Motherhood a meaningful challenge for Salvos parenting program volunteer
By KIRRALEE NICOLLE
Many mothers need extra support to thrive as parents when facing difficult relationships, behavioural issues or financial strain, says a Salvation Army volunteer.
Children and Parenting Support Service (CapSS) volunteer Michelle Hobbs first connected with The Salvation Army when she was homeschooling her daughter during COVID-19 lockdowns. She was looking for support to handle the extra workload. Now she is giving back to the same community that assisted her.
The Salvation Army CapSS program provides support to families in the areas of Melton and Wyndham with children up to 12 years old, offering evidence-based training for parents in strategies to strengthen relationships, increase connection and reduce incidence of family breakdown.
Michelle, a mother of two, said six months into her daughter starting prep, lockdowns began and her daughter could not understand why her mother had to be her teacher. As a single mother, Michelle said she found this difficult.
“Then I fell across the Salvos and their parenting courses online,” she said. “I thought, this is good. This will help me fill in an hour or so and get some ideas on how to just deal with everyday life.”
Michelle said she then did every course she could with CapSS, including courses on bringing up great kids, cyber safety and security, food and eating and talking to your children.
She is now serving as a CapSS volunteer by assisting with support groups for financial literacy, lunchbox ideas and ways for parents to connect with others in their community.
Michelle said that for her, being a mother was about staying positive, despite the challenges. She said it was important to remember that kids were changing all the time.
“Know that it’s just today, and tomorrow’s just around the corner,” she said. “It gives me a good challenge and a good sense of worth knowing that I’m giving effort. It might be small steps, but they’re in the right direction.”
Michelle said many mothers came to the CapSS program to find a safe space where they were supported by other women who understood the challenges they were facing with behavioural changes, financial strain and partners who may not understand their needs.
“It's good to have that space where they can all come and vent,” she said.