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Baby: Brodie, born February 2017
What does being a Woke Mama mean to you?
To me it means accepting Brodie for Brodie; respecting her, empathising with her and remembering that evolution and biology don’t quite match up with modern Western society. Basically Brodie’s in control and, like it or not, we’re just along for the ride!
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?
It kind of happened by accident! When I was pregnant we didn’t read any parenting books, mostly out of laziness to be honest, but also we didn’t want the pressure/effort of trying to shoehorn our baby into any “experts” ideals as we kind of figured instinct would kick in and we’d just do what felt normal for us.
Then when Brodie came along she (obviously) seemed happier and more content when we respected her needs as needs, and we would do anything for an easy life. So gentle parenting wasn’t so much of a conscious choice for us, it’s more the label that best describes the way we keep Brodie happy and the style of parenting that came naturally for us.
I think the best aspect is having a (mostly) happy happy baby! It just seems easier to have a baby whose needs are fulfilled. I’m more relaxed and she can concentrate on the good stuff like pulling pugs’ ears, chewing nappy wipe packets and squawking like a parrot!
Most awesome moment so far?
Too many! It’s so cheesy but every single day she does something pretty awesome, and every day I wonder just how we got so lucky to end up with such a smart, funny and generally incredible little girl!
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
The first week of breastfeeding was without a doubt the biggest struggle of my entire life, let alone the biggest struggle of having a baby. I still can’t believe I stuck with it because it was absolutely brutal!
Brodie’s entrance into the world was quite traumatic so I had a lot of recovering to do myself, and trying to do that with absolutely no sleep and a leachy baby hanging off my massacred boobs was actual torture. But I’m pretty determined (read: stubborn) and got it in my head that I had to just do it for one week, which turned into 2 weeks which suddenly turned into a month, then two months and so on, and here we are over 5 months on!
As for the day to day stressful moments (oh hi, sleep regression!) I try to remember that it’s only temporary, and one day my heart will be breaking because Brodie won’t need me in the same way she does now.
If going back to work, how will you juggle gentle parenting life?
Loose plan: I’m cutting my hours at work, whilst Brodie’s care will be split between a childminder and Josh’s mama (ex-primary school teacher and creator of 3 of the kindest, funniest humans I know: Brodie’s gonna be just fine!!!)
Any advice you would give to new mums?
I’m definitely no expert! But what I would say is you know you. If something doesn’t feel right for you or your baby then it probably isn’t.
Make all your decisions with love, respect and empathy and don’t waste precious time stressing out and putting pressure on yourself. And take the easy road — you won’t be making a rod for your own back or whatever else your granny/Gina Ford/that old man on the street says!
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
Sound of Change by Dirty Heads. The first night Brodie was home from hospital this song came on one of Josh’s playlists and I just stood in the kitchen, looked at Brodie and cried and cried and cried a bit more (with happiness/sadness/excitement/fear/pain… those post-birth hormones are a bitch!) and since then it’s been Brodie’s song — and I still can’t hear it without welling up!
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