A Parenting Journey with Danielle Symes
Danielle is a DIY loving, wholefood eating, op-shopping wizard.
She's also a photographer, wife and mother to two beautiful children.
We spoke to Danielle about the highs and lows of her parenting journey and the lessons motherhood has taught her.
How would you describe your parenting style?
I think I am best described as the ultimate 'try everything and see what sticks!' I can be a gentle parent one moment, then the next minute I'm channeling Bandit whilst the kids ride me like a pony, but before I know it I'm counting to three and screaming at them to put their shoes on. I just always make sure that if I do lose my temper I acknowledge that I did and apologise for it. Overall my main objective is that I am present, I spend quality time with them and that they know they are so incredibly loved.
Anyone who follows you on Instagram will know how important family is to you. What does an 'ideal' weekend look like for the Symes family?
Cuddles in bed followed by making pancakes together followed by a day at home pottering around. Nothing fancy, just us at home together.
Maybe add friends popping over in the afternoon for a platter and wine in the sunshine whilst the kids run amok in the garden together. Even better... do all this but in our caravan with a few groups of friends! Not much beats camping with your friends who all have kids of similar ages.
What values guide you as a parent?
Respect, kindness, empathy and courage... for people, animals, the environment and for themselves.
What are your hopes for your children's futures?
That they experience love and that they are happy. (I would also love it if they were best friends and called each other every day!)
What is the most important lesson motherhood has taught you?
That everyone has their way of doing things and whatever works for you might not work for them. I am so much less judgemental and now that I am Mum, not just about parenting stuff but life in general. I wanted to teach my kids to be good, kind people and I ended up educating and changing myself in the process.
How would you describe your parenting journey?
A learning curve. Having post natal depression with Harper was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life but it also gave me so much perspective and I am a better parent, and person, now. I felt like I missed out on the first few years of Harper's life (with my depression) so I really try to soak up every bit of time with them now... I take in every little facial expression, every little mispronounced word and I'm hanging on to their hands for dear life, knowing that it won't be long before they won't want me to hold it any more.
If you could go back (to the beginning of your parenting journey) and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Oh gosh that poor girl! I would honestly just hug her, let her sob in to my chest and tell her 'You are doing a GREAT job! Don't listen to them, don't doubt yourself. This IS hard. You are allowed to say it's hard. You are a magnificent Mum.'
Danielle can be found on Instagram: @danielle_symes
Originally published in Connected Caregiving Spring 2022