Over the past couple of months I’ve been dipping in and out of a book called Kiss Me which purports to be a guide to help you raise your kids with love.
I started reading it because I heard good things about the author and, as you probably know by now, I like to have an opinion. I didn’t expect to like it or to take much from it but I was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve never come across an “approach” that I liked before and what Kiss Me did was to help me articulate why I don’t like them.
It might sound contrived but the basic premise of Kiss Me is that we treat children unfairly and in a way we wouldn’t treat any other group of people. He uses quotes from child-rearing books and switches out the words “child” or “baby” for “wife” or “woman”. Maybe it goes a little bit far occasionally, especially when applied to sixteen year old daughters, but it certainly made me think.
I genuinely wish I had read this book when Ted was first born. Or, actually, that I had read it when I was pregnant. It doesn’t try to tell you how to raise your child according to rules, regulations and routines, it just literally tells you to love them.
If I had felt as though I had permission to co-sleep and to rock him to sleep and to cuddle him when he cried, then I wouldn’t have felt so guilty any time I did any of those. Which of course I did, because I was a new Mum, I was madly in love with my baby and I wanted him with me all of the time.
Next time around I will definitely do what my instincts tell me and not whatever “method” is in vogue – or, worse, bits of all of them depending on what everyone was telling me.
As I’ve got past caring what people think and expect, and as my confidence in my parenting has grown, I’ve let things happen organically and it’s worked far better for Ted (and for me) than when I’ve tried to do what’s right.
Kiss Me isn’t a parenting manual and it definitely still has its flaws – particularly the part where, after making me feel so good, it slams me for putting Ted in nursery – and it doesn’t tell you what to do or how to overcome problems with quick fixes, but that’s precisely what I like about it.
There’s no assumption that babies are just little clones of each other who react to the same things in the same ways, and who have problems that can be fixed.
There’s just a reassurance that whatever you do, if you do it because you love your children, you’re doing the right thing.
If you want to sleep with your arms around your baby and you both sleep better that way, then where’s the harm in finding out how to do it safely and then going with it?
If your baby’s screaming and your heart’s aching to pick him up then why would you put him alone in his room and count the minutes until you’re allowed to even look at him again?
What I took from the book was what we should already know: that Mum knows best.
I find that when Ted’s getting frustrated I’m more likely to think about how it is for him. Of course he doesn’t want me to wipe his face when he’s got yoghurt all over it – I wouldn’t want someone coming at me, holding my head still and scrubbing my face without asking me either.
Ted’s really good at communicating with us and as he’s done that more and more I’ve felt as though we’re doing okay. He’s a happy boy and he makes us such a happy family.
Kiss Me is an interesting book in that it doesn’t tell you what to do, but I think it’s useful for giving you permission to not do certain things.
Maybe we don’t need to be told we’re supposed to raise our children with love but it’s nice to be told that we’re allowed.
Kiss Me: How To Raise Your Children With Love is written by Carlos Gonzalez. This isn’t a sponsored post.