Carrying on from the idea of your values… inevitably you will meet with challenges, especially as a parent. In fact for a long time I came across few challenges at all, until that is I had kids!
We’ve just come back from Newcastle where Nige and I went to university and it brought back lots of memories of (mostly armchair!) campaigning with my fellow politics students. Everything seemed so simple then, things we agreed with, things we denigrated. It’s only been in more recent times that I’ve realised things are rarely black and white – here are three things I’ve had to change my mind about lately (with relation to kids):
- preschool education – I have to say that I thought preschool education wasn’t essential by any means and that it was all milk and biscuits and nursery rhymes. Having seen a brilliant preschool first hand which is working with a wide variety of special needs and different cultures and backgrounds, I’ve seen what a lifeline it can be to vulnerable children and parents and what good quality preschools can do for kid’s attitudes to learning and self esteem.
- women and work – no need to elaborate but I had no idea how hard it was to work and run a family or to take time off and return to work, often with your confidence trailing behind you! I once was looking to recruit and actually said ‘what we really need is a mother returning to work who’ll just be happy to get out of the house [to do the really boring job I was offering]’ – shocking really I know
- special needs – given that parenting is supremely difficult even at the best of times, I (and I’m sure I’m not alone) always think it must be even harder if there are also special needs issues too. I think for most mothers autism is one of the hardest things to think about because connecting with and snuggling your child is something we naturally want to do and it fills us with panic to think about a child who would find that difficult. This article radically changed my views on this slightly pitying and patronising attitude…