Experience into Practice….The Parent and Baby Coach becomes a Parent!

Heidi Skudder Parenting, Pregnancy

So, this is the time that I have been waiting for, for the last 16 plus years… The start of my new life as a Mummy, with our baby boy due any day. We are 9 days from due date, to be exact, but of course we all know that it is never worth counting down as he could arrive tomorrow or in another 3 weeks time. The last 15 years of my life have been spent looking after or consulting on everyone else’s babies, and now I get to do it all on my own….(eek!).
It all started very young; I played with dolls as a teenager until around the age of 13 years of age, which now seems just bizarre and probably was still a little bit strange then too. At the ripe old age of 14, I then went on to look after my first baby of 6 months of age, for a whole 12 hours whilst his parents went to London… I was in a small village, in a huge house, with no car, and really no clue aside from knowing how to bottle feed a plastic baby. But we did it! And I went on to fill every spare hour of my weekend and evenings babysitting for young children in the local area – money was just a bonus for me, I genuinely loved putting them to bed, bath time and feeling like I was playing Mummy!
Fast forward 8 years, and I have moved to London with a very hefty amount of childcare experience already under my belt. Specialising in Business Psychology at Masters level, I needed a way of paying for this extra degree – and it made total sense to continue my love for little ones by nannying my way through my master’s degree, and night nannying through the nights. At one point I was working 5 days and 6 nights a week – with no social life but the most incredible insight into parenting and building up an idea of what I would and wouldn’t like to do as a parent myself.
The Parent and Baby Coach was set up in 2011, initially called Tiny Tiptoes, and gave me a way to use all my years of experience, plus educational background to further progress with my ambition to own my own business. I began consulting with new parents on all things from breastfeeding, routines and sleep, alongside toddler behaviour, potty training and all the areas that I had experience in. Of course, no business just takes off like that and it took me a long and hard five years of working days and nights, and spending thousands on advertising, until I could finally say it was my full time job –I don’t regret a thing! I may have missed social events, dating guys and even sometimes weekends away, but I was getting paid to do what I loved, that being helping parents enjoy parenting, and assisting them with areas that at times can be overwhelming, tricky and massively confusing.
During my time working as The Parent and Baby Coach, I have seen nearly 700+ private clients on a one to one basis, most of which have been to help combat baby sleep and feeding concerns. The parenting workshops also now see hundreds of mums and dads come through the door on a monthly basis, to better understand areas of child development such as sleep, or toddler behaviour.
What goes alongside the practical advice that I give out in my classes and during consultations, is a very deep understanding of how relationships and people change when becoming parents. I have lived inside homes of new families, and watched this adjustment – probably the biggest adjustment to be made in life, on a very personal level. I have watched how the hormones can send you crazy, how dad’s can struggle watching their partner become a milking machine but not be able to speak up about their opinions on how best to do things, and how advice and pressure from the world outside your little nest can cause you to crumble and lose confidence in yourself.
Having been in this world for so many years, it is now time to put it all into practice myself and it is starting to feel very surreal. From rocking my plastic doll to sleep at the age of 12, to swaddling up all sorts of little bundles of cuteness into their baskets, I’ll now know how it “really” feels to become a Mummy myself.
Of course, there is a division of opinions in how it might go as to be expected, and I have had everything from super supportive “you’ll be amazing” comments, to rather critical “it’s very different and you’ll probably not cope as well as you think” comments along the way, as friends, clients and others have found out that I am expecting my first and very own. I don’t doubt that it will be challenging, and I have always fully recognised to parents that my advice is coming from an outside position, and that putting it into practice yourself with all the emotions of being a parent IS very different.
The majority of parenting is about stepping into the unknown, and learning along the way. I will still be in this position, as I have not experienced “parenting” myself, or the emotions and crazy hormone levels that this will bring. What I am very lucky to have, is a vast understanding of how babies work, an experience of what works feeding wise, sleeping wise and parenting styles that I have seen intensively over the last 16 years.
Knowledge can be a great tool when stepping out into the unknown, but it can also be a hinderance and this is something I will have to be very careful of. Too much knowledge can have a negative impact; I’ll need to make sure my husband is equally involved in decision making when it comes to choosing how best to bring baby up, I’ll have to be careful not to get too upset when things don’t go to “plan”, and most importantly of all, I shall have to learn to step back and enjoy those early weeks and months, rather than focus on getting it “right” as I know there are so many waiting to find out how “The Parent and Baby Coach” really deals with her own child.
My plan is to take things as they come, as there is no guarantee that he will arrive in full health, and that is all we can wish for first of all. Assuming everything is well, we plan to fully embrace the idea of a baby moon for the first two weeks and spend time snuggling our newborn, whilst getting used to being a family of three. There will no doubt be some seriously cute photos during this time, and a lot of tears, laughter and sleep deprived madness. Then when Daddy returns to work, I will be attempting to get out of bed in the morning and start to look to get us into a pattern, just as I have helped all of my wonderful clients do over the years, fully establish feeding and tackle any problems that come up along the way. Not only because I want to do it this way, but because I genuinely believe that this works well for everyone in our family (as does my husband having spoken about it) – and I also will need to have some structure so that I can return to work fairly promptly – as there is really no such thing as maternity leave when you run your own company (more on this next time!).
We can’t wait to meet the little guy, and here’s hoping that he has been tuning in to my classes whilst I have been teaching baby sleep for the last 9 months. But if he hasn’t, then that’s ok too – every baby is different, every parenting experience is different and I can’t wait to finally trial it and see how I really respond to life as a Mummy…bring it on!