When I decided to ask other bloggers to guest post Emily was one of the first three I asked. For the past few years she and two other lovely ladies have been my cheerleaders on twitter, my constant facebook conversation friends and I honestly do not know how I would have got through the dark days of PND and becoming a mum of two without them. She is straight talking, honest, clever and funny and I love her for all those reasons and more. Oh and she loves cake as much as me. This post also landed in my inbox at the end of a very testing day and it made me remember some basic things about being a mum. I love Emily’s writing and I think you will love this post.
There are some people who you become friends with that just become such a part of your life that you can’t really remember how and why you became friends in the first place. I know that it was through blogging and the first time we met was at Cybermummy in 2009, a few months after I started blogging. Since then we have shared hotel rooms, cake, a very windy and rainy camping trip and lots and lots of words. Seeing as I started blogging as a parent I thought I would share ten things I have learnt about parenting in the last six years.
- Trust your instincts. People will always have advice and it is absolutely fine to listen to it, but once you have take some time to reflect on whether it sits easily with you. I clearly remember, when my eldest son was only six weeks old, tearing my hair out because he wanted to feed all the time and wasn’t sleeping for long at night. Everyone had an opinion and I tied myself in knots trying to decide how to tackle it. I then decided not to see anyone for a few days, cut the noise and try to listen to his cues. It worked, he became happier and my confidence grew so much in those days.
- When a child is grumpy and you are at the end of your patience, add water. It can be swimming (although it never is here) a bath, (there have been days where my children have had three baths in the same day) or simply a bowl of water and some cups in the garden.
- Be prepared. My best days are the ones where I am preparing lunch at 10am, preparing dinner at lunchtime and making sure everything is ready for my cup of tea, before I leave for the afternoon school run. Think “what’s next?” , it will help you immensely and if you really don’t know which way to turn, remember, you all have to eat at some point, so start with that.
- They grow out of stuff. It feels like they never will and you won’t really notice when they do, but suddenly the tantrums have gone and you are no longer asking them if they need a wee every 15 minutes.
- Sometimes, just sometimes, go to bed shortly after they do. Looking after small children is bone achingly tiring. It’s OK to admit that and give into it, by going to bed. It doesn’t make you boring, it makes you a person who knows how to look after yourself.
- There is no day so bad that it can’t be drastically improved by a dance around the kitchen with at least one of your children and if they won’t play ball, do it alone. You’ll thank me.
- Do what works for your family. If people want to visit at 5pm, or go out to lunch with you at 2pm and it doesn’t suit, don’t agree to it. You will be the haggard, worn out one trying to put your kids to bed at a stupid time, while they have their feet up with a glass of wine, so stick to your guns.
- Go easy on yourself. Mostly, things even out in the end. If they watch loads of TV today, they’ll probably spend hours running around the park tomorrow. Same applies to fruit and vegetables.
- It’s true what people say, the years do go very fast indeed, try to treasure those early years. However, it is also true that the days can go very, veeeery slowly and it is absolutely OK to not treasure every moment. Tortoise days and hare years is how I think of it.
- Find your tribe. I don’t mean the mum tribes you read about that supposedly frequent the school playground. I simply mean, people who get it, who get you. People who understand the way you parent and appreciate it. They don’t even have to parent in the same way as you, but they probably will. They don’t even have to be local, although some local ones that you can meet for a coffee or a glass of something cold are certainly a bonus. When you find them, hold onto them. They are golden.
I have asked ten bloggers to guest post for me in the run up to my 10 year anniversary at the start of July. I really hope that you enjoy these posts, and visit their blogs to say hello, or wave on Twitter. Each one of them has been a special part of my blogging life and I am so honoured to call them my friends.