I wouldn’t normally make a special effort to write about a Hallmark holiday but I am cradling a gorgeous newborn and I did just farewell my mum as she left for an eight-week overseas jaunt.
Mum has been washing our laundry and cooking for us for the past two weeks but that’s not why I’ll miss her. Truth is that even though she is overbearingly caring (and unashamedly opinionated), she is probably my best friend. We talk every day about everything and nothing and we live about 4.5 minutes away from each other. My husband doesn’t get it. I tell him it’s a wog thing and to get over it.
I became a mother at 21. I was in my last year at uni. One weekend I was partying all night and the next I was stocking up on Bonds rompers. My Jordan is the best thing that ever happened to me; she opened my eyes to love and showed me what life was all about. Having her put me on a clear path to self-discovery, yoga, courage and joy. She is my rock, my angel, my inspiration.
And now I have little India; as fair-haired as Jordy is dark. At two weeks old her gaze leaves me breathless. I want to inhale her scent and forever caress the soft warmth that is her perfect little head.
When I had Jordan I discovered the way I was mothering had a label: apparently I was practicing ‘attachment’ parenting. Attachment parenting is rooted deeply in traditional parenting styles so it involves baby wearing, extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping. The theory is that when parents and babies form deep, trusting attachments the children grow into happy, independent, confident adults.
As Jordy grew and or relationship evolved I found I was also ‘conscious’ or ‘aware’ parenting. This method involves parenting with intention, honest communication, honouring and respecting children as spiritual beings and providing firm boundaries.
I will now do all of the above with Indi but she will have the added bonuses of my maturity and my yoga practice; I am far more confident and calm at 30 than I was at 21.
There’s a lot of scrutiny these days around mothers and how we choose to do things. At times it seems that women are divided into separate camps regarding childbirth, breastfeeding, nappies, childcare and work choices. Motherhood can sometimes feel like a lonely, confusing, guilt-ridden competition.
When my friends or yoga students express these feelings I always offer the same advice:
Listen to your heart: Screw the labels and do what feels right for you. If you have doubts about something then don’t do it. Become informed about issues that confuse or concern you so that you can feel confident in your parenting choices.
Listen to your baby: Not your mum, aunty, neighbour or sister-in-law. All children are different so it makes sense that we will all parent quite differently. What works for my family and I may not work for my best friend and her family. Pay close attention to your child, get to know them intimately so that it will be easy to follow their lead. Don’t fight against them or their nature, especially when they’re newborns. Let your baby be your guide and ignore everyone else including your doctor and midwife.
Breathe: It sounds simple but when you have a screaming baby, a toddler in a tantrum or a tween in a tizz it can help to take a deep breath and remember that your child is a fellow human being trying to make their way in the world the same way we are. Take some time to reflect on your interactions with your children, the way you speak to them and touch them. Look them in the eye often and tell them how much you love them. Be present as much as you can. I promise it will make you feel good and it will make your child’s heart dance.
Happy Mother’s Day ladies. We rock.