Parenting Pep Talk is an occasional series of guest posts all about encouraging other parents by sharing some of our positive parenting moments, the advice that has worked for us and the words of encouragement that we have found helpful.
Today’s post comes from the lovely Talya who blogs over at Motherhood: The Real Deal, sharing an open and wonderfully witty look at the realities of parenthood. As well as being the author of Motherhood: The Real Deal, Talya is mum to a very intense, amazing little toddler gal who most of the time specializes in driving her round the bend. Having given up the working mum role when she hit 12 months (she was the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief for an online lifestyle platform) she’s sat on both sides of the fence as a working and then stay-at-home mum and like many, have grappled with the issues which come hand in hand with both scenarios. Driven by the pure frustration (and of course amazing experience!) that is motherhood, and her disbelief at how much people don’t talk about or share, she started her blog to get her mix of sassy thought, unbridled humour, general WTF-ness about motherhood and parenting, plus SOS tips on how to survive out there. You can also find her writings on Scary Mommy, BLUNT Moms, Mamapedia, Mumsnet Bloggers Network, Netmums, Mamalode, Lose the Cape and LovetoKnow.com.
1) Tell us a little bit about you and your family
We are a small little unit of my partner and two and a half daughter. My daughter was born overseas in Asia, and we moved back to UK when she was one years old. I totally underestimated how hard having a baby overseas without my natural support network would be, and then how long the adjustment would take our family moving back. We are a loud, crazy family – god knows what the neighbours think – and my daughter has enough personality for five children…which is why at the moment…we are still…and for the foreseeable…only on one child! I now work part time as a freelance writer having been a full time mum, full time working mum, and now I’m very happy with the part time situation as it allows me to have the best of both worlds. My partner has his own business which means between the both of us, we can keep things flexible with us which really does have huge benefits.
2) How would you describe your parenting style?
Fun but firm. I invest a lot in our daughter in terms of time and teaching when I’m with her, but I don’t have a lot of patience which is a major downfall of my parenting. I believe in rules and routines (especially the latter, which I am so thankful for now), but also giving a lot of love and allowing kids to be kids and explore, express and have fun…so I guess if we had to slap a label on it that would make me an authoritative parent, although oddly enough I did start out a lot more in the attachment field, until I realised it was going to cost me my sanity! But everyone is different and you often don’t end up parenting in the way you thought you would.
3) What’s your favourite thing about being a parent?
The wonder of it all. Every day comes with new wonders, and I love the crazy cooky things kids do. I love being able to see things from a fresh persepctive through the eyes of child. I love the incredible subtle developments they can make – for example, suddenly “getting” how to walk down the stairs properly one foot at a time, or suddenly making a little shift in how they are able to communicate which might seem so small, but really makes the world of difference. I am also a massive sucker for hugs and kisses, which is generally what keeps me going when times get rough. What’s not to love about the incredible affection we receive as parents?
4) What piece of advice have you been given that you found especially helpful?
Trust your instincts. Really this is such a simple piece of advice, but if you always follow your hunches, your will usually not go far wrong. You know your children best, and how to parent them best. Usually the times when I have stuffed things up, is when I have listened to the advice of other people, and then I have been found banging my head against a brick wall afterwards.
5) What one piece of encouraging advice would you give to a new parent?
Nobody really knows what they’re doing, so don’t be fooled into thinking they do! I know it looks like a lot of people have it all locked down but the majority of them are just pretending and we are all just muddling along doing the best we can. Find some real people who talk honestly about being a parent and stick with them – be suspicious of those who make it look sugar coated while they are secretly having a meltdown back at home. Try not to look too much at what others are doing on Facebook – it paints a very different picture to what is going on behind the scenes as new parents. We are all in this together, and all making the same mistakes! Just some more openly then others. And remember – so long as you are doing the best you can do for your given circumstances, that is enough. Know that you will become more confident and knowledgeable with time and that will make a lot of things easier for your to handle on your parenting journey….and also for every trying time – know that this too shall pass.
6) Can you share one of your favourite parenting moments?
This sounds totally cliche but I think it was the first time my daughter told me she loved me – I think I had just put her down for a nap or at bedtime and she called after me and said “I love you mummy”. I just melted. Other than that, my daughter was really scared of doing most things until the age of two, and suddenly we had an amazing weekend where she just wanted to do everything – she got on a pony and went on a zip wire all by herself in the space of 24 hours. My jaw was on the floor and I was so scared to let go of her on that zipwire but just couldn’t contain my excitement that she had done it all by herself! So proud.
7) Anything else that you would like to share to encourage other parents?
Yes, my one line that I live by: Enjoy the rainbows whilst you can, and hunker down for the s***storms. Essentially – enjoy the good times when they are around and know that after every challenging time, another rainbow will follow.
Also, this is for when they are a little older but there are two books which have helped me through my hardest times – which have so far been the toddler ones! Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Toddler on The Block and The Pocket Parent. Everyone one should have a copy of these.
Finally know that everyone has very tough times, and for when you do…I wrote this: An open letter to the mum who feels like a failure
You can connect with Talya on the following social networks:
Thank you Talya for sharing your words of encouragement, advice and positive parenting moments.
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.