I have loved parenting books and I have loathed them.
Loved because when searching for an answer these books seem to have all the confidence in the world that they can fix any problem. They then spell out the steps for you to take. Brilliant.
Loathed because sometimes these answers go against your gut instinct (control crying anyone?), because sometimes your baby won’t wake up at 7am like the schedule says (and then WTF???) and because sometimes they cause more problems than you had to start with. Plus you feel like a failure if your baby couldn’t follow these simple instructions like all the other babies in the world.
So I’ve thrown them all out because there are no handbooks for babies. They were right when they said they don’t come with a manual. They don’t.
What you can study up for however is a better you.
Imagine if you were calmer. If you didn’t care what other people thought of your “techniques” with your baby. If you could see your child meltdown and patiently wait it out. If you didn’t make their refusals a big deal.
One of my favourite tips for Mums is that most things are just a phase and gut instinct will tell you if something is really wrong. You just need to get quiet and listen to yourself.
I have the happiest baby alive.
Elijah just smiles. Just laughs. Just sits. He is content to just be.
I feel joyous when I see him and am loving taking him everywhere with me.
He is having a phase at the moment. One where he gets up sometimes after midnight and is pretty unsettled till dawn. A phase.
A phase where I don’t try to change my baby. Who knows what is going on – an age for separation anxiety, teething, he has a cold, maybe its too hot.
Instead of trying to change him, I need to adjust me. More rest, remove what I can from my diary, more meditation and more love for him.
It will be over soon and instead of trying to change him I decided to support him in whatever he is going through. That was my instinct and yours may be different.
The big thing we need to understand is that that is ok. We all stumble along blindy on this path of parenthood but we should support each other, listen and not judge. Everyone has their own journey and we all love our children.
I received a copy of Parenting with Heart & Soul from author Kelly Burch the day I wrote this,
“The door opens and the stench of chlorine slaps you in the face. The noise level assaults your ears and the heat prickles your skin, opening your pours and inviting immediate sweat stains onto your armpits.
The pram is full, two children in one seat and your other child is trying to drag one side of it to the ground and you struggle to balance it. The massive swim bag on your right shoulder not making the task any easier.
All around you people are talking, cajoling, and pleading with their children to get in, to stay in, to listen to their teachers.
$17 a lesson. This figure imprinted in your brain. Important but expensive…and when your child doesn’t jump in the pool gratefully this figure seems to glow red in your brain and cause a short-out….
Yes. I’ve been a parent screaming at my child to get in. I’ve got my jeans wet trying to cajole him into the pool and I’ve discovered a better way.
A calmer way.
A more loving way.
A kinder way.
Let them be. Be there for them.
Something is spooking them. Something has worried them. Something is scaring them.
Throwing them in and begging the teacher to not let them back out is not getting the results we want.
A confident, happy swimmer who absolutely will not drown if thrown unexpectedly into water.
It took less than three minutes of Leo sitting on my lap until he wanted to go in the pool. Gone is the tyrant I was with Julian, replaced by a calmer happier me – who is not pushing.”
Weeks later when I opened Kelly’s book I saw pretty much the same passage in her book. I believe Kelly and I and our idealistic view of parenting are the same.
I say idealistic because what you think and your actions can at times oppose each other and Kelly honestly admits this in her book.
Tomorrow is another day and you will be one step closer to being the kind of parent you want to be.
Kelly is an EFT practioner. That stands for Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping and is one of the leaders in her field, and mostly aims her technique at Mothers.
This book is less of a parenting manual and more of a “How To” for EFT. Her parenting nuggets in here are gold however and is worth a read even if you think EFT may not be for you.
But if you are curious Kelly has this definition on her website…..
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a method of gently removing blockages in the energy system to improve how we feel. As an EFT Master Practitioner and Trainer Kelly uses Energy EFT, which is focused on the fact that we have an energy body and we are giving our energy body attention (with our energy hands as we tap).
I have a copy of Parenting with Heart & Soul to give away so if you think this sounds exactly like something you need then comment on this post with your favourite piece of parenting advice. Winner announced Valentines Day.
Can’t wait to hear your comments!!