I knew my life will change with getting a child. I was fine with this. What I was more anxious about was, WHO I will be when I become a mom.
For me it was important to educate myself, to get prepared. It is not that I didn’t trust my motherly instincts, but very early in my motherhood journey I’ve noticed how intertwined my instincts are with my cultural upbringing and how my environment is influencing and shaping my parenting approach. I didn’t want to go with the flow and follow patterns just because this is what I’ve seen around me. My son and motherhood experience were way too precious to me. I wanted to make conscious decisions, coming from a place of wisdom and love. I wanted to find a science-proved approach, where the long-term mental and emotional wellbeing of my son is in the center.
I’ve chosen respectful parenting. I’ve got deep into Magda Gerber, Janet Lansbury, Maggie Dent and Gabor Mate. Their view on parenting resonates with me. I felt like I have allies - wise, experienced guides, I could rely on. I’ve gained confidence and a sense of relaxation.
My first year of being a mom was a very transformational period for me. I grew immensely as a person and as a woman. It felt organic and effortless. I adopted the respectful parenting principles as mine. My understanding of my role as a mother, expanded.
I am really grateful to have a partner who is open and willing to play along and apply these same principles. This is a stable foundation for us as new parents to align our parenting strategy, to prepare for the more challenging periods and to re-calibrate our expectations. This brings us closer together and helps us stay supportive to each other and adequate to the different situations we are facing.
When you don’t follow rigidly, but instead, you understand the principles behind an approach or a framework, you are tapping into a source of confidence. Confidence to be truthful to yourself, confidence to be creative and resourceful, confidence to adjust your response skillfully based on your values and inner compass. It is truly liberating.
I don’t know everything. There are situations I don’t feel ready for and moments I wish I had reacted differently. However, the fact that I have a deep knowing of who I want to be as a mother, I feel the support of my partner and I have parenting principles to go back to, removes the multiple-options confusion and the inner doubt I would otherwise feel lost in.
I wish for every new mom, to find her way of parenting, crafted by herself and supported with her own values. This is much more fulfilling than the acceptance of the people around us, who would appreciate that we follow the well-established (but not always healthy) ways of the “general stream” parenting.
The books I found really useful to find my own parenting approach:
- Janet Lansbury - Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting
- Janet Lansbury - No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame
- Magda Gerber - Your Self-Confident Baby: How to Encourage Your Child's Natural Abilities from the Very Start
- Maggie Dent - Mothering Our Boys
- Maggie Dent - Girlhood: Raising Our Little Girls to Be Healthy, Happy and Heard
- Gabor Maté - Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers