Tag Archives: parenting styles

Very conscious, very mindful mothering

Very conscious, very mindful mothering.

That’s what last week was. Some very conscious, very mindful mothering from me. Less earthy and worthy though than mantra and reminder. I did a lot of deep breathing and active pausing to think before I spoke. I reminded myself often that I was the adult here and I was the one who needed to remain in control. Because I had to. If I didn’t, I would have been shouting and possibly throwing things. I felt a hot, angry frustration building up, unlike anything I’ve felt in my adult life, and it gave me a fright.

The chicken pox descended on our house for the second time in as many years. We got away with a very mild dose the last time, I think thanks in part to the fact that I was still breastfeeding at the time and it provided both comfort and resilience to the virus. This time though, it was back with a vengeance and we had one very sick little boy on our hands with some really awful spots all over his body. His back reminded me at one point of a teenager with that horrific angry, blood-headed acne all over his shoulders.

Along with sickness came high temperatures, loss of appetite and extreme, relentless irritability, nicely compounded by the smothering humidity outside. While the country enjoyed a sun-kissed weekend in the great outdoors, myself and Pip stayed in and suffered each other. I was clearly wrecking his head as much as he was wrecking mine.

The most popular phrase in our house was “go away mama” with a wail of “mamaaaaa” following a swift second. I spent the guts of an hour on Friday night literally hopping from one foot to another, dipping in and out of his eyeline between ferocious screams of “go away mama” with flying fists in my direction followed by heartbreaking gulping tears calling me back to him. This was one of many wakenings that night and I was too tired to do anything else except follow whichever command was hurled in my direction.

Mixed between lovely moments of cuddling together and some much needed quiet time, were hysterical fits of what can only be described as toddler unreasonableness. There was no pleasing him. He wanted everything and nothing. Not that, not that and definitely not that. Go away mama! I was slapped and kicked. There were many full body slams on the ground when his temper took over. It was just insanity.

Very conscious, very mindful mothering. Deep breathes. Mutter, mutter. He’s just a baby. He is sick. Don’t snap. Don’t shout. Don’t storm. Don’t blaspheme to the high heavens or pull your hair out while evoking the vocabulary of a sailor. Like I wanted to.

I got mad once. The exhaustion got to me. My husband was away working so the absence of the other half of my tag team got to me in the end. I snapped back. He wailed. I instantly regretted it. No good came from it – I didn’t feel better and he certainly didn’t understand my own frustration. It felt pretty shitty actually.

Very conscious, very mindful mothering.

I actually learned a lot about myself. I know now there’s new buttons to push that probably only my mother could activate before. I also know that I need to hold the centre and let his little toddler chaos erupt around me. I can do it. I mightn’t like it but he’s relying on me to be the rock when he’s in melt down and to still be there – untarnished – when the clouds have gone and he needs assurance and comfort. It was fucking hard though.

Very conscious, very mindful mothering.


www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby blog Very concious, very mindful mothering
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Raising happy but not successful children?

Just throwing a bit of fairly ham-fisted pop psychology out there…get ready for lots of rhetorical and possibly unanswerable questions… Continue reading Raising happy but not successful children?

More adventures in sleeping: a mystery solved

photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc
photo credit: demandaj via photopin cc

So, this being the real world, it was inevitable that this sleeping through the night business wouldn’t last. We had a sweet, sweet few months where myself and the husband would go to bed together and actually wake up in the same bed, which was nice.

But then winter and germy creche-going toddlers ruined everything and we all got hit by every sniffle, sore throat, scratchy cough, little fever and upset stomach going. It was six weeks of relentless illness. And of course by default, the sleep broke – and it stayed broke, for really the longest time. From sometime in December (too blurry to be more specific) until not too long ago at all, we were in a vicious cycle of poor little Pip waking up literally every sleep cycle from when he went down in the evening.

It was fairly torturous to be honest.

But not as torturous as previous episodes of sleeplessness had been, because I had changed my thinking on it all and I let it wash over me. Yeah, I was pretty tired but myself and T took it in turns doing one night on and one night off so even if I had a rough night’s sleep I knew at least tomorrow I’d get a full seven hours in the spare room. I also knew “this too shall pass” because it always does. Even though I’ve whispered it to myself in the past, at those times I was willing myself to believe it but I actually know it’s true now, which makes a huge difference. Now I’m not sure if T would share my outlook on it, but that’s how I feel!

