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Name & age: Rachel, 31
Baby: Oscar, 20 months. Second baby due January 2018
What does being a woke mama mean to you?
Being ‘WOKE’ to me means being aware and mindful. Breaking the mould of ‘mainstream parenting.’
Being conscious of the decisions that I make on a daily basis, and how it will directly and indirectly affect my child/ren and the world around them.
It means not conforming to the ‘norm’ and trusting that my instinct and knowledge will guide me on the journey that is not only right for my family, but those around us.
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?
As with many, I didn’t choose gentle parenting. It chose me. It came from a place of love and understanding, simply following my own maternal instincts.
My favourite aspect of it is breastfeeding and bed-sharing, fo shiz. Even if it means my partner and I haven’t shared a bed in months. (Who cares? He snores like a beast anyways, so…)
Most awesome moment so far?
My fave moment? That’s a toughie. The whole journey so far has been so incredibly awesome. But I guess (WARNING – gushy mama alert!) being able to physically see and feel the unbreakable bond that I have with my child is up there.
I feel I have a whole new level of understanding of what love is. It’s intoxicating!
It’s also pretty cool that I can now properly communicate with Oscar. He tells me what he needs, and I love it… even when it’s 4am and he’s yelling at me that he’s wet!
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
Honestly, I think my biggest struggle so far has been remaining consistently gentle during the tough times.
Moments where Oscar is about to compromise his safety, for example, about to touch a hot oven or try and run out of the door. It’s inbuilt in us to shout ‘NO!’ but that’s not really what gentle parenting is about.
I have to remember to put myself in Oscar’s shoes. He’s got all this curiosity and thirst for understanding building up in him and it’s my job to encourage that — albeit safely!
It’s a two-way learning process this parenting lark, and my little whirlwind of wonder has taught me so much.
How do you juggle work with gentle parenting?
I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and working part-time from home.
I am fortunate that I have an extremely hands on ‘WOKE’ dada, who despite working full time himself, is always down to follow the gentle parenting journey… even after the 20th time of being whacked in the face with a train!
We’re going to continue to breastfeed and co-sleep, generally just going with the flow. No expectations, no disappointments.
Any advice you would give to new mums?
I would say take people’s advice with a pinch of salt. Every baby is different and you have to do what feels right for you.
Forget the ‘Sleep Training’ books and the many ‘How to…’ articles and follow your gut. But at the same time – don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, we’re all in this together – and we’re all winging it.
Oh, and expect to go days in between showers!
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
Music is my therapy, so there’s been quite a few! But mainly: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Anything and everything by David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Elvis. Banks. The Beatles, and (don’t laugh) P!NK and Sia.
Follow Rachel on Instagram @HippyDippyMamaBear
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