Have Some Backbone, Mama

Generally speaking I’m a bit of a pushover. I can talk the talk when it comes to being assertive but in practice I’m the type to look at my feet and mumble whilst I’m subjected to some minor injustice then get all angry and upset about it later.

This is probably the thing that frustrates me the most about myself. Having Luisa has really made me aware of this aspect of my personality as it’s holding me back from being a confident parent & I’ve had enough. I don’t want her to grow up to be a chronic apologiser who’d rather let someone else take the credit than make a scene. I’m not talking about being cocky and walking over others here – I mean having the confidence to stand up for herself and accept that it’s okay to like yourself & feel proud of your own accomplishments.

Follow my journey to become a confident parent. I don't want to be a pathetic role model so I'm showing Luisa how to be assertive & kind starting now.

While all this was whizzing around in my head I stumbled upon ‘The Life Changing Magic of not Giving a Fuck’ by Sarah Knight. It’s an amusing homage to the popular Marie Kondo book aimed to free you from the unreasonable standards you’ve set for yourself. The bit that really resonated with me was Sarah’s description of her irrational desire to please others at her expense.

As a self-described overachieving perfectionist, I was anxious throughout my childhood and adolescence. I tackled numerous projects, tasks and tests to prove myself worthy of respect and admiration from my family, friends and even casual acquaintances. I socialised with people I did not like in order to appear benevolent; I did jobs that were beneath me in order to appear helpful; I ate things that disgusted me in order to appear gracious. This was no way to live.

If this sounds even a tiny bit like you I really recommend that you either get the book or read this less sweary Guardian article if blue language offends you. Sarah chronicles her own experiences of trying to spend less time and energy on things and people that don’t make you happy and implores you to take up her ‘NotSorry Method’. It’s pretty simple – You decide what you don’t give a fuck about, and then stop giving a fuck about those things. (Considerably easier said than done) The whole thing isn’t based around the idea of being selfish or cruel. It’s meant to get you to decide what matters to you and devote your energy to those people or things. In turn you can stop worrying about the things that you really don’t care about.

This might sound selfish, and it is, but it also creates a better world for everyone around you. You’ll stop worrying about all the things you have to do and start focusing on the things you want to do. You’ll be happier and more genial at work; your colleagues and clients will benefit. You’ll be better rested and more fun around friends. You might spend more time with your family – or you might spend less, making those moments you do share all the more precious. And you’ll have more time, energy and/or money to devote to living your best life.

Now I could ramble on about the book and Sarah’s opinions for ages here but I’m getting away from my original point. Being an utter wimp is holding me back from being the confident parent I want to be.

Basically what I’m saying is I need to have some backbone and be Luisas advocate whilst she can’t speak for herself.

When I make a decision about something to do with Luisa it isn’t on a whim. It’s after a lot of thought, reading of reputable books and articles, speaking to other parents I respect and listening to my intuition. It might seem like I’ve just decided to go along with some new age parenting mumbo jumbo but I can absolutely assure the entire world that I take nothing to do with my little lady lightly.

Some of the parenting choices I make are a little unconventional but I feel most of them are common sense and wholly child-centred. For example, I embrace attachment parenting and baby led weaning. I prefer natural products when they are available. I don’t like her to watch TV or play on phones/tablets. I’m not interested in keeping her up unreasonably late / skipping her naps to fit in with special plans/adult routines.

You might be on my wave length and also parent in a similar way but I’m finding I’m being met with increasing judgement for the things mentioned above. And I’ve decided I really do not care. I am not sorry. I won’t pander to your insecurities by saying I’ll consider doing things your way. I’m far from perfect and I’ve never done this before but as I said when I do something for/with Luisa it is always following careful consideration and with her best interest at heart.

 

So there you have it. The first step on my journey to being a bad ass mother —

confident parent tattoo

I will update you very soon on my journey to becoming a more confident parent and hopefully show you how I’ve managed to implement my new found assertiveness for L’s good.

Hello Beautiful Bear
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10 Comments

  1. 26th January 2016 / 8:32 pm

    I could have written this myself! I’m really trying to make myself braver as I don’t want A to take after me. Will look into the book. Good luck! Xx

  2. 28th January 2016 / 11:48 am

    Well done for wanting to take a stand and become more confident! I have seen a lot of judging lately in the blogosphere and even in person about what methods people choose to use when parenting and it often comes from people who if they were questioned about their methods would defend their right to parent however they best see fit to in a heartbeat but think themselves perfect, and then of course there are those who are not parents who think they can give an opinion on parenting. I am not a parent so I could never pretend to even remotely judge a parenting style when I have not yet been there. I think a lot of the things you mentioned you are doing like child led weaning and attachment parenting are great and better still, natural. A lot of the older generations were taught some rather unnatural ways of parenting and personally I believe that this is why we have a lot more instability in many adults. I applaud you for this step you’re taking! 😀

  3. 28th January 2016 / 2:41 pm

    I sometimes feel like people put me in a pullover category but once they know me they find understand I am not but need to work on my image. This is a great post.

  4. 28th January 2016 / 4:49 pm

    This is a lovely post, it is wonderful how our kids inspire us to be our best selves. I know I’m very aware of always trying to set an example to my daughter, who soaks in everything I do like a tiny sponge. Not that I’m always successful there!

  5. 28th January 2016 / 5:20 pm

    Amen you own your confidence! I agree with you, parenting is so different to each individual and who are we to judge what you can and can’t do.

  6. 28th January 2016 / 8:12 pm

    My parenting is so much like yours, it’s so true, people take one look at us ‘hippie dippie’ parents and think we don’t know our elbow from our arse but I often find that attachment parents are the ones who are most likely to research thoroughly. x

  7. 28th January 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Oh good luck to you – the book sounds brilliant. I am over sensitive and tend to over apologise for everything – whether I should or not. As I get older though, I am getting better. Kaz x

  8. Jolene monaghan
    29th January 2016 / 8:51 am

    such a fab post!!! its fantastic when our children inspire us !!! you are doing an amazing job!!!

  9. 29th January 2016 / 10:12 am

    Seems like a sensible route to take if you worry about a lot of stuff and doing everything right. I’ve got a lot more relaxed now I’ve got N because tbh I’ve got better things to be doing with my time…unfortunately the OH doesn’t get that!

  10. 6th March 2016 / 10:36 pm

    I love this post, it is wonderful and I adore how much you centre your entire life around Luisa – I do the same with Lily!

    I am very guilty of not standing up for myself but recently, I’ve taken it a step too far the other way and probably stood up for myself a bit too much when I really didn’t need to. It’s all about finding the balance I suppose 😉

    A lot of my family members let Lily use their phones and I can’t stand it, I like her being away from the technological world although I know she will have to embrace some aspects of it as she grows up.

    We do watch CBeebies though, not all day every day but a little bit with breakfast and then a little bit with tea.

    I love your confidence in this post, you are such a supermum! I love it! 🙂

    X X

    #TeaAndCakeLinky

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