being mum//go your own way

Today I wanted to share some of the things I've learnt about being a mum to Bailey. Granted I've only been in this gig for 3 and a half years {over 4 if you count pregnancy} but parenting, so far, has been such a "meant-to-be" and fun experience and I do feel as though I have some wisdom and insight to share. Here goes nothing --

My first, and most important, piece of this is to go your own way. Trust your instincts. Listen to the well meaning people {ignore the idiots} but don't always jump on their wagon. Don't feel like you have to do it how your parents did, in fact do it the opposite {unless your parents were wonderful and if they were ignore me here, I won't mind}. But, honestly, if I went into parenting with my parents as role models I would have had an affair and left Bailey at 2 or I would have resorted to physical and emotional abuse. Anyway, moving on.

The piece of advice/the mantra I hate the most is: you aren't her friend, you're her parent. Why? Well, I like to think of Bailey as my friend. Yes, I have to send her to time-out or refuse her dessert sometimes but most often we have fun and just click. When we're together for a day out shopping we feel like pals. We hold hands. We giggle. I also have to recite "mum mantras" -- toilet first, then we'll play/two rides on the Peppa Pig ride is enough, etc. So, for me, parenting is all about being her friend and her parent.

I like to treat Bailey as an equal. I do not hit and we do not condone hitting in this house. Of course, I am extra sensitive to violence and physical contact like smacking but I do not believe that punishing your child for hitting another kid or you by hitting them back makes any sense at all. Seriously, has anyone thought that through properly? Also, I would never hit Husband, our dogs or any of my extended family or my friends so why can I hit Bailey? Because she ripped open my vagina? Seriously?

I don't claim any possessive rights over her. Yes, I am her mum and she is my daughter but she's also her own person and she doesn't owe me anything just because I gave birth to her. I want to earn this mother title, it's not an automatic right. I need to earn her respect just as much as she would mine. I also believe that I need to earn her love. Yes, my love for her was automatic and I would hope she loves me without questioning it but I don't think she should love me just because Husband and I decided to have a baby. She doesn't owe me anything.

Bailey is an individual - this I celebrate and, yes, sometimes it's harder than others. I hope I will continue to be someone who lets her be her and not push my beliefs on who she should be or what career she should have. I want her to be happy, healthy and love life. Yes, I have ideas of what this means -- drugs and alcohol are sore points for me and I know that I'd struggle to be accepting of these life choices -- but she needs to go her own way too.

I dream of Bailey growing up to be considerate and empathetic. Strong and sensitive. Not afraid to cry and not afraid to smile. To be proud and boastful when the occasion warrants and to know when it doesn't. To not be afraid of failure or success and all that wonderful stuff. But you know what else? I want her to be proud of her life choices if they involve wanting to take care of her family {if she so chooses to have one} like me. I want to her to see that, no matter what career path we go down, everyone is important and everyone should be valued.

So, whatever your values, your hopes, your dreams for yourself and your child/ren {current or to-be} just go your own way. This is one thing I feel confident {with this anxiety-riddled mind of mine} will make me a wonderful mum and Bailey a wonderful kid. Of course, you don't have to agree with my parenting style and that's okay because, hey, I don't agree with other people's either. I'm probably a bit too ridiculous in some aspects of my parenting style {not leaving Bailey for a night with someone other than Husband or myself being one} but I hope we can all agree that kids should be our equals and, as corny as it sounds, treated as we would like to be treated.

*I feel like I should sign off with the end but that would be weird wouldn't it? Yes it would.

& hey, share some thoughts {if you have them} why don't you?

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