Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Hayley Fedorowicz, mum of Rafferty, who's 15 months old. Based in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, read on to see what she has to say on all things parenting…
1. What does Parenting mean to you ?
When I look back on my childhood, as cheesy as it is, all I can see is love and support. I’ve always had a very close relationship with my parents and this is something I was keen to instil in my own children. I believe that at the end of the day, when things get tough, as long as the love is there, then as a family you can pull through the hardest of times. When it comes to parenting I really believe love is the answer to everything.
It is such a special gift to be able to nurture a baby, teach them everything you know, to help form their core beliefs and in a way, shape their personality. That is parenting in a nutshell for me.
2. How did your life changed after having your first child ?
I think you instantly stop being selfish, you do not have the time for that anymore because there is someone you need to think of 24/7. You sacrifice a lot, as a mum and dad, you cannot be spontaneous and just pop out for dinners, or go on certain holidays, or sleep in on a Sunday!
You have to be organised every step of the way and consider this little person that is all of a sudden, the most important thing in your world. I struggled in the beginning to keep up with my friends who don’t have children because you can’t go out as much as you did before, you can’t keep up on the group chats or see what’s happening on Social Media. The things that were important to you before you had a child take a back seat and you find you don’t have as much in common as you once did. People without children aren’t interested in how many ounces of milk your baby is having a night, or how many naps they’ve had that day. This is why I find it imperative to connect yourself with new mums and parents as you need the support of someone going through exactly what you are. It can be tough and it’s extremely important to know you aren’t in it alone.
3. In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?
Seeing the world through his eyes is what I find the most rewarding. Everything is new and magical to my son. He is fascinated by the things that as adults we take for granted such as a beautiful tree or a small bird landing on the window ledge. They make you find fun in the little things. I guess, just seeing him smiling, seeing him happy is such an honour. You do your best to provide for your child in every way possible, and it’s such a feeling of accomplishment to see them enjoying their life. As time goes on you realise they don't need the best toys, the most expensive clothes or really fancy things, they just need your love and attention. Rafferty makes me laugh every single day and it’s impossible to be sad when in his presence. I’ll spend the rest of my life finding ways to repay him for the sheer amount of happiness he’s brought me.
4. How is Parenting today comparing to the way you have been raised by your parents ?
I feel parenting was so much simpler when I was growing up. There wasn’t as much information readily available on the internet or Social Media, so parents just had to get on with it and go with their gut instincts. People weren’t putting every aspect of their life on Social Media to be judged, there was definitely less pressure to be the “perfect parent”. Some days you could be really struggling, feeling like a failure (which is so common of a new mum), and you’ll have a little look on Social Media and see a mum with a new born baby in full make up, fashionable outfit, out of the door by 9am, ready to go and you think how have they managed that and I can’t? Back in the day you didn’t have Social Media to compare yourself to.
There are so many conflicting views out there, every mother or even people without kids have different advice on how you should raise your child, even doctors! This makes it extremely difficult for new mums to work out if they are doing the right thing. I have found in the end that mum knows best and you have to go with what you feel is the best for your child. Children aren’t robots, what might work for one person’s child may not work for yours. Everything is trial and a thousand errors!
On a more positive note, I was scrolling through my photos on my phone with my mum the other day, I must have 5,000 of my son! She was saying how incredibly lucky this generation is to have so many photos and videos of their children growing up. She reflects on a time when I was a baby and she had spent the whole day taking photos only to realise at the end of the day that there wasn’t any film in the camera! It was my 2nd birthday and a day we would never get back. It’s so easy to document special moments and memories now and create beautiful photo books at the click of a button, to look back on for years.
5. What was the hardest moment in this journey, as a family, to overcome?
We struggled at the beginning because my son had some minor health issues and it was hard to see him suffering and in pain at such a young age. You spend countless hours in hospitals and see numerous doctors, trying find an answer and feel so helpless when you can’t fix their problems. You physically cannot be happy unless your child is, so to see him so upset for a long time was tough. Thankfully it was not a major health issue, but as a parent you want everything to be perfect in their world, so you struggle through until you find a solution.
6. What annoys the most about Parenting ?
I would say the lack of sleep, which is true to every new parent. You have to get through the day no matter how much you’ve slept and on the other side of parenting is the judgement, the opinions and entitlement from people, in general. We're all doing our best as parents, and people are so quick to judge the choices we make.
Judging other mums as a mum does not really bring anything good to the table. Judgement of other people, in general is something we need to avoid.
7. Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story
Ok, I have something here that was super embarrassing! My son has an intolerance to cows milk and can only drink a special formula milk which has quite a distinctive smell. At some point I took my son out in town with some work friends, at a fancy restaurant in London. During the meal my son had something stuck in his throat and as he coughed he started to projectile vomit everywhere. On me, on him, on the food, on the table cloth, the whole restaurant was looking at us as well as my work colleagues – none of whom have children of their own, it was a nightmare! We were only on starters when it happened, so I had to spend the rest of the meal covered in his sick smelling of rotten milk and I know everyone at the table could smell it too. That is definitely my most embarrassing moment as a parent so far.
We’re gonna continue our series, Family Stories, here on the blog, to point out the ups and downs of being a parent, there is no doubt that there is more ups than downs and over time all those bad moments and challenges, they pale compared to the good things, so many good things…
Want to share your family story with us ? Get a hold of us here.