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5 things I learnt while transitioning from parenting 'EXPERT' to actual parent. - Happy Baby Brain

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5 things I learnt while transitioning from parenting ‘EXPERT’ to actual parent.

5 things I learnt while transitioning from parenting ‘EXPERT’ to actual parent.

The biggest experts on child behavior, nutrition, sleeping, and general parenting are usually people who don’t have children of their own.

I used to be one of them.

The next biggest experts are parents are lucky parents who have children who are naturally well-tempered, eat everything and sleep soundly.

I expected to be one.

Then there is everybody else. The parents who go about this ever evolving process of mess, disruption, and learning and mistakes. They seem to take the process of parenting in their stride, work out how to keep on moving, while trying to be present enough to experience, find joy and ultimately thrive.

I am trying to be one.

This process keeps evolving but accepting this moment and all it entails is my only anchor. My saviour. It sounds trite but I have realized that it is the only way to keep going when parenting challenges become tougher than I had imagined.

So this is my apology letter to all of the people that I have pissed off in the past with my all-knowing, high horse knowledge. It’s not that I knew better. I didn’t. In fact, I now see that I know so very little. I have felt guilty about being a solution-based know it all. I feel embarrassed. I feel silly.

In the process exercising self-compassion and kindness, I won’t even say that I was wrong.

I wasn’t wrong- I just didn’t understand.

Now I understand better.

To the friend that struggled with infertility. I suggested you overhaul your diet before trying IVF. It was insensitive of me. I didn’t know better until we struggled for almost three years before conceiving. After the umpteenth person told us to ‘relax’ it was the last thing I wanted to do….

Now I understand.

To the family with the 2 year old child still sleeping in their bed. I suggested you let the baby cry it out in the cot and set firmer boundaries around bedtime. I had opinions about weirdos who parent in such a way and found that sort of attachment ‘unhealthy’. I had no idea what it meant to have a wakeful child. I have never been able to let my baby cry it out. He will sleep alone when he is ready, when he is confident. When he feels safe. I write this blog as he sleeps on my chest. The best feeling in the world. I treasure it.

Now I understand.

To every parent with a child with a food allergy. I judged you for not trying hard enough to get to the bottom of the allergies via healthy, nutritious, non-pharmaceutical means. I judged you for probably exposing yourselves and your kids to too much crap food. I had my opinions about nut-free schools. I thought- ‘Why on earth should others have to change their food preferences for the allergic few?’

I have a beautiful child with severe allergies to nuts and many other foods. It’s hell. It’s anxiety inducing. It’s lonely- especially when you feel like every child and parent around you is luckier-and at liberty to order anything off a menu for instance without a second thought. And they can! Allergies are an ongoing daily battle in my life now. I didn’t know before. I didn’t realize what you faced. But now I know. I wasn’t right.

Now I understand better.

To the parents who look at their smart phone while out with their kids: I judged from my mindful present high horse in the meditation sky… I wondered why you bothered having kids if you didn’t want to look after them? Now I realize that we NEVER know what goes on behind closed doors and unless I am with you for 24 hours a day, I have no idea whether it is your first minute on your phone or the 100th. And even if I was with you 24 hours a day- it is actually none of my business anyway.

Now I realize that parenting can sometimes feel lonely and disconnected from your tribe. Sometimes after intense one on one time with my little one in the home, the first time I get to look at my phone and connect with my mother or a friend might be while he climbs and plays at the park. I cherish those moments and they help me keep going when I am tired, stressed or looking for advice about something. I didn’t know before how much I would need to connect with my tribe and that in some cases, the phone is the only way.

Now I understand better.

To the parent who allowed their child to throw tantrums and seemingly did nothing about it. Just like the apology above, I have no idea what happened before this moment and nor is it my business. You were probably simply choosing your battles and that wasn’t one of them. I didn’t realize the meaning of determination until I had a toddler of my own. Heck, the definition of determination is toddlerhood! I didn’t realize that punishment doesn’t actually work. I understand now that in trying to understand a little being’s needs, sometimes you have to simply be. Be present. Not intervene. Allow.

Now I understand.

More realisations continue to come every day. I now take each one as it comes. I didn’t know any better before. Now I understand.

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