Friday, 19 August 2016

My ABC of Parenting!

Being a parent is a fun, emotional and rewarding role. It's filled with immense, heart-bursting joys and at times can be laced with moments or worry and despair. But mostly? It's pretty awesome! 

Here is my ABC of parenting...

A is for Always: you will always love your children fiercely and you will love them more than anything else. Nothing in the world - no book, blog or parenting class can prepare you for that primal, raging love you have for them. 

B is for Bottoms: you will wipe your kid's bottom a lot of times. Seriously. More times than you believe. I worked out that I changed Jake's nappy an average of 4-8 times a day. Work that out over 22 months? It's between 2464 and 4928 times I've changed the nappy on that little tush! 

C is for Cuddles: there is nothing like the cuddles you have with your child; the warmth of their little bodies; their gorgeous baby smell; the way they grip your clothes, hair or finger. Lush. 

D is for Determination: Being a parent takes determination; you need the determination to be the best parent you can be, even when times are hard and you feel overwhelmed. Determination is key and parenting will teach you things about yourself that you never, ever knew.

E is for Everything: Your children really do become your everything. You will love that child more than everything else. They will be what you think of every day and every night. Every decision you undertake about your life will consider them. 

F is for Fun: Parenting is fun! There will be wondrous milestones and giggles to enjoy as you get to know your child, their personality and you see them grow. 

G is for Giggles: There's nothing like it when your baby starts to giggle at things you/ your partner do. When they begin to laugh at things on the telly, or in the book you're reading. That little giggle is the best sound in the world!

H is for Hard but Happy: Being a parent can be hard. It is tiring and there are moments which push you to the limit. But it is always worth it and the hardships make the happiness brighter. 

I is for Imagination: as your baby becomes a toddler you begin to see their little personalities develop and their imaginations at work. They start to copy things and pretend. It's wonderful to watch!

J is for Juggling: once you become a parent you will need to learn the art of juggling your roles, commitments, priorities and general life. I feel this is compounded if you're also a working parent as you really are 'split' and need to juggle the management of employment alongside family. 

K is for Kidly: A fantastic website that I wish had started up when J was a little baby; Kidly is a brilliant place to go and find all the things parents want/need as their little ones grow. Their choice of products and tried and tested by other parents and they often have great money-saving deals.

L is for Love: Becoming a parent for the first time unlocks some secret and cavernous part of your heart which is bursting with love for these little people! It is scary how much love and fierce protectiveness you feel towards them - especially as you didn't know it even existed in you before.

M is for Mama: There is nothing more incredible than hearing your baby/toddler call you 'Mama' or 'Dada' for the first time and for me every time since. I know a lot of parents moan about their kids calling their name constantly - and maybe it's just because I have to work and miss time with my bubba - but I love it. Melts me.

N is for Never getting a lie in: It's a universal fact well-known that once you have a child your sleep will never be the same again. Nowadays if I get to sleep until 6am I have had 'a lie in'. I haven't slept beyond 6:30am in 2 years and even on the occasions Luke will offer to let me 'stay in bed' it is too late because I have already heard Jake, been for 4 wees and am beyond going back to sleep. 

O is for Outside: When you become a mum or dad for the first time there is SO MUCH to adjust to that getting out of the house can be daunting and hard work. You worry about everything you need to pack to take with you. My advice is do it as soon as you are able to and get it over and done with. Once that's happened try to get outside every day. Fresh air and vitamin D was essential in me managing to stay sane! It still is! 

P is for Photos: One thing I have loved as a parent is taking photos of all the wonderful moments and keeping them safe to look back on. There are lots of brilliant photo apps which allow you to edit and print straight from your mobiles. See my post on how I have been creating family albums since J was born...we're currently on album number 6! 

Q is for Quiet Quality Time: Whilst it is exciting (and important) to get out with the little one, there are times when some quiet quality time one to one or as a family is also important and wonderful. In our house - with two full time working parents - time together is precious so we make the little moments count. Things like reading books, bath times and sitting together for dinner is when we try to have moments together. We also try to keep time at the weekends for just us three.

R is for Rewarding: Being a parent and seeing your child learn, develop and grow is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. My husband, Luke, feels the same. You burst with pride on a daily basis... it counteracts the cringing you do when they embarrass you!! 

S is for Shopping: Shopping for Jake is my favourite (and most expensive) hobby, lol. Instagram and Etsy have become my 'go-to' places to shop, with some of my favourite brands being: Fred & Noah, Sweet Ruby's, Laurabell_treasures, Panda & Sparrow and Baby Brain Apparel.

T is for Tummy Time: Gosh we struggled with this one! Jake hated tummy time and screamed every time we did it. But it is so important in helping them strengthen the muscles on their neck so that they're able to support their heads. It also allows them to avoid getting a flattened-head at the back from continual pressure. Now? Jake will only sleep on his tummy when in bed! 

U is for Unbelievable: Parenting gives you loads of unbelievable gifts and wonders, like 'I can't believe all of that poop came from that little 8lb baby!' Or 'I can't believe you have hidden the TV remote so I can't find it'. But there will also be many moments where you won't believe how much love you have for your child or how amazing it is that they used the spoon themselves, or took their first step. It is all unbelievable. 

V is for Visitors: One of the first things that happens when you have a baby is you are inundated with requests from people wanting to visit. These visitors are lovely and its nice to have them welcome your new little bubba into the world. One bit of advice I'd give is pre-warn or get your partner to be prepared to tell people that you may want some time to get home and settle in. It takes time to adjust to the new schedule (ha, what schedule!?) and you are truly exhausted. It always helps if visitors can be mindful of things too, such as rinse/wash up their cups before they leave... bring something helpful for mum/dad ... not pick up the baby the minute you've just gotten them to sleep in the moses basket! etc. 

W is for Wishes: Before you have your baby there will be many promises, hopes and wishes you'll have. Do all that you can to fulfil them - but be realistic and understand that it's OK if you don't do everything you thought you would. Before you really become a parent yourself you are woefully unprepared and ignorant to what it really involves and just how different your life, ideas and values may be.

X is for X Box, iPads and Playstations: I've written about my views on technology before as a parent, and you can see more on this here. However, whilst I do allow Jake time to use technology and firmly believe it does have a place in his development, I also limit the amount of time he is allowed to use them and often only allow this in the morning or afternoon. 

Y is for YOUR Decision: As soon as you are pregnant and expecting other people will want to give you advice. You will even seek advice yourself (naturally, this is totally normal). When this happens there are two very important things to remember...
1) People mean well; they care and want to help (mostly), so just roll with it and take the advice politely and dismiss privately if necessary.
2) Remember that ultimately it is YOUR choice as the parent. Only you and your partner can make the decisions so you must do what is best and right for you. Seek help and advice when needed, but take responsibility for making the decisions for YOUR family.

Z is for ZZZzz: Yeah, sleep. There won't be much of that for a while. And you can kiss those 10am lie-ins goodbye! 

So that's my ABC of parenting. For some letters there were so many things to choose from. What would be on your list?


Bex x

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