Monday, 8 June 2015

Parenting pitfalls

Last week I discovered that I had made a mistake. Something I had done weeks ago, with all the best of intentions and believing I was doing the right thing, had gone wrong. My heart sank when I realised and the implications hit me. I felt like I had totally failed as a business woman and messed everything up! The thing is, it reminded me a bit of all the lovely Mums I have been able to help. How easy it can be to do something that seems absolutely right but that can have unintended consequences, and how difficult it can be to get back on track when you find yourself stuck!

Everyone Makes Mistakes

No matter how many times you are told that everyone makes mistakes, you still think you are the only one! I felt that I must be the only person daft enough to make such a simple mistake on my website, and that others would say I had brought the problems on myself for not being more careful or that I should have done more research. The truth is, I did all the research I could but I am not a computer expert or a web designer. I was doing something outside my area of expertise and it was entirely understandable that I made a very small error. It was nothing big, just one letter missed out. 

In exactly the same way, most new parents are not early years experts. Even those who are may not have experience with newborns, and certainly not with that particular newborn! So it is entirely understandable that despite doing lots of research, asking your friends for advice and following your instincts, something may creep in that has a result you weren't expecting. It's not your fault and the first step is to forgive yourself!

Is it an easy fix?

In my case that one missing letter happened to be in the HTML code and meant that my PayPal button didn't work. So it had a big effect, meaning nobody could buy tickets to my workshop. But it was actually quite easy to fix it when I knew where the mistake was. I needed PayPal to give me the right code and then I just pasted it in, easy!

Some parenting problems can be just as easy to fix. It may seem like an insurmountable problem but an early years expert or experienced parent can give you a quick trick or tip that puts you straight back on the path to success. The hardest bit here is recognising the problem in the first place and plucking up the courage to ask for help! You know what, though, PayPal didn't make me wear a dunce's cap. I'm sure whoever you ask for help will be just as understanding!

Is it a bit more complicated?

Once I had the website working again, I still had a problem. Because I hadn't spotted the error for a while hundreds of people had been to my website and hadn't been able to buy tickets. Those people are really important to me, lovely Mums and Dads who I want to help to get a good night's sleep. But they wouldn't know that the site was now working again. I had some ideas of my own, and I asked a few friends for suggestions, but everybody had a different idea on the best way forward. Should I just cancel the workshops? Discount tickets? Pay for more advertising? In the end I used the advice of a real expert to help me decide what to do. My friends may have some insights, since they have businesses too, but they are no substitute for an expert in the field.

Whatever pitfalls you have come across as a parent, you have probably been offered advice by everyone from your great aunt Mary to the next door neighbour. And chances are they all contradicted each other and left you feeling even more confused! If things have been going on for a while the situation may have got especially complicated and difficult to work out. In those situations it can be invaluable to ask for help from an early years expert. It's not an admission of failure, and it certainly doesn't mean that you have a "problem child" or are a bad parent. It just means that you asked for help when you needed it, a very wise thing to do!

What mistakes have you made? Join the conversation here.

Oh, and incase you are wondering I do still have tickets available to my sleep workshops in Horsham, Ipswich and Wivenhoe over the next couple of months. The PayPal button even works now so you can book!