Since I was a little girl I always imagined I would have children of my own, but I didn't expect the huge identity crisis and sense of existential despair that I experienced as a new parent.
What else do we do in life that demands so much of us yet for which there is so little preparation? It struck me as odd to have a job that is so important without any recognition of how hard it can be! If nothing else the COVID pandemic has raised awareness of the challenges of parenthood. The more that we learn about how small children develop the more we see how important the early years are. Because of this, should there not be more support and recognition for parents and carers of small children?
This blog started as I wrote things down to try and make sense of my own experiences of parenthood. I felt very undersupported as a parent but also very lucky as I was able to enjoy spending time with my children. I ran a small pre-school in Entebbe for a number of years . I ran communications workshops for NGOs in Kampala and in Asmara. I designed and ran community art workshops and theatre and musical activities to mix up the expat and local children.
As we moved from country to country I started to notice that a mobile life doesn't suit everyone the same. I also learned about this thing called coaching - almost everyone I knew with an office job was being given coaching and they all seemed to be loving it - to feel energised and more purposeful and engaged. in their professional lives. I thought to myself I could use some of that energy boosting support for my work with the children. I trained as a parent coach and since 2013 have been working with parents especially ex-pat parents and families with multicultural backgrounds who also wanted the opportunity to explore their family life and new idientity as parents and find support for the millions of decisions that modern parenting entails.
The photo above is of me with my first born day-old baby boy. He was born at sunset in a small hospital clinic in the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda. The baby and i were alone in a small single room. A big storm came through and the electricity was knocked out. It was dark. I was afraid and I cuddled the baby for support. The hospital had backup lighting: soon some small lights came on outside my window. As I held this strange new being in my arms he opened his eyes for the first time, and watched in silent concentration the fat tropical raindrops shimmering and splashing, illuminted in the flickering neon light...
Watching him watching the rain I forgot my fear. I saw that even tiny babies can see magical things and respond to them with awe.
I learnt then and still learn a lot about the awesomeness of life from children.