The other day a conversation with another parent, about TV, led me to the most liberating piece of parenting advice I’ve heard in my eight short years as a mother.
I haven’t read a parenting book since 2009.
I’m not bragging about this. I should probably be reading loads. Especially now that my seven year old is almost eight and having emotions I don’t really know what to do with. If this is a warm-up for the teenage years then I CANNOT WAIT. Tip for parents navigating conversations about kids feeling left out: don’t have this conversation when you’re tired and basically tell your child, ‘This is life and you need to get used to it.’ Then watch their face crumble as they realise their mother has no better handling on this thing called life, than they do.
So far, I’ve picked up everything I know (or don’t know) about being a mother from those around me. Friends. Other mums (and dads). My own parents.
I take all the different snippets that I like and piece them together into some wonderfully chaotic bespoke jigsaw puzzle that fits my family.
And I ditch the pieces that don’t.
Take everything with a pinch of salt.
Other parents, especially ones going through the same shizzle as you are, are a brilliant resource. They will have discovered stuff you haven’t thought of. They will inspire you. And motivate you. Occasionally, though, they will scare the bejeezus out of you, cause complete panic and make you do crazy stuff like COPY THEM.
When this happens, take a step back, evaluate and breathe.
Because every piece of advice you come across as a parent must be taken with a pinch of salt. We all parent differently. We all have different circumstances. So it can never be one size fits all.
You are always going to need to adjust the seams a little.
The end of Netflix.
Take the other day, for example, when someone mentioned their kids never watch TV. Like EVER. ‘Oh mine don’t watch TV either,’ I said smugly. ‘They watch Netflix. That’s different, right?’
Er, no. Apparently it’s not different. F***. Who knew? (Clever…