parenting

Things parents shouldn’t say to each other

This is just my opinion. I couldn’t sit on it much longer though, because it’s starting to drive me mad! As parents, I know that most of our advice comes from other parents who have been there and done that. I know I often seek advice on various aspects of parenting and I hope that when I am asked for advice, I give it in an unbiased way. That said, there are times when advice is not necessary. Like, when you don’t actually ask for it!

Since having Isobel I have been given some gems which I thought I would share with you. So here are ten things- I believe- parents shouldn’t say to each other.

I think I'm doing alright...

1. “You’re making a rod for your own back.”

I hate hate HATE this phrase. Maybe I like to have a rod on my own back; it helps me to stand tall and proud, knowing I am doing the best I can for my child. Or something. But seriously, how can one person possibly comment on my sleeping arrangements with my baby when they do not even know me? Since when has co-sleeping been a rod for your own back? Loads of parents do it and its been proven to help babies sleep peacefully. Babies who co-sleep rarely startle themselves during their sleep (this is the case with Isobel), they rarely cry at night (also the case with Isobel) and they actually grow up to develop long term positive sleep patterns. Not sure on that one yet, so I’ll let you know. My points aside, co-sleeping is a personal decision. Please don’t judge me for it.

2. “You’ll spoil the baby if you pick her up when she cries.”

How on earth can you spoil a baby? Babies cry for a reason- maybe they are hungry; maybe they are tired; maybe they are in pain; maybe they just want some attention. I’ve yet to meet a three month old who rubs her hands together in glee whilst thinking of their next attention seeking scam. Isobel cries to get my attention and it’s my duty to make sure I give her that attention. It’s also my job to be able to decipher between her cries. If I know that she is tired and simply shouting at me, maybe I won’t pick her up. Perhaps instead I will hold her hand or stroke her head until she settles off to sleep. If she is crying because she wants me to pick her up, I will pick her up because I want her to know that she can trust me and count on me to be there for her. So excuse me if I ignore your advice on this one; I prefer to meet my baby’s needs as best I can, thank you.

3. “She should be taking a bottle by now.”

Um, why? If all concerned are happy with breastfeeding, why the hell should we mess with that? I have absolutely nothing against bottle feeding (I did it with my second) but I am happy breastfeeding. It’s working really well and I feel no need what-so-ever to introduce a bottle right now. Maybe I’ll ask your advice if I change my mind.

4. “Doesn’t she sleep through the night yet?”

No.

5. “Can she breathe properly in that contraption?”

Referring, of course, to the baby wearing. Isobel loves to be in her wrap sling and I love to have her close to me. Do you honestly think I would do that if she couldn’t breathe? I know that there have been deeply tragic events linked to baby wearing but I also know how to do it safely. Here are some guidelines if you’re interested.

6. “Why don’t you try giving her a bit of baby rice before bed?”

Because she is only 14 weeks old. Because she doesn’t always hold her head up well. Because she doesn’t always sit up straight. Because she can’t make chewing motions with her mouth yet. Because she is only 14 weeks old.

7. “You won’t want to be using cloth nappies for much longer.”

Why not? She doesn’t have half as many poo explosions as she used to these days and I coped fine when she did. Why would I want to suddenly stop using cloth nappies?

8. “When are you having another one?”

Can I deal with this one first please?

9. “Why don’t you just let her cry it out?”

Oh no. I hate to hear this piece of advice. She is only 14 weeks old. Also, see number 2.

10. “It worked for me…”

Maybe it did. And that is exactly my point. What worked for your baby might not work for mine. And even if it might, it’s up to me to work it out. Yes, I appreciate advice and I think as parents we will never really know the ultimate answer to our dilemmas. But I also think that questioning the way one parent is bringing up a baby if it is different to the way you are doing it is just wrong. Unless a child is being neglected or ill-treated, its none of our business. We should respect that we are all just trying to do a good job in a difficult situation and there really is no right or wrong way to do that. Also, I HATE the phrase with the rods and the backs so just, you know… don’t say it.

