We all want to do the best for our Children, but frankly, I often felt at a loss as to what that even is! Yet, as I mentioned here, I am, at best, hesitant, when it comes to trusting “baby experts”. Having now completed the Attachment Parenting UK’s Positive Discipline Online 10 part Course, I feel I have found a happy medium. This Course is based around teachings by Clinical Experts, and is Evidence based. It supported my beliefs about Parenting, and I found I learnt a lot. The way the Course is constructed meant I was able to access little bite-sized portions when I had a spare moment, such as at nap times. And also able to revisit sections over and over. I wanted to share with you how I found it beneficial, and that I really believe it can help all Parents both understand, and more importantly, enjoy their Children more. If you would like to find out more, you can read about the Course in more depth here, and the code INTREPID50 offers a 50% reduction to Parents, Grandparents or Child Care Practitioners. The Course gave me:
The questionnaires at the start of the course helped me understand what sort of Parent I was, and whether my ‘ideas’ about Parenting, matched up with the reality of my day to day approach. I wasn’t shocked to discover there was a disconnect between by Democratic ideals, and Permissive reality. Just this quiz alone is so beneficial to all Parents, and provides an opportunity to step back, and understand yourself.
The course provides a fascinating insight into how young brains function. For me, if I can understand the ‘why’ it really helps me control my reaction. Whilst Parenting is of-course more Art than Science, there is a lot of Biology at play. I found the bite-sized chunks helped me appreciate what was going on ‘behind the scenes’. Which in turn, gave me the ability to appreciate and interpret my Daughter’s more challenging behaviours.
One Simple but Powerful Phrase
“Your Child lives in the environment of your emotions”, whilst you need to do the Course to fully appreciate this, it really resonated with me. I may know that if I have a bad night, I have less patience, having it spelt out to me, that my Daughter is so heavily influenced by my mood really hit a nerve. And the inconstancy of happily making a game of getting dressed one day, and then getting exasperated and annoyed another, was really highlighted for me.
Encouragement rather than Praise
This concept was introduced to me on a Podcast by Doctor Of Psychology Justin Coulson. To be honest, initially, it sounded so counter intuitive to me. I think my Daughter is wonderful and tell her so all day long. But the more I listened the more I understood. I would really urge you to explore this concept. Because in understanding it, I really appreciated the merits of ditching praise, and perhaps how I have been negatively impacted by this myself.
“There’s very little we can actually do, but there’s a lot we can be”. Leanening to view tantrums as a ‘power struggle’, which I opt not to engage in, was very helpful. And to accept that I cannot control tantrums, nor make them instantly a thing of the past (sadly), but there are a lot of things I can do to help the situation. The Course touches on elements I really believe in, such as self care, self awareness, respect for the child, and mindfulness. Walking away I felt empowered and optimistic. I may not have all the answers, but I have a clearer understanding, and new tools at my finger tips.
I was given a useful tip, when it comes to Parenting advice; take it as a Buffet, pick and choose what suits you. Certain aspects of the Course, I can see will apply more as intrepid Bebe gets older. But there was a lot I can take away with me now, and will be re-watching and working on. I will also be encouraging those who regularly care for her to access the Course, in the hope of sharing the understanding, and providing her with continuity.
**THE COURSE HAS BEEN OFFERED TO ME AS COMPLEMENTARY, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. THERE’S NO SUGAR COATING THIS TODDLER, SO THE PROOF REALLY WILL BE IN THE (SUGAR FREE) PUDDING.
Week two done and dusted. To catch up with week one’s progress, you can click here. The good thing about creating your own challenges is you can make them up as you go. This week I continued not purchasing anything beyond the essentials. This basically encompasses consumables: food, fuel, train tickets, nappies. I did buy a couple of bunches of flowers as gifts also, but as I said, that’s the joy of following my own challenge. I am not advocating or targeting a purist minimalist lifestyle. i read recently, if an object gives you joy, thats a great guide to know if you keep it or not.
I have been really enjoying the challenge so far, and although I haven’t found it too difficult, I been shocked by how many times I need to catch myself-it has become second nature to click click and buy. If Amazon Prime goes into administration you will know why! It’s simple enough to keep off online shopping, or not head to a department store. It’s more the likes of Instagram scrolling, or a trip to the Supermarket. It had become second nature to pick up a few additional bits and pieces.
