All posts filed under: Parent voices

Learning to smile and nod…

As a family with a child who doesn’t always display typical behaviour, life often presents us with some interesting interactions with the general public. I spent much of her former years managing the expectations of strangers: “no, she isn’t tired, she has early onset epilepsy and is having absence seizures”; or “no she cant wave, she’s severely developmentally delayed, don’t take it personally”; and “no, she can’t say ‘hi’ but thanks for pointing out that she’s in a grumpy mood today” before giving up entirely and learning to smile and nod. It has become apparent since having kids, even an older child with no additional needs, that as a society we presume to know what is best for other people’s children. From the moment we are pregnant, women are judged and preached to about our decisions: I’ve had everything from glares across a room because I was drinking something that looked like a gin and tonic while breastfeeding (it was tonic water, but who are you to make that decision and FYI there isn’t a …

Parent Voices: Enjoy Every Minute?

As my bump grew bigger and the start of maternity leave loomed, I began to hear it from acquaintances, friends and strangers: ‘Enjoy every minute’ It was as innocuous as all the other pregnancy small talk, and I didn’t think much of it as they waved me off towards motherhood with those three little words. I certainly wasn’t ‘enjoying every minute’ of pregnancy, but I was really looking forward to meeting the baby and enjoying every minute of this new adventure. Birth was swift and uncomplicated. Not something I enjoyed every minute of – but a positive experience nonetheless. Euphoria hit before the cord was even cut. This was amazing – I really was enjoying every minute, just like they promised. I was enjoying getting to know this new and mysterious creature; gazing at him; cuddling him; sharing the news. Despite the aches and pains and bleeding, I was even enjoying my post-partum body. I marvelled at what it had just done, and promised never to be critical about its wobbly bits and stretch marks. …

Parent Voices: On The Beach

I stand on the beach, the crisp shrieks of kids, tentatively making their way into the surf, crashing into my ears. It is colder than I expected but the sun warms my neck, as I stand here redundant and paralysed with a 3 year old strapped to my chest. The 5 year old is making his way into the waves, school shorts hoisted awkwardly around his thighs, knees quivering with delight at the after school visit to the beach. He didn’t want to come, I persuaded him thinking it would be nice to do something different after school for once, an alternative to the hum drum of home, school shoes discarded, a vague attempt at an activity abandoned in favour of TV before teatime and the pang of guilt that I don’t make more of the time I can spend with him now. Why did we come here? Why did I think I could do this? I feel melancholic and overwhelmed. This is not how this is meant to be. It’s meant to be a …

Why I’m a pushy parent…

I am a parent of a child with additional needs, the proud parent of a little warrior. I am also part of a small network of parents locally (POW – parents of warriors – as we coined our WhatsApp group) who share information, lift each other up and support each other through the frankly astonishing mess of paperwork, bureaucracy and fighting that is involved in having a child with additional needs. A group of us are currently waiting for an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan – previously a Statement) to be put in place for their child by the Local Authority. It’s a document that sets out for their education setting what additional help they will need, both physically and mentally, to enable them to reach their full potential within that setting. It contains not only a detailed history and how the child is for anyone supporting them, but it lays out a series of targets for the near future for the professionals to work towards. Now, you wouldn’t think it would be that …

Parent Voices: A 5 minute speed blog post. Cos I needed it…

Tara wrote this for me months ago but it got lost in the world of emails – I am still publishing it now because it’s still relevant and it’s an important short post about juggling kids, about feeling stretched, about snapping…   I’ve just screamed at my 5 year old. I opened the bedroom door from where I am trying to get our almost 3 year old (going on 18 months) to nap. I opened the door, yelled at his little shocked face and shut it again abruptly. This is the Easter holidays, sorry hellidays… you know all those people posting on social media about their “blessed” moments with their cherubs who are normally at school and how wonderful their “precious” time together is? Yeah, that’s not me. Maybe they normally work and have taken some well deserved (or necessary, childcare ain’t cheap) time off to spend time with their kids but for a stay at home/ full time carer it’s not a bonus to have yet more time with the kids. He’s done just …