GOOGLE+ Elaine Morgan
ON THE WEB AttilaTheMum.wordpress.com
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Four
FAVORITE CHILD if applicable* (we’re joking*) Depends what day it is
DAY JOB Bookkeeper and owner of www.balancesheets.ca
RELATIONSHIP STATUS Married, to Brian
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
We’ve taken a pretty traditional route. I was a stay-a- home mother for 15 years till my youngest started kindergarten. In that time I did some babysitting and some bookkeeping work from home. Since I’ve gone back to working outside of the home, I’ve either worked part-time or have been my own boss, so that I could be the one to take the kids to medical appointments, or stay home with them when they’re sick. Brian has the steady 9 to 5 job and has always been the main provider. We’re both fine with that as we’ve always been in agreement that being a mother is my first priority.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
Probably when my third child graduated high school. Although I’m proud of all of them, watching my third walk across the stage brought waves of emotion, knowing that we had all made it this far. There really was a time when I thought we wouldn’t. I was a single parent for a few years when my oldest three were very, very young. It was an incredibly difficult journey, made worse by being in a foreign country with no family near.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Wow, this is hard. Not because I can’t pinpoint the absolutely worst moment, but because most people who know me now didn’t know me then—and it takes courage for me to talk about it.
My worst parenting moment was gathering up my three young children and fleeing to a spot in a woman’s shelter that the police had arranged for me. It was my oldest child’s 5th birthday. I was determined to make sure her party went ahead before we left. My best girlfriend led the party games while I packed upstairs. As soon as the last guest left, we put our suitcases, the remaining birthday cake and one gift in the car. I can still see a musical ballerina jewelery box on top of the dresser in our room at the shelter. We got out 45 minutes before the partner I was running from came home from work.
For a few years, nowhere was safe for us as we moved between friends’ houses trying to stay one step ahead of him. We eventually settled somewhere relatively safe and began to heal. The impact that situation had on my life and that of my children will always be with us.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
Over the last 23 years I’ve learned to love and give sacrificially and fight fiercely on behalf of those I love. I learned how to go it alone and that giving up was never an option. I really think a lot of the skills I gained through parenting in tough times have played a big part in my success in running my own business. My clients know I’m dependable, determined and take ownership of everything I’m involved in.
As my dear husband, who’s a big Lord of the Rings fan likes to say, I fought the Orcs and returned to The Shire taller and more fearless.
There’s not much that scares me these days.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
When we got married, I already had three children. Our son was born 9 months and two weeks after our wedding. Brian went from being a 37 year old bachelor to a father of four in less than a year. Fourteen years later, he’s still recovering from the shock. Either that or he’s milking it. Running kids to choir/band/jobs…teaching them to ride bikes/drive cars has meant there really hasn’t been a lot of time for our relationship. We’re holding out for the empty nest!
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
Brian has a lot of patience and is a great teacher. I’m much more likely to get frustrated when the kids don’t get something. All math homework and most driving instruction has been passed to him throughout the years. He has ADD though, and his short-term memory can be awful. I call it his “Etch-a-Sketch brain” – one shake of his head and it’s gone.
DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?
A couple of the kids have learning disabilities and/or ADD. That can mean a lot of herding to keep people on task. I’m a bit like a border collie some days.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your life as a parent?
Back when I had little babies and life was about nursing and toilet training and getting them to sleep, I really thought I knew what it meant to be a parent. It really helped to share with other parents at playgroup/nursery/soccer practice.
I know from my own experience, and that of friends, that there will be times when it really hurts to be the parents of teenagers or adults. I wish I could still hang out with others and share the joys and pains.