Like many a new mum I read all the baby books I could lay my hands on before my little bundle of joy arrived. The idea being that I would then feel confident and know what to do in every situation, hmm.
And yet, the minute my son arrived I gave away a lot of my power to the nurses at the hospital, who told me what to do, how to breastfeed, how to put my baby to sleep. I did not question their knowledge for a while, thinking they were the real experts. But their advice would not always sit right with me, which would send me back to the books, trying to figure it out.
Then after a little while I decided to do what felt right, whether it was what was recommended or not. And it’s what I do to this day, because in the end no one knows your child like you do. Being a single parent I need to feel confident about my parenting, and that only comes with experience, and by following my gut feeling.
Early on I decided the following:
- To give my child the opportunity to make his own choices, so he could make mistakes at home, where he is safe.
- To let him follow his own interests, rather than drive him to compulsory after-school activities, so he would learn to enjoy his own company and hobbies.
- To stop stressing about providing a perfectly balanced meal every day, after all frozen pizza has vegetables in the sauce!
- To ask his opinion in everyday decisions where relevant, and to negotiate where appropriate.
As a result I now share my home with a very mature, well spoken young person who is easy going, has many friends and interests. There’s really only one parenting expert in the end: you.
To succeed we must first believe that we can – Michael Korda