Archive of ‘instincts’ category
Judgement: Judgement (or judgment) is the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a couple of weeks now, but it hasn’t been proving easy. I mean, how do you write about people judging other people whilst taking a good long hard look at yourself and realising that maybe you do it too. I umm-ed and ahh-ed about publishing this post for fear of people judging me for judging, actively, all the time and then I decided to do it anyway. Honest as always and besides, it provokes a good healthy discussion!
Those of you that follow me on twitter would recently have seen my outrage at a young teen girl loudly judging my twelve year old daughter in public. For those of you that don’t follow me, I shall recap. We were off to the theatre for a girly night out with my best friend and my daughter’s Godmother (you’ve heard me mention ‘Cynthia’ before right?!) We’d been shopping during the day and hadn’t left long enough to get ready and have dinner so after we’d dressed up for the theatre we dropped into a local supermarket to pick up some sandwiches. (we’d had a big lunch) (see how I felt the need to tell you that for fear of you judging me for not feeding my daughter properly!) Now, my daughter is 12 years old and is, quite rightly in my opinion, starting to take a pride in her appearance. Not in a pressured by her peers or people she sees kind of way, just in a ‘I’m going somewhere nice so I should make and effort and look nice’ kind of way. And this I encourage. So yes on that night out I let her wear her wedge heeled shoes, and yes I let her wear her leather jacket, and yes I let her wear make-up…well I say make up, it was actually just mascara if I’m honest. She looked beautiful.
In the shop she nipped in front of me to get a thank you card for the boy’s pre-school staff, and as she disappeared around the corner I heard someone very loudly tut before saying ‘that girl is wearing far too much make up and is far too fashionable for someone her age.’ I turned around quickly and saw a teenage girl who couldn’t been no more than fourteen (yes, I judged her age) with her father. (yes I judged that too, could’ve been her Uncle, or brother I guess) I don’t know whether it was the way in which she said it, the look on her face when she said it or the fact that she was commenting on my daughter’s appearance and judging her that made me snap, but I walked up, looked her in the eye and said ‘please keep your opinions to yourself in future…alright’ in rather an unpleasant tone. My daughter had heard the exchange and instantly became paranoid that she was wearing the wrong thing. Her body language changed and the previous confident walk became a hunched shuffle. And it made me upset. It was another moment in her life when she had to become a little less naive and a little more street wise and know a bit more about how us humans work. How we (rightly or wrongly) judge others, sometimes because it makes us feel better about ourselves and sometimes just because (more on this in a bit). And this conversation with my daughter got me thinking…is it right to think things about other people as long as they don’t hear you? Is the quote ‘What other people think of you is none of your business.’ actually true? We all try not too, but is it fair to say we all judge people all of the time…sometimes without even realising that that is precisely what we are doing? And that we just don’t say anything because we’re too polite? How many times have you wondered if someone is fat or pregnant? If the woman he’s with is his daughter or lover? Or thought ‘oh that haircut is not good’ ?? (be honest!) But is even thinking these things ok? And do we ever have enough evidence to make informed judgements?
As humans I think we are programmed to analyse situations and people. Many, many years ago our ancestors had to judge everything. Whether noises were a sign of impending danger or harmless; a polar bear coming to attack our family or just the wind. Whether the caveman next door was a good neighbour or one who would steal your gathered food when your back was turned. Now of course we don’t face any of these dangers, but we still have our primitive brains in our heads. The brain that only functions through fear, anger and depression and to where we all retreat occasionally. (well I know I do) The brain that controls the fight or flight response, making us analyse every situation and trust our instincts. Sadly as we’ve evolved maybe our primitive judgemental brains have had to channel their focus elsewhere, as for the most part the dangers that were ever present then are not now.
Now I’m not saying judging someone for the way they are bringing up their children is ever right or a natural chemical reaction in the brain. And I’m not saying that a lack of empathy and understanding as to why a person is dressed, behaving or living in a way they are is a good thing either. There are many reasons why a mum might be shouting and losing her temper, or why someone is behaving in an arrogant or shy manner or a child is appearing to have a tantrum. And I’m not saying all judgements are negative ones…some may be very flattering indeed, like when you spot a lovely skirt someone has on or notice a good looking man walking past you. But what I am saying is that we all do it. We all size up situations, people, places and sometimes make snap judgements based on what we encounter. I’m currently sat on my own writing this blog post in a coffee shop and people are probably looking at me thinking I’m a billy no mates. And does it bother me? Before all of the above happened or when I was in my twenties then yes, it probably would have. I for one am generally very sensitive as to how people perceive me and can at times be super paranoid about what people think about me. But I’m learning to care a little less and have more faith in myself and those around me (not literally around me now, I mean around me in everyday life!) who I know think I’m actually alright. I’m learning not to get wound up about people’s judgements of me and take it personally because it sure as heck isn’t winding the person up who’s doing the judging. If someone is misreading me or a situation I’m in then maybe that is more a reflection on them and what is happening their life than it is mine. I think I need to learn to accept that it happens, that people judge me, and be safe in the knowledge that only those close to me know the truth about me and my life and that’s all that matters.
