When I realised that my separation was inevitable, I thought that I was well prepared to support our children. I mean, my masters’ degree in educational psychology and years of experience of working with families must be worth something, right? It did not feel like it at the time. Even though I did tons of research on managing separation, during the first year, I felt like I was just going through the motions.
I will never forget the evening when it clicked. I was reading “A Secure Base: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory” by John Bowlby in preparation for hosting a parenting workshop on attachment. Bowlby was talking about secure, nurturing, empowering parent-child relationships, and I just knew in my body that it was the last jigsaw piece I was looking for. I was determined to learn everything about secure relationships, and most importantly, to experience them. I was open to creating a kind of relationship with my children I might have never experienced in the past. I set off to mastering being a secure base for my children. I knew that they would thrive in the security of our relationship, regardless of the complications that came with the separation.
“How can I show up in this situation as a secure base for my children?” is my guiding question. Having a clear focus helps me to cut through the distractions and overwhelm. It informs all my decisions from how I show at the handovers to how much sleep I aim to get every night. I’m not saying I am nailing it all the time, but it is hugely helpful to have this as my North Star to aim for.
Even though it might sound counter-intuitive – I realised that stepping more fully into being a secure base is not about becoming a superhuman. It is written in our DNA to do the best we can for our children. The process of discovering my version of a secure base feels like freeing the part of me that it is already there, buried underneath the stress, the shoulds, the to-dos, waiting to come out and meet my children. It is like chipping away at the block of marble, letting some parts go and lovingly revealing a beautiful creation that has been there all along.
I was thinking about creating a parenting course when I heard about the Circle of Security Parenting. I could not believe my luck – a team of psychologists has already done all the leg work for me! They summarised the attachment research data that has been accumulated over the last 60 years or so and translated it into an easy-to-follow step-by-step process. I trained as a Circle of Security Parenting facilitator in 2014 and never looked back.
Helping children thrive is my life-long passion. I bring all my qualifications and experience to the Circle of Security Parenting courses I facilitate. You can download my CV here.
Una provides strong support, gently and without judgement. This, coupled with her deep understanding of parenting and children, has helped me to unravel my thoughts and emotions, from which I have gained clarity and understanding that has helped me to parent with more ease and presence.