Kerry Cares Parenting

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Kerry Secker of Kerry Cares as she sat beside me at a mums breakfast meet that I went to and within a few minutes of talking to her I felt such joy because I came face to face with a parenting “expert” who believed in my idea of gentle parenting. Thankfully she agreed to meet with me in the new year so I could chat to her about her methods. Here it is…in conversation with Kerry of Kerry Cares Parenting.

NM: How did you get into nannying?
KS: I’ve always loved children. My mum tells me at family gatherings I was always the one found hanging out with and looking after the kids. When I finished my A Levels, I knew I wanted to work with children but university wasn’t going to give me that so I went on to do an NNEB (Nursery Nursing Examinations Board) and then at 19 got my first job working with a family of 3 children (ages 2, 3 and 5 when I started). I worked 8am-6pm everyday.

NM: There’s a lot of pressure put on nanny’s these days. Mums tend to judge their nanny’s for being on the phone when they’re on their phones themselves. Some parents even go onto mum FB groups to name and shame these nanny’s/helpers.
KS: You can not judge anyone based on a snap shot. How do you know the nanny isn’t on the phone to the mum. With such long hours, like with any job, you’re allowed to be on your phone or take a quick call. I try not to be on my phone too much but we’re in a modern world. I could be looking for directions or fun things to do in the local area.

NM: How has the role changed since you started?
KS: I didn’t have a mobile phone when I first started! Back when I started, you just got on with it.

NM: When Kerry first came out of college, she was trained with traditional methods. There was no scientific background then. This was circa 1997. Parenting (like technology) has changed so much. Methods she’d learnt were things like the naughty step or time outs. There was no focus on why children behaved the way they did.
Being young and enthusiastic, she started out practicing what she’d learnt. But being a nanny for 3 completely different children, she soon realised those methods weren’t going to work. Being in “control” of the children wasn’t working. It’s been a long journey going from being the authoritative nanny to founding Kerry Cares Parenting, using a much more gentler approach. What changed?

KS: It’s all about intuition. Our gut is so important and people don’t use it. We’re born with really good intuition but as the rational side of our brains develop, we stop listening to our gut. We don’t trust our gut anymore.

NM: Sometimes I think reading too much is not always a good thing either. Good parenting will come to you when you’re not relying on all these outside opinions but listening to your gut.

KS: I am not an expert and I don’t like being referred to as one. I think the only experts of babies are their parents. How can one person be the expert of every single baby? There are billions of babies out there, each one different and unique. I don’t have a crystal ball or a magic wand, it’s impossible! Every circumstance surrounding every baby is different.

NM: There are many parents who aren’t “being” the parents anymore. There’s a fine line between being the parent and letting your child do as they please.

KS: As a parent, you have to have boundaries when it comes to your children. Children do as they see, they will naturally pick up traits they see in their parents. You will never win against your children! The sooner you realise that, things will become a lot easier.

NM: I’ve always taken a gentle approach to parenting but in the last year, when the threenager phase hit, I found myself losing my cool. I know I’m only human and I hated myself for it but it was happening. The penny only dropped when one day I was telling S off and I said “Don’t speak like that to me” and he said “No, you don’t speak like that to me.” And that’s when a light went on and I thought he’s right. How can I ask him not to speak like that to me, when I am speaking like that to him. Gentle parenting can be tough and it doesn’t work for everyone. What does gentle parenting mean to you?
KS: Fundamentally, it’s just parenting with respect and seeing it from their point of view. There are no right ways to parent. Gentle parenting means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s often mistaken for permissive parenting and not disciplining. But there is disciplining involved with gentle parenting. Kerry Cares is not attachment parenting, it’s just using a gentler approach. How you parent your child needs to feel right for you and your family. So when I have a client, the first question I ask is “How does this feel to you?” And if it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it.

NM: Kerry’s approach is very individual. She spends time talking with the parents she’s working with to get a complete background (from birth) before offering any advice. She follows her ASS method. Your children need to feel Attached, Safe and Secure. When you have these 3, you can tackle anything: Sleep, weaning, behavioural issues, potty training and everything else in between. It’s important to understand why our babies are behaving in a certain way.
KS: I hear so often people saying “What is the best way to put my child to sleep” or “What is the best way to get them on the toilet?” or “What is the right way to deal with tantrums?” The fact is there is no right way, every child is different.