And then of course there is my impressionable daughter. Well…she decided to focus on the words ‘too fashionable’ from the judgemental teen’s outburst, and has taken it as a compliment that she was very well dressed. Clever girl 😉
I think this poem says it all…
Short and sweet once again! This quote is true of so many things and situations…..and not just in relation to being a parent. 😉
Another week, another Wednesday and another instinctive quote from me! The quote I have chosen this week was actually stolen from Facebook this morning, (yes I do occasionally drop over to the dark side lol!) It isn’t so much a quote about instincts, but an important quote that encourages us to remember that parenting is different for each and everyone of us and our babies are all beautifully unique. Instincts and love are natural and powerful things which help us travel along the wonderful, yet challenging journey that is motherhood!
It’s another week, another #wednesday words and another quote from me (well from someone on Pinterest actually!) Has there ever been a time when you just knew something even though you didn’t know how you knew it?
Short and sweet today… (Am I overdoing the instincts thing a bit now lol?!) 😉
Philosopher: A philosopher is a person with an extensive knowledge of philosophy who uses this knowledge in their work, typically to solve philosophical problems. Philosophy is concerned with studying the subject matter of fields such as aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, as well as social philosophy and political philosophy.
Today’s #wednesdaywords is a quote, unsurprisingly about listening to and trusting your instincts! 😉 It is from a lady called Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery. The quote is simply this…
Recently my instincts have been at the forefront of my everyday life, and they were recently challenged by someone, who implied that parents cannot survive on instinct alone. Trusting your instincts is hard, but is something I am so passionate about. So today, I thought I’d share with you how mine have helped me, and my family recently.
They have helped my four year old son, who has coughed for as long as I can remember; dismissed as asthma by the doctors my instincts told me it was something more, something digestive and sure enough it turns out that it looks like it is something more.We don’t know what yet, possibly Coeliacs, and blood tests and x-rays await us at a hospital appointment. I’m not one for visiting the doctor unnecessarily, but in this case my instincts kept me going back to ask for help….and I was right to listen to them.
My one year old has also been testing my instincts recently too. He’s never slept through the night (three chest infections in three months haven’t helped) and when you tell people he still has a feed in the night they are horrified, and pretty much always suggest training him out of it. But my instincts tell me he needs it. That it is not for comfort. That it is a full feed. It’s often sleep and feeding issues that can test a mother’s instinct (no one likes sleep deprivation!) and this may be when some might reach for those books to look for suggestions about how to make your baby ‘sleep through.’ Stories of how babies slept for twelve hours a night from ten weeks and how they eat more than you do don’t help, and can make you feel like you are doing something wrong. But, much as I’d like a full eight hours of sleep, as you all know I read my baby, and right now, he’s telling me he needs that feed. So that feed he will have.
My instincts have also been there recently about me. About how I am with my PND. The tablets may be gone, and I’m so much better than I was, but it’s still there. It still lingers on. Most days are amazing and I’m happier than I have ever been, but sometimes things can upset and distress me more than they should. And I need to listen to my instincts about how I am feeling, trust them, and ask for help and support on the days where I’m not in control of my brain. On the days where my brain tells me disaster is imminent and I am worthless and cannot cope.
I know it can be heard to listen to what your gut is telling you, and to have the confidence and trust to go with it. So much advice is conflicting; co-sleep/don’t co-sleep; form a strict routine/be baby-led…it’s endless and it can be overwhelming, making it hard to know where to start. And whilst you all know I think advice is invaluable and sounding out ideas is fantastic, it’s far better from and with trusted sources. Many mums worry when their children don’t do things ‘by the book’ or how have been made to believe they ‘should’ do things, but if you listen carefully and look at your baby you’ll know if what’s happening is ok and meant to be…or not.
Each baby different. Each situation different. Each instinct different. Listen.
Training: Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, and performance.
