celebrating fathers and strengthening father engagement
one parent’s story
Children’s Trust: Strengthening Families
One Parent’s Story
Maggie Britt, Children’s Trust Parent
I think I was a parent that felt trapped and not knowing what to do, lost, and not knowing how to raise my kids.
Kathleen Hardie, Valuing Our Children, Children’s Trust Program
Maggie was a really good parent, but she didn’t know she was that good a parent. She was this young, fairly inexperienced, very sweet, very shy young woman.
I felt like I was doing a lot of things wrong. My oldest son I had at 19. I felt alone and frustrated and felt like I didn’t have appropriate expectations for him. He was my colicky baby, temper tantrum taker, and really my challenge. I was finding myself yelling a lot and spanking and I didn’t want to do that.
Maggie was a participant in a parenting program that we did, one of the early nurturing programs.
They were talking about appropriate expectations and really up until that point I really felt like my oldest son was doing things on purpose, which sounds stupid now. But I felt like he was doing things on purpose just to make me mad.
So I went through my “this is what 1-year-olds do, this is what 2-year-olds do, this is what 3-year-olds do.” And I looked over at Maggie, and there were tears coming down Maggie’s face. And Maggie said something to me at that time when I turned to her and said, “what’s wrong Maggie?” that has really shaped all of my time at Valuing Our Children. She looked at me and she said, “I thought he did those things because I was a bad mother and he hated me for it.” It totally took my breath away and I looked at her and I realized that this is a woman who has a huge heart.
Families are such messy business. There’s all these dynamics in a family. Kids aren’t easy, and parenting isn’t easy, and history isn’t easy. All of that stuff, and I just feel like they were really there for me.
Having Maggie in my life has made me realize why we do this work. There are a lot of Maggies out there. There are a lot of people who have enormous hearts and what they need is information.
I started volunteering in the kid’s room and loved it and my youngest son Dillon was a baby at the time, so I’d bring him with me and we would do the playgroups together.
She ran playgroups for many years. And then Maggie became the facilitator of the same nurturing program that she had been in on that night.
I love working with parents and that’s my passion is that I always wanted to be the best parent that I could be. And that’s what I want to give back to young parents. I know they want to be the best parent they can be and to really be part of that and to really think that I have a role in helping them be responsible, reliable, loving, caring parents is what I live for.