Every week I feature an interview with a blogger, so that whether you know of them or not, you can get to know them a little better! This week we meet the lovely Hannah from Hannah Meadows. Thanks so much for taking part Hannah 🙂
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Hannah, I live with my husband Pete and daughters Joanna (9) and Charlotte (8) in the south of England. We adopted Joanna and Charlotte when they were 4 and 3, and they have additional needs (mainly mental health and behavioural issues) as a result of abuse and neglect in their birth family, so a lot of our time is spent in getting them the help they need to cope with daily life. I love them to bits but parenting them is very hard work – quite often they are very resistant to being parented at all. They have violent meltdowns when they are overwhelmed or frightened, and these can be triggered by all kinds of things, some of which we don’t see coming or can’t prevent.
When I’m not parenting and doing the admin for the girls’ needs, I work as a writer and copy-editor, and blog at hannahmeadows.com.
What do you like doing to be you, when you are not parenting, working (if you do), or blogging?
I love the TV show Sherlock and my idea of fun is reading fanfiction, attending conventions