On discipline…

KS: People think of discipline as regimented punishment. Discipline really means “to teach”. Discipline in my gentle approach is to show them how it’s done. And it has to be age appropriate. I don’t tend to use the word tantrum. “Tantrums” is your child communicating with you. You have to allow them their feelings. Even with babes in arms, we often go shh..shhh..shh.. when they cry and while that sound is soothing, it’s also subliminally telling them it’s not okay to cry. And the fact is, it is okay for them to cry. Babies crying is their way of talking to us. They could be tired, hungry, wet. Most people link crying to something being wrong. There’s nothing wrong, there’s just a need there. We have to normalise children’s behaviour. It’s normal to tantrum, to cry, to be loud.

If we teach children from a young age that the only person responsible for their happiness is themselves, they will get it.

Children just want to anchor to you. When children feel their emotional tank is empty, that’s when they need you. If you’re distracted elsewhere, conflict arises.

For more information, check out http://www.kerrycaresparenting.com/

 

Committed to myself 

I’ve always been a romantic, for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I’d imagine a fairytale wedding, a beautiful marriage, that one perfect person who would love me forever.

Gosh, with expectations that high, I should have known I was in for a rude awakening! I’d still like to think of myself as a romantic, but just with much more realistic expectations. So what changed? Me!

When I first moved back to London I remember many people telling me “Don’t let your experiences put you off marriage and love “. And I couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone thought at the mere age of 30, I was going to be put off marriage and love. However, I was only 30, and what did I know? Because 2 years down the line, I have to admit, I was sort of put off. 

BUT what I realised is, I’m not put off by the idea, I just stopped trusting myself. When you make a choice in life and that choice isn’t what you expected, there’s a sense of disappointment. And with that disappointment comes a lack of trust in yourself, and the belief that you may make another wrong choice. And I wanted to make damn sure that didn’t happen again. So I decided to work on me.

At my dad’s suggestion I read “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is a wonderful book. I actually listened to the audio version and Liz is a joy to listen to. For anyone who’s been hurt in love, let down by their decisions or just single and sceptical about marriage in general, this is the book for you.

  
Einstein once said “Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result is insanity.” And I too realised that in order to make different choices, I had to be different. In my 20’s my choices came from a lack of assertiveness (on my part), from not knowing what I wanted and from allowing myself to be pushed around like a leaf in the wind. If I wanted to make better choices in my 30’s (and I mean choices about anything, not just love/marriage) then I had to know better. I have to know what I want, I have to stand my ground and I have to be unafraid.

But being these things is not always easy. We all need a little help along the way. Where does my help and inspiration come from? One person…Brooke Castillo. At the beginning of this year I stumbled upon Brooke’s podcast “The Life Coach School” podcast. She is absolutely amazing and everyone I have recommended her to has come back to say how inspired they feel listening to her. I refer to her as Brooke, as if she’s my buddy. And in some ways I feel like she is. When I listen to her podcasts at the gym, I feel like she is talking solely to me!

What she says is pretty profound. A lot of it is common knowledge but we forget. We allow our minds trick us, we fall into old habits, old patterns of thinking. It’s so much easier to fall backwards than it is to leap forwards. But leap we must! And change we must!

  
It’s really easy when you go through a divorce or any life changing event that hurts you to play the blame game. To find someone else to blame for how you’re feeling. But I can tell you, the only way to be happy is to change yourself. We can’t change other people  (not for lack of trying) but ultimately our joy and our choices lie in our hands. And there’s no one who deserves our love more than ourselves.

Equipped with more knowledge and a far better understanding of myself, I have no doubt that the choices I make in my 30’s will be the right ones.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

A reason, season or a lifetime

I’ve often heard the phrase “People come into our lives for a reason, season or a life time” and I’ve recently found out how true that is. I’ve also realised that a lot of the time, those people come into our lives because that’s what we choose to attract at that time. And in most circumstances, even painful ones, those people are there to teach us something.

When relationships end or go sour, it’s very easy to play the victim card and to focus on everything the other person has done wrong. But what actually helps is to focus on what that person taught you and why they entered your life when they did. I’ve been doing that a lot in the last few months and I’ve actually found it’s given me much peace and happiness. It’s allowed to me forgive and let go.

As I evolved from this place of peace and happiness, I started to see things change. There was a very obvious shift in my life. Away from negativity and idleness, towards contentment. Things that bothered me mere months ago, now washed over me, without affecting me. I almost feel like I have a bubble of positive energy surrounding me. And other people are starting to notice it too.

One of the great outcomes of this shift has been the amazing people I have met since. Some of these people have always been around, I just wasn’t ready to meet them. But now I have! In the last couple of months, I’ve had some inspiring conversations. I’ve felt moved and determined by these women that I have met. I’ve heard stories that give me hope and those that teach me what I need to learn.

