1) Tell me about your family
I am a mum of 2 boys- aged just 2, and just 4. We live in a little with our 2 dogs, and ive recently cut my work hours to 16 as I’m now on my own and want/need more time with them.
2) What is your parenting philosophy?
I try really hard to use positive parenting techniques and to help build their self esteem so that they are strong independant young men however seem to spend alot of the time shouting ‘ no’! and ‘for Christ’s sake!’ lol!! Life with small children is exhausting but amazing and has totally fulfilled me as a person.
I had pretty low self esteem as a child and I had moved around alot so it’s important to me to give them a secure and stable upbringing. I believe in routine and early bedtimes! For their and my sanity! !
3) What has been your greatest challenge as a parent?
Having my second child when my first was just 2 really pushed me. I had moments where I doubted myself and whether I could even do it. But as you do, I just learned coping strategies for getting round the Supermarket, or getting into town with them both. It’s funny, having my first baby seemed so difficult at the time but I look at people with one baby now and think it was like being on holiday!! I realised coffee shops with childless friends were a thing of the past, and phone calls just do not happen as it’s impossible when I have 2 young ones! People have to txt me if they want an answer!! It’s like spinning plates and pushes me mentally and physically, that said it has got easier as they have got a little older. And although being a working mum is hard I’m glad I’ve kept hold of it as it’s good for them and me I think.
4) What would be your advice to parents in early recovery with young children?
For me it’s all about balance. Balance and support. The balance is being a mum but also Katie, keeping my own identity through work and friends. As well as the basics – sleep, healthy food, fresh air and exercise, a good social network, and a biggy; rest and relaxation time-making time for me in order to keep my strength and esteem up. Where the children are concerned I try to have special times with them both seperately and we go to lots of parks, soft play, cinema, parties etc…as well as ‘jimjam’ days when we all cuddle up on the settee and watch films. I get alot of reassurance from my fellow mummy friends and with out my friends and family I think I’d feel quite isolated. We all help and support each other and I have the best people around me. When they were babies I attended every baby group and play group going and I have remained friends with most of the other mums. I think we all become mum’s believing that we now come last on the list of priorities but it’s important to remember that if we’re not strong and stable we won’t make as good parents. We need to be secure and stable in order to be better mum’s. So if it’s AA meetings people need then they really need to prioritise that.
Also, could you say more about your parenting philosophy and what tools you use?
I don’t have a particular philosophy as such, but I did a parenting course based on the Solihull approach. This helped me to see things through the eyes of the children. It totally changed my whole perspective and I realised that good parenting is not control. Good parenting is managing behaviour and being creative about how you get them to do what you need them to do. Sometimes, I have to have a mental word with myself when I can feel my anger levels rising because the won’t put their shoes on and we’re late or whatever. A solution, for example, would be to make it in to a game, or a race, or even walk away and come back 5 minutes later…or even good old fashioned bribery as a last resort! I learned that children are humans, and we have to treat them with respect. They like to know what’s coming next and they hate change as much as we do, so I try to give him ‘5 minute warnings’ leading up to bedtime, dinner time, bath time etc… They also love jobs and helping. It encouraged his independence and sense of responsibility.
I have no false pride and I’m not afraid to ask for help/solutions/suggestions.
We are all just doing the best we can. Everyone’s different and we need to embrace that.
5) In your opinion, how can we effectively educate our kids about addiction?
It’s hard for me as mine are so small but I worry that when they are older I’ll either be too anti drugs and alcohol – so they’ll do in secret – or I won’t know what normal even is with regards alcohol. It’s been such a long time.
My eldest is quite a challenging child. He is a bundle of energy and can be difficult to manage. I do worry that he’ll end up being the child who’ll always take things that little bit further, although I am super careful not to ever label him.
6) What have your children taught you about yourself?
That I have a button that only they can push!! And they push me to the edge I tell you!! I have had to learn to be more patient and constantly tell myself to ‘let go’ or that ‘it doesn’t matter’.
I’ve also had to let go of my slightly ocd clean freak lifestyle. ..to an extent anyway…I fear letting go completely as I don’t think I would ever ‘catch up’ again…so I’m a bit nuerotic always following them round with baby wipes haha…