People are always telling me that parenting does not come with a manual which got me thinking, let us create one. Real parents, giving their thoughts to other parents.
First off the starting blocks for our Parenting Manual series is Amy, mum of 2, living in North Yorkshire.
P A R E N T I N G M A N U A L
Children’s ages: 13, 10
Career before children: Photographic prop stylist
Career after children: Clinical Hypnotherapist ( including hypnobirthing)
What is your ultimate parenting goal?
To raise confident, independent, secure, kind adults who make decisions for their own and others happiness. Crikey – no pressure!
What do you struggle most with in your parenting?
Embracing the mundane, the repetitiveness and sometimes the lack of control that occurs as my kids become their own unique selves which affects the home we all live in (especially as my kids have their own strong wills). I know this contradicts my parenting goal above!
What parenting insight/wisdom would you like to share with other mums? How did you discover this?
I have two.
Firstly, be kind to yourself by realising it is ok to do a ‘good enough’ job and move away from the idea of perfection. A good way to start is to think what is the most important thing right now – maybe that is to sit down, put on the telly, give the kids beans on toast for tea and have a cuppa. Stop the judgement of yourself.
I realised how harsh we can be on ourselves when I saw a mum crying by the freezers in a supermarket while her baby screamed and her toddler tantrumed. She was exhausted and it was like looking in a mirror from a few years earlier. I told her it was ok to go home and do the above. She was so appreciative; it was the advice I would have liked to have had myself when my kids were that age rather than trying to meet the excessively high intentions I had set for myself.
Secondly, enjoy the positive in your kids as they are now; they may feel grown up at, say, age 4 or 6 (because they are older than they were), but they just keep growing and changing and suddenly they are older and different again.
I realised that I was looking forward to my kids being older and more interactive etc. but when my youngest was about 8 or 9 I sometimes felt sad that they would never be little again and I wish I had appreciated them or been more present when they were small; slightly clichéd I know but true. My kids have great qualities now and will be different yet still fabulous as they grow. They will continue to change again so I now like to recognise their positives today.
What if anything, from your career, do you apply and use in your parenting?
Hypnotherapy when they are feeling anxious or struggling to fall asleep. Getting them to recognise their own strengths. We discuss what we are grateful for and we discuss each other’s needs and desires. Using positive language to encourage and support them.
How do you manage work/life balance?
Like a whirlwind – squeezing in stuff often; life is often more hectic than I would ideally like. My husband and I juggle stuff a lot. He’s fantastic, especially late afternoons. I have days and evenings I don’t work and I rarely work before school starts. When I am working, I am working but I do have to make an effort not to work if I am relaxing at home. I stay up late to chill out too. Whenever possible, I’ll make sure I diarise and attend the things that matter to the kids: assemblies, football matches, being there after school, making time to bake with them etc. I reduce my client sessions during school holidays, I have set slots in the week for exercise which are super important to me and I fill my weekends with socialising slots with family and friends. I need this because when I am with clients it is completely their time so I need to make time for mine.
What is your proudest parenting moment?
Perhaps kindness from my kids. My elder son stepped out of the peer group norm of staying out of the conflict and made sure another boy at school who was being bullied was ok and, similarly, when my younger son helped a group of girls in a lower year group at school to make friends again, when they had fallen out with one another. I was proud that the kindness I have attempted to instil was present; proud that they can see beyond their own worlds and be empathetic.
What self-care do you advocate for other mums, to help them put themselves first?
Diarising ‘me time’ on a daily basis. Even 10 minutes of breathing in a calm place. Getting outside and exercise.
We all have needs and children learn from us if we behave by taking some time for ourselves. As they grow they understand that everyone deserves to have a portion of their needs met.
If you wish to find out more about Amy and her Hypnotherapy work, here are her social media links: