There is an old saying “mum knows best” and I am a firm believer in intuition being the most important aspect of every person’s journey into parenthood. However, there is an overwhelming volume of information from the internet, apps and bookshops advising you the “right” way to parent your child. Your neighbour, nan, postman also like to tell you how it “should” be done.
This wealth of information can get a little confusing.
Although it can be advantageous to have an abundance of information available at our fingertips. It can also get overwhelming and overshadow a parent’s confidence in their own skills and decision making when it comes to their children.
My own mothers group was dependent on the dreaded “leaps”. They almost seemed to sit and wait in fear for the poor sleep that actually didn’t ever happen. Other friends turned to parenting forums for advice on absolutely everything regarding their child. Forums which were not written or supervised by anyone other than mums with no professional qualifications. I have seen these poor families overwhelmed by the influence of TV, social media, websites, parenting forums, apps and books.
There are times in everyone’s parenting journey where they question if mum really does know best. But amongst this bombarding of advice, have we lost the ability to follow our own intuition?
Surely there is a much easier way of parenting... Parenting the way our parents did... Looking at our child, learning from them. Reading cues pertaining to sleep needs, weaning, nap requirements, tired signs etc. Your child surely knows much better about what THEY need.
I am not saying throw your books out, stop accessing the internet and go at it alone. Far from it, instead I am suggesting we all stop, put the technology down for a moment, look at our children and learn from them. Tired signs, hunger cues are ancient and innate survival traits. Learning to read our children would surely take some of this destructive self-doubt away. You aren’t doing it ‘wrong’ if your child doesn’t abide by the mould set by others in books/apps. Your child is individual, with their own needs for sleep, nutrition and behaviours. Use reputable books, websites or contact from qualified professionals when needed but know the hours spent with your child makes you the best judge. See a doctor if you are concerned, ask for help if something doesn’t feel right, put them to bed if you think they are tired, ignore the schedules and recommendations if your child is telling you it is not working.
Spending time with other mums is also really important not only for the socialising but the ability to see that other people go through the same things. You are not alone.
There is an overwhelmingly clear message I reiterate to all my sleep clients and those I meet through my early childhood nursing and midwifery... you ARE capable. Yes, there are days that are hard and overwhelming. But you are doing a bloody amazing job! Stop doubting yourself. Trust your instinct. Watch and listen to your child. You know them better than anyone. And hey, if things don’t work out, lift yourself back up, learn from your mistakes and tomorrow is a new day.
Trust yourself... mum (and dad) really does know best.
Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.