The good parent : and how to not do everything right.

“I don’t know. She might have been a bit overstimulated? Or maybe she is teething? I’m not sure.”

As I heard these words spoken by a mum of many children, oh so long ago, I sat suddenly changed. As a new Mum I had been trying so hard! I had thought if I just did everything *right* then my baby would sleep, and play, and do all-the-right-things. And this would mean I was a ‘good’ parent.

I thought I needed to know more, do more, be more. I felt inexperienced and thought I was failing.

But then I heard a Mum who had parented babies say she didn’t know. She didn’t have all the answers. Instead she calmly acknowledged that the baby in her arms didn’t sleep the night before and she didn’t know why.
I recall thinking that if this amazing mum didn’t know, then how could I be expected to know what to do? It finally occurred to me that maybe there wasn’t one best way. Maybe I wasn’t the problem. And maybe, just maybe, there actually wasn’t any problem at all.

It would be a few years before I finally let go of the illusion that who my children were would ever be entirely up to me. But the understanding that every child is different started right there in that simple answer to a simple question. It allowed me to stand back and get to know this baby of mine instead of trying to fit him into the mould of the baby I imagined.

I slowly came to realise that a good parent isn’t one who knows how to do all the right things. A good parent is just an ordinary person with a child, who chooses to wake up every morning to start again, love always, and do their best, no matter what they may face. Every. Single. Day. Through good days, bad days, and even the in-between monotonous days, parents find the strength to simply be there for the ones who will always see them through the eyes of the love they have been given.

Jen Shipway
Living Future Memories

Jen is our Guest blogger today, but you can also connect with her here.






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