MADELEINE WEST

Ac­tress, mum-of-six and au­thor of Six Un­der Eight shares her take on par­ent­ing

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Thebuzz -

As a mum to six young kids, you’ve cer­tainly got a lot of par­ent­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. What’s your best ad­vice?

If by ’ex­pe­ri­enced‘ you mean I’m drown­ing in chil­dren, then yes, that‘s true! How­ever, I’m no ex­pert and don’t pre­tend to be. My one piece of ad­vice is that there are no rights or wrongs in be­ing a good par­ent. All chil­dren are dif­fer­ent and all par­ents are dif­fer­ent, with sep­a­rate wants, needs and ex­pec­ta­tions. Fol­low your in­stincts and lis­ten to your in­tu­ition and chil­dren – and you can‘t go wrong! Also, ask for help when you need it. There are no re­wards in this par­ent­ing malarky and no medals for slog­ging it out alone. So when of­fers of as­sis­tance are made, grab them.

How did you find the time to write your book,

( Pen­guin, $ 35)?

While preg­nant with the twins [daugh­ters Xalia and Mar­got were born in Novem­ber 2014], I had a dread­ful time try­ing to sleep. At some point, I started writ­ing anec­dotes about par­ent­hood, mak­ing lit­tle ob­ser­va­tions and tak­ing notes on strate­gies I‘d de­vel­oped in cop­ing with all the hur­dles par­ents face ev­ery day. On my part­ner‘s [chef Shan­non Ben­nett] urg­ing, I sent off an ex­cerpt of my mus­ings to Pen­guin Ran­dom House in the hope of be­ing of­fered some ad­vice, but was in­stead of­fered a book deal!

What’s your par­ent­ing style?

Free range! I‘m all about let­ting my chil­dren dis­cover their world, pas­sions and them­selves in their own unique way.

How has moth­er­hood changed you?

Be­com­ing a mother has made me a bet­ter per­son. Par­ent­hood has opened my eyes and ex­panded my hori­zons fur­ther than I could ever have imag­ined. Life now seems richer: colours are more bril­liant, achieve­ments have more mean­ing. I can only as­sume this is be­cause ev­ery­thing I do now is for some­one other than my­self.

one baby prod­uct you can’t live with­out?

Pa­paw oint­ment. It has a myr­iad of uses in my house­hold: from chapped lips and sore lit­tle bot­toms to grazes, rashes, eczema, red noses when they have a cold, mild skin in­fec­tions… I‘ve even tried it on cra­dle cap!

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