Kid’s Matter sessions were a good mixture of talking and reflecting. Everybody got a chance to speak and then we’d have our own 5 minutes’ thinking time to work on a task in the booklet. After that we’d have time to talk about it, which was nice. For me personally, I prefer to write stuff down so I really liked that element of the group – that I could go away and go over what we’d done in the session. The booklets were simple, not too bulky and I liked the bit at the back where you could jot stuff down.
It was nice having break; having someone else look after my son for a bit was a highlight. Because our children were being cared for, we were able to have conversations and that way we got to know each other a bit better, which was really nice and made sharing in the group easy. It was good to learn from other people and especially from mums with older children, who have a different perspective.
I’ve come to realise that I don’t think there is a right or a wrong way to parent; everyone does things differently, like people are strict in different ways or people have different ideas about how they want to do things. I suppose when you do it the first time, you don’t really know and people are quick to judge. Like, even when we were in the hospital when our son was born, people looked at us in a certain way. But we’ve all been though the same thing and no one was judging anybody in the group – it was nice to speak to people who are going through the same thing as me, especially in this community. It was nice to be the same as other people, even those who aren’t living in the hostels.
Since doing Kids Matter, I don’t lose my patience as quickly. I always tried not to lose my patience because but when you’re in the hostel and you’re on your own and you’re in one of those rooms, it’s easy to lose patience. I am a lot calmer and do not scream at my son as much. I try to be more understanding and I’m trying to get him into more of a routine, especially now that I’m having another baby.
I enjoyed the discussions on family because my partner is African and we do have some cultural differences, so it was nice to think about that and share my thoughts knowing that what I said would be kept in the room.
Having people that I could talk to and who wouldn’t judge me was a big thing for me. We set up a WhatsApp group to keep in touch, which has been really good. I am lucky that I have my family nearby but some of the girls in the hostel don’t have anyone. Some of them can’t speak English properly and I think having somewhere like Kids Matter to go not only gives them confidence but is a support network and I think that’s so important, especially as a mum because it can be lonely.
I think everyone should do Kids Matter. Even though the programme is not very long, like 6 or 7 weeks for a couple of hours a week, it does make a huge difference. I would definitely do it again and would recommend it to people. I really enjoyed it.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
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