In another way we settled into a rhythm with it. One of us would just got to bed early and lash him in the big bed beside us. He seemed to sleep much better like that – particularly if he had manoeuvred himself so that he was lying prostrate on one of the pillows – and sometimes when he was just about to wake you could resettle him with a quick back rub and he’d be gone again. We got a lot of reading done…

Then slowly all the little pieces started coming together. I noticed one evening when I was home alone with Pip that he didn’t stir in the bed when I got up and pottered around the room getting clothes ready for the next day and doing a few bits and pieces. He stayed fast asleep with his arms wrapped around a pillow.

A few days later, T came down the stairs after putting Pip down and said “I think I’ve figured it out”. My sceptical eyebrow went up. He looked at the clock and said “we’ll see in 45 minutes”.

45 minutes later, still a sleeping baby. And another 45 minutes later. And another 45 minutes later.


My husband, the super sleuth, had indeed figured it out. It was the pillow all along. He had popped the pillow into the cot, Pip launched himself on it and promptly fell asleep. Happy days.

So now we’re putting him down on the pillow every night and it seems to be working. It’s working so well in fact, that I could nearly drop him from a height onto the pillow and he won’t wake up. (I’m not doing this, obviously). Before the pillow police get all up in my duvet, we’re using a very firm, non allergenic pillow. He’s 30lbs and his shoulders are much wider than his head. All the safety boxes are ticked. We’re a-okay.

Here’s to some well earned sleep so. I’m just whispering that bit though because once bitten, twice shy and all that.

I’ll keep you posted!

Related Posts

Still chasing the holy grail of a full night’s sleep

A triumphant post about sleeping through the night

Things I learned #5: the secret world of co-sleeping

…and the little one said “roll over”

Chasing the sandman

Hey, Internet, stop telling me how to raise my child!

Blogpost: Hey Internet, Stop Telling Me How To Raise My Child www.mindthebaby.ie Mind The Baby blog
photo credit: carbonated via photopin cc

Regular readers of the blog might have figured out by now that I love a good read, a real rummage around for facts and knowledge on a subject. I have a lot of books about a lot of things. Some of them have been life-changing.  A lot of them have been shit.

I made a very curious discovery about myself last night, when I should have been sleeping but instead I was messing around on my iPhone. I realised that I haven’t read any parenting books in a long, long time.

This is a good thing because it means that for quite a while I’ve been feeling confident in my parenting decisions, not doubting and questioning myself, and I haven’t felt the need to refer to others or see what else is out there. We’re just doing our own thing and not minding anyone else.

Tell you what though, I’m very glad about this. My bedtime phone messing found me following a link from a blog post to another link to another link on a parenting site with probably the biggest index I’ve ever seen about toddler problems. It was a Q&A longer than I was prepared to scroll down through that had such gems as:

My toddler won’t eat broccoli! What can I do?”

“Why does my toddler refuse to brush his teeth?”

“Should I put my toddler on the naughty step?”

“My toddler wants to be carried all the time. What should I do?”

“My toddler keeps sticking things up his nose. How do I stop her?”

“My toddler can’t kick a ball yet. Is there something wrong?”

My curiosity then lit, I googled other toddler issues. Folks, there are literally hundreds upon thousands of websites that have super-helpful black and white rules on solving “problems” with my toddler with prescriptive instructions that will fix everything in a simplistic but authoritive fashion – even problems I wasn’t aware I had.

Why didn’t someone tell me? It never even crossed my mind that my curious, happy, mischevious 19 month old needed to be “disciplined”. Five minutes of reading had me more depressed than discovering the end of a packet of biscuits. Any more and I’m fairly convinced my confidence would have been shattered contemplating all of the problems other people thought I had but I hadn’t realised yet.

The Internet is a fantastic resource for all things parenting and family-related but ho hum I think we need to take these things with a pinch of salt sometimes, particularly when advice is proffered by people with a) no children themselves and b) little to no experience of the problem under scrutiny.

So I say hey, Internet, stop telling me how to raise my child! We’re doing just fine without you, thank you.

PS Here’s how I’d answer the questions listed above: 1. Nothing. He might eat it another day. 2. Relax, not the end of the world 3. No. 4. Carry him. 5. You can’t. Relax, not the end of the world. 6. No, stop reading milestone checklists. All babies are different.

In fact, maybe I’d answer “Relax, not the end of the world” to all of them 🙂 

Do you disagree?