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Birth trauma and body image

Over the years I have had differing feelings about my body. It’s gone through so much- from childhood, to puberty, to fat, to thin, to just right, to pregnant, to post-natal… I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it to be honest and I think that can be said for a lot of other women too. We’re shown pictures of glamorous, thin models all the time on television and in magazines and we are mostly led to believe that’s how we should look too. As you get older, and wiser to photo-shop, you start to realise that there is more to life than the size of your jeans.

After I had my daughter I had one such realisation when I stepped on the scales at six weeks post-natal. It wasn’t pretty, but the baby lying in the pram gazing up at me certainly was. Oh, I lost the weight and life went on, so what does it really matter? I kind of thought I was over all the negative body image stuff now that I had someone else other than myself to worry about.

These days it’s a different type of body image I’m talking about. I will hold my hands up and say that I am not entirely happy with my figure at the moment- I’ve just had my third child and I’m not getting any younger after all. But that’s not what this post is about. This isn’t going to be about how I have let myself down by not sticking religiously to a healthy eating plan the whole way through my pregnancy. This isn’t going to be about the kinds of feelings I have towards my body now that my baby is here and my body needs to re-adjust itself once more. This is a little deeper than that. This is about how I really feel about my body.

Since I had my son ripped from my belly I’ve kind of felt that my body let me down. I’ve kind of felt that my body wasn’t quite up to the job- not once, but twice! Why wasn’t my body able to deliver a baby the way it was supposedly designed to do so? Why had my body let me down so badly when I needed it the most?

These are the thoughts that took over the usual I hate the way I look thoughts after my son was born.

Body image isn’t just about how you look, its also about how you perceive your actual body and it’s usefulness. A body that can’t give birth properly? That’s just useless. A body that can’t give birth properly and also looks bad? Oh, where do I start?

My son’s traumatic birth did me no favours in so many ways. Not only was I struggling with the usual post-natal hang ups, but  I had the added frustration that it just didn’t work the way it was supposed to either. But since having the baby and finally getting my positive birth experience… I think my body image is changing at last.

My body is amazing.

My body grew three children for nine and a bit months. That’s 36 months of growing, nurturing, protecting and giving.

My body never had raised blood pressure, swollen ankles or heartburn.

My body kept three babies alive, feeding them when they needed me.

My body protects three children with arms that hug and a heart that cares.

My body may not be the size I want it to be right now, but it has more important things to do first. And I think, most days, I’m ok with that.

My son’s birth did me no favours and yet it gave me so much- it opened my eyes to the things that truly matter to me. It helped me to become the person I am today and the mother I was supposed to be all along.

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John Crane: a review

We’re massive fans of wooden toys in the Ghostwriter household. There is something really nostalgic about them and, besides the fact they generally last a lot longer than their plastic peers, they almost always look so damn good too. John Crane asked me whether I would like to review an item from their range and I have to say that I didn’t need to be asked twice. A friend of mine swears by John Crane products and always recommends them if you’re looking to add to the kids’ collections.

I was sent a solid wooden stool to review. Now I know what you’re thinking. There isn’t much you can say about a stool. And you’re right- there isn’t. But that’s what I like about John Crane’s stuff. It’s simple. There are no gadgets or gimicks likely to break within a month or two. Everything is made from top quality materials and it shows. This stool is no different either.

It came in separate parts which were very easy to assemble- we only had to screw the legs to the base and voila! Our stool. Isn’t it pretty?

Like all John Crane products, this is sturdy and well made. The fact that it’s green (my favourite colour) is a huge bonus and it’s prefect for little bottoms. John Crane also does a set of Pintoy  furniture which this stool is compatible with. All in all, this is an excellent quality stool which the toddler already loves. Now I have my eye on other products, namely the table top storage which I think is an excellent idea.

 

 

*I was sent a green wooden stool for review purposes only and received no monetary compensation for this post. All views are mine and mine only!

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