“Parenting is the journey and it’s something we all do together. It’s really comforting to know that there are other parents also going through the same challenges.” – Amirah, mum
I got involved with Kids Matter during the first lockdown. Whilst helping to deliver food parcels, I met Fuzz and we spoke about Kids Matter. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I know for me, I was already struggling with my older two teenagers and having another child who’s much younger than them… and then going into a lockdown and all living under the same roof 24 hours a day (all week!). It was a massive relief to have the Kids Matter material and a support group alongside it.
Something I learnt is that every parent is going through exactly what you are going through. I thought I’d gone wrong somewhere but once I realised wasn’t just me, it was like this weight had been lifted off my shoulders; to know that it wasn’t me personally or my parenting – raising children is just tough.
I like that the material isn’t over-saturating so you don’t feel overwhelmed by each session; you come away with maybe one thing to work on for the week (forgiveness, mindfulness – whatever it could be). And even if we don’t handle it so well, you remember to go back to the group and talk to people, and you’ve got your booklets so you can keep going back to them, too.
Kids Matter is a community; we had a WhatsApp group and it would create a lot of buzz during the week where parents would talk about what’s going on – supporting one another. I am a single mother so if my children do exhibit bad behaviour, I don’t have a partner to run off to and say, “What should we do? How are we going to deal with this situation?” But having that WhatsApp group; there is that support network there to say, “Hey, I’m going through this right now – help!”
My home is a lot more peaceful, which has made a difference to me, and the kids. Probably, at times, the kids are like, “Is this my mum?” It can be quite stressful and I can be impatient if I’m dealing with three different individuals during the day. Now, I’m taking initiative and taking time to listen to my kids; to reduce the noise level in our house because I think once you go through the programme and you start to figure out the changes that you can make, it does reduce arguments so you’re in a much calmer environment. I definitely think I am more approachable; I take a moment to take a step back and think, “Okay, what did I learn this week, what am I reminded of that I could do in this moment, in this situation?”
When the opportunity was presented to me to become a facilitator, I was definitely nervous because I wasn’t sure what I could bring. But I saw all the benefits that Kids Matter brought to my life and to my children’s lives, and I want to share that journey and connect with other people.
I was reminded about how relatable I can be as a person, and I do tend to have a lot of mums who naturally gravitate towards me and want to talk to me, and I hope that’s a warming presence that I give out. I’ve been through quite a lot of situations and I’ve struggled but I’ve always managed to overcome them, and I’ve used the tools that have been given to me. I feel like I could really connect with other mums and we could just get down to a level and say, “I’ve done this as well. I’ve been here. I know what brought changes into my home and, you know, maybe these could bring changes into your home.” I just feel like I have so much to give and I want to share that journey and connect with other people. Having a support network is massive.
I hope that I am able to bring some more comfort into people’s lives. I hope that they enjoy the group and they want to return to it, or at least share the news so that others can benefit from the programme.
When Kids Matter was first brought to me, I thought, “Has that person seen something or are they thinking something about my parenting?” But it’s not about the negatives of parenting and it’s not about anyone failing in their parenting, or not doing something right. I think all of us need support in parenting. Parenting is the journey and it’s something we all do together. It’s really comforting to know that there are other parents also going through the same challenges, whether it’s bedtime routines or fussy eaters… that we could all do with someone else to talk to, and just little handy tips on how to move forward. Kids Matter is really good.