Hello! Who out there is thinking about potty training their little one? Are you dreading it? Or are you looking forward to finally being free from those endless nappy changes?
For me, hearing the term ‘potty training’ makes me want to shout out loud to EVERY parent thinking of doing it and say….STOP…it should be called ‘potty when they’re ready!’ They can’t be trained!! And indeed why should they?
I have three children, a daughter and two sons, two of which are fully ‘trained.’ (Third is only 10 months, think that’s a bit early!) When my daughter was just two, several of our friends in the local play group were already talking about training their little ones to go to the toilet. Whenever we were out and about together I swear they spent more time in the toilets than actually with anyone else. Every time the words ‘Mummy I need wee’ were uttered off they’d dash, scared of an accident and fearful of the child feeling like they’d failed, that they’d done something wrong by having an accident. The mums all had massive bags too, filled with sweets and chocolate as a reward for success, and about fifty million changes of clothes for those inevitable accidents. They bought books, Gina Ford’s guide to potty training was one, and read them whilst we were out to check they were training their little ones correctly. And I guess there was a kind of peer pressure. If they were all doing it, training their tiny people, then should I be? Did I need to go out and buy a giant sized suitcase so I could carry my daughters entire wardrobe around with me in case she had an accident? Did I need a portable potty so that she could feel free to go whenever and wherever she liked? It all seemed like an awful lot of hassle. Whilst they were all running to and from the bathroom and changing their children, wiping away the tears, I was playing with my daughter. Enjoying time with her, be it at the park or a friends house or indeed wherever we were. She wasn’t showing any interest in using a potty, and she was only just two. I kept thinking to myself, how many grown ups aren’t potty trained? How many children go to school still in nappies? (In my 13 years teaching experience I’ve only ever known of one) And I made the decision then to trust my instincts, I knew she wasn’t ready and I’d be damned if I was going to force her to do something that could potentially cause her more upset than good.
So, we waited. And waited. And 6 months later I spied her in the bathroom, sat on one of our potties (yes I had bought some just in case she was ready!) and her favourite teddy bear was sat on another. And they were having a lovely little chat together. She didn’t actually do a wee that time, but not long afterwards she did. And barely ever had an accident. I hadn’t need to train her, I’d waited until she was ready and she had done it all by herself. She knew when she needed to go. And go she did. There were no giant bags of spare clothes, no dashing off and spending hours in public toilets. It was easy. There was no stress involved at all!
Nighttime dryness was the same. As soon as her nappies had been dry for a week or so I took them off. And left a potty in the room if she needed it. Which she did occasionally. But we never had a nighttime accident. Because when those nappies had finally been removed, her body and her brain were ready for it. They’d made the connection. They knew when it was time to go, and could wait when it wasn’t.
It was a similar story with my 3 year old son. Yet for him to be ready we had to wait until he was three and a half. He would happily sit on the potty, and enjoyed watching his Gruffalo do ‘wees’ on the potty (Which was actually me sneakily pouring water in whilst he wasn’t looking!) But his body wasn’t ready for him to do it himself for a long time later. And whilst everyone else at pre-school ditched the nappies, my little boy remained in his. It didn’t bother him. It didn’t bother me. I knew he’d get there in the end. When he was ready. And he did. At night time too. And we’ve had just one accident.
So I guess what I am trying to say with all of these lovely potty anecdotes, is that in my opinion children shouldn’t be trained. Their bodies are complex little things and only when the connections are made in their brains are they ready to use the toilet. It happens at different times for each different child. It’s such an easier and happier experience for everyone involved if you have the courage to wait until they are ready. To not feel the pressure of everyone else waffling on about how their child was trained at 6 months. (Bet these were the children that slept through the night from 6 weeks as well!) Take your time, they all get there in the end.
Kindness: Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions (see ethics in religion). Research has shown that acts of kindness does not only benefit receivers of the kind act, but also the giver, as a result of the release of neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of contentment and relaxation when such acts are committed. 
Today’s #wednesdaywords is another short and sweet one from me. It follows on from my rule post on Monday as the words themselves are another ‘rule’ by which I like to live, and think important. And the words, taken from a friend’s picture on her wall, are these….
So simple yet so true…especially the ‘be kind’ part. It is so important to be kind. Being kind is innate, it’s natural, yet sadly sometimes easily forgotten. Kindness often costs nothing, and yet…is priceless.
My take on a Haiku today for #Prose4T. Sometimes the less you write, the more you say.
Instincts, trust yourself
Together as one you learn
Doubt and fear be gone