NCT member Jane Boswell tells us about her parenting story, sharing her highs and lows including her top tips for parents.

Tell us about yourself

I’m married to Bryan and we have two boys – Alex (4) and Benjamin (20 months). A few years ago I’d have been horrified at the prospect of having two boys but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re both real livewires, full of energy and fun. As someone who grew up without siblings, it’s lovely to see how much fun they have together, although of course sometimes it all ends in tears.

How did you become an NCT member?

We did NCT antenatal classes before Alex was born, and it was so reassuring meeting a bunch of people with the same questions and the same mix of anxiety and excitement. Discovering the opportunities offered by our local branch meant it was a no-brainer to join, and I’ve also been involved in our branch committee.

What have you enjoyed the most so far about parenthood?

One of the best things about parenthood is rediscovering the joy in everyday things. For the boys every experience, however mundane, is a potential source of excitement: a train journey, splashing in a puddle or finding an ants’ nest in the garden. It’s also lovely to see them learn new skills and reach new milestones. 

What have you found the most challenging?

The hardest thing is the sleep deprivation. We were spoilt with our first son, who slept well from three months old, leaving us feeling smug and wondering what other parents were complaining about. How different things are with son number two! At 20 months, it’s still a rare night that he sleeps through. We’ve tried every strategy we can think of, and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that he’ll get there when he’s ready.

The constantly changing goalposts are a challenge, too. Children develop so quickly that what worked last week won’t necessarily work next week. In fact, something that’s surprised me is how out of my depth I sometimes feel - half the time I’m just making it up as I go along!

What advice or tips would you give to other parents?

The advice I’d give to new parents is the same advice I have to give myself daily:

1. Be forgiving - of your kids, your partner, and especially yourself. It’s easy to dwell on mistakes or situations you feel you’ve handled badly, but you don’t get a trial run at parenthood so you can’t always get it right – and there’s not always a ‘right’ way anyway.

2. Be as consistent as you can and make sure you and your partner work as a team. Kids need to know where they stand, and will thrive with consistent boundaries.

3. Pause at the end of each day and think of one thing that’s gone well. Sometimes this isn’t as easy as it sounds! The reality is that parenting little ones is hard work and not always enjoyable but focusing on the positive can help.

Make the most of the many wonderful aspects of each stage and remember that the less enjoyable ones don’t last forever!

If you'd like to tell us about your story or NCT group, email egeneditor@nct.org.uk. We'd love to hear from you!