Welcome to my monthly feature in which I share some of my favourite online articles for the month. I read a lot of blog posts and articles online and whilst I share a lot of them through tweets, it’s easy to miss them and hard to come back to them at another time. This is a list of my top ten reads for the month, a mixture of formal news articles and blog posts. Enjoy!
I happened upon this article one morning early in the month and had to read it. We put Little H into a bedtime routine from about 6-ish weeks. It wasn’t forced but came fairly naturally and evolved over a month or two. She never needed feeding to sleep either. But she did need a dummy until October this year and even at almost 22 months, she wakes up requiring attention at least 50% of nights. I don’t have fixed opinions on most things sleep related as each baby is different. (The only thing I really don’t agree with is the pure ‘Cry It Out’ technique but I would still avoid judging someone for using it without knowing the background.) What is fascinating in this post is some of the statistics and survey feedback. It shows we need to break they myth that only babies can cause sleep disruption / deprivation!
I have long felt that there is too much pressure on children today. In fact, each year it feels like there are more and more expectations upon them. I remember a significantly structure education back in the 90s but it’s become even more so now: exams for children of 8 where they have revision classes; Needing to demonstrate interest in a career at 17. This post really touched me because it was wonderful to hear a mother shrugging off school expectations and supporting her daughter who just didn’t conform to the norm. I worry about the pressure Little H will be under in the future; I only hope I can support her as well as this.
Three: Playgroups are hell, chores are impossible, and children repeat everything they hear: what I learned as a stay-at-home father
This post made me laugh! It felt like there was some redemption for his wife in what he experienced. Whilst a stay-at-home-parent remembers what it’s like in the world of work, the other parent has never truly experienced being at the mercy of their child. Weekends where both parents are around don’t count. After looking after H for the entire day on his own, including bed time, Sam said to me “It was a fun day and she was in a really good mood. But it’s a bit like being at work!”. Err, yeh. Imagine when she’s not in a good mood!
This article won’t sell staying at home to a secondary carer, but it shows that those parents should take time out to be the primary carer for a while!
I really enjoyed reading this article. Whilst the research is not looking to tell people how to parent (or indeed make any judgements on how people are parenting), it has already shown that the focused and invested time we spend with our babies and young children helps their brains develop the ‘best connections’ they can. It’s scientific proof that the time we take out of our day to sit down and play for 10 minutes rather than washing up is really benefiting our children’s development. So whilst we should have never felt guilty for doing that in the first place, science is backing us up now!
I found this post from Little Mummy Running really very distressing. Whilst parenting her child in her own home and as she saw fit (and not in a dangerous or abusive way) she was judged by a complete stranger who saw a single moment in a whole series of events. Whilst it’s important for us to watch out for the safety of children, this also serves as a great reminder not to judge in the moment; There is likely a back story to every situation you see so, sure, check things are okay but don’t immediately assume the worst.
If you missed it, then also go and read ‘Dear Crappy Parent’ which is no. 5 in my August Top 10 Online Reads. This has a very similar message!
I have, for the most part, tried to ride out Little H’s tantrums so far. She had her first one shortly after she was 1 and I won’t lie, it was a bit of a shock. Each week they get more and more dramatic to the point when I usually have a little chuckle. BUT…there are those days where a tantruming toddler is the final straw. On those days I have often either raised my voice or tried to just blackmail her with a favourite snack. Whilst I might feel a degree of victory in getting her to quieten down, it’s always come back to bite later with generally stroppy behaviour, a Super Tantrum or a bedtime which consists of meltdown after meltdown.
I firmly believe The Art of Distraction is a necessary skill for a toddler parent. But when our little people are frustrated we need to help them get it out of their system! This awesome post from Kate Orson makes some very good points as to why.
Seven: The end of work/life balance
This is quite a light article but it covers a topic I regularly debate myself – is it possible to separate work and life? It’s important to keep a degree of segregation between work and home in my view, else we never switch off from work. Or we never get any work done because we’re distracted by kids and TV. I’ve previously written about how we should try and focus more in the moment. But realistically, work and home will bleed into one another – such as the days where a child is ill so parents need to try and do work at home during the day or the evening.
Another post linked from this main one is ”
Why we should all be working a 25-hour week“. As someone working a 25 hour week and still being very productive, I would absolutely support this. But that’s a different debate for another day.
The Chancellor recently announced some changes in the budget to make lives easier for JAM families. I had never heard the term until I read this BBC article earlier that morning; JAM is the term for families who are ‘Just About Managing’. I wasn’t naive to the fact that over the last 5 – 6 years since the recession, hardworking families have been hit harder and harder. However, some of the stories in the BBC post were eye-opening. I only hope that some of the measures that are going to be put in place actually help families like these.
Following on from post number 5, this post from Simply Mama really struck a chord. I am so sick of the continual judgement rained down on mothers. (Dads get it too but mums get it more.) The scenarios which has always irked me the most, something covered in this post, is breast vs bottle. Talk about a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Mums get enough grief from everyone else without us turning on each other.
The wonderful Squirmy Popple has captured my feelings about Christmas beautifully (with the exception of crackers which I could live without but do enjoy at Christmas). I enjoy Christmas and I want H to have a good time. But I’m not going to do that by buying her bags and bags of presents. Also, I find Christmas Day itself to be quite stressful with a lot of people around making noise (I always went and sat in my room for a bit as a kid, or would relish the quiet as we watched the afternoon film) so I just want to be with Sam and my girl ‘on the day’.