“Do as you’re told” – Are you screwing your kids up for life?

131596337_7dc663e9ab_zI read the following Guardian article – Since when did obedience become the epitome of good parenting? – so I could see what all the fuss was about after perhaps a 9th or 10th Facebook friend shared it and hailed its awesomeness. It is based on the work of Alfie Kohn, a renowned parenting guru and all time favourite author of many fellow ‘crunchy’ parents.

At first I found myself nodding along, as I often do when reading these evangelical parenting articles. A lot of it seemed to make good, solid sense. The piece focuses on the topic of obedience in children, and addresses it as a negative. It entirely correlates the “Do as you’re told” mentality with enforced ‘mindless compliance’, and suggests it is natural for securely attached children, who have their voices heard and valued, to push the boundaries and to be what many people would describe as ‘disobedient’. Continue reading

From heaven to hell and back again: an eventful couple of weeks

The 16 days since Moses’ birth have raced by at an alarming speed. My beautiful little boy is already over 1lb heavier than his birth weight, and changing fast. This babymoon has been a very different experience to my previous three, which were spent in midwinter England, surrounded by snow, festive celebrations and family. This time, the weather is warm, it’s not Christmas and I have no family within thousands of miles. It has been odd. Sad at times. I spent most of one day crying in the first week, when everything felt like shit and I was convinced I’d hit rock bottom. But of course it was the hormones, and I resumed my seat upon Cloud 9 a few hours later. Continue reading

Moses’ birth

Yes! I’ve had the baby. And at ‘only’ five (well, technically six as it happened shortly after midnight) days overdue, I’ve had the baby in quite a timely fashion for me, too. Before I launch into the birth, I am going to start the story with a brief update on the situation with immigration I talked about in my last post, because the two things are kind of linked. Continue reading

When life gets bittersweet

Well, it seems there was never any chance of a quiet or restful end to my pregnancy!

10406362_10152792247775892_6067117807930430941_nMy due date was yesterday, and unlike most pregnant women at this stage I am currently praying that every niggle, contraction and surge in pelvic pressure I am getting is not a sign that birth is around the corner just yet, as much as my terribly aching body desperately wants this to be over now. This is because we’ve had some news. Some pretty major news in fact.

We wanted to wait until we had final, complete confirmation of all of this before announcing the conclusion of what has been a long, difficult and emotional journey, but naturally it has not happened quite as we wanted or expected, and I guess I have now reached the ‘write or implode’ stage about it all. Continue reading

Third trimester: Growing pains and gender speculation

29 weeks pregnant

29 weeks

Humidity’s rising, but it’s not raining men, and if it were they would surely run a mile the moment they set eyes upon this waddling hot mess, for I am now 32 weeks pregnant and not tolerating the heat very well in my first ever stint as a summer baby grower.

It’s okay really, just as long as I don’t, y’know, leave the house or turn the oven on or let the house get above 28 degrees, or do anything besides lying somewhere shaded, groaning and fanning myself. Sorry kids, fun mama has left the building this summer. And I am acutely aware that, as my seasoned Kiwi friends are only to keen to remind me, by far the hottest and most humid chunk of the year is still approaching in line to nicely coincide with the final 8 weeks of my pregnancy. Wooo! Continue reading

Grief: Six years on

I have not really been compelled to blog in the last few weeks, or rather I have, but everything I would have liked to write about lately has been too personal to talk about here, and to write about anything else would have seemed dishonest. I have regressed into that glazed-eyed, painted-smiled state in which I feel as though I am leading a double life: my life as presented to others, even those closest to me, and my life as it is lived internally, which is a secret. I guess I find it hard to be honest with the screen, or anybody for that matter, when I am in this frame of mind.

Today, though, I did feel that familiar finger-twitching return as a blog post etched itself organically into my mind, for today is six years to the day since my mother died, and this morning I found myself wondering what I should do. I now live 12,000 miles away so I cannot visit her grave. Should I post a Facebook status? I wondered. You know, the obligatory tribute. Think of some fluffy words to say and say them, throw in a heart-shaped emoticon for good measure. Remind her how much she’s missed, as though our only medium of communication might be this commercial social media machine. Perhaps I should change my profile picture to one of her, or one of us. I could write another poem. Therapeutic. I wrote one last year; I have had plenty of new thoughts since. Or shall I write a blog post in tribute to her? You can never express your love and grief too much, after all. Continue reading

5 things I said I would never do as a parent, and then some

sniperIt is a truth universally acknowledged that the best parents in the world are those without children. There are certainly many idealistic parenting philosophies I once grasped onto as a non-parent that have rapidly slipped away in the years since, as the realities of parenthood made themselves known to my naive, hopeful little soul. Furthermore, there are a great many things I have promised myself I would never do even since becoming a parent, in some cases as recently as this year, that have subsequently been delegated to the dumping ground of Stuff That Didn’t Work Out And Other Crap. Continue reading

Empathic parenting and the fear of tears

empathic parentYou cannot read many parenting articles before you will inevitably encounter a confusing array of jargon. Attachment parenting, free-range parenting, gentle parenting, continuum parenting, natural parenting, mainstream parenting; these are just a few of the terms you may stumble upon when exploring the cavernous world of child-rearing. You would be forgiven for wondering what it all means and where the heck on this entirely subjective spectrum you sit. I therefore want to open this by assuring you there is no need to go away and read a catalogue of finger-wagging advice guides about ’empathic parenting’ in order to understand this post or to figure out if you are one.

There are many pages on the web talking about empathic parenting, and whether my definition of the term matches up with theirs is beyond my scope of giving a crap. When I personally use this expression, it is a ‘what it says on the tin’ job. Parenting with empathy; that is all. I believe that can manifest itself in many different forms. No two empathic parents will necessarily look or behave the same. Continue reading

When it all just gets a bit too much

You know you’re having a bad one when you find yourself getting back out of bed an hour after first climbing into it, more awake and stressed out than ever, and opening up WordPress in order to bleakly offload your thoughts.

I had two blog posts etch themselves into my mind tonight when I was putting the kids to bed (always when I’m putting my kids to bed), neither of which were this one, and when I eventually get around to writing them up they will be well thought out and at least in part coherent. I cannot make the same promise for tonight. This one is straight from the heart to the screen and bypassing all of the usual internal filters. Continue reading