Tim O’Leary (antenatal educator and therapist): You know one of the things about becoming a parent, is that I believe it has the effect on a person, that it kind of makes you more than what you already are. So if you have that approach, you go in to it thinking, this is going to take me further in life, it’s going to teach me a lot of things. And for that to happen, you have the attitude, the belief, the approach where you go, I’m going to grow from this experience.
Jenelle (mother of Olivia, 19 months): When Oliver went through a really bad stage, he was actually quite sick, it was about 3 or 4 weeks, and he wasn’t sleeping very well. Oh at first it used to frustrate me, I’d actually find myself getting quite angry, and I know that’s quite normal for women to wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning go argh.
But I just found now, I’m starting to just get a little more patience. That’s a huge thing that’s changed, is that now I go this is, you know, I guess I say to myself, he’s only young for a while, this is not going to last forever. This is a beautiful moment, it’s you and him together, in the wee hours of the morning and trying to look at a different perspective.
Tim O’Leary: I reckon what’s hard about parenting, are the things that you didn’t expect, would be the things that get under your skin, and make it really hard to just be in the moment and being okay about the moment. Like let’s say, if you’re a neat freak, and your kid's starting to do finger painting. And you’re like oh, and you’re just squirming about the fact that they’re getting really kind of messy. Or they’re like just in mud and they’re just loving the mud, and you’re going oh no that’s – that’s – they’re wearing that top that their aunty bought them, and oh no. And your mind is getting full of that stuff. How can we kind of just let go of what it is that, to be honest, it’s the side of us that’s uptight or a little rigid. How can we just let go and go back to what’s important, which is look at them, they’re having a great time.
Mitch and Olivia (parents of Ellora, 4 years, and Adeline, 18 months): They go through so many different stages and they want you to dress up, and I realise this time is fleeting and it’s precious.
Tim O’Leary: There are these moments that come with this experience of parenting, and they’re there and the question is, can I kind of slow down my really busy mind, and become a little bit more calm. And we’re able to just really absorb the moment and be present to the moment and just enjoy what’s beautiful. And it could be just the fact that you’re not even doing anything much, you’re just there with your baby, and you’re just gazing into their face.
Shabana and Cameron (parents of Aurora, 18 months): I love it when she smiles, you know it sounds corny, but just looking up at you.
Shabana: Or says new words, and her laughter, her laughter kills us.
Cameron: Little milestones, yeah.
Jenelle: A little child can teach you a lot about yourself, you see yourself reflected back. And also how unimportant some of the things we worry about, you know we get so stressed about. And this little child will show you something else, and you go wow, okay I forgot about that, I became an adult and I lost that innocence.
Tim O’Leary: I think one of the things about parenthood that people don’t necessarily expect, is that when they feel that they got something wrong. If you can think about well I can learn from my mistakes and that’ll make me a better parent. It kind of makes it a little bit easier to kind of recover from where you felt like, oh I did that wrong.
Mitch: I sort of learnt that you don’t need to be ready all at once, you learn on the job and you have a lifetime to sort of work it out I guess.