This week we’re re-airing one of your favourite episodes – a change of pace from talking about managing work to look at home life, specifically, parenting. We’re joined by Mandy Richardson, an early childhood education professional with a natural passion and love for children. Mandy’s focus is on helping parents and people working with children to form new and respectful perspectives.
We don’t let you down in this episode – we ask the biggest question that all working parents ask at some point or another – are we harming our children by being working mothers? What we love most about Mandy’s response is her honesty. As a teacher and before Mandy had children herself, she struggled with the idea that women would have children and seemingly be uninvolved in their children’s lives; but since becoming a mum herself and especially after carrying out research for her Masters and PhD, her view has changed completely. She now advocates that it is the quality of the relationship between the mother and child that matters far more than whether the mother works outside the home.
Mandy shares many more valuable insights about parenting during early childhood:
- the question is not whether we are a stay-at-home mum or a working mum, rather how are we connecting with our children and building a predictable, loving relationship;
- the importance of a child forming secure attachment to their caregiver (whether that is their mother or another caregiver), especially during the first year;
- parenting is about quality care over quantity care – predictability is important. Our children need to know that there are predictable times when we will be 100% present and available to them;
- when looking for caregivers for our children we should look for sensitive caregivers – one caregiver is better than many in the early years;
- children can sense when we are feeling guilt or apprehension about our decision to work or use childcare. If we are confident in our decisions then they too feel more confident;
- a respectful approach to parenting is about removing the parent’s agenda about how a child should and shouldn’t behave and instead letting our children develop their own identities and giving them room to be individual;
- why boundaries are so important for young children and how we can learn to love them (if, like Lucy, you struggle!); and
- a parent’s role in dealing with sibling rivalry – sometimes less intervention is better.
We hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did.
Make sure you join our Facebook community, The Juggle Community, so you can also have the opportunity to ask your questions of our expert guests.
Until next time, happy juggling!