Family Vision is a concept that developed out of my own experience of lone parenting very young children. Among the friends I made at that time I was privileged to know several other single mothers, we experienced taking those first independent steps together.
I learned swiftly and soundly that lone parenting is hard work. Relentless in fact, is the word that comes to mind. Brutal and unforgiving too – there are no nights off, no-one else to do the washing up or cook you dinner when you’re gearing up for a run of night feeds, and very little affirmation from other grown ups.
When you’re still reeling from a traumatic break-up as well, it’s easy to feel ground down by the basic hard slog of it all. Throw in meetings with lawyers, child contact arrangements to be made, financial insecurity and a hearty dose of shame and insecurity, plus a super-sized dollop of guilt – those early days are far from fun.
There is of course a huge amount of beauty to be found in parenting, whether as a single parent or otherwise. The kisses, the cuddles; the first artwork displayed on the fridge, hearing the first words your child speaks. The first ‘I love you’ and the first time they fling their arms back around your neck to return your hug. I have never lost a sense of joy in my children, but this post is not about whether single parents love their kids. Of course we do. Enormously.
It’s just that sometimes, it’s harder to love ourselves.
It’s love for ourselves that gives us courage to get up and get on with life. To give our children everything we want for them, and more. It’s also love for ourselves that allows us to put on our pj’s at 7pm and just leave the washing up until the morning, if that’s what we need to do. Love and kindness towards ourselves lets us know that it’s ok, we don’t have to be perfect, we aren’t expected to split ourselves in two and become ‘mum and dad’. We do not need to get everything right.
I learned that love for ourselves can be very hard to come by in this space. When I spoke to my peers who had experienced domestic violence and abuse, many neither felt or knew how to show themselves love, consideration and appreciation for the incredible job they were doing. I decided that I could do something about that.
Family Vision was created for families just like mine. It is a space first of all to learn how to feel and show yourself some of that loving care you deserve.
I know that this place of loving kindness is where great leadership begins. In this place you will become bolder than you ever thought you could be.
Family Vision works with mothers and their children in two ways. First of all, there are six coaching sessions led by me. We cover everything from discovering what your unique personal values are as a parent, to how to manage your emotional state when overwhelm threatens to hit. We work through family gratitude practices and explore positive beliefs. We explore decision making and planning ahead. Ultimately we write a personal vision statement for each mother to take home and share with their children.
We also have six playgroup weeks (every other week). These sessions are where, for me, the magic happens. Led by early years workers who are hugely experienced, these sessions introduce parenting by connection techniques such as Special Time. Listening to the children express themselves through play, taking the time to just be with them. These sessions are about reconnection between parent and child – just being a mum. And really noticing all the things you are doing well.
Because you are doing well, trust me. You are.