The nurse Armando Bastida (Logroño, 1979) works in a concerted health center in Terrassa, Barcelona. In 2017 he founded Raising with Common Sense, a website that offers training workshops for mothers and fathers in which twenty professionals collaborate, including psychologists, pediatricians, nurses, speech therapists and educators. “La Tribu” (as they call it) is also a support network among the families themselves. Also, Bastida just published Tales to raise with common sense (Nube de Tinta, 2021), in which he tries to combine reading between mothers, fathers and children so that, in those moments of the book and listening, they can reflect and talk about topics such as empathy, setting an example or why patience is a good ally.
Father of three, pediatric nurse, virtual parenting community, storyteller, do you sleep?
Little. For 15 years, little. But I also have to say that the best thing is that I have not done everything at once. When the children were younger I worked a lot less. As they have grown and they have needed us a little less time appears, and also new illusions, new projects and, sometimes, the time to carry them out.
How was ‘Raising with Common Sense’ born?
It is born above all from the need to offer mothers and fathers advice to raise and educate their little ones as objective as possible. With the advent of the internet and social media, we realized that there was more and more advice and recommendations for families based, not on scientific evidence, but on vested interests by the industry.
Non-stop consuming products that are totally expendable?
Without going any further, when my first child was born, he sold Baby einstein, with DVDs, books and toys, a whole line of marketing that told us that it was beneficial for the development of our children. However, the evidence showed that this was not true and that babies and children were being exposed to television unnecessarily. In the US, the money was returned to the parents for not fulfilling what was promised. Products like that appear everywhere, and many professionals began to feel that we should do something to try to protect families in some way, and especially the children, and we considered the option of offering truthful and contrasted information, without contamination of the industry. Because Raising with Common Sense It has no sponsors or advertisers.
With the advent of the internet and social media, we realized that there was more and more advice and recommendations for families based, not on scientific evidence, but on vested interests by the industry.
Why do you think it is better to care for and raise in common, in a tribe, than with closed family nuclei?
Raising and educating a child is something very complex and very hard in a society designed so that both parents, when there are any, work, produce, consume … there is very little time left to raise and educate, so when we have a baby we must juggle and give up many things. The fact that you can be raised in the company of friends, friends, family or your tribe makes it less hard, because you feel that you are not alone, you feel understanding, company and support. That is, a closed nucleus, a small family, will suffer much more to raise than one that relies on other people because raising is very hard.
“We have to prepare our daughters and our sons for life, instead of preparing life for them”, how do you educate yourself for “life”?
Educating for life means accompanying them so that they themselves create their own criteria, so that they think and learn to think, so that they try, make mistakes and try again so that they can learn from their mistakes and enjoy their successes.
Educate is that they are obedient?
We were educated in obedience and that means that they gave us many orders, but it is known that an order does not generate thought. The brain does not wake up to an order, it is simply executed, without there being a construction of why it should be done this way and not otherwise.
You have to give fewer orders and ask more questions so that children grow up to be humble, honest and respectful people.
Are mistakes made with the first child still made with the third?
I do not think so. In fact, you commit others. Because you end up doing things with the third child that you would never have done with the first, whom you try to protect much more, because he is your first child and you don’t want him to suffer or have a bad time, and you ask yourself so many questions that you don’t really know how to get it right. With the third you already have many answers, and you no longer give so much importance to things that with the first seemed totally relevant.
We were educated in obedience and that means that they gave us many orders, but it is known that an order does not generate thought.
Guilt and fear are the most common feelings in motherhood and fatherhood. Is anyone to blame?
Blame it on a society that has put babies last. They don’t matter, and that’s why the permissions are so short. They do not matter, and that is why we have totally shameful ratios in nursery schools, and there are periods of adaptation that do not help babies and little ones to adapt. But that is not the fault of mothers or fathers. That’s because the system works that bad. If anything, we are all guilty, or all accomplices, of not being fighting to protect more babies and children, so that they stop being second-class citizens.
“Having a child is a strange balance between wanting to spend every minute of your life with him and wanting to run out of the house and never come back.” Caring for and raising is a constant management of balances …
Definitely. For bringing children to a society that no longer expects them, because they are too dependent and that takes away time to produce, consume, read, learn and interact with other people. It’s exhausting, and sometimes it’s hard to see what the upside is about spending hours with an ungrateful baby. It takes patience, and being in a somewhat mature moment of life, to realize that raising your little one is one of the most important things you will do in your life, without anyone else thanking you for it. And at first they do it with smiles, then kisses and hugs, and when they grow up, every time they ask you for help because they have screwed up. It’s not easy, but hey, no one said it was.