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MELISSA PORTER... AS I WAS SAYING

Mum, property developer and resident coach Melissa Porter considers life as a parent, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And, upon reflection, there are many things I wish Id know about being a parent before I embarked upon this particular journey.

Here is what Ive learnt and would like to share:

Every child is born built with a guilt-inspiring emotional chip activated at the exact moment we reveal our plans for a night out on the town. Such anticipation appears to create resistance from kids and, I suspect, they’ve created a group WhatsApp to remind others to make us feel guilty about leaving them with a babysitter. Unless you’re leaving them with no food, no water and no carer – trust they’ll survive the next three hours without you.

The reason we’re unable to inspire our toddlers or young kids to eat fruit, veg and to avoid sugar is because we didn’t instil this from birth. Food habits are taught when we start their food adventure with solid food. They’re not born addicted to sugar, they develop a taste for it after we choose to offer them their first sweet treat bribe.

Children adore grandparents, whatever differences you have with your parents, leave your kids to fully explore and enjoy this relationship - to make up their own opinions about how dysfunctional your childhood was and how lucky they are to have you as a rock-star parent.

On the occasions I’m tired, I’m then unable to be anything else around my son while respecting my authenticity and need to be real. Hence why self-care becomes a necessary selfless responsibility vs a selfish one. Explain to no one why you need hour long bubbly baths - rather than face the school run.

Anger coming from a child is to be supported by parents and carers as opposed to shut down. When supported, we are teaching our children they are valuable and that their voice counts. We inspire them to join the emotional dots when something triggers them and to create a new way of being.

When we shut them down we are telling them it’s not OK to feel. We are telling them their feelings don’t matter and the effect is for them to become increasingly disconnected from what makes them feel alive.

There are no rule books for how to parent your unique child. If I were to write one it would include the following single rule: Love your child but first learn to love yourself. In the same way, we are told by flight attendants to first apply the oxygen masks to ourselves, apply this same rule to your life.

Learn to get your needs met so with our overflowing happiness we can help others. We are unable to offer anything from an empty cup. Unless it’s one made by Bernardaud, then take it - and run.