And all my years of parenting have taught me a lot of lessons. Like – a lot. Such is parenting – a constant game of figuring things out, where we have to think on our feet, learn on the job and embrace the chaos as best we can.
Once you are pregnant and have children, people, especially other parents, often bombard you with (mostly unsolicited) advice. Now, for the most part, I do think this comes from a place of goodness, as parents are often so keen to share the hard-learned lessons and what got them through with other mums and dads to help them out.
However, some advice, especially the rather judgmental kind, is better left ignored. You'll soon enough learn, that when it comes to parenting, your own gut feeling will often lead you in the right direction anyway. Because when it comes to what is better for your children and your family, you are, after all, the expert.
One piece of advice – or trick, if you will – someone passed on to me, was one that I now share with every parent I know – simply because it is genius and works every single time.
Best parenting advice
Are you ready?
Add water or fresh air.
As in, when your kids are acting up or being inconsolable or angry or upset – either put them in the bath (or shower) or take them outside.
Trust me – it may sound simple, but it works.
Water and fresh air can solve so many, many things, and it even works for adults too!
And I am not alone in having discovered the magic of the water and fresh air when it comes to dealing with kids.
A US-based mum shared her story on Instagram, but it then blew up on Facebook after being reposted by The Motherhood Project.
"Put them in water or take them outside," her post began. "It was the first useful parenting advice I ever got," she explained.
"I don't remember how old my son was when I called my mom in tears… but his age was probably measured in weeks. Maybe days. 'Nothing is working; I don't know what else to try,' I sobbed. 'He's not hungry or sleepy or wet."
"Try giving him a bath,' she suggested. 'Or bundle him up and take him outside for some fresh air. I always say to take them outside or put them in water, and usually, the grumpiness goes away.' It worked that day, and it's worked many times since." It seems so simple, but sometimes the tried and true methods passed on from mom to mom can be more effective at calming an agitated newborn than all the swaddles, swings, and sleep machines in the world."
Even if you're past the baby stage, Batchelor explained that the advice works for bigger kids, too.
"We've done baths at 10 a.m. I've paced our driveway with a baby in my arms at 2 a.m. And today, at 5:15 p.m. when my children were fighting for the 17th time since they got home from school and I was about to lose it, instead I put one in the bath and I sent the other outside and now maybe all three of us will survive until Dad gets home."
She says the advice has been serving her well for years now, and while it obviously isn't the solution to every problem a parent will ever face, it's done wonders for her family.
"I can't give you advice about sleep schedules or feedings or Montessori-approved toys. I don't know what we're gonna do about Tik Tok and Snapchat in a few years. But when they're falling apart at the seams for no apparent reason, take them outside or put them in water," she says.
Why is this simple advice resonating with so many mums? Maybe it's because it is so simple. And maybe it's because it actually works.
We have all felt overwhelmed as parents, all been at our white end and worried we are going it all wrong, that we are messing this up.
But if this is you right now, mama – know that you are not. You are doing great. Sometimes you just need to add a little water or a trip outside – and all will be right in the world again.