Up until recently, my head was mashed! I was constantly thinking, questionning, analysing and worrying, it was actually quite exhausting!
You see, for years I have worked in childcare, primarily with babies up to the age of four but occasionally with older children too. I was always confident, calm, patient, it was my job, it was what I was good at.
I also knew that it was my calling to one day be a mother, and now it’s happened. I have a three-year-old and an eighteen-month old, two girls, both beautiful and both happy.
At first when our eldest was born, despite the shock and unexpected waves of crazy hormones, I handled everything in my stride. I am not saying I always made the right decisions and I was most certainly not an expert, but I knew I was trying my best for my baby and completely trusted my instincts.
Once my baby was nine-months old, I was pregnant again and I started doing something that changed my thoughts on everything; reading blogs!
Firstly, I feel I need to clarify; this is not a post that is slating blogs, I still read them, I love reading them, I even now write one myself and I’m certainly not discouraging people from doing this. No. This is a post about how they changed me and how I feel I suffered for it for a while.
Let me explain.
There are many different types of blogs, all different and all good to read in their own way. Some share ideas, some share life-stories, some are light-hearted, some are in diary form, some are funny, tongue-in-cheek ones that make you laugh and that you can totally relate to; and then there are the very passionate, powerful blogs written by authors of strong convictions and firm beliefs.
The writings that pull you in and can let you think, even just for a few minutes, that you’ve been doing it all wrong.
The people that write so well and with such energy that you believe they must be right in what they are talking about. (Plus their children always look happy in their pictures, the ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say!)
These are the blogs that over the last year or so made me question everything I was doing as a parent. Not because I thought I was a particularly bad parent, but because I was striving to be a better one.
Don’t we all want the best for our children?
I would read parenting techniques, discipline (or lack of) approaches, ways to help your children learn, you name it, I read it. And then, here is where the problem began, I tried to implement it.
I would read a great article about ‘how to deal with tantrums’ for example, (last year we had quite a few of them in our house) and then I would try to put into practice what I’d read.
But then I’d read somebody else’s perspective of dealing with them and I’d try that too.
My biggest problem was that two of my favourite blogs, the ones I read the most and LOVE, are complete polar-opposites of each other.
I do agree with certain aspects of what both of these strong women say but I’m not as extreme as either of them in my approach to parenting.
I would take snippets from here and ideas from there, basically mixing and matching bits of other people’s ideas.
Needless to say, it didn’t work.
For a good few months I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing, I wasn’t consistent in many things and I kept changing my approach to the way I dealt with things.
All the time I kept thinking of the things I’d read, the ideas that had been put into practice by others and had worked. I even pictured myself talking to some of these blog authors and wondering what they’d say with regards to my children’s behaviour.
Even as I write this I know how ridiculous it sounds!
I was trying my best but obviously not in a way that was ever going to be successful.
After many months of various techniques and strategies being tried and tested, after a few successes and many failures (according to the things I’d read and their idea of what was ‘right’) I suddenly realised where I was going wrong.
My two children must have thought I’d gone a bit weird!
As I said earlier, I am certainly no expert, but I DO know the things that work for me and my children. I know I love them with all my heart and I know how to make them feel secure.
They are certainly not perfect angels all day long but they’re happy, which is important and they’re developing well.
Obviously I’m going to make mistakes, but I will learn from them, and I need to not compare myself to other mothers who made different mistakes with completely different children.
I will probably never blog about my parenting techniques, I feel it’s a tricky area to get into if you’re not actually a trained professional in a particular area, and what works for some doesn’t work for everyone.
But I WILL implement them in my own home because I know what works.
It’s true I have my own qualifications and experience working with babies and children, but I also think that we should never, ever underestimate our good old fashioned Mother’s Instinct either. It’s what women have relied on for centuries.
I went back to dealing with my children how I saw fit and not how I thought I should be doing it because of what I’d read and I already feel much more happy, so do they!
It’s also good to listen to advice (and to give it) when it comes to helping each other out as parents, and I will still appreciate things that I read in the future, I know I will. However, I don’t want to fall into the trap of comparisons anymore or think that because I’m not the same as others I’m necessarily wrong.
Oh….. And the other point I made earlier about their children looking ‘happy’, well of course they do. Why would you not choose gorgeous pictures for your own blog?
I am still going to read blogs and articles, I do really enjoy them. And I’m also going to carry on writing my own. However, when it comes to my children, I will listen to me, as they’re not raising them; I am!