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Respectful parenting

I have actively resisted going to parenting courses, partly because most that I’ve come across have seemed at odds with my parenting philosophy. I find it weird when any list of techniques is universally applied to children by strangers who don’t know them. It’s the same reason I’m careful about what parenting books I read. My rule of thumb for any parenting advice I receive is to ask: 1. Is this coming from a place where the child’s feelings and experience are considered valuable? 2. Does this approach recognise that

When Talitha was born I said I wouldn’t use paid childcare. My mother made sacrifices to stay home with us and I grew up knowing the value of a mother’s continued presence in a child’s early life. However, when Talitha neared a year, I was surprised that a part of me longed to do other work too and that this felt like a good thing. Maybe it was the fact that I was by then getting a bit more sleep – who knows? Me earning a bit extra would certainly

Last year we decided that I would return to work on a part-time basis. We need the money and part of me wants paid work. We’ve also figured out since then that we can live on less and that part of me just wants to be with Talitha. Talk about inner conflict. The only way we could ease this was by deciding that it would only be very part-time. We also put a lot of thought into figuring out who would get to spend the day with our sweet girl.

If I’d known from the start how healthy, good and normal it is for babies to wake at night, I wonder if I would have felt inferior to those mothers who boasted that theirs slept through. If I’d known from the start how much babies need the security of their mothers’ bodies, would I have bothered with the Moses basket? Would I have expended so much energy trying to put Talitha down? Would it have taken me weeks to sort out a sling? Would I have ground my teeth wondering

The screaming was so loud I didn’t even wait to put her in the pushchair before leaving the cafe. I’d taken it because I was fed up and feeling run down. As it turned out, my eighteen-month-old didn’t think much of this plan and went completely rigid, flat refusing to get into the pushchair. She screamed so hard she began retching and almost threw herself out of my arms and on to the pavement. Thankfully, I’d taken my woven wrap along as a blanket. So I picked it up, figuring

Elimination communication involves catching your baby’s poo and wee in a potty, container or whatever instead of just leaving them to go in their nappies. It sounds like something out of Star Trek. It’s probably just what your granny used to do…without the techie name. I first heard about it back when I was thirty-three weeks pregnant and someone commented on my list of things to do before the birth with a link to “Save on nappies – don’t use them?” I read that post and my eyes grew wide.

I missed the attachment parenting segment on BBC Breakfast, incidentally, because I was in bed with my baby. Anyway, with all the interest about it on Twitter, I thought I better catch it the second time around. I braced myself, expecting talk of these AP hippy weirdos who are making life harder for themselves, ruining their children and judging everyone else. Actually, I was surprised. I didn’t hate it. It could have been better but it could have been a heck of a lot worse. I don’t think it drew

“Then when we have another baby that one will sleep between me and the bed rail and Talitha will sleep between us. Or maybe she’ll sleep on a mattress next to the bed. I don’t know.” “Wait, what? She’ll still be sleeping with us?” “Umm, she might be.” “No she won’t.” “But she might.” “But we don’t have a big enough bed.” “We could buy a bigger bed.” “Or we could buy her a bed.” We are getting a bigger bed. My in-laws aren’t giving it as a donation to

I’ve been thinking about the relationship between mental health and motherhood ever since I realised nine years ago that what I was experiencing was depression. I’ve worried that depression would make me an unsupportive friend and wife, and a frightening mother. But I’ve also known I don’t want it to determine how I’ll live my life.

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