Judgement Day...

Published: 27th May 2016

Steph Dey, our resident ‘Gypsy Adventurer’ is currently embarking on a road trip around our vast country and beyond, with her bright little 3.5yo daughter Jahla. Given their current adventure, I wanted to know about Steph’s favourite experiences with her daughter “I find the simple things the best – watching her pop bubbles, discovering new things, bouncing on a trampoline, going to see farm animals”. On gifting experiences, Steph says, “A memorable life is made up of experiences and not things, so I think it's an amazing thing to gift a child”. We pick up Our Gypsy Adventurers two months into their travels… Sara xx

It’s super comforting to have people following us, praising us, offering us places to stay/visit and we are incredibly humbled and grateful. It has however triggered some fear of judgement and a shitload of self-judgement!

The recipe of long journeys, a tired mummy, a strong willed 3 year old, heat, flies, new places, being in other people’s spaces and somewhat on their schedules has made for some not so graceful ‘losing it’ moments! I mean I totally flew off the handle in a cafe one day and became that shouting, impatient mum. Moments later someone came up to us and said how they had read about our journey online and were now following us… It was amazing in one sense to be recognised and praised but on the other hand I started belittling myself in my head, had she seen my meltdown? Am I good parent? What if “they” find out I’m a fraud and have no idea what I am doing? What if the “haters” are right? Is this the right parenting style? Am I going to raise a functioning, well adapted loving human? In today’s organic, gluten free, chia seed, pilates mum’s, coffee going world there is an enormous amount of pressure to produce little angels that never act out of turn, for some reason I feel this more so because Jahla’s adopted for some reason.

Being a parent is challenging at the best of times but I am newly figuring out my parenting style for her change in personality and our new circumstances. My aim is to parent with conscious communication, firm boundaries and respect. I definitely struggle to implement this as regularly as I’d like. I find myself low on patience, snapping orders, slipping into old patterns and ending up deflated by the end of the day. It’s definitely a huge challenge to change a way of communication that has been engrained from your own upbringing. By no means am I saying I was mistreated as a child it was just the day and age of the authoritarian parenting style that had been passed down for generations. For me it is finding that balance where we can reach a loving, sharing and respectful mother-daughter relationship. So when I found myself losing it and then suddenly aware that we were now recognisable to the public, it really triggered my self-judgement.

I like to think that I am fairly open-minded and really like to catch myself if I find myself judging others. The kind of judgement I really struggle with is that of myself. I have crazily high expectations of myself and can punish myself endlessly for “screwing up” but I am consciously working on being kinder to myself and also congratulating myself for the things that go well or little milestones that we reach. Tomorrow is a new day and every interaction is a learning.

Another challenge for us both is being in each other’s space 24/7. In our day to day lives Jahla was attending day care while I worked, my mum would babysit for me etc and now we are living in a car and two man tent. It is testing at times but it has really strengthened our bond, which I’m loving. I know we will look back on these times fondly for the rest of our lives.

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