I’m often asked by other mothers what I would do in their situations so I figured it was time I shared my words of wisdom in the land that is motherhood.
Before I go any further you need to understand that I am by no means a professional , I have no qualifications all I have is experience of times when my own kids have made me feel like reaching for the wine glass or removing my own hair!
How do I get this child to go to sleep?
I must hear this question far more often than any other when people contact me. The reasons behind it vary from their children being far to active, kicking off or still waking through the night.
Children are notorious for bed times becoming that time of the day where there is a burning question, needing a drink. They sometimes even think it’s the perfect time of the day to ask for some advice. ( I would like to tell you this gets better but I have teenagers that STILL do this!)
My advice for this is to be strong. Well as strong as you can be at the end of a busy day. When all you want is for your little cherubs to shut up and go to sleep.The reason they do these things is because we pander to them and they know they can get away with it.
Take Freddie for example , When his daddy isn’t here I will give him a drink downstairs, place him to bed, read him a story, kiss him goodnight and won’t hear off him again until the morning. However if Daddy is here and does the same routine within seconds Freddie is shouting for Daddy to bring him a drink. Do you know why? Because Daddy with then go up the stairs and give Freddie that drink, chat and play before telling him to settle down. He knows full well that Mummy won’t do this.
My response is NO, go to sleep after a few days of moaning that he couldn’t have a drink again he settled down and went straight to sleep.
Getting your child to sleep through the night is again a big task , I was once told by someone ( would love to give them credit but I’ve given birth 5 times since then and can’t actually remember what I had for breakfast let alone who gave me this information) that the best thing to do is to keep the room dark, stay quiet, under no circumstances give in to cuteness and don’t make eye contact just feed them , put them back in bed and leave.
I’m going to be honest here for the older 3 this worked a dream. All 3 of them were sleeping through the night by about 12 weeks. I followed this advice and to this day it’s advice I pass on BUT I don’t always practice what I preach. Freddie and Bethie STILL don’t always sleep through the night and I do take the blame for this.
Knowing they’re my last babies means that I kind of let them get away with murder. If they wake in the night I do sometimes give in to cuteness and engage in conversation , sing songs etc . You would think I would learn having seeing the older ones but sadly not. I am a sucker for a cute face!
My child is fussy and won’t eat anything other than one meal which they eat over and over again.
This is something I really can relate to. When Annabelle was small she lived on pasta and cheese. Nothing else at all , I couldn’t even add extra things to it in an attempt to sneak more nutrients into her meals.
One day I went to parents evening where her teacher told me that the kitchen staff had been cutting up cheese into cubes for her just to get her to eat because she flatly refused to eat anything else. This was a huge turning point for me. Not only was she piling on weight but I was concerned she may actually turn into cheese.
It was time for a bit of tough love and this came in the shape of telling her she had to eat what was in front of her or she would be hungry because I wasn’t going to make her something different. Now don’t get me wrong , it’s very hard and almost heart breaking watching your child go to bed knowing they have had no food.
But in this case it’s one of those things where you just can’t give in. Trust me when I say if they are hungry they will eat. It literally took less than 48 hours for Annabelle to start trying things. She knew full well if she didn’t eat it then I would send her to bed hungry. ( I made sure she had a good breakfast as soon as she woke up)
You really need to be persistent with this, there was on occasion where Annabelle sat with a fish finger for so long that she actually fell asleep! But there was no way she was leaving the table until she had at least tried it.
I can honestly say that from those heart wrenching couple of days knowing my daughter was hungry and refusing to give into her demands I now have a 9-year-old that will eat almost anything and if she pulls a face I at least make her try it. As a whole she is now not fussy at all.
When should I potty train my child?
This is one question that grates on me a little bit. Not because people are asking for advice but more because it usually comes with , so and so’s child is 6 months younger than mine and fully trained.
Kids are not a competition , no 2 are the same in the way that do things and each of them will do what is needed to be done when it suits them.
Harry was very young when he potty trained probably just turned 2, he just took to it straight away and it was an easy transition. Ellie however wasn’t fully trained until she was 3 and a half. YOU will know when your child is ready and it really doesn’t matter if anybody elses children have done it before them. My best advice is once you are ready be prepared for lots of accidents. Get a story book. I found if I sat with them next to the potty reading them a story then it would distract them from the fact that they are sat on something strange and keeps them occupied whilst you’re waiting.
Not all kids like potties either. Out of 5 of my children only 2 ever used a potty the others preferred to go straight onto the toilet ( I say the others but Bethie is still very much in nappies)
Final words of wisdom
Don’t be in a hurry to watch your children grow up, whilst it’s lovely seeing them learn new things and gain personalities before you know it the clinging to your leg will be gone and you won’t ever get that time back. Yes we all get tired and we all lose our shit sometimes but none of the issues you have will last forever. It really is just phases. I’ve never met an adult that shouts downstairs for a drink, refuses to eat anything but one food and still has nappies. ( Other than those with disabilities)
One day you will be sat longing for those moments of night feeds and that time where you’re sat at the table for hours to get them to eat. Before you know it they will be all grown up and off to the real world to have their own children.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everybody parents differently and regardless of what you do , you will always upset somebody. Your children, Your rules. Bring your child up how YOU want to not how other people tell you to.