My Top 5 Parenting Mistakes To Avoid
Today Hollie was modelling in London. Hollie is my daughter. She’s 21 now, but she’s still my only baby. She’s never really been that far before without family so it was a weird sensation. I was so proud of her for doing it but equally, I was a little anxious for her as this was a big thing for her!
I WAS ALONE FOR A LONG TIME
I was on my own bringing up Hollie until she was 11 years old and I met my husband Graham. I separated from Hollie’s Dad when she was just born - it was a very dysfunctional relationship and I guess I didn’t really understand how wrong it was until Hollie was born. All you mothers out there will understand...once you have this tiny baby who is totally dependant on you, you see your life, your choices and your future through different eyes. No longer are your decisions only impacting you, there’s this little bundle that needs you to get it right! I felt that immediately. I knew that being alone with a baby was going to be tough, but I instinctively knew it was the right decision for my new family.
GETTING IT WRONG
I got a lot of stuff wrong over the years! I talk about it a openly as we can learn so much from what we get wrong. I was talking to a coaching client about an incident just this morning as there was a correlation with something she’s going through with her family right now. I love sharing life lessons as part of our coaching - it really helps my clients understand that they aren’t alone, that I have been through plenty of stuff too and we all get it wrong from time to time! It empowers them to open up even more, be more vulnerable, more brave and to move forward even faster with no barriers up.
WHAT NOT TO DO
My mistakes were some of the classics. Here are some of my learnings - I hope in sharing them you can reflect and learn from my experiences and battle scars!
Being their friend - tempting as it is to win them over by acting as the friend rather than the parent, this one bites you on the backside! Be comfortable with your role and make sure you know where the lines are.
Not having boundaries - I totally wish I had set the boundaries, the ground rules sooner. I did it once I introduced a partner into my life (now hubby) so it came across as though the change was for him rather than because it was the right thing to do.
Being inconsistent - I would set rules, then bend them or forget about them because it was easier and I was constantly battling with guilt. Now I know that Hollie needed this as all of the mixed messages were more confusing in the long run.
Shouting not talking - It can be hard to remain calm, to rise above...especially when you have a teenager coming at you and saying all of the things that push your buttons. But you really do lose the argument once you have lost your temper.
Not asking for help - I never just asked for help! I didn’t ever just say to my friends, “I need a little support here” - I always acting like I was fine and had all my shit together but some nights, sat on my own with a child going crazy, I really felt like I was losing my mind!
Raising a child is the most rewarding thing in the world. It’s also one of the toughest, loneliest and most challenging experiences of my life. Use your network of friends, let family help and be ok with not knowing all of the answers.
There’s a reason they say, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ - give yourself a break.