When my first child was born, I was overwhelmed.
It was new. Definitely something that I’d never experienced, and with all due respect to teenage babysitting to supplement my income, it was not the same!
Becoming a parent, despite the 9 months of expectation, was staggering.
Naturally, I received a lot of (well intentioned) advice from everyone and anyone.
Some of the advice was sensible and practical. That’s what I needed.
What I didn’t need were mantras that undermined the lack of confidence that already existed naturally when facing this new reality.
These mantras imply that certain conditions have to be met to attain the title of a ‘good mother’. Who doesn’t want to be a ‘good mother?’
One of the most popular mantras was regarding ‘giving the child attention’. It’s constantly projected to parents that the child’s well-being and development is dependent upon receiving his/her due portion of attention.
I don’t know what size or quality this said portion should be. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure what ‘giving’ attention means…(and that’s after raising 5 kids)
The concept of ‘giving’ a child ‘attention’ has grown out of proportion. It has parents doubting themselves, leaving them feeling confused and inadequate.
Unfortunately, it even leads to implications that having a lot of children should be ‘thought out’ responsibly so as not to adversely affect the ‘attention pool’ at the parent’s disposal.
Don’t buy into it. Let go of confusion and guilt. The theory that dividing our attention among too many children is detrimental to them, just doesn’t hold water!
They may have put a man on the moon but no one can gauge ‘attention’!
So who decides what ‘attention’ entails? There’s only one answer to that:
Go to the nearest mirror and take a good look. Here’s the answer.
Only you can determine that, all the while being aware that not ‘giving attention’ doesn’t mean that a child is neglected or ignored.
Through his very existence the child receives attention from parents. That includes all the family dynamics of living and interacting in the same home. We don’t have to create attention. It’s there and ready for the taking.
You can rely on yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of self-doubt. You know better than that.
Trust your instinct and go with it.
Because when parenting is natural, it isn’t overwhelming.
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