It’s been a long time since I blogged and over the sixteen plus months I’ve had my daughter, I’ve obviously not only struggled to find time to, but turned my obsessive and nerdy attention to different things – quite a departure from the stuff I’d previously have posted about – I.e. parenting and motherhood.
I’m undecided if I’ll delete all the old content on here. Laziness and lack of time prevent it for now, but at some point I’ll archive some and get rid of the rest I suspect.
I’ve always disliked the quote about being born or a new person as a mother as I never identified with that; I felt like the same person but just with this whole incredible brand new dimension. I suppose I reject the idea that motherhood has to be a new and exclusive identity because that’s not been my experience.
That said, my Instagram and blog which have been formerly focussed on various other things have become focussed on parenting, parenthood, motherhood, child development etc and that just reflects my priorities and focus now I guess. And I just am that obsessive person that when something captures my interest I read and research EVERYTHING. And obviously having a baby initiated me into the wow okay, I’m discovering a new little person here, how do I best support her to grow into discovering and/or becoming the person she wants to be?
I have written before that I disliked the idea of parenting books and theories and that my husband and I wanted to parent by instinct, but ultimately the nerd that I am I just needed to pour myself into researching neuroscience and child development and psychology. Makes sense, right? Because following instinct is fine, but I wanted what we did to be grounded in an understanding of how our daughter’s brain, emotions, understanding develop so for that I needed factual information.
From there, I found vastly different approaches and ideas that resonate with me and are, oddly, not yet mainstream though they are massively gaining momentum and have huge followings (e.g. parenting without punishment and reward, child rights and autonomy & children’s liberation, « gentle » or « respectful » parenting, you get the idea). And now I do just read absolutely everything because I guess I’m fascinated and I think cherry picking things that work and resonate for you are the way forward, provided respect for your child is front of mind and it’s done with a view of what is developmentally appropriate and fair and realistic.
I guess some of this off-the-mainstream-parenting-track stuff (like my study of holistic sleep coaching and choice not to sleep train, or my new-found hesitancy of the formal school system for the early years – I’ve always been very pro school, but the reward and punishment approach, the lack of bodily autonomy and various other issues now give me pause since having my daughter and understanding more about development and also just suddenly respecting childhood as personhood not little adults in training) means I have struggled to find my tribe as I don’t fit in with a lot of more mainstream circles (and struggle having to listen to anecdotes of people carrying out sleep training – which is of course their right, no judgment, but my god do I find it harrowing), and yet despite some of my more alternative parenting leanings, we aren’t really very alternative in many of our lifestyle choices, preferences, the sort of hippyfied and sometimes more spiritual or earth-mother types aren’t my jam either. Again, no disparagement of anyone and yes I’m being broad brush here – but if we’re honest we all know these polarities exist.
It’s almost like there’s a spectrum but people congregate at either end – super attachment parenting, love the idea of living in « community » at one end, and super rigid routine Gina Ford traditionalists at the other end. Online I’ve met wonderful people who hang out in the shades of grey too – but in real life it seems harder somehow?
One of my biggest realisations having become a parent is that inner work on yourself and understanding your triggers and managing your own behaviour is where the graft is. It’s not about fixing, teaching, training a child. It’s about sorting out our own shit so we can best nurture them and not damage their development as they discover and become themselves, with our care and support. Again, a natural view, I think, once you read the science, but very woo woo according to more mainstream traditional circles who I suppose are driven by the old school ideas of behaviourism and needing to demonstrate and reward « good » behaviour and punish « bad »; possibly also informed by Western culture’s permeation with ideas of original sin, but let’s not go down the religious rabbit hole.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to just jotting more here about life with Cub, things I’m loving learning, motherhood, parenthood, ideas that strike me as interesting… because so far the online community has been a LIFE SAVER in navigating my experience of being a mum.
I also find writing helps me arrive at how I feel or think about things when I’m not quite sure.
So – hello again and I understand totally if this is not your cup of tea, so all the best if you hop off the train here. Anyone who does want to read these ramblings, feel free and welcome ❤️