It’s been an exceptionally busy week because on top of the usual activities there has been a Safer Recruitment course, two Governors’ meetings and my ‘Talk’ to deliver.
I am more than aware of the pressure that this puts on Rolf as he is left alone ‘holding the fort’ whilst I am away from base talking ‘blah, blah’ which wont change the world and certainly wont change the beds at the B&B that we run! I can understand his displeasure when the diary becomes overloaded with Mummy’s meetings, and so appreciate his forbearance and support. Like a lot of fathers in his position, Rolf does not wish to be ‘engaged’ in strategies and considers that most consultations and committees are a waste of time. Rolf prefers to identify a problem and then solve it, without an agenda, or minutes or any other business. The male population in the world of special needs is astonishingly sparse as couples very often break up. The drive is forever to ‘bring these men to the table’, and I wish them luck, but feel that Rolf would rather eat a table that gather around one!
Notwithstanding Rolf’s mounting gloom at my engagements, I was whisked away to Tamworth to do my ‘Talk’ at the launch of the Parenting Strategy. During the journey I became increasingly troubled at Rolf’s lack of joy and knew only too well that I was causing his sadness. I missed his impersonations and one-liners and felt torn between helping the ‘cause’ and being ‘there’ for Rolf. Parenting is not easy in the best of times. The situation gave great resonance to one of the images during my presentation of Rolf feeling like his plane crash-landed into Holland (the world of special needs) and he would rather stay in the wreckage than face the challenges of this new destination.
I was congratulated on my presentation by one of the many ‘parenting professionals’ present, then quite shocked when she said that she’d feared the worst at first and wondered why they’d dragged up a “Middle-Class Mother” who knew nothing about the real world of parenting! Almost speechless at her pre-judgement I felt myself covered in embarrassment and explaining that if I had found parenting a child with additional needs difficult, then perhaps it might be even more difficult if literacy or communication is an issue. It has saddened me that such judgements could exist in the ‘caring community’ as the challenges of parenthood know no economic, social or emotional bounds.
I must remember to add this fact to my next presentation.