Me and hubby have always had an extremely similar outlook on life. Live for today, money is for spending not saving, and always trust your instinct and do what feels right over what others tell you. Create your own review of the world, just learn by other people’s mistakes.Having been together seventeen and a half years, we were pretty confident prior to having George, that our parenting styles would be similar and work well alongside each other.We would regularly discuss “what would you do if….”, and as a result, parenthood has not been that much of a surprise in terms of how we both manage it. Thankfully our ideals of the parents we would like to be are the same too and we are readily putting it into practice with our little Georgeous. We believe the easiest and happiest way to get through this parenthood malarkey is to make everything as fun as possible. Most activities have a little song or silly noise to accompany them and George has always been encouraged to help us with our activities even if it slows us down. If nothing but to make all our lives easier. Most of our parenting choices focus not on what works for now but what will work in the long run. So by showing George every monotonous task can have a fun side, we are hoping to give him an enthusiasm and desire to be proactive in life and get involved with everyday tasks that need doing because he wants to and not because we tell him too. George loves nothing more than helping me empty the washing machine, dishwasher and shopping bags. He doesn’t mind me having time to do my make-up as long as he can play with my blusher brush. I’m OK to do the hoovering as long as I pretend it’s chasing him and he had to run around the room away from it, giggling away.
As time has gone one since George was born, I have spent lots of time learning about how others parent and have been quick to inform hubby, “ooh did you know we are using gentle parenting” or “oh we are actually using attachment parenting” Having breastfed George for the first year, worn him in carriers on occasions and held him as much as we wanted with the addition of co-sleeping (sleeping in the same bed) we roughly follow these styles without even realising it. Not fitting into any one group, we try to just go with what feels natural. We try to not give him too many orders unless he is in danger. We have chosen a more gentle parenting approach of asking him if he would consider not doing something that we don’t think is appropriate. This can often lead to him doing it regardless but as long as there is no risk of harm to himself or others then we are of the mindset that he is learning the consequence of his actions. No matter how young he is. He’s like a little sponge. Soaking everything up. And then releasing it when he feels it’s right. He surprises us everyday. He’s by no means perfect. We wouldn’t expect that of him. He can be embarrassingly rude and antisocial at times, he cries if he doesn’t get his own way, he laughs when you are trying to tell him something isn’t right and he does the complete opposite of what we ask sometimes. But he’s a human being and we wouldn’t expect any less.
The bonus of how we parent George is that we continue this style into our own lives. Making the beds becomes a game of peekaboo as the cats dart around under the duvet. Putting the washing away becomes a game of pairs as I’ve co-ordinated our clothing by colour, style and occasion. And tidying the toys up at the end of the day once George is in bed can feel like you are a contestant on The Cube as you set yourself a time limit and try to scramble around and gather them up as quickly as possible. If nothing else with life, have fun with it is my motto.
As harmonious and wonderful as this all sounds though, it is not to say that we are all beautifully dancing around the house, loving each other every moment of the day. Seventeen months into our parenting journey and to say it has been an absolute roller coaster is a complete understatement. Becoming parents has been an incredibly joyous time in our relationship, but to say it has tested us to the absolute max is putting it very lightly. With our own personal demons deciding to make an appearance in the first year of George’s life, coupled with the obvious sleep deprivation and learning to adjust to putting this little person first over absolutely everything, it really has been the most we have ever been tested and thankfully we have been strong enough as a couple to pull each other through it one at a time but I would say to anyone that thinks it won’t happen to them…..it will.
Having spoken to lots of other mummies around me, we are by no means alone in this experience. I’m one of those people that often believes that what I see happening in other peoples lives is often an avoidable misfortune. With having a baby though, unfortunately it seems inevitable that everyone will go through the same thing. The anomaly to this, is how your relationship handles it and comes out the other side. And I can quite understand why some people don’t make it out the other side together.
My advice from my own experience is to love and support each other. Understand that you are each going through the same huge upheaval, no matter how differently it affects both of your lives. And overall just talk to each other and be honest about how you feel and what you are expecting from each other.
Until next time……