We often mistake being ‘a good girl’ as a positive thing. So many want their daughters to be ‘good’. But it’s not positive – it is toxic. The pressure and weight of constantly burying your feelings and needs in the pursuit of caring for others eats away at you. It gets so very heavy.
“I just can’t take any more!”, “I’ve had it up to here with being a parent!”, “I literally don’t have the capacity to handle this”, how many times have you said something similar? Every parent knows how it feels to be emotionally and physically wrung out, exhausted and unable to handle their children. We all know how it feels to be desperate for a break, and by a break I don’t just mean a brief week or two in the sun, but real, tangible time away from the demands of everyday life (including our children!).
1. Everybody can be a calmer parent. It doesn’t take any special personality traits. Privilege does inevitably mean that life is sadly infinitely easier for some, but we can all do some work and make some changes, regardless of our life situations, that will have a positive impact (although I do accept that lack of privileges can and will limit the changes possible)
Hands up if you struggle to be a playful parent? For some, being playful comes naturally, for others it can feel a little awkward and stilted. If you’re in the latter category, give these tips a try:
I have had so many questions recently from parents with babies and toddlers who were either born during, or shortly before, lockdown who are worried about their child’s developing socialisation skills and whether separation from friends, wider family and other babies and toddlers of the same age will have a lasting negative impact on their child’s ability to socialise when lockdowns lift.
There’s no denying that the early weeks and months of parenting are exhausting. Babies need constant attention around the clock. Until three months of age, a baby’s body clock is not fully functioning, meaning they have no concept of day and night. They need to feed frequently and need parental reassurance and contact as much as physical sustainance. Sleep becomes a thing of the past and something you wish for in wistful, shattered moments. Time passes in the blink of an eye and before you know it, your non-sleeping baby has turned into a boddler, not quite a baby – not quite a toddler, zooming around your living room on all fours, putting anything not bolted down into their mouth, drooling and babbling away. Then the toddler years begin and your little one becomes a real person with a real personality. “No” and “mine” features at the top of their vocabulary, it’s a good job they’re so cute, because the tantrums can be hard to cope with at times.
Have you been questioning your parenting style recently? I think lockdown has resulted in a lot of navel gazing for many of us. The combination of more free time (for some – I know not all, thank you to those of you working hard through this!) and more time spent at home with our children means 1. a lot more difficult behaviour and 2. a lot more time to spend second-guessing ourselves and our choices parenting wise.
When your child pushes your buttons and you feel yourself getting stressed or angry, you should absolutely not discipline him until you are calm. Take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and slowly exhale. Repeat as often as necessary until you can think more clearly. Sometimes you have to give yourself a ‘time out’. That is, move away from your child temporarily, so that you can think more clearly.
I would say over 90% of the parenting dilemmas posed to me daily have one very simple answer; “you’re expecting too much of them”.
I have made parenting choices that I am not proud of now and I would not make again if I knew then what I know now. I’ve also slipped up, many times, ‘in the moment’ and said and done things I regret. Everyone has, but I welcome my guilt for it teaches me to be a better parent. When we know better we do better.