“Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories.” ~ John Wilmot

Here is a list of just a few of the parenting promises I made pre-motherhood:

  1. I will not introduce a dummy
  2. I will not allow my baby to watch any TV
  3. I will not make my house silent for my baby while she sleeps
  4. I will not use packaged baby food

And here is the reality of my motherhood journey:

  1. When Olivia recently rejected her dummy, I went out and bought EVERY other brand of dummy in the hopes she would take one of them (she didn’t = FAIL)
  2. Our favourite TV shows are Baby Jake, Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden
  3. I creep around the house during nap time cringing at creaky floor boards and have irrationally threatened to harm Nigella (the cat) if she dare meow outside Olivia’s bedroom door
  4. When I push the trolley down the baby food aisle in the supermarket, Olivia gets excited at seeing all her favourite meals in one place

I was naive in my assumption that I could make any decisions before I even met my baby. She hasn’t read any of the parenting books nor can she be reasoned with. I very quickly learnt to go with the flow, stand firm on the big things that really mattered to me (like breastfeeding) and let the rest go (dummy/TV etc.).

The challenge is to reject the labels we often put on ourselves as mothers and parents. ‘Helicopter’, ‘attachment’ and ‘free range’ are just some of the parenting styles we can aspire to. But at the end of the day aren’t we all just trying to be good parents? We all want the best for our children but a book isn’t necessarily going to tell us what that is.

By all means, read as many books and blogs as you can. Observe the parents around you and how they handle different situations. Ask questions of other mums to gain from their experience. Then take all that information, and blend it into your own unique style to match your own unique child. Don’t get caught up in what other mums are and aren’t letting their kids do or you will certainly be setting yourself up for failure.

So as I enter the final three months of Olivia’s first year I have no expectations at all. I know that some days will be good and others not so good. I know that Olivia will continue to grow and develop her gorgeous personality. I know that it won’t always be easy and sometimes I might not make the right decision. But that is ok because, together with my hubby, we are on this parenting journey together and with any luck and a lot of love, Olivia wont’ hold it against us.

What were the pre-motherhood promises you broke when baby came along?

 

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