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: Kerri, 29
Baby: Finn, 19 months
How did you end up doing gentle parenting?
In a way I find it a bit weird trying to put a label on parenting styles, but I think it best describes my approach.
I’ve always known that however young, children are their own people and have the right to the same respect we would show our fellow adults. I try to be as easy going as possible, to enable my son to explore and learn in his own way.
When he was born I was trying to imagine what the hell it would be like to suddenly emerge from a cosy womb into this massive new world. It’s the most overwhelming thing. I literally don’t know how they deal with it all, I think we can cut them a bit of slack.
My son and I are figuring this out together, and I think it’s important to take his lead on things and find a way through that makes us both happy.
What does being a woke mama mean to you?
It means questioning everything, and raising my son to do the same.
Most awesome moment so far?
Seeing my son so confident and independent. We get out a lot to different places and I feel so proud watching him march off to explore without even looking back. He knows I’m there if he needs me (usually he just uses me for snacks…) and he is fearless.
I’m in awe of him. He assumes he can do anything. There’s obviously so much for him to learn, but my god can I learn from him.
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
My biggest struggle is my disability. I have muscular dystrophy and it can be difficult doing everyday things like picking up and carrying my great lump of a toddler.
One of the saddest things was that baby-wearing wasn’t really an option for me, as much as I would have loved to. I found breastfeeding a big comfort.
I also struggled with birth trauma after my natural birth dreams ended with an emergency C-section. I’ve spent a lot of my life hating my body’s limitations, but I am in awe of what it’s achieved. I mean, it grew an entire human being and that’s pretty fucking impressive.
How will you juggle work with gentle parenting?
I’ve really enjoyed just being with my son (I wouldn’t call myself a stay at home mum because we rarely stay at home!) but am starting to feel the urge for something else as well, so I’d like to find some part-time work.
I also don’t think we will survive much longer financially if I don’t. We’re just waiting until we’re eligible for free nursery hours.
I find the whole prospect utterly terrifying though. I had a couple of bad experiences with employers while I was pregnant, and that combined with having been out of it for so long has really dented my confidence.
Any advice you would give to new mums?
Be kind to yourself! Nothing can prepare you for motherhood. I strode into it assuming that because I’d worked with children for years, I’d know exactly what I was doing. What a fool I was! It’s a lot easier to be the perfect parent to children who don’t exist yet.
Mum guilt is huge, we beat ourselves up over the tiniest things. I even questioned whether I had the right to be featured on here because sometimes I snap at my son. Remember that you are only human.
Don’t let yourself get stressed by all the bullshit out there decreeing when your baby should be sleeping and what unnecessary crap you need to buy. You are enough.
As my mum told me, the needs of a baby are very straightforward – milk and lots of cuddles.
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
I listened to a lot of Fatboy Slim whilst pregnant and when my son was tiny. Always got us dancing.
Follow the awesomely strong and beautiful Kerri and Finn on Instagram at @kerri_and_sprog ❤
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