Anyone who knows me, knows I’m pretty headstrong. I’ve been called feisty, opinionated and many other things that imply strongly that I like to do things my way. And I do. But it’s worth noting that alongside that I have also been told that I am one of the most caring, giving and easy to talk to people.
Makes for an interesting combination, doesn’t it!
I’ve never been a great one for being told what to do. I’m not a rebel at all, goodie two shoes through and through, but I know my mind and I like to be the decision maker of my own life.
So now that I have a daughter, that fierce independence is still there. You’re probably thinking that I sound like I think I know it all? Absolutely not. I’m the first person to ask for other people’s input about what they did, how they crossed certain obstacles in parenting and what they really enjoyed, but what I always do is take in the information, think about it and then decide how I’m going to do it.
I don’t subscribe to any of the traditional methods out there, or any of the new ones for that matter. I don’t attachment parent, I don’t do controlled crying, I haven’t done baby led weaning, I haven’t fed my daughter exclusively on breastmilk, I haven’t ‘co-parented’ with my husband and I haven’t religiously co-slept. I’ve done bits of all of them.
Let’s start with ‘co-parenting’. Mine and my husband’s relationship is quite traditional; he’s the bread-winner, I’m the stay-at-home-Mum. I just happen to run a business too. But that doesn’t make any difference to me being a stay-at-home-Mum. I spend most of the day, every day, with my daughter. She is rarely away from me and we enjoy doing everything together.
I am the main decision-maker on what my daughter wears, eats, her routine, her activities and which brand of nappies she wears. My husband has input as we do discuss everything, but he defers to my opinions a lot. Why? Because he’s (physically) at work Monday – Friday 7am – 9pm ish. When he’s not at work he’s available on his Blackberry. I can’t remember the last time he didn’t have to work both days at the weekend. Not only that, but he trusts my judgement. He respects my ability as a Mummy and knows that everything I do is with the best intentions for our little girl. Don’t get me wrong – he puts me to the test from time to time (‘but she’s half Italian, I don’t understand why she can’t eat pasta now’ when I had literally just started weaning her!), but we tend to find a compromise or I assure him that we can do what he is suggesting in the not-too-distant-future. When hubby looks after Violetta at the weekend, if I have to pop in to work, I lay out her clothes, pack the nappy bag, set out breakfast, lunch, milk, snacks etc and jot down her nap times. Why? Because he doesn’t spend enough time with her to know it all off-hand and I’d so much rather that the precious time they spend together is used for fun and playing, than with a grumpy baby who’s out of her routine, or a grumpy Papa who can’t work out which milk has to be mixed into the baby porridge.
Now, none of this is to say that I think every family should operate in this way! Absolutely not – I have utmost respect for every which way families choose to operate. This is just the way it works for us.