Friday, 21 March 2014

Fabulous Friday

Happy Fabulous Friday! What's fabulous about today is having good sense, resilience and fortitude!

I came across this horrible news story this week about an 8 month old boy that weighs over 20 kilos - the equivalent of a 6 year old. His Mother admitted her ignorance and said she just fed him everytime he cried. While I applaud her for finally asking for help, I'm dumbfounded as to why it took her so long but can understand how she got there.

The sad reality of our current society is many of us lead sedentary lifestyles. As adults, we make bad food choices and therefore teach our kids bad food choices. Many people fail to realise that they are role models for their children and they will learn from what they see. Children are like sponges so it is most definitely a case of monkey see, monkey do.

Many parents just don't know how to look after babies and lets face it, we're all novices when it comes to our first. Babies don't come with instruction manuals or code deciphers so we have to pay attention and try to figure our what they are telling us. It requires energy, attention and patience to figure out what their cries mean and sometimes it's a case of trial and error to determine what they need. 

I totally understand why parents look to quick fixes like feeding to stop their babies crying. Listening to your baby cry is very difficult and can be enormously frustrating if you don't know why they are crying. Normally, there is a reason - wet nappy, hungry, gas, tiered, but sometimes the reason is not so clear cut. Sometimes, they cry because they're just having a bad day or they need a hug. Some people don't believe this but personally, I know I could easily cry in the moments or on the days when life is just a bit overwhelming so why wouldn't babies? Everything must be overwhelming for them!

The hardest thing to master as a parent of a newborn is to be ok with crying. Sometimes, they just need to let it out. It's taken me a while to learn this, and I'm still working on being ok with it, but I find accepting is easier than fighting it. When Sticky cries and it's not obvious why, I run through the list of the usual suspects. I will normally run through the list 2 or 3 times before realising I don't know why she's crying. In those moments, I simply hug her, pat her or comfort her until she lets out all the frustration and she returns to calm.

I am so aware of everything I am already teaching her. I don't feed her unnecessarily because I don't want to teach her comfort eating. I don't try to stop her emotions because I want her to learn that emotions are ok and how to respond appropriately to them. I don't ignore her cries because I want to teach her that I will be there for her no matter what.

I don't profess to know all the answers and I don't pretend I am doing everything right. I am only doing what makes me comfortable as a parent and what works for us. At times, it's been enormously difficult to do the right thing but I try my hardest because not doing it seems harder. As I said, some parents just don't know what the right thing is so I'm thankful I've had access to education that has taught me. 

I'm also thankful that I have the resilience and fortitude to keep pushing through the hard times at the moment. When I have the really tough times, I remind myself of the exercise I did when I was pregnant where I wrote down the values I wanted to display as a parent. At the top of my list was being a diligent parent. So, in those moments, I ask myself if I'm being diligent or lazy. If the answer is lazy, I make a different choice. 

At the end of the day, being a parent is hard for every parent. I do believe that the majority of us do the best we can do at any given time. I think we need to learn to be more supportive of each other and less judgemental because what works for one parent won't work for another. And as they say, there are many ways to skin a cat so we need to be open to different approaches too. However, I think we can also remind each other to question if we are doing our best because it's really easy to forget and sometimes, a simple reminder is all we need. If we aren't doing our best for ourselves, we most definitely need to do it for our children! 

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