Practical Parenting Expert: Sheyne Rowley
Sheyne Rowley is known as the 'Australian Baby Whisperer' and has been working with families and their children for 16 years
By Practical Parenting Team
July 25 2018
Q.What drew you to this profession?
A. I always say that this career found me, rather than the other way around. I loved babies and teaching under five-year-olds, and with that came the obvious sleep element. I have always had the magic touch when it came to babies sleeping. I was 10 when my baby sister was born, which helped me to naturally develop my confidence with my own intuitive skills. I was known in my neighbourhood as being very helpful with sleep. When I began working with children, I didn’t know how unique this skill was, which led to being asked to assist in this area more and more in the formative years of my career. This natural skill, combined with my education and experience truly created its own demand for my services.
Q. What do you love most about what you do?
A. I absolutely adore working with the parents. My love of children is enormous and I always thought that they would be my greatest source of joy in my career, but remarkably, it is working with parents, and truly being able to help them become the parents they want to be and enjoy their babies and families that has been the most beautiful surprise to me.
Q. Why is it important to you to arm readers with the most relevant and up to date information and facts about parenting?
A. Over my career, I have seen many changes, trends and concepts - both good and bad, come to pass in the field of early childhood support training for sleep, nutrition and behaviour. This is an area that is extremely important to be fully explored and understood. We don’t get second chances when it comes to raising our children with patience, love and respect. Parents deserve up to date information, and wisdom and results that transcend trend.
Q. What topics are you most passionate about?
A. Communication, sleep, nutrition and behaviour. I am passionate about providing parents with those lightbulb moments where they understand each of these areas from their child’s perspective. Being able to help anxious, confused or frustrated parents become confident parents, who can respectfully guide their little one into peaceful and calm sleep sessions and meal times and through their little daily challenges and sometimes some really big challenges they may have to face is something that I feel honoured to be able to do.
Q. What does your life look like when you are off duty?
A. I am a tired, mature mumma and I am loving it. I had my daughter when I was 40 and it’s been incredibly busy for the last six years. But oh my goodness, if I speak from the heart I might cry. I am so grateful for every moment I get to spend with my beautiful little girl. We, her daddy and I, live with incredible gratitude. I do the school run in the afternoons and we are like every other family with homework, dinner, bath time and home readers before snuggles and bed time.
Q. What are the most controversial topics you discuss, and how do you handle criticism?
A. I have found that working with children, its like walking up to a lion and trying to pat her cub or tell her how to be a lion. I find most areas in early childhood will be controversial because there are three typical styles of parenting; parent-guided, child-guided and family/cultural. So if you discuss independent vs co-sleeping, breast vs bottle feeding, cloth vs disposable nappies, spoon feeding vs baby led weaning, schooling vs home schooling, stay at home vs working parent – the list goes on, there is always someone who has a differing view. The only way you can handle this is to be respectful of their right to have their own developed or developing view or parenting philosophy.
Q If you could whisper one thing in a new mother’s ear, what would it be?
A. Never let fear, pride or guilt guide your decision making or you as a parent. Do what you feel is right for your baby and your family, ask for help unashamedly, know you ARE the best person for this job – NO ONE could be a better mother to your own baby than you, and just enjoy the small things, the smiles, coos, cuddles. Join a mothers group and like any good relationship, make that group work, because that is one of the best resources you may have for what’s normal and typical.
Q What are you most proud of accomplishing in your field?
A. I am most proud of the impact I have had on so many families over my 26-year career. I am proud to still be a part of so many of those families lives, to call them friends, I am proud that my life is my work and that I have lived a worthwhile career and truly impacted on the lives of so many. I am proud of my books, these truly are my life’s work. Mostly, I am proud of me! I am proud that I am a stay at home mumma, and I still manage to work full time. That is a balance that I am proud to have incorporated into my own parenting life.