What makes a parenting expert?

The minute you announce you’re pregnant, you have everyone recommending certain books by “parenting experts.” Gina Ford, Jo Frost, Kathryn Mewes, Sarah Ockwell-Smith, etc. What I found out when I was expecting was that many of these so called experts didn’t have kids of their own. Gina Ford who is notorious for her routines and leaving children to cry it out has never had any children. And Jo Frost, Supernanny, can place your child in the naughty corner but hasn’t ever done that to her own child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that their methods don’t work for thousands of people but I do wander how they would cope if it actually was in fact their own child, if they weren’t just swooping in to help another family and their children. And then I came across this article yesterday.

Kathryn Mewes who has her own TV show, the “Three Day Nanny”, had her own child at 41 years old and is struggling (just like every other mum). I applaud her for talking about it openly and re-iterating to the world that it’s tough for everyone. No one is alone in the struggles of new motherhood, not even one of the “experts.”

But what exactly makes them experts? Is it the fact that they have looked after many children? Their methods work? Gut instinct? Or is it easier to discipline and help raise a child when they are not yours? Before I got pregnant, I had grand ideals about what my child was going to be like and how I was going to raise him/her.

  1. No TV time until they’re 2.
  2. I will always speak calmly and gently.
  3. I will not leave my child to cry it out.
  4. I will never raise my hand on my child.
  5. I won’t need to use bribery methods to get him/her to do what I want.
  6. Tanturms? My child won’t really have them because I’ll be able to talk to him/her.
  7. I will breastfeed.
  8. My child will be polite.
  9. I will not spoil my child by buying him/her too many toys.
  10. All their food will be organic.
  11. I will not give my child processed food/McDonalds.
  12. My child won’t eat chocolate/sweets/ice cream until they are much older.

I can tell you that I couldn’t/can’t stick to many of these! It’s very easy when you’re not a parent to sit around and think about the kind of parent you will be. But the reality of it is that you have no idea what your little cherub is going to be like. You can have grand visions of “the perfect child” but they don’t really exist. Each child is different, each parent is different and in my opinion, every parent is a parenting expert, of their own children.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My take on routines

One of the questions I get asked a lot is about my sons routine. Back in the day our parents didn’t really have routines, baby woke when they wanted, slept when they wanted and they were all fine. But things have changed. This is the 21st century, women are working, babies have all sorts of classes from as young as 6 months, we don’t live in extended families as much anymore where someone can always watch our baby. So I think routines are pretty important.

When I say routine let me clarify I’m not a Gina Ford fan. That’s the second question I’d often get. “Does your baby follow Gina Ford?” The answer is no. He put himself into his own routine which I tweaked here and there. It’s similar to Gina Ford, give or take an hour but I couldn’t put him down, not look at him, let him cry to sleep (as she suggests). I’m sure anyone who knows me knows my take on CIO.

So why do I think a routine is so important?

Well your child is a lot less cranky when he/she is getting enough sleep. I truly believe babies thrive on routine. They know what is coming and what to expect. It’s good for moms as well because they get a chance to relax, a time out when their babies are napping. I also think it eventually helps a child to sleep through the night without having to let them CIO.

My son has always been in a routine and it’s made life easier for me and happier for him. He’s 17 months old and today at 11:15 he pointed to his milk bottle and then went and stood at the stairgate beckoning my helper to take him up for a nap. He never ceases to amaze me. Watching him learn and understand new things on a daily basis is the greatest feeling.

Routines take time to become established but in my opinion, once they are, you’ll be happy you have one. It’s difficult to sometimes read a babies cues. Are they crying because they’re hungry or tired? When in a routine you can rule these out and often understand the cause of their discomfort quicker.


Is your child in a routine? Did you use any methods to get them sleeping through the night?