I decided to extend upon the non purchasing to getting rid of some of the “stuff” in our home. I tend to hang onto stuff, I get emotional attached to the memories associated with items, and the story they tell. Seriously, do all 21 table spoons all have precious memories. That’s no exaggeration, twenty one! As I mentioned in my six tips to help you begin decluttering, I found recording the number of items really helped me focus on just how unnecessary all this additional “stuff” was. It gave me a good laugh too ( as well as being somewhat confronting), nine dressing gowns for three people, over twenty hats, enough pillow cases for us to have seven each-you get my point. I’m sure I won’t be the only one who has actually moved house with some of their “stuff” and still not really used it. To think some of these items have travelled from the Uk to Australia and back and are still unused.
I spoke about some of the great practical reasons for decluttering in last weeks post, like being able to find what i am looking for in an instant (and not getting an avalanche of bedding land on me each time I go to look for a sheet). Another great motivator is thinking who can benefit from what you are allowing to gather dust. I have a box which contains pots pans glasses and a full kitchen starter kit which I will be delivering in the week to a Charity which work with resettling Refugees in our Community. The excess towels (from the eighteen we had hoarded away) are going to a local Animal Charity. I handed bed linen sets to my younger sister who is studying and has recently moved. I gave a bag of jewellery from a tip to india to the little girls who live next door and I think will love dressing themselves in jingly beads. It feels good to know that objects I haven’t been using to their full potential, will find a new lease of life, in a new home.
So far I have found already five hundred items I can part with, I am amazed how easily I found them, and there’s certainly more to come.
For the following week I will continue my non purchasing and working through the house decluttering. I am going to really focus on what I do bring into the house, and build up for a zero purchase week for week four.
If you’re not familiar with the work of Gretchen Rubin’s ideas about behaviours, habits and willpowers-in brief it is, the concept that once something becomes an ingrained habit, it requires no decision making, less conscious thought and struggles with willpower. I guess that’s something I am hoping to work towards with my challenges, that by committing to the new behaviours, they will become habits. Taking a moment before click clicking through, and being more mindful about needs not wants.
Join in for week two: start going through your home more critically, there are bound to be so many things you can live without. Lots of tips to get your started here.
If like me, and the words shopaholic, knick-nacks, nostalgia, and storage container were far more familiar than minimalist, decluttering or living with less, then hopefully these tips will help you get started and point you in the right direction. I am a long way from minimalist, and don’t think that is necessarily where I want to get to. However I do already really appreciate the benefits of clearing through all the stuff. I’ve created a list of six ways to help you get started and find success in your decluttering :
Start with the boring cupboards
You are far less likely to be emotionally attached to towels, and bedsheets. So to avoid wrestling with sentimentality when you first begin the process. Places like the Linen cupboard, and Kitchen Drawers are great places to start. Chances are there’s a huge amount just prime to be decluttered. Plus there’s much less likely hood you’ll get sidetracked by trips down memory lane, or looking through long lost treasures.
And the cupboards you avoid
The likes of the dreaded linen cupboard, the sock drawer, or the infamous ‘bits and bobs’ kitchen drawer, filled me with a sense of doom, a search for one simple item could take me an incomparable amount of time, and often still resulted in a fruitless search. However, these are by far the best investment of your decluttering focus. Tell yourself, that after this little effort, you’ll never do battle with batteries, or buried in bath towels again. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to find what you’re looking for in an instant.
It sounds a little obsessive, but keep a tally of what you’re sorting through. It is a great way to re-enforce why you need to declutter, it gives you a great sense of achievement when you cut that number down by three quarters, and it’ll probably make you laugh at the ridiculousness of it all too. A recent minimalist inspired attack on my linen cupboard resulted in (but not limited to): 21 pillow cases, 18 towels, 6 cot sheets (yet we don’t even use a cot anymore), and 5 towel bath robes ( not to mention the 4 non-towel robes in the next room). Considering this is a household of 2 adults and a toddler, we had enough Manchester to open up a Day Spa.
Return to the same cupboard
So I’ve said you need to start with the cupboards you avoid like the plague, and now I’m telling you to return to them over and over? Yep, pretty much. I found this a really handy technique when getting started. I would pick out a few items I knew definitely could go, and then a matter of hours, or even days later, I would look again, and reason that actually several more could go.
If in doubt, put it in the shed
If you’re struggling to make the final cut, and that little voice in your head is sneaking in with justifications “what if we redecorate and need five spare double sheets”, “what if five friends give birth simultaneously and all need cot sheets”, this can be a good compromise. Try putting the ‘potential to go’ pile in the shed, or under the bed, set a reminder in your phone for one/three/six months time, and make a deal with yourself that if it’s been untouched and unthought about by then, it really is time to go.
