There is no denying that natural parenting can be hard and frustrating. I get frustrated sometimes when my boy, William (now 18mths!): doesn’t want to be put down; wants to take me somewhere just as I sit down for a rest; takes up to an hour to go to sleep; wakes up during a day sleep and insists on being on the boob for the rest of his sleep, which can last over an hour!
Really, the list can go on. But is it William frustrating me, or me frustrating me?
One Friday night a few weeks ago I was putting William to sleep (he still breastfeeds to sleep) and it seemed to be taking forever! He would go on and off the breast, sit up, play with the bedrail (we bedshare), chatter to himself – anything BUT go to sleep. Then I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment! You know those moments where the situation just got so clear! I worked out that I was getting frustrated because I had hired a movie and wanted him to go to sleep quickly so I could go out and watch the movie before it got ‘too late’! It had nothing to do with William – it was me.
So, once realising this, I knew that another 30 minutes would not be the end of the world! It would just mean the movie would end 30 minutes later! And it was Friday night after all (not that that means much to a mum!)! So I relaxed all my muscles, smiled and allowed myself to enjoy my boy’s chatter and antics! Certainly that was more pleasurable than any movie!
So I truly believe that if you are on the natural parenting path, you need to incorporate mindfulness ~ as it is only being present and accepting situations that you can truly enjoy your children, even during those more trying moments.
In addition to practicing mindfulness, I was reminded by Dr Sears (my interview with him is on page 14) of two things: Natural parenting is an investment We all know that natural/AP is very hands on and time-consuming. However, the more connected we are with our children in the rst 5 years, the more independent, compassionate and caring they will be. is truly is a great investment for the world. He mentioned that by putting in the time now, we can be at ease when our children are teenagers as they have been given the tools to make right decisions. So that is worth thinking about in the throes of our frustration!
Create a village of likeminded parents ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. It was never meant that a mother was to parent a child alone. Dr Sears stressed the importance to creating a village of like-minded parents so that:
1. When you have questions or issues, you can get the support and information from those that have a similar parenting philosophy as your one. He mentioned that discussing AP issues with those that do not practice it can make a mother confused and add to greater frustration.
2. When these relationships are strong, your child can be minded by like-minded people, thus giving you some time to rebalance yourself. is can be reciprocated so that all parents can get time to rebalance themselves.
I think it is particularly important as it also helps normalise the behaviours of these nurtured children.
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Enjoy the gift of Nurture!