Parenting has always been a topic that has fascinated me from an early age. The thought of a young human being so dependent on the interactions between his/her parents made the whole concept of parenting a very scary, yet very exciting responsibility for anyone to embrace. Somehow, I always knew deep down from an early age, more than anything else, that I wanted to be a great husband and a great dad.
One of my A Levels was psychology and it was fascinating to study the impact parents have on their children, in particular how children are impacted by certain choices a parent makes in their early years. I always dreamed about my future children, how I could best help shape them to life to the best of their potential?
A few years later, I found myself in a local government job in the Early Years department and although my role wasn’t directly involved with children, I worked alongside a team of Early Years Foundation Stage professionals so was exposed to a wealth of information about children’s development. Fast forward ten years and now I am blessed with three young children, each with complex, unique and wonderful personalities – I can definitely say that theory is very different from real life experience.
But before I go into my experience, I wanted to use this section of the blog to explore other parents thoughts and what this layer of life means to other people. It’s such a privilege to be a parent (whether that’s a mum or dad or other primary carer) and I am always interested to see how people manage the responsibility, actions, thoughts and emotions that come with it.
There are different ways to approach this, but I decided to go down the route of guest blogging and asking a handful of people two open questions and seeing what comes back. When you ask a question as big as this in person, people tend to give you a surface answer, but when asked to write about it, it takes us to a place where we have to explore our emotions, experience and take a hard look at what we think.
What do I want to achieve?
Thinking out loud, I guess my main goal is to have a collection of thoughts from different people about what parenting means to them and hope somehow that someone, somewhere reads and is either inspired, touched, sparks conversation or even just a breath of fresh air to see things from a different perspective.
There is so much information for parents on the internet about bottles, formula, schooling, healthy eating, budgets, etc but I’d like to look more at the heart behind parenting – the bigger picture stuff. The human side.
What not to expect
I should point out that this series won’t be a collection of articles that flow neatly into each other. There won’t be a step by step guide or an organised list of bullets points you can take away and apply. I’m interested in the writers heart and what they think about being a parent.
Who to ask?
When thinking about who to give the opportunity to, instead of asking other parent bloggers on the internet (that I may not know very well), I decided it best to ask people I know so looked at my own life and tried to select from a diverse background of people I have worked with, studied or met and become friends with. So you will be reading articles from a journalist, a newly engaged charity worker, an award winning play leader, an out of school manager, a professional counsellor, a career advisor and so on. I have even asked people who are not yet parents to see how they feel about become one in the future.
I will be asking two very simple open questions and hoping they come back with pieces that give us a windows into their lives as parents.
1. What does being a parent mean to you?
2. What advice would you give to another parent?
I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this series, and are encouraged in your journey of parenting. I’m genuinely excited to read what comes back.