I’m lucky & blessed to have some amazing friends in my life who I know will last a life time. Going through tough times show you who your friends are and in the last couple of years I’ve also put to rest many of those friendships that were only meant to last a season. As the autumn leaves fall off, I’m reminded of how important it is for all of us to shed the old and let go so that when the spring arrives, we can welcome new energy into our lives.

In order for all these changes to come about, I had to change. I had to change my perspective and my thinking.

I took a stand, I followed my heart and I couldn’t be happier.

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk5

Welcome to #happyquacks Week 5 and thanks to all those who linked in last week! I found myself really nodding away at some of the posts and giggling at others. Here is my top 3 for the week:

1. Carly aka Mummy wrote a great post about how she encourages her son to speak. S was a “late-ish” speaker although I’d done all the things she mentioned. It just meant that when he actually did start speaking, it all came in very quickly. A literal verbal explosion!

2. Silly Mummy wrote a funny post about how the baby likes to join in on the conversation with the toddler. It had me giggling.

3. Angela from Daysinbed wrote a very interesting post about the developmental science behind the game peek-a-boo. I can truly say I learnt something new.

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’m linking up with my post about our trip to Legoland last week.

If you’d like to go to LEGOLAND this summer, click here for a great offer.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wednesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 4

I can’t believe we’re already at week 4 of #happyquacks Time is certainly flying. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts, so thank you so much to all those who linked up. These 3 in particular really resonated with me last week:

1. The Single Swan’s post about ditching her wedding day to have the day she wanted. It’s about realising what’s happening and choosing happiness. I love all her posts and this one was no exception. Especially the part about feeling liberated.

2. Angela of Days in Bed wrote a great post about how to teach your child about healthy competition. It’s a long read but a good one. With the pressures of modern society to be, look and act a certain way, I think this is a really important lesson to teach our kids.

3. I loved Hectic dad’s post about big families. You wouldn’t be faulted for thinking the cover picture is one of a small town but it is in fact his family. Reading his post made me want to meet them and be in on their little jokes too!

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’m linking up with an old post about turning 30!

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wednesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 3

Hello happy people…for those of you living in London (or nearby), it was 32 degrees today!!! Now that doesn’t make “heat averse ol’ me” particularly happy but I do know the rest of the capital was just lapping it up!!

Thanks to all those who linked up to #happyquacks last week, I absolutely loved reading all your posts. So in no particular order, these were the 3 that really called out to me this week!

1. One Yummy Mummy’s post about Father’s Day and the beautiful scene of unconditional love she witnessed at a cemetery, filled my heart with joy.

2. Dear Mummy’s blog post about 50 things that make me happy…by a toddler, had me smiling the whole way through. Many on that list make S very happy as well, especially stickers and stealing all the toilet roll!

3. Flustered mom’s post about her son selling Lemonade to raise money for the people of Nepal inspired me. As parents, we strive to instill good values in our children. Her son taking the initiative to reach out to help those in need is a credit to her parenting skills, in my opinion.

So on to this week’s linky…

This week I’ve linked up my post about choosing happiness and questioning why it’s so difficult.

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
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#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 2

Wow, what a week/weekend! I went from being worried that no one would link up (first time linky nerves) to have 21 people link up to #happyquacks Very exciting stuff!

This week I’ve linked up my post about the person who makes me the happiest, my son! Although I’m the mama, he teaches me so much and never ceases to amaze me with his one liners!

My favourite posts from last week were:

1. 30 things that make me happy by Absolutely Prabulous. She’s such a witty blogger, I love reading her posts and this one in particular really resonated with me.

2. I wouldn’t love you sooner by Slacker Mommy. I especially liked this post because I look at my own life and wonder how/why I got to where I am now and I often have such moments of clarity (which are great). It was lovely reading a post by someone who has reached that moment and is thankful for the way things turned out.

3. To my daughter on Graduation Day by Flustered mom. I often look at S (who is only 3) and worry about the day he goes off to university and all the pieces of advice I’d like to give him. I really enjoyed this post and my favourite quote was:

“Here’s to the crazy ones.  The misfits.  The rebels.  The troublemakers.  The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently.  They’re not fond of rules.  And they have no respect for the status quo.  You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.  About the only thing you can’t do it ignore them.  Because they change things.  They push the human race forward.  And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.  Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”  – Apple, Inc. 

So without further ado…

I host this linky with Rod over at Moderndadpages. This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

It would also make us happy if you followed us on Twitter and Facebook.

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

 

Mamaduckquacks
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Why does being happy have to be such a brave choice?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the choices we make as adults and how much they differ from the way children make choices. If a child is in a situation that doesn’t make them happy, they change it. They try and find a way out and they change it. But as adults we seem to struggle with that.

