Isn’t it odd!
We go through life completely able to function in our own way doing our own thing and then we find out we’re pregnant, and we question our abilities to do anything!
We find ourselves turning to the latest book to find out what we should be doing and how to do it.
We try to fit ourselves into the latest parenting craze, following timetables created by other people that might not fit into what works for us!
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s all a bit bonkers! (Yup, I really did say that out loud!)
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying here, that all parenting books are bad. They aren’t, in fact, when I was pregnant with my three kids, I was glued to them. They gave me structure, showed me what I should be doing and quite honestly, I was fascinated by the information about my growing baby and I am sure you are too. But what I am saying, is I think we should keep our brains about us (yes even through that mum fog and baby brain that is a very real thing!)
You see, the problem with these books is that if you are not careful, you lose you. They take away your belief in yourself, in your ability to do it your way. What I think is that so long as you want the very best for your baby (and I think we all do), that we should do what works for us and for our baby.
When we parent with our baby’s best interests at heart and we listen to our own inner voice. I think we begin to parent our way. We find the rhythms and routines that work for us and our baby. In doing so, we also find our parenting confidence and that is SO important for both us and our baby.
In order to make this work though, I think there are a number of things we need to think about and really consider and plan for. So many of us plan for the birth and learning to look after the baby’s needs, like feeding and bathing. But how many of us really think about our parenting. What it will look like and why we are doing what we are doing etc.
So what do we need to think about?
Well, for me, I think we need to parent with the end in sight. I don’t mean parent your baby like they are a teen, that would be madness! But I do think we need to have conversations (preferably before the baby is born) about what the end looks like, what direction we want to go in with our parenting (remembering that parenting is often done as a joint activity with other people!).
When we parent knowing what outcomes we are aiming for, we parent in a more focused way. It is more intentional. So having conversations with your partner before the baby is born about what is the most important thing for each of you for your baby to achieve, is it that they are polite, or that they are independent, or that they are proactive, or is it that they do as they are told, are tidy, can follow instructions? You don’t both need to have the same ideals, but it really helps to know what the other person thinks is really important.
The other thing I think we need to think about is what’s in the best interest of our baby. By that I mean today and in the future.
Let me give you an example of what I mean here. A mum I was talking to the other day was telling me that she was over worked and undervalued (she didn’t say that in those exact words but that was what she was meaning!). She was resentful that her husband was able to escape to work and she was always with the kids (they are older, school age kids), and she felt that it was unrelenting. She was sick of having no time for herself. (I am sure we can all relate to this feeling!). When we unpicked things, it was clear that she was doing everything from home schooling, to making meals, to cleaning, tidying etc and she was right, there WAS no time for her in it all.
Through our conversation, I helped her look to the end.
We talked about how she was setting up her kids to fail!
I know it sounds odd to say that from a mum feeling like she is drowning in jobs but hear me out.
If she had looked at this right to the end, she would realise that the kids that are currently school age, are actually going to grow up to be adults.
Those adults will need to be able to keep the house, cook, clean and tidy up etc.
By her doing it all for the children herself, she was stopping her children from learning how to do it and preventing them from preparing for life.
She didn’t want the children to help because she wanted to make sure that it was done her way, but what she didn’t realise was, that through the kids trying, they would get better at it. But they couldn’t get better, if they weren’t allowed to try. In the beginning, she may well have to do it again after the children had ‘done the job’, but the more they gave it a go, the better they would get at it.
Let’s take this back to having little ones. If we start out with the end in mind, we know we want children who grow up to be capable, competent adults.
So, let’s set them up to succeed. Let’s help them to join in right from the start, by showing them and telling them when they are tiny newborn baby’s that we’re tidying up. As toddlers, we make tiding up part of the game. As two-year-olds onwards we encourage them to help us with the washing etc, by the time we have teens we will have children who help around the house because it’s just the thing that they do. I promise this works! Just remember to think about the outcomes that you want for your baby. If you want them to be independent, yup, you are going to have to teach them those skills!
And we can do this with everything.
When we are playing with our children and when we are talking to them etc we can always do it with the end in sight; knowing what we are aiming for.
By parenting in this way, you are freeing yourself to parent YOUR way, to make being a parent work for you and your child. By the very nature of thinking all the way to the end, you are putting your child’s best interests at the centre of your parenting, your parenting becomes intentional rather than accidental and as a result, your child develops the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to succeed in life.
In the Oliiki app, our activities talk you through parenting this way. It shows you how to have these kinds of conversations with your partner and those who will be involved in the development of your baby. It shows you how you can use the power of play to help your baby develop their skills and understanding and it frees you up to parent your way, because you are confident that you are doing the very best you can for your bump baby or toddler.
Give it a try today, you might be surprised about how good it feels to have the freedom to be you!
If this sounds like the kind of parenting you want to be doing, why not download the Oliiki app, through play and daily activities we will show you how to do it.