Keeping Parents Sane

An experiential guide to help parents bring children into this world in a fully integrated and natural way

Happy parents make for happy children
It is never too late to do something about a negative situation but the earlier the better.

The care of your child is really a joint responsibility with various parties involved. In your 'body' you have many joints, and you use some more than others but all are important. In the same way, most of the caring will be done by you, the mother especially in the early days but this does not mean that your partner can not do a lot to help both physically as well as with the emotional and spiritual development. The extended family – grandparents, older siblings, aunts and uncles etc. are also important and they do not have to live close by to be involved in your child's life. In the current climate of long distance house moves, close friends may take over the role of aunts and uncles and older neighbours could take on the role of surrogate grandparents.

Working Parents
Many parents think they are indispensable and have to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days of the week. In many cases your child may benefit from a change of face, view or perspective as long as you provide the background continuity. One of the biggest emotions for a mother going back to work is guilt. "I brought him into this world therefore I ought to be there for him". In fact that is often quite a narrow view. The pre-birth contract between your child and you, his parents was made in order to give you all the best experience for your soul's growth. Your child may require the experience of a working mum and the associated child-minders etc., that is not to diminish the importance of your own child-raising qualities or to absolve you of that responsibility. It is just an option which you might like to consider so that you can release any feelings of guilt. If you build up resentment about having to stay at home and not following your chosen career path then your child could pick this up and that could be more detrimental to you both.

The most important part about being a working parent is the time you spend with your child when you are together. This is equally true for dad as it is for mum. Fathers can often feel left out. They leave for work early in the morning often before their children are awake and return home late at night after their children have gone to sleep. So how can dad remain involved? Practical tips include delaying bath time so that it becomes a family event. Perhaps a phone call during the day, leaving pictures, games or fun quotes around the house to be found during the day.

Then there is the weekend. Often this becomes a time to catch up on DIY and the gardening. In stead of these being chores, how about finding a way to include the children. If old enough, perhaps get them to hold things or pass tools. How about buying a child's version of your garden tools and giving them a patch of their own to work at the same time. This is equally valid for both boys and girls. If still a baby, your child can still be in the garden with you. Mum can have the children cooking with her when preparing meals, not just when cooking cakes. Aim to make any time off, family time. This could be as simple as having a picnic in your back garden. It is the quality of time, not the length of time or the cost. Dads often over do it when they don't live with the family. They seem to want to make up for lost time with big outings out or gifts. Have you really watched young children at Christmas - they love the boxes and wrapping paper!

Child care as a Successful career
In many cases, the old family values seem to have flown out of the window. Many women can feel inadequate if they are 'stay at home mothers'. If you can afford it, then why would you not want to stay at home? Has having children become that boring? Or has society made it so? Learning to relax at home and enjoying child care can actually be more rewarding than going back to work.

Even though your children are not young for very long (even it may feel like it!) you could consider child care as a temporary career. You could even decide to job share with your partner so that you can both take part in raising your child and still continue with your original career. I am not suggesting that it is an easy option but I am saying that it can be rewarding.

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