Episode 12: Irene
In this episode, I interview Irene who is currently studying and working out how to balance that with parenting her son and also being a carer for her elderly mother. She is living with the ever-present heaviness of grief after the loss of her husband and we talk about the sandwich generation, trying to prepare kids for the coming years, and single parenting.
– Family of 3
– 1 parent studying part part-time
– 1 child at school
– 1 elderly parent
3:30 Made a conscious effort to get better sleep
4:20 Trying to do too much after the kids have gone to bed vs. trying to get everything done during school hours
5:10 People with different rhythms living in the same house
5:38 Who are the people in your family
6:00 Mother and carer
6:24 Management of elderly mother as opposed to doing stuff for her
8:00 The Sandwich Generation
8:42 Quite a high level of sandwich with 3 generations living in the same home
9:40 Very big load being in the sandwich generation
9:44 Mother moving in added to the load but also had advantages for a single mother
10:14 8 am lectures on a school day
10:54 Another adult in the house who can provide child care, increasing adult interaction
11:24 Is extended family living in the same house a German thing?
12:46 Balancing study load, ability to still function OK, single parenting payment, university minimum requirements
14:00 Good balance about 12 hours on campus and 12 hours off campus
14:12 Feel like I need to put in extra hours compared to younger students
14:50 Very age diverse friendship group who are very caring
15:10 How to Uni hours and school hours line up?
15:24 Try to make it as 9-3 as I can but there are early and late lectures
15:50 Maximise every minute during school hours for off-campus work
16:00 Very little weekend study
16:40 The 2:30 lecture finishing time and school pickup
17:18 Parenting superpowers
17:20 Listening to my son
17:38 Children’s behaviours related to children not feeling heard
18:06 Making children feel like they are being heard is harder with 3 kids because there are so many immovable elements
18:40 The only child who doesn’t long for siblings
19:50 The superpower of independent play
20:00 The benefit of being a bit bored
20:48 The cardboard box is a great leveller
22:10 Husbands parenting superpower – patience!
22:26 Have less ability to be patient as a single parent living with a lot of pressure
24:34 Emotionally mature child, a big naturally and a bit due to circumstance
25:42 Growing up with responsibility
26:58 Can have responsibilities and still enjoy being a child
28:06 Using screen time differently – a shared activity instead of a distraction
28:50 Different daily rhythms between mother and son
29:52 Pushing out bedtime impacting on my time
30:24 How does that work with a teenager
30:58 Is the compliant child going to rebel more when they are a teenager?
31:54 Giving reasons behind the rules
32:40 Also need to be able to take things seriously even when there isn’t a reason given
33:38 Peer pressure and teenagers
34:12 If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it
34:32 Mistakes are a part of learning
35:18 This time is a good playground for fleshing out learning about the peer pressure issues
36:26 Give them some tools now to use later when the stakes are higher
38:08 What works well
38:12 Routine and structure
40:30 All things hammock
41:20 Has to be between trees – NO STANDS
42:56 What are the downsides
43:10 No one of my generation in the house
43:40 Having to make every decision myself
43:50 Complex and difficult relationship with mother
44:10 Trying to please someone else
44:36 Children being proud of themselves not looking to make others proud
46:46 Having that self-confidence and not looking to peers and others for approval
47:00 If you care too much what your peers think of you it can lead into making poor decisions
47:20 Health issues to do with long-term stress
47:54 No one has my back
48:36 Underestimating stress and the effect it is having
49:04 Only when the stress goes away you realise how big it was
49:58 Need to live, not just exist. When health issues stop you living it becomes quite an issue
50:14 The joy I get from study and spending time with my son
50:42 Next steps?
51:00 No changes now thank you!
51:50 Change is inevitable and not that far away
52:32 Planning for a future alone, and the restrictions that puts on things
53:22 Any advice
53:24 Don’t overload yourself
54:04 Gaining knowledge vs. gaining good marks
54:16 Missing children stuff from trying to do too much
54:48 Don’t miss those years with your kids because they disappear way too quick
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