I was reading about Caitlyn Jenner (previously known as Bruce Jenner) and the choice he made to become a she and the struggle she went through. She’s come out the other side now and is so much happier. But why was it so difficult to do something that would make her so happy?

I watched two Indian movies this week which were both very powerful in their own way (but of course with all the melodrama of a typical Bollywood movie). Dil Dhadakne Do and Hamari Adhuri Kahani. DDD is about an affluent dysfunctional Panjabi family who invite all their friends on a cruise for their 30th wedding anniversary. The couple “celebrating” their anniversary have a tainted marriage, the daughter who has built a highly successful business is in a very unhappy marriage and the son doesn’t think he’s good enough to take over his father’s company and is trying to find his place in the world. While it was hilarious and had us all laughing out loud, there were a lot of important underlying points. Even in today’s day and age, divorce is still such a taboo subject in our community. Parents worry so much about what people will say that they often force co-erce their children into getting married or staying in an unhappy marriage. Priyanka Chopra who plays Ayesha, the daughter, can build a highly successful travel business that ranks No.2 in India but struggles to make her voice heard.

The second movie HAK is important for different reasons. It’s a story of Vasudha (Vidya Balan) who’s values around marriage are so deeply embedded in her being that she allows her husband to claim possession over her, even when she is deeply unhappy.

As with most Bollywood movies, realisation dawns around the 2hr 15min mark and then you see the change. I’m so glad that Bollywood is starting to produce movies that will hopefully open up the mind’s of many Indian people. When I chose to leave an unhappy situation, many people called me brave and courageous and in some ways I agree, it was one of the bravest choices I’ve ever had to make but I do often wonder why I need to be brave to be happy? Surely being happy should be our natural stance? So what makes us all, for the most part, stick with the status quo?

I often see memes that say things like “Happiness comes from being grateful for what you have” and while that’s true, sometimes you can still be grateful but not happy with the situation. And not being happy doesn’t mean we’re ungrateful, it just means we need to change our situation.

All the world’s most successful people got to where they are because they refused to accept less than they believed they were worth. And I’m not just talking monetary terms. It could be Sir Edmund Hillary who never gave up until he got to the top of Everest. It could be Christina Noble who wouldn’t give up until she got what she wanted for the street kids in Vietnam and Mongolia. They got to where they wanted to be by making choices to do things that brought them joy and gave their lives value.

Children choose happiness all the time! When did we start forgetting to do that? When did we become so afraid of being judged? And ridiculed? What’s more important than being happy?

#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 1

Welcome to #happyquacks, week 1!!

This is my first every linky and I’m really happy to be co-hosting with the #linkyking Rod of Modern Dad Pages.

This linky is open to all and every post you’ve ever written about anything that makes you happy. It could be your kids, your spouse, your family, your holiday, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Each week I’ll pick 3 of my favourite posts and they’ll get a little shout out in the following week’s link up post.

I don’t want to set any hard and fast rules BUT linky’s only work if you share the love so please comment on at least one of our posts and maybe 2-3 others that have linked up using the hashtag #happyquacks. Put the badge on the bottom of your post and lastly, if you tweet us your URL (using the hashtag #happyquacks), we’ll happily retweet all your posts. (@mamaduckquacks and @moderndadpages)

#happyquacks will go live on a Wedesday evening (6pm GMT) until Sunday evening (6pm GMT).

Looking forward to reading all your posts!

Mamaduckquacks
Mamaduckquacks

Give it a go…because what’s more important than being happy?

Last year I wrote about Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation on Desire and Destiny.

I have to be honest, I didn’t complete the 21 days. Life has a way of getting busy (lame excuse I know!!). This summer they are hosting another 21 day meditation on happiness and I am determined to put aside the time each day to complete it.

Essentially we are all happy beings and happiness is our true nature but when our ego, desires and other outwardly things take over, we often find we base our happiness on what we have rather than what we are.

So if you’re interested, give it a go…it’s 20 minutes each day and it started on the 11th of August (but you have up to 5 days to catch up).

On the first day Deepak Chopra explains how we all sacrifice our happiness in the name of selflessness but in fact by choosing happiness for ourselves and not feeling guilty or selfish about it, our happiness expands to all those around us. I’ve seen this time and time again. People feeling like they are martyrs because they sacrifice their happiness for others. I’ve done it myself…but I do find when I realise and remind myself that happiness is within me and actually consciously chosen by me, life gets a whole lot better! 🙂

You can sign up here.

Enjoy!!