When eldest baby was born I literally parented by the book. I had no parents and was the first person in my friendship group to have babies so I was stuck for people to ask for advice in the main. How on earth do I look after this tiny human? I did as I always do when stuck for answers – turned to books!
It worked for a while, then when baby 2 came along eighteen months later and baby 3 a year after that the books went out of the window. Time, brain cells and energy were at an all time low, and besides who do I read about how to parent first?? The toddler, the baby or the newborn? Arrggh
There it began.
Making it up as you go along parenting. I’ll share with you some of my gems.
Let me just say I don’t think myself capable to write parenting manuals- I just wanted to share some nuts ideas I thought were a good idea at the time!
Panic, lots. Scream and shout and tell everyone it hurts. Giving birth with just gas and air for company and then sobbing your heart out and tantrumming when someone wants to give you a teeny tiny jab in your leg is actively encouraged.
Cuddle the firstborn to sleep whenever he wants, every single day. He just loves being swaddled and cuddled and it makes us both soooo happy.
When babies 2 and 3 come along feel free to shed many a tear about how daft you were to do the cuddle to sleep thing as now teaching him to self settle is impossible.
Decide to be tougher with babies 2 and 3. Aaww but they’re crying because they miss me. Spend evenings playing a cuddly version of Whack a mole. Only instead of moles popping up to be bopped on the head it’s babies in different rooms crying for cuddles? Which will it be next? Play on repeat until 4am when everyone is asleep and you’re power napping on the baby’s bedroom floor.
TODDLER TANTRUMS :
Just ignore them. They’ll get bored and stop eventually. Child nods off on floor worn out? – mum win! I rock parenting.
First public tantrum.. SHIT!! They pull this trick in public too?? Oh no! People are staring and tutting. Decide to strap child back into buggy, run home and never leave the house again. Realise a toddler mid tantrum could rival the world’s strongest man.. Work up a sweat strapping in. Phew. Now run for it. Screaming toddler now is stretching his feet to the floor to ensure you cannot run anywhere without breaking his feet! Throw the judgy crowd a dirty look, tip buggy back onto 2 back wheels and walk away, blinking back tears and promising to hand in your mum badge.
Big up being away from mum as the most fun thing ever. ALL the toys, ALL the boys and girls! Children 1 and 2 fall for it hook, line and sinker! Rocking parenting again, you think smugly.
Child no. 3 is barely able to string a sentence together yet can ask what day it is, work out if it’s a nursery day and proceed to cry she doesn’t want to go from 5am.
Extra brilliant parenting plan. When said nursery hating child asks what day it is, lie. Save yourself the four hour long sobfest.
NEVER do this. Child will hate you but nowhere near as much as you will hate yourself. Your time whilst child in nursery will be spent crying also out of sympathy /guilt.
Make plans to be one of those organised mums. You’ll have lists, calendars and a fully functioning diary. Child shall always be immaculately turned out and school days shall be perfect.
However – when things don’t turn out that way, the ‘making it up as she goes along’ mum learns to adapt!
She becomes the mum who has to frequently nip into school with forgotten lunches/pe kits/homework projects. She polishes shoes at the bus stop with a baby wipe. She makes being late for coffee mornings (she has to stop to buy the cakes she forgot to bake or went wrong) a tradition.
Adaptability : A key parenting skill.
SECONDARY SCHOOL :
Decide you’ll not be a pushy mum. You will never pressurise your children. Good grades are not as important as happy kids don’t they say?
Balls to that! You’re telling me my child can get an A* in maths? I download work papers for him to do.
My child is on the gifted and talented register for his acting skills you say? Interesting. *Google’s RADA*
My daughter is a talented sportswoman? *makes note to research where the 2024 Olympics are being held ready for watching gold medal performance in sport yet undecided*
Making it up as you go along parenting isn’t for most (sane, rational, responsible) people. Seems to work for us though. I don’t seem to have ruined the small people’s childhoods, there’s no evidence of emotionally scarred children.
I think I know the reason for this though. As the children have grown, I now have Google and social media and other parents to ask for advice and to learn from.
Thanks you guys, you really are rocking parenting!!
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