Trust Your Instincts | Documentary Family Photography | Bath Somerset

 

We have been gifted an almighty task.

 A mother sits in bed with her son on her lap aftee they have just woken up.

It has taken me two and a bit years to trust my own instincts. It has been a sleep deprived rollercoaster of stress, worry, guilt and anxiety. Motherhood is thankless task. It is hard. it is relentless. It’s a lot. Yet sometimes it’s easy and it is always unbelievably rewarding. All it takes to turn a catastrophic day of disaster around is a little smile, or a small hand linking into yours for reassurance.

 An aerial shot of a mother looking down at her son who is cuddling her leg during a cold january walk in Somerset.
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I think one of the things we are all guilty of thinking, is that everyone else is doing it right and we are doing things wrong. Everyone else has it all figured out and we don’t. I used to feel like I’m missing a trick somewhere, I was sure that if I just spoke to enough Mums they will give me the magic answer, the KEY to it all of how to raise intelligent, happy and secure little humans whilst also staying happy, secure and sane yourself! And as soon as I know the secret, I’ll be laughing.

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My son has taught me that not only can we not control our children, we shouldn’t ever try to. They will sleep when they want to sleep, they will wake when they want to wake, they will eat when they want to eat and what they want to eat and they will play with whatever they want to play with. They are living their new little lives how they want to live them. And we must try to let them as much as we can, which is hard sometimes, because we like to have control over our lives, we like to know what to expect and we like to have it all figured out. Letting go of control is the struggle, the not knowing 100% how this story will unfold.

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But by trusting our instincts, we can in turn trust our children. Children are not people when they grow up, they are people right now. They already have their own personality, own interests and own agenda. And we must allow our kids to be people, to scream and shout if they want, because life is hard and frustrating and it’s not only us adults who feel that. 

 A toddler stares up at the ceiling as he watches a toy train in a museum in Bristol.

All children have a natural curiosity about the world and urge to learn. But we must tread carefully and not squash this natural urge by testing them. If we force their learning or try and test them in things they already have shown us they know, they will reject it. Because the message we are giving them is that we don’t trust them to know it.

They always have an ability to surprise us and they will learn at their own pace.  

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What is also so fascinating is how fleeting it all is. Each stage or tricky phase can seem interminable and I find myself saying silently to my son, ‘hurry up and be 5 already’, which is awful. And then without even realising, we are out of it and into another phase, perhaps an easier one this time, and all is manageable and fun again. One day he eats lots and other days hardly eats anything. One day he is calm and chilled, other days is a hyper nutcase. One day he is loving and affectionate, others he is angry and shouty. Most of the time I don’t know if I am coming or going. One thing I may have done right one day, doesn’t work the next. 

The more I stop trying to live my old life and live what his life is like the more I am able to live and experience his world from his perspective; me alongside him instead of against him. The more I ease into it and surrender to simplicity and slow down, the more satisfaction and enjoyment I get from parenting. 

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There is too much noise, too many people with opinions about what is the right way to parent.

There is no right or wrong way. All you need to do is give endless love, try to be patient, and keep them warm, safe and happy. We don’t need to over complicate it. Block out the noise, listen to your gut and trust your instincts. 

 A father is splashed with water as he baths his toddler son during this relaxed family photo session in Bath.

This post is my contribution for the ARTIFACT MOTHERHOOD project that documents our journeys as mothers and creating memories for our children through our photographs and words.

If you are interested in finding out more information about the different types of photo sessions I offer or would like to book a session, click here!

I AM JESS CHEETHAM, AN AWARD WINNING FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN BATH, SOMERSET. I SPECIALISE IN DOCUMENTARY STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY THAT IS UNPOSED, NATURAL AND REAL. EVERY SINGLE FAMILY IS UNIQUE AND THEREFORE EACH SHOOT I DO IS DIFFERENT AND BRINGS NEW SURPRISES, EMOTIONS AND MEMORIES. I AM HONOURED TO BE INVITED INTO YOUR LIVES AND CAPTURE SOME OF YOUR MOST PRIVATE AND INTIMATE MOMENTS. THESE SESSIONS ARE BEAUTIFULLY INTIMATE AND RESPECTFUL AND AIM TO CAPTURE YOU AS FAMILY IN THE MOST AUTHENTIC AND CONNECTED WAY.