Our “In Conversation With…” Instagram live events feel like they come and they go in a flash – 45mins and it’s over! But you’d be surprised by how much planning and prep goes into them; choosing our key speaker, framing a topic, and promoting it so lots of people get the opportunity to hear first hand from some of the top professionals in the business of childcare and parenting. We’ve been thinking about ways that we could make that moment last a little longer. So if you didn’t get a chance to tune in on the night, you can still benefit from the words of wisdom to help you in your journey of raising great kids. We’re in the business of childcare, so we’re also hyper-aware of the fact that everyone has different amounts of time available to them to digest information.
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If you’re staying with us here on the blog, then great – this is what we learnt from our chat with Anna Mathur.
Note; Anna spoke from a mother’s perspective, she is a mother herself and that is her area of specialism in psychotherapy. But what we gleaned can be of equal value to any parent male or female.
The great modern misconception, and letting others in.
The old saying is that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and you’ll still find people to this day who will repeat this with whole-hearted sincerity and belief, even though our society has moved on. The reality is that we no longer live in small villages or with a cross-generational family network at arms reach to provide cover and support for the ups and downs.
The belief has remained the same, but our reality has totally shifted and sadly so have our expectations of ourselves. The modern misconception is that ‘I’ (parent) have to be on top of it all, and if ‘I’m’ not, then I’m failing.
Wrong. Nope. Nah!
No parent can do it all, and recognising that can be a turning point in lightening your load and allowing you to enjoy parenthood more. Getting help is not a sign of failure and you should consider childcare as a critical element in that support network. The space that you can get from allowing others in to support you can allow you to give back to your children from a fuller cup.
Obviously, we couldn’t agree more, because we’re in the business of helping families flourish. We know that great childcare can be transformative for a family and the benefit is two-fold. It allows children to have an additional outlet beyond the family bubble and it improves the mental health and resilience of parents. Letting others in, can often be the single greatest gift to your family.
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Motherhood & Work
So much to unpack in this area… but we focused on ‘guilt’.
Many mothers feel a sense of guilt and shame from wanting and/or needing to work. The pandemic led to a rise in feelings of anxiety in the attempt to juggle both at home. With summer holidays in full swing, many parents will be feeling a rise in guilt levels again as work and children clash for attention.
Anna offered 3 Steps “ACT” to think of in those moments, to ensure the guilt doesn’t overwhelm:
A – Address it, what are you feeling guilty for?
C – Compassion, be compassionate to yourself in that moment to remove any shame
T – Tweak, how can you tweak your behaviour to manage your communication with your children better.
And remember, you are doing the best that you can, with the resources that you have.
Guilt can also build from a sense that ‘there is a right and wrong way to parent’. Today, there’s an endless list of books to read on Amazon, research reports and findings and social media – conspiring to heighten that feeling. And it’s a feeling that can drown out all other rational thoughts when at its loudest.
There is no right or wrong way to parent. Every person and every family is different, so how could there be one answer, one solution? Rather, what we can do is focus on our sense of intuition more so, to tell us what is right or wrong for our family. This will help to reduce those high standards we place on ourselves and the guilt that comes with not always achieving those.
Selfcare and Baseline Parenting for Survival
Back to basics, seems to be the best way to describe this area of the discussion.
It started with the importance of looking after ‘you’.
Think of ‘you’ (parent), not as a highly functioning machine who has to do it all, but as a human being who equally needs food, rest, and good mental health to do your job well. The ultimate risk of a lack of self care is burnout, which we ought to think of as an illness that can have devastating consequences. The longer you go without looking after yourself, the more ill you will become, and the longer it will take you to repair and recover.
Self care is often seen as a selfish act. Yet in its most basic form selfcare is ‘rest’, in which small opportunities can be overlooked for the sake of trying to get other things done. We should in fact make small moments of rest a priority alongside establishing what our ‘acceptable baseline’ of parenting is (i.e. are they happy, are they fed and hydrated, are they clean?) to survive in hard or overwhelming periods.
Cue summer holidays!
Can you imagine, we got all of that out of 45 mins with Anna Mathur!
Time well spent.