Woke Mama: Polly

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Want to know WTF a Woke Mama is? Each week, we’re introducing awesome women who are making the world a kinder place, one happy baby at a time.

Name & age: Polly, 31

Kids: Edith 2 1/2 and Iris 6 months

What does being a woke mama mean to you?

Having time for your children.

Don’t preach, just advise and share to help others make their own decisions.

What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?

I wouldn’t say I “chose” gentle parenting, I actually try and steer away from parenting by a book or method. I parent in a way that suits me and my family at the time.

As a parent one of the key things is being flexible — something that has worked one day might not work the next.

My daughter’s favourite saying at the moment is ‘I’m happy’ often said in response to ‘do you want a nap?’ And sometimes said with tears rolling down her cheeks. But this is key: I don’t force my children to do things that don’t make them happy as I wouldn’t want them to do the same to me.

We work together as a family to do what works best for us at that moment and never feel like we have failed if we have to change our approach to something.

Every child is different so something that worked with one might not work for the other.

Most awesome moment so far?

Cuddles. They are the best. When my girls hug each other it’s amazing. The last 6 months have been full of ups and downs but they have always shown affection for each other.

When they cuddle me or my husband it makes it all worth it. I will never say no to a cuddle, no matter how much of a rush I’m in.

Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?

Having two has been so much harder than I expected. I am constantly being pulled in different directions and worrying that I’m not doing enough for the other child.

The worst time is when they are poorly. We have had that this week and it has been really hard on the whole family.

It is so difficult at these times to look after yourselves as well as your little ones. Instinctively you just want to give them all of you just to make them feel better.

At times like these I lean on my family, they are invaluable.

How do you juggle work with gentle parenting?

We used a mixture of nursery and granny day care when I went back to work after Edith and will be doing the same this time.

We try and parent equally — this is so hard when I’m on maternity leave and breastfeeding but when I’m working this makes much more sense. We both work shorter weeks to fit in around the girls.

I wouldn’t want them to ever be more dependent emotionally on one of us. Just because they are girls doesn’t mean they should rely on me more for their emotional needs. Edith still accidentally calls us both ‘mummy daddy’ or ‘daddy mummy’ which really shows how interchangeable we are.

Any advice you would give to new mums?

Do what works for you. Don’t feel restricted by a particular parenting method. Do what works for you and your family.

Speak to your children in the way you would like them to speak to you, it all comes right back at you.

Make time. Don’t spend your days rushing around. We have a one thing a day rule. If we try to do more it often ends in disaster and no one is happy.

Do not underestimate the power of a support network. We made a decision to stay near our families to bring up our children. Although at times they do drive us crazy, they are also amazing and a very big part of our lives. They are always there for us and I love watching my girls with them. My youngest brother has the most amazing relationship with my eldest daughter and has done since she was born, they are best friends even though there is over a 20 year age gap.

By Polly / Follow @WhatPollyMade

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