Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The parent I wanted to be.

I always knew that I wanted my own family. When I found out I was pregnant, I already knew what type of parent I wanted to be:

Baby wearing
No dummy
No shouting/telling off
Organic, homemade foods
No TV or electronics
No co sleeping
No sugary drinks

Basically I wanted to be one of those earthy mothers that you see on Instagram who always look picture perfect with their smiling babies.
So, out of all the points above, I have successfully succeeded with one of them and am well on my way with another. 

I'm glad to say that Aoife doesn't drink any sugary drinks - all she has is her milk or water. She has tried the baby juices but never took to them, which I'm thankful for. As a child I always drank sugary drinks and had a lot of fillings. Fast forward to the age of 26 and my most recent dentist appointment resulted in three fillings due to decay over the last ten years of me not going to the dentist.

The dummy is the one we are currently working on. I was adament I would not be a mother who hands out a dummy for no reason. However, after an eventful labour, I needed to rest and sleep and the dummy kept her quiet. Unfortunately, she then got stuck in this habit. But over the last few weeks I have refused to give it to her. She has now gone five days without it and she doesn't seem to miss it either.

So, despite somewhat succeeding on two of these points, I have failed miserably at the others.

Baby wearing - I loved the idea of being hands free but comforting my baby at the same time. I bought myself a baby carrier and tried it out. What a palava. I don't know if it was just me or the type of carrier I purchased, but I definitely needed two hands to do it and there was no way I could do it day in day out by myself. A pram was the easier, more sensible option for me.

I always thought I would be a calm, stress free, non shouty mother. I never understood how your own child could drive you so mad that you had to shout at them. Now I do. I had my moments and still do. When she was younger I would, rather shamefully, shout "what do you want?!" when she would wake up for the tenth time that night. Now that she is older, I find I am telling her off for biting me, pulling my hair etc. I hated myself at first for doing it, but now I know that without being told off, she would become a brat and think she could get away with everything which I don't want.

"Certainly no junk food for my child" - This is what I used to think in my head. I would silently grimace at mothers with their babies in McDonald's and think that I would never do that. Only organic and I would make everything myself. It would be easy. Okay Jenna.. you keep thinking that. Nothing like how I thought. At all. I will say that I did attempt the whole "homemade puree" but it failed miserably. The first and only batch I made was carrot puree. I clearly didn't blend it well enough and Aoife choked. I cried and vowed to never make her food myself again. I did try again a few days later but she ultimately spat my homemade food out and happily devoured a jar of Heinz baby food. And the "no junk food" rule didn't last long either - as a treat she will have a McDonalds, or turkey jetters and waffles. To be honest, the majority of nights she will have waffles, beans, fish fingers and the like. Mainly on the nights when I come in from work or from a day trip out and am too tired to make a full homemade spag bol or chilli from scratch.  However, just because I introduced her to Ronald McDonald doesn't mean she will only now eat junk food. She loves her home made food, especially my homemade spag bol and one pot spanish chicken and rice (yes it's an odd one, but the girl loves her spice!).

I was a complete bookworm when I was younger and had no time for TV. I wanted that for my children. I hate how nowadays young children are so quick on their iPads and 6 years old have their own mobile phones. Not a chance. Well, that notion went out the window when I realised I needed to get things done during the days and not sit on my bum. TV, the Tiny Pop channel to be specific, helped me out when I needed to get the dishes done, the house cleaned etc. She has a bookshelf full of books - she doesn't even look at them. Granted I have some old Enid Blyton classics on there that she is a bit too young for, but I am hoping that eventually when she is old enough that she will take after me in the reading department.

Now for the big one. Bedtime routines. Where does your baby sleep and the likes. Whilst I was pregnant I did a lot of research and decided against co sleeping. I didn't want to take any risks, especially during the nights as I am a heavy sleeper. Well, I was a heavy sleeper. Noone told me that once baby arrives you become the lightest sleeper ever. Even now, I will wake up if Aoife hasn't woken up as I find it odd that's she hasn't interrupted my sleep yet. My first real experience with co sleeping was accidental. Aoife couldn't have been more than three weeks old and I was doing a night feed with her and was exhausted. The next thing I knew, I was waking up and she was asleep on my chest. I won't lie, but I panicked about what could have happened. I vowed to never let myself do it again. Fast forward five months and she was ill with a virus. The only thing that seemed to comfort her was being on the bed with me, so I let her. Yes, I made a rod for my own back I know. I wish I had never done it, but when your little one is ill you will do anything to make them feel better. Over the last six months she has probably only spent ten full nights in her own cot. The majority of the time she will fall asleep in there and then wake at 4am when I will bring her in with me. Other times she will come straight in with me if I fancy an early night. Provided that it is done safely then I don't see much of an issue with co sleeping anymore. For further information on co sleeping and the guidelines, I found this website pretty helpful.

What I have learnt from all this is that it is perfectly okay to not do what everyone else does with their children. Provided that they are healthy and safe, that's all that matters.

Yes, my daughter had a dummy, gets told off and eats junk food sometimes. So what?! She is still a happy, confident one year old who is advanced for her age in some ways. 

Don't let other people's views affect you. I did at the beginning and would never have admitted to shouting at a crying baby before.

So I may not be the type of parent I wanted to be, but I'm still a parent and I'm still doing a pretty okay job at it.






14 comments:

  1. That was "me" before having a child! I said all those too (well mostly to myself, thank goodness for that ;) We've co-slept, didn't use a dummy though, but only because she hated it and spat it out when she was a few months old. My daughter is now 5, likes junk, but I try to be strict on this and is only allowed junk every now and then. Does that make me a bad parent? I don't think so ;) And you are definitely not one either! :)

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    1. It's mad isn't it, how we have a picture of what type of parent we want to be and we usually end up the complete opposite! And there's nothing wrong with some junk food - especially if it involves a KFC for me ha! x

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  2. It's funny how the reality is very different to how we imagined things to be! Lovely post and a healthy, safe and happy child is definitely the best outcome no matter how you get there! And recently I keep opening my mouth and my mum starts talking... What's that about??

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    1. It really is crazy! Oh gosh don't I find that things I'm saying are what my parents used to say to me that I swore I would never say to my child haha! x

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  3. I think our expectations are always quite far from reality when we have a baby and we do whatever we do to get through - and whatever that is will be whatever is right for us, and that's perfectly fine! :) x

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    1. Oh definitely! Anything for a bit of peace and quiet ha! x

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  5. never works out as planned lol xx

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  6. It's good to have some parenting goals but don't be hard on yourself if they don't always work out. I was determined to ensure my baby only ate healthy things but what am I supposed to do if he loves fish fingers? :)

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    1. So true! I think it was a case of growing with confidence for me as I was a constant worrier of what people would think - she eats anything and everything now! Especially fish fingers ha x

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  7. I think everyone says things before they have their baby but the idea of a baby is very different from the reality. Your views change as you have more children and they get older too.

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    1. Exactly! I think with the next one I will be so much more relaxed about it x

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  8. life to too hard to have such set rules! once my child was born most of my 'rules' went out of the window anything for an easy life!!

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