Parenting Pep Talk is a series of guest posts all about encouraging other parents by sharing some of our happy moments, the advice that has worked for us and some positive words of encouragement.
Today’s post is from Neve who blogs at WeTheParents.org. Neve and her husband Keane are diving feet first (if that’s possible) into professional online marketing and blogging. Their first venture is WeTheParents.org. a blog where Neve seeks to bring out the humor in parenting and Keane gets nerdy researching and reviewing the gear that mums and dads (apparently) need.
1) Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
We are a family of four. Me (Neve), my husband (Keane), our almost-four-year-old girl (Leyla), and our six-month-old boy (Dara). We’d like at least one more child in the future, but for the moment we are quite content.
Leyla was present at Dara’s birth. It was a beautiful experience and she has been a delightful older sister ever since; not a hint of jealousy. Leyla is a wild and willful young lady (in a very positive way) though she really puts us through our paces as parents. Dara, by contrast, is a peaceful and easy baby, at least so far.
When not stressed, we feel blessed.
After having lived for the last 12 years in a busy metropolis, we chose to up-sticks and three months ago moved to the rural countryside near to a beautiful Steiner school which Leyla will attend in September.
The change has been wonderful. We’ve gone from hearing cars outside our window to hearing sheep.
Whilst it’s our paradise, it has meant both Keane and me leaving our jobs. We are embarking on an adventure in online entrepreneurship and blogging. It’s scary and exciting, but fortunately, we have a great mentor.
So watch this space as we hope to turn our countryside paradise into a sustainable one. Both in terms of finances and a sustainable lifestyle.
2) How would you describe your parenting style?
Evolving. We resonate with RIE principles and respectful parenting, though we do not adhere religiously to any school or “method”. I think we’re doing okay, not perfect, but a good okay. We do our best to be fair, gentle and respectful whilst being firm with boundaries. It’s not easy but I think we’re just about pulling it off!
3) What’s your favourite thing about being a parent?
The deep, ineffable satisfaction and joy that fills my heart when I think about my children. True, most of the time this is covered with the fluster and manic bluster of parenting. But when I have that rare moment of alone time, this warm, loving feeling is there, telling me that life is better now than it has ever been, and that’s because my children.
Leyla’s cuddles and when she tells me, “I love you, Mama.”
And Dara’s big, open-mouthed smile.
4) What piece of advice have you been given that you found especially helpful?
Be kind to yourself. No parent is perfect – and it’s not even what your child needs.
5) What one piece of encouraging advice would you give to a new parent?
Stick to your guns.
Whilst you are doing your best to be respectful, fair and firm, perhaps your ‘terrible-twos’ toddler isn’t listening or cooperating. They are likely testing, pushing, defying and generally running amok. (Our Leyla was!)
Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t throw your parenting style and approach out of the window.
We certainly had moments where we lost faith in our gentle parenting approach. “Are we creating a monster through lack of shouty-discipline?!” we sometimes asked ourselves.
But children evolve and grow. So, again, stick to your guns. As long as you model respect and empathy the best you can (and that doesn’t mean always or perfectly), then your child will get through the toddler mayhem and you’ll find a decent, kind and thoughtful person blossoming on the other side.
This, at least, has been our experience with Leyla. I am now much more confident in our approach and will stick to it with Dara.
6) Can you share one of your favourite parenting moments?
Leyla was three-and-a-half when I homebirthed Dara. We had prepared though hypnobirthing and I can gratefully report that the labour and the birth went beautifully. Leyla was in and out, merrily asking questions. She was also there when Dara came into the world. It was magical and heartwarming watching her greet him. She was so incredibly tender and loving towards him from the very first moment. Cuddling together as a new family of four was a serenely special moment.
7) Anything else that you would like to share to encourage other parents?
Firstly, I’d like to share an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
And secondly, for any mums-to-be I cannot recommend more fully both Katharine Grave’s Hypnobirthing Book and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth without which I would never have had such a wonderful birthing experience.
Thank you Neve for sharing your positive parenting moments and the advice you have found helpful.
You can connect with Neve on the following social networks:
If you’d like to share some of your positive parenting moments on the Parenting Pep Talk, then let me know in the comments below and I’ll email you with more details.