See the full article by Siobhan Freegard (Founder of Netmums) on the Huffington Post here
I’ve spent 18 years, thousand of pounds and hundreds of sleepless nights raising three kids. And I also set up the UK’s biggest parenting site called Netmums. So you think that would make me a parenting expert, right?
Wrong! More and more, I believe parenting experts and childcare gurus are a scourge on modern mums, with a combination of one-size-fits all, conflicting advice that creates expectations that we – and certainly our babies – can never live up to. This leads to guilt, anxiety or, in my case, even depression as I felt I was failing at the most important job I have ever done.
But what none of these experts tell you is that there are really only ten things you need to know to get parenting right. Here are my ten tips no parenting expert will ever share – or they’ll be out of business. And you can have them for free!
1. Breast or Bottle? As long as your baby is putting on weight based on the growth charts, you’ve got the feeding right.
2. Can’t Get No Sleep? Newborns are exhausting but there is no way around this. By all means try sleep training methods, controlled crying or co-sleeping – but while it will work on some tots, it won’t on others.
3. Mums Need Mates: Baby talk is boring if you don’t have one and your child-free friends won’t want to know. For proper support, you need mummy mates. It’s vital to find good mum friends to chat about the ages and stages of childrearing and reassure each other things are OK.
4. Work It Out: Whether you stay at home or go out to work – through choice or necessity – it doesn’t matter. Love your child, be as happy as you can and don’t do guilt.
5. IQ Quandary: At some point you will think your child is a genius – but at another you’ll worry he could have developmental delay. Neither is likely to be true.
6. Managing child behavior is an art not a science: From the terrible two’s to the teens, good parenting means balancing keeping your child safe against giving them the freedom to grow and learn.
7. Child vs Food: Cooking for your child is serving up love on plate – so you’ll feel rejected if he won’t eat whether he’s a fussy eater or having a food fad. So my trick is pretending I’m relaxed about it, dishing up food on platters with lots of different tastes and textures as letting the kids help themselves. Food should be fun, not a battleground.
8. Making the Grade? Modern schooling and exam pressures are stressful for your child – and for you. There’s no doubt grades are important but help your child build good manners, friendships, confidence and self esteem over perfect projects and A* grades.
9. Mummy Wars: No matter what the so-called experts tell you, there’s no ‘right way’. Every child is different; no family has the same story. Don’t compare, don’t judge.
10. Finally – Embrace It. When you’re suffering endless nights feeding a baby, stressful days with preschoolers, or long evenings worrying where your teenager is, a single day can seem to last forever. But it goes by all too quickly. Find a special moment in each day and treasure it. However hard the job is, we are privileged to be parents and are the luckiest people in the world.