I see these questions and posts all around the internet, I hear these discussions around me all the time - what is your parenting style?
We analyse everything we do. Rather than just doing it, we have to read about it, think about it, weigh up the pros, cons and possible future implications of what we're doing with our kids.
I, for one, am sick of that approach.
I'm not a parent who fits into any nice little label. Sometimes I'm really strict but sometimes I'm not, there are times I'm quite traditional and other times I lean towards more gentle parenting methods. Most of the time I'm a more patient, positive mother than I ever imagined being - to be honest, I'm a better mum than I ever thought - but at times, I'm not.
And I'm tired of analysing it. I do tend to overthink things at times (I know, you're shocked at that revelation!) but when I think and think about parenting, I always come back to one thing. And it's quite ironic.
I've thought about it and realised that I'm the best parent I can be when I stop thinking about it.
When I stop the reading, the analysing, the overthinking and the watching everything I do when I'm with Abbey, I'm actually a good mum. But when I do it, all I can give my daughter is a tired, anxious, overwrought, guilty version of myself. And that, then, affects her mood and behaviour.
The thing is, it's all very well to know the approach to take, and it's wonderful to set yourself a goal of being the perfect parent, with the perfect approach to everything your child does. But that isn't life.
And what it all boils down to is the fact that I'm with my daughter all day. Every day. Trying to be happy, perfect and watch everything I say and do just isn't sustainable. I can't do it. Nor should I expect myself to.
I already live my life according to some core principles and morals. I already try to be the best person I can be. As part of that, I treat other people well, including Abbey.
So. Here's the thing. I'm just going to go about my life, trying to do the right thing by myself and everyone around me. Which, in turn, means I'm doing the best I can in raising my daughter. She will continue to see me as I am - usually happy but sometimes frustrated or upset or angry, sometimes patient but other times not so much, and most of the time happy to calmly deal with situations but sometimes losing it.
That's the way it is.
And I'm going to go with my instincts. Because it's true, they're worth following. Almost two years of being a parent has taught me that much.
Parenting is a huge part of my life now, and I'm just going to live it.