My career in Early Years started eighteen years ago, I have lectured Childhood Studies at a local College for nearly eight years now. I would like to think I know a thing or two about Children’s development. This experience hasn’t given me the knowledge I needed to Parent but it gave me the confidence to question the Health Visitor who told me to use a strict, regimented approach to my first daughters sleep routine when she was a week old and go with my own choice of feed and cuddle on demand.
It allowed me to know that my second Daughters night terrors would eventually pass and understand this was a normal stage of development; allowing me to get through the constant sleepless nights. It gave me the ability to question educational professional’s reports that my son wasn’t where he needed to be on literacy targets and support him to catch up to where they wanted him to be sitting to conform to societal norms of child development milestones. If I can give a new Parent any words of advice, it would be to trust your judgment as a Parent. You will always know your child best.
Many years ago a friend of mine had the joy of a new bundle. A new bundle who wouldn’t stop crying. She rang me one evening stressed to the hilt and had no energy left in her. She had been advised to leave the baby to cry as the baby would eventually cry it out. Not only did the Professional tell her so, but so did the handbook. It wasn’t working and I told her to immediately lift the child. I could feel her shoulders relax down, I could hear the baby start to settle. The new Mummy started trusting her gut more and after a while a good routine was established. Trust that instinct, don’t allow yourself to be sucked into comparing your child to others. They will do what they should do when they are ready and if they are able. Go with it and enjoy it.
The comparison starts from pregnancy. People will feel they can comment on the size of the bump, the food that goes into your mouth, the equipment you need for the Nursery. Then this progresses as the Parent groups start up. I’ve lost count of the gloats of Parents who told me over the years that their Child was able to read Shakespeare at three as my child sat alongside covered in smeared banana fascinated with something shiny! One of mine walked very early, another one couldn’t be bothered and I realised I would carry them everywhere as I was in more of a rush. They get there, be patient with yourself as you’re doing a great job.
Surround yourself with good friends, someone who recognises when you’re tired and will take the baby off your hands and will make you a cuppa. I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated those friends over the years and they have never shown any judgement on how I raise my children. Those Parents are worth their weight in gold. As the sleepless nights pass and the children grow older those friends remain, but this time, with a glass of wine or a shared lift run to collect the numerous off-spring you’ve all raised together.
I still kid myself that my Children are in my specialist area of Early Years. With a Daughter approaching her sixteenth birthday this month I think I might just be past this! Maybe that’s why I later trained to work with teenagers, I can still know a thing or two about my little ones. Over my eldest Daughters sixteen years there has been some amount of doubt as to whether or not I have Parented right. She’s turned out OK and I couldn’t be prouder of her. If I can indulge in one more piece of advice to new Parents, just know that the chores will always wait, the years won’t. Pull on the wellies on a rainy day and jump in the puddles. Let them lick the bowl and crack the eggs over the kitchen counter. Hold them in for as many cuddles as you can.Tagged with: baby routine, childhood, Early Years, enjoy the early years, family life, having a baby, milestones, Mother Knows Best, mums mental health, slow down mums
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