Remind yourself why
If you find your motivation is slipping, make a list of why you embarked on this in the first place, be that to make your home less stressful, more efficient and less messy, to enable you the freedom to move or go traveling with ease. Listen to motivational podcasts around minimalism (such as the fabulous slow home) while you’re decluttering. Think about those who can benefit from all the unused items you’re donating, or the money you can earn on Ebay. And most importantly of all focus on your core values: people are irreplaceable, things are not, and memories live in your mind, not in material goods.
I love other people’s stories, it one of the best bits about this blogging experience so far. As much as I enjoy sharing my thoughts, feelings and opinions, I truly love hearing other peoples. Getting an insight into you lives, your histories, your experiences or just what you got up to today. I doubt I need to tell you that Motherhood can be lonely at times. As a stay at home mum (who rarely actually stays at home as Intrepid bebe climbs the walls), husband working long hours, and who has just moved across the globe to a town I don’t know anyone, well it can make for a bit of a lonely situation (worlds smallest violin playing just for me right now). And although I am so lucky to have friends here I am able to catch up with in person, and friends back in Oz (who I really miss) at the end of Whatsapp, conversations are so frequently punctuated/completely hijacked by bambinos on either end, I rarely feel a story gets finished, or a conversation gets seen through. So sit down at the end of the day, with a glass of wine and really focus on someone else’s story is a joy.
So i thought I would embrace my inner Jeremy Paxman (I have been referred to as the Spanish inquisition in the past for shooting endless quickfire questions, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended as a compliment as it was from a bitter ex boyfriend….).
For the first of the “Intrepid Bebe Asks” series, may I introduce @emmalosingsleep aka Emma. Mum to two beautiful boys, and a professional Interior Designer. Emma and I first met as teenagers, and highlights of that time include package holidays to Turkey, and house parties when my parents were out of town. We hadn’t seen one another in a decade and a half but recently reconnected. With stylish Mum bun, slick of red lipstick, and cool calm and collected aura which implies nothing phases her, you could be forgiven for thinking Emma is one of those intimidating ‘got all my duck in a row’ Mums. But she’s open, honest, and not afraid to call a spade a spade. You know a woman needs to be part of your mum tribe when she calls bullshit on the whole “isn’t this all just wonderful’ stuff before your coffee’s had a chance to get cold, and doesn’t look mortified when you mention contemplating Ebaying your kid. (it is wonderful lots of the time, and I won’t actually Ebay her-this week). She may claim writing doesn’t come naturally to her, but I beg to differ as her blog is heartfelt, relatable and reads like you’re chatting in person over a coffee.
She’s new to blogging, so swing by and check out her site: Losing Sleep, and follow her on IG for her daily dose of deadpan, straight shooting mum insight. Meet Emma
Hi Emma, welcome to Intrepid Bebe! For those of you who don’t know already, could you tell us a bit about your family?
At last count there was myself Emma, you will know who I am by the shopping bags under my eyes and red lippy to cover the cracks. Husband Chris repartees consists of hard working, play fighting and general mess maker. Grayson 3 year old and tyrant. Jude 7 months going on 7 years and sleep depriver.
What made you begin your blogging/IG journey, and what do you hope to produce/gain from it?
Did you have pretty good tech skills or is it a sharp learning curve? And what about your photography, do you tend to include professional photos or are you a bit of a pro yourself?
Outside of being a Mama, what is/was your day job?
How has becoming a Mother changed you?
What do you hope @emmalosingsleep will give its followers?
Do you worry about the risk of feel exposed or over sharing, be that with insights into your personal life or family photos?
Where is your perfect spot to work/blog from?
Where would you like to be in five years?
What advice would you give to a brand new Mama? And a new Dad?
Most useless bit of advice you’ve been given?
What’s three accounts you enjoy following that we should take a look at?
One of my favourites is @nor_folk Husband and Wife duo, love their style and there products. Fiona seems like a lovely gal based on the interaction I have had with her, good business ethos. Check them out!
Everyone has to love a bit of @mother_pukka where they hell does she get her energy from? She never stops. Pretty damn motivational.
Holiday or home?
Favourite trip pre kids?
Favourite family holiday?
Childhood holiday memory?
Dream travel destination?
There are so many, it is hard to pick just one. Without kids I would love to do a sleeper train holiday for a few weeks just travelling all over the place with the hubby. Getting lost in my ‘Poirot Murder on the Orient Express’ fantasy but hopefully without the murder and with lots of gorgeous food, drink and people.