I’m Beth Hardy. I am a mum of three kids from two different dads I’ve been through one rocky divorce with and have one challenging co parenting relationship.
I started off as a parent coming from being a Primary School teacher who was fairly idealistic about motherhood and quickly recognised that idealism was not compatible with my child. I became a Hypnobirthing instructor after an incredible experience with my own child. I became so passionate about supporting parents on their onward journey into parenthood I branched out into work in the 4th trimester and was a volunteer sling consultant, to allow parents to make the choice to hold their babies even when they had a toddler in tow or the need to make dinner, but generally they could be a bit more hands free and still comfort their child as much as they wanted. The relief in the parents when I supported them making choices that felt right for them, rather than the rule books that people had been following. The focus was on questioning. Questioning what we had been told, what we are currently being told, and listening keenly to our true wishes and instincts.
Not long after this I fell into the world of home education; largely because my eldest child at the time, was quite clearly displaying autistic traits, and was generally non-conformist. Since I knew that school relies quite heavily on conformist behaviour, I could see a troubled road ahead, home ed seemed like the sensible step, plus the extra bonus was that there was a thriving home ed community in my home town of Sheffield.
Home education suited both my kids very well. We were able to follow their instincts and interests. We did something called unschooling, which supported us while still keenly listening to what their needs were.
We had a little bit of a spanner in the works in 2014 when their dad decided to have an affair and leave me. At which point things quickly unravelled. I found myself dealing with a very troubling co parenting relationship. That has caused me a lot of challenges since then. I have managed to grow through it and really focus on the things that are important to me and my kids.
I recognised that I’d gone from a place of deep, low self worth, and being the listening and responsive parent to my kids, meant that I had consistently put myself last. I thought I was doing the best job for my kids, and really, I was, but I didn’t realise that there was a pitfall in there with what I had been doing. I would put my own emotional needs last, and consequently I learned that I don’t matter, and sadly my kids were learning this too. So whilst navigating this “counter” parenting relationship, I met someone. We quickly bonded and we decided to have a child together and the experience blew our socks off. So I’m there struggling with all these things, alongside bringing up a new child. And it was a great relationship for just being free and easy, but not one for cohabitating and parenting.
I recognised that people pleasing, and doing ALL the things was not serving me. And also, most crucially, I began for the first time, to put myself at the centre of my world. It was the most liberating experience and provides me now with a platform upon which I can build the life I want to without compromising who I am, what I am, what I want, what I want to be; whilst seeing to my children’s needs in fact, more so now, because of those boundaries I now have that were missing. We navigate new challenges together and I find that my ability to get right to the heart of things supports my children developing well. The most important element of my life is radical self love and acceptance.