When I was growing my first baby, I thought I was prepared for motherhood… I thought it would just work out. I laughed off the antenatal exercise with the clock saying “Sure we know we’ve to make everything work around the baby, not the other way around.” Ha! I hadn’t a clue!!
Nine years, three children, several mindees, various training courses and hundreds of clients and customers later I’ve learned a hell of a lot …
Here are my top 10 “I wish I’d known this much earlier in my parenting journey” …
1. Self-care is essential to keep the family machine running.
Sounds odd, but you are a tool. You need a regular service to continue running smoothly. You need a regular check-up to spot what’s out of whack and fix it while it’s manageable. If you are struggling for breath, it’s tricky to put the oxygen mask on those you care about and for…
2. Baby’s are needs driven, it’s all about survival.
Our blueprint still has us living in a cave. All our instincts and needs are aiming to ensure is our survival – safe from predators, close to nourishment. Babies do not have wants, just needs. Close physical contact is one of the strongest needs. Providing it means building a solid foundation of trust and security. A strong base from which our little ones can practice spreading their wings … and eventually push off from to fly.
And: a lot of toddler behaviours make sense from the cave perspective too!
3. Accept and invite help – it’s a basic need.
Back in the cave (yes, we are still there!) there was a band, a group, a big family around us. Everyone pitched in, looked after each other. Those needing the most looking after had the most amount of people looking after them. You need to be supported so you can offer support. Responsive parenting is impossible in a core family only. It takes a village and all that…
4. There’ll only ever be “one child only” once.
Use that space that “just you and me” gives, flow and wallow in it, soak it up. Grab the baby, the sling, a nappy and go – live. Next time you’ve a baby, there’ll be a toddler or older child too …
5. If it feels right in this moment, do it!
There’s no point worrying about the what if’s in a month’s or a year’s time. You don’t know who or what or how will be around the corner. But you know now. Feel that and act on it. Enjoy!
6. There’s no more hiding.
You’ll have to face what you’ve been able to brush under the carpet up to now because kids know. They are still in touch with instincts and their deep down belly feelings. And they sense it in others. They will be your mirror and they will hold it up until you look into it.
7. You will grow with your child.
The more you look into that mirror, the more you’ll evolve and grow with your child. And you’ll get to know yourself (again).
8. Brain and belly can contradict each other.
You will face situations and decisions that have your brain in turmoil and your belly fully settled. It’s an incredibly tense space to hold. And it’s inspiring and empowering to go with that belly.
9. The choice is your’s.
Sometimes the choices you are faced with feel like they aren’t really a choice, like you “have to”. But it’s a choice you get to make, even if it’s between bad and just as bad. It’s YOUR choice. And if you are comfortable with that choice, you know or feel your reasons, there’s no need to defend or explain your choice. It just is.
10. You will be the strongest you have ever been.
And often, you won’t even notice or feel that strength until after. You will do things, face situations, jump over shadows … for that little person who puts all their trust in you.
What are the biggest, most interesting, most suprising lessons you’ve learned from parenting?