So I’ve been thinking of something a bit different to post on my blog and I came up with the idea of ‘interviewing’ / getting to know some other parents / special guardians accounts. So I put up a poll on my instagram stories and 87 of you said you’d be interested in this. I then had a few recommendations of who they’d like to see interviewed and a load of dms saying they’d love to be involved.
When @notyour_averagefamily messaged me saying they’re up for it I just couldn’t say no. When writing the post for my stories, I’m not going to lie I was secretly hoping they’d be up for it. They’re an account that I’ve followed for a while now and speak to quite a bit and I honestly think they’re all round amazing and I’d love for other people to check them out and/or get to know them a bit more. So here goes.
Can you tell us a bit about you / your family / background?
Just over two years ago Uncle’s sister passed away suddenly, leaving two children without a Mummy. After a very in-depth discussion we decided that we would like to be responsible for our Niece and Nephew. The following year, we legally became their Special Guardians (which is basically a step below adoption).
How old were you both when you became special guardians? And how old were your niece and nephew?
Uncle was 27, Aunt was 25, our Niece was 5 and Nephew was 4.
How did you find the transition from being child free to having 2 young children to care for?
Very different to say the least! We were living with Aunts family at the time, so had to rearrange the house so our Niece and Nephew could have a bedroom. Living at home still really helped us though as we were able to have support 24/7 and were able to maintain regular date nights (something we felt was very important). We have a lot of support from both sides of the family which really helps.
What do you find the hardest about being special guardians?
Aunt: For me, the most difficult thing is feeling under pressure. It’s not that anyone makes me feel that way, I just feel all I want to do is make their Mummy proud and I wonder if I’m doing that. I also feel pressure for our relationship to be perfect which is just ridiculous considering what we have been through!
Uncle: I don’t find anything hard about being a special guardian, but the hardest thing for me mentally is worrying about how our Niece and Nephew are going to deal with everything they have been through when they get older. I also find working full time really difficult but I think that’s more of a parenting thing than a special guardian thing!
Do you often talk about niece and nephews mum? How is this conversation handled?
We talk to them about their Mummy all the time. We do this generally in conversation, things like “mummy liked this didn’t she” and also more in depth. The in depth conversations usually come after something specific, like reading a book or watching something on the tv. We are always very open to all conversations and talk with our Niece and Nephew as honestly and openly as we can. We’ve always let them know that the emotions they are feeling are okay and that we have those same emotions too.
How do you / the children cope with grief?
Dealing with our grief is something that changes from a day to day basis. But in general, open communication really helps us all. Knowing that it is okay to express our emotions is really important and also ensure that their Mummy’s death isn’t ignored or shied away from. It’s part of our journey and talking about it helps us to process our grief.
Do the children see / know their dad?
Their “Dad” has never chosen to be a part of their lives, before or after their Mummy died. He didn’t attend any of our court proceedings. They have asked question about him and we have answered these honestly.
Do you still get date nights / time for yourselves / each other?
We try to. It’s hard to prioritise it sometimes. But we make a conscious effort to go on one city break a year just the two of us. When we lived with aunts family it was much easier as we could pop out whenever our hearts desire. We don’t really have many date nights and instead tend to use babysitting for doing things with our friends.
Did your friendship with your friends change? Did you lose any friends?
Not at all. If anything, our close friends became closer. Everyone is so understanding of our situation and loves our Niece and Nephew. If anything, it was our Niece and Nephew’s mums “friends” that fizzled away. Her close friends obviously didn’t. But there were a lot of people who, after she died, were apparently very close to her… we hear absolutely nothing off them now.
Do you want children of your own?
Yes, definitely. But that isn’t something we want to rush. There’s a lot we need to consider. Even though it will be our first child, it will actually be like having our third! So the timing need to be right. We would also like to a buy a house first before we think about having a child of our own.
I’ve loved doing this blog post with @notyour_averagefamily and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.
If you don’t already follow them their instagram account is @notyour_averagefamily where you will find their personal blog in their bio, and mine is @_erinhaf .
Thank you for reading