Posted by: eileenandrory | October 7, 2010

Of Anchors and Havens

I run a parenting course every so often through the Parents Centre that I volunteer with.  It’s a very structured course, not of my design, but I do support the goals and content of the course.  Coincidentally it’s called ‘Parenting With Purpose’.  No, I didn’t steal the name for the blog (and my company) from that course, it just kind of happened!  The thing I most love about the course is that it’s very different from your average parenting course.  Lots of parenting courses out there start out with the child and look at the problems that the child is exhibiting.  I think that’s back to front.  In PWP we look at the parent first.  What their needs are, are those being met, what do they think about themselves?  Then we move on to the relationship they have with their siginificant other and whether those needs are being met, are they communicating with their partner, are they meeting their partner’s needs – do they have a solid foundation on which to build a family?  Once we have dealt with all of that, and that’s the first 2-3 modules of a 6 week course, we start talking about the kids.

Some people struggle with this.  Some people want to launch straight into things and talk about why little Sarah and Johnny won’t put their clothes on, or listen, or won’t play nicely etc etc.  Most people don’t stop to think about they way that THEY parent, not about what their children are doing.  Because, in this course, we believe that you can actually prevent about 80% of the problems through a good solid family foundation that starts with you and your relationship.

Why do I bring this up?  And why is this blog entitled ‘Anchors and Havens’ when I haven’t even spoken about anything remotely nautical?  Well, as is often the case, you can talk about something, and read about something a lot, but it is only when you EXPERIENCE that something that everything coalesces together.  I was lucky enough to have that happen recently.

If you have read other posts in this blog you will know that life hasn’t been terrifically easy recently, hubby was facing redundancy with no job in sight and I was suffering from (and still am to a certain extent) depression.  The foundation of our family was receiving a right battering from an extremely unseasonal storm and there was no relief in sight.  Until one day.  An ordinary day when I stood in the kitchen, making dinner, and could not help but smile.  It was one of those real smiles, the ones where the very cells in your body are happy.  It’s a smile that extends from the corners of your mouth down to your toes and makes you forget whatever it was that has been bugging you.  What was the cause of such a smile?  To be honest I have no idea of the specifics.  I don’t know what hubby had said, I simply know that he had said something and had been saying something amusing for a while.  It was genuinely funny, to me, and I assume him.  For all I can remember probably no one else in the world would have found that moment funny.  But that was precisely the point.  I felt like I can only imagine someone feels after being starved of food and water for over a day and I was lapping it up.

It clicked.  In that moment.  I have told many people that he is my anchor.  I tend to flit about and go off on tangents and I always held this idea that he was my anchor.  In that moment I realised that not only was I right but I was also horribly wrong.  An anchor has a sense of imprisonment about it, being able to go only so far and no further.  He is more than that.   Sure, he does hold me and tries to make sure that I am safe, in that way that only he can.  He is also getting much better at listening, and not jumping in with that ‘male’ solution.  However he is much much more than that.  He is my haven from the storm and only HE feels like the safe place, the true safe place in all this turmoil.  My haven.   The place I can return to, battered and bruised from the storm to rest before I venture out again.  In that moment I realised that he is the ONLY person in the world who can make me feel that way.  The only person who can make me smile like that and the only person I can talk to like that.  Sure, my children make me happy in their own peculiar little way, but they cannot comprehend some of my innermost thoughts, parts of me will always remain a mystery to them, shrouded in a ‘Mummy’ aura that I wouldn’t want to, and shouldn’t, destroy.

The course came home to me.  A truth which I had read a while ago also finally settled into place.  You have to love your partner more than your children.  You simply have to.  If you can’t and if you don’t, then what sort of foundation do you have to build something on?  How can your foundation handle the weight of your children if it is not stronger than them?

In that smile, in that moment, I found my haven from the storm.  The place I can wait to rediscover myself and the one place I know that I am truly safe.



  1. An amazing article and yes our partners are for life and our children are ours for a limited time so we must build those foundations strong so that when our children leave our sides we still have our friend, lover our rock next to us

  2. I cannot agree more – the best gift you can give your kids is a strong and loving relationship with your partner. It is easy to lose sight of putting your marriage first when you have really small children, but it is so essential to continuing to function effectively as a parent. Well said!

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