weaning is the only way in this house. I did it all by the book with my eldest and when he was still gagging on lumpy food and spitting out the lumps, I was at my wits end… ‘The books said they MUST be having lumpy food by 10 months!! He was surely going to be eating pureé forever at this rate!’…
With my others, I introduced finger foods when they were ready and baby rice and home pureéd foods occasionally too. We didn’t stick to any particular way or age, just what felt right.
What did piss me off was a Health Visitor telling a friend that she was an unfit mother for introducing baby rice to her 4 month old son when ‘The World Health Organisation’s’ recommendation is to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and not to introduce solids until at least then… What they failed to inform her is that the WORLD Health Organisation includes 3rd world countries where there isn’t sufficient nutritious food… this is England! When my eldest 2 were babies, we were told that if we DIDN’T introduce solids before 6 months, that we’d be hindering their speech as they need to exercise their jaw muscles!!! And now they’re back to 4 months again!! I prefer weaning when baby shows signs that it’s time… much more reliable!!
Nappies… I like to cloth nappy… Most are shaped like disposables and velcro or popper closed, have gorgeous waterproof ‘pul’ covers and look adorable… not to mention they save hundreds compared to disposables, especially if you use them for subsequent children or swap them around with friends. I don’t buy into the fact that they are more ‘eco-friendly’ as it really does depend on how you wash and dry them, but they certainly are easier on the pocket than disposables. To be honest, once my kiddies are toddling, they often go without nappies in the daytime, you can often tell when they’re about to go and you can get them to a potty and let their skin air.
Don’t even get me started on immunisations!! Firstly they are optional… how many parents actually feel they are optional though? Most parents I know thought they were compulsory! Secondly, when you get drugs from the chemist, you ALWAYS get a leaflet that you HAVE to read before you take the medicine… it lists all the active ingredients, things that could cause adverse effects, what those effects are (even rare ones) etc… when you take your 2 month old baby to get those 1st lot of jabs, do you really know what’s in them or what the adverse reactions could be? Two of my children had serious adverse reactions to immunisations and I am against immunising babies so young. I’ve really done my research on this and I once had a bit of an argument with a ‘medical professional’ about my children’s delayed jabs… they claimed that by not immunising my children, I’m putting their childen at risk! What?! If you are 100% sure that those jabs are effective then how is my child risking your child? Your child is protected surely? The only way my child could possibly be infected is through other non-immunised children, and your children are protected so there should be no problem at all!! I made an informed decision to delay my children’s jabs. I am not entirely happy allowing them at all to be honest, but I’m delaying them at the very least.
We all make choices as parents, I’m not claiming my choices are right for anyone else but my family. I’m not disrespecting anyone else’s choices.
There are women out there who eat their placenta’s… not for me but hey, if they feel that it makes them better mother’s and they certainly aren’t affecting anyone else, then go for it, that’s their prerogative.
We all have our beliefs. I certainly do. I know that a lot of what I’ve done, at least with my eldest is totally against what I believe now, but that’s through learning and experience. Making mistakes and wanting to better them. None of us are perfect parents but I’m sure we all strive to be.
I believe that children thrive best in a secure family with good role models, ideally with their mum and dad. As a couple we should teach our kids by example, how to deal with problems in relationships, how to love, how to work as a team. Whether those parents are together or not, they made that child and should act as business partners, working together to raise a well-adjusted child. No-one says you have to get along but you both have something in common… love for your child and a want to give that child the best upbringing you can possibly give.
A mother should raise her daughter to be a woman with morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know herself and be independent. Not to depend on a man for money but to know she can work and be successful and support herself.morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know that a couple balance each other as equals, neither one is more important than the other.
A father should raise his son to be a man with morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know himself and to be independent and be domesticated. To respect women and not to depend on a woman to look after him, to know he can take care of himself. morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know that a couple balance each other, they are equal, neither one is more important than the other.
None of us are perfect but we can try to be better, that way maybe our children will be better parents than us…
(core values image from http://www.all-about-motherhood.com/index.html )