• Gareth Ellis

What Makes a ‘Good’ Parent?

What makes a good parent? Right now I think Jess and I are doing a bloody good job but every now and again people ask us a question and I for one find myself wondering what the best response is.

I know a few people out there who have kids who are also doing a damn good job and I wonder if any of you have fallen foul of the following questions.

1: Are you still breastfeeding? (Asked to Jess of course.)

Now this is a fairly standard one but one that gets asked of Jess a lot (either directly or through me) and whenever the answer comes back that she is the response is always ‘Oh, well done.’ Now I’m not complaining because people are being nice, but what would be the response if the answer was different? ‘Oh, that sucks.’

The point is breastfeeding looks tough. I’ve been told by many mums that it hurts, milk isn’t always easy to come by and that, well, it hurts. I can’t imagine something sucking on my sore nipples a dozen times a day and all through the night I can tell you that much. As long as a baby is fed, parents, you’re doing a good job?

2: Have you changed a nappy yet? No actually I let my baby roll around in his own faeces if mummy is gone for more than an hour. Of course I’ve changed a nappy. I’ve had wee and poo on my hands (a few times simultaneously) and I still look at him as he smiles at me with a smile right back – even if I do think it’s a bit grim.

3: How long does he sleep at night? Another question that is an absolute minefield. I have heard of babies sleeping for 8 hours from the get go, I have heard of babies that still don’t sleep after a year. Neither of these parents has loved their child any less, it’s just all children are different.

To be fair to Ru he usually sleeps like a dream. He sleeps for 4/5 hours before his first feed some nights, then three more hours and then maybe a couple before he wakes up. But if he slept for 20 minutes at a time it wouldn’t change people’s response ‘Oh that’s good.’ I think people said that when I told them he slept for 1 ½ to 2 hours at a time.

4: How is he doing with tummy time/recognising you/smiling/growth/insert developmental milestone here? A lot of people either want to compare with your child and theirs or they’ve heard that most children are this or that. Like I said, all children are different and will develop at their own pace. Some of the best looked after children I know still aren’t walking by the time they’re 1.

What I’m trying to say in all of this is that raising a child is hard and everyone will have their own methods when they’re changing/feeding/playing or whatever. The truth is as long as your baby is happy, clean and well fed then you’re doing a damn good job.

For every parent reading this, you’re awesome!

good parent

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