more than one way to raise a child

About

Have you ever met another Mum and thought, “Oh my god we are NEVER going to get on!”?

We have — the first time we met each other!

Kate thought Em was slightly cold, obsessed with having a “box of drugs” (epidurals!) at her birth and that we definetely had nothing in common. Em thought Kate was going to be some hippy-mother earth-crunchy Mum who would push essential oils and hand knitted lentils on her child.

Turns out that opposites DO attract! Despite the fact that in SO many ways we are opposite, we have one major commonality — we love our kids and want to make the best decisions for them (we also love a good google).

We’ve spent the better part of 2017 whatsapping each other daily, debating what the best car seats are, why our kids aren’t sleeping and testing out pretty much every soft play in Chiswick. We were those moms that attend play groups with a 3 week old — we’ve recently learned this isn’t normal!

We want to share our experience, our opinions and our advice with you.

Join us as we debate, review and discuss raising a child in London.


 ABOUT KATE

I’m American-born, British-educated and a self-proclaimed cultural chamelon. When I’m at work events and have to play various ‘getting to know you’ games, I typically whip out the fact that I was home educated, I moved 18 times before the age of 20 and I’ve eaten a tarantula. Despite these really quite odd facts, I’m pretty simple. In a nutshell: Management Consultant by day, Blogger by night. Amateur yogi. The Girl’s mum.

I met my husband whilst we were volunteering for Stop The Traffik and Sophie Hayes Foundation. We dated for 4 years before tieing the knot in 2014. Three years later, The Girl came along. After meeting so many local mums I now know how lucky I was when we started to try for kids – we got pregnant the first time around. Not going to lie, as grateful as I was, I wouldn’t have mind a few more months of trying the activity required to make a baby! 🙂

Being a parent has been what I expected in a lot of ways, and a lot of things things have come up that I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to share those things with you — topics like male post partum depression and whether or not to have a second kid.

Although there is ‘more than one way to raise a child’, I do have quite strong ideas and opinions about the best way to raise a child, or at least my child. On most issues, I like to think I make a balanced choice — for example, I took a year off for maternity leave, rather than going back to work first thing or not returning to work at all. My husband and I debate most decisions about The Girl, which I think is what helps us come to a balanced decision. I believe children understand EVERYTHING around them, just in varying degrees. I treat every interaction with The Girl (and other children) like they are logical, complex creatures that have specific intentions that they might not be able to articulate yet. This means talking to them like they understand, explaining why the can/can’t do something and letting them know what’s going to happen next. Is there a word for that kind of parenting approach? I’m not sure!!!

ABOUT EM

So a bit about me! The Boy’s mama I am a sports-loving, Costco-obsessed West Londoner. My husband and I met playing sports and started dating after being friends for five years – it took a while to wear me down! We got married about three years later and four years after that we started to try for a baby.

After about six months of charting and stressing I found out I was pregnant with The Boy on a work trip to India. Although it was planned and we were so excited I will never forget the feeling of “What have we done?

After a relatively easy pregnancy I was lucky to have the birth I had planned for – induced on my due date with an epidural. I know many people will find it hard to believe you would choose to be induced (and there’s a blog post coming on this) but, as with everything for The Boy, I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks and I believe that the science shows that this was the least risky outcome for him. Despite complications in the delivery room I would make this decision again and again.

As a parent my central philosophy is that a baby can never have too much love, attention or cuddles but also that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. I try to make all my parent decisions with The Boy at the centre. For example, am reluctantly a routine mama – The Boy seemed to be craving the consistency even though it’s not my personal style – I’m more go with the flow. I don’t have strong ideas about the best way to raise a child and try to just follow my gut instinct. It may seem quite contrary but naturally I am both relaxed and flexible and also quite anxious.

One thing that hasn’t surprised me at is as a parent I struggle with the comparison trap. It’s really difficult for me to not put pressure on The Boy to meet milestones quickly or to compare the things he can (and cannot) do with others. I care way too much about what people think about me and the way a parent – something I found especially hard when returning to work after four months.

I’m looking forward to sharing our debates and opinions with you as we continue to navigate the ins and outs of parenthood. I personally find reading blogs really useful as I think about who I am as a parent and who I want to be – I hope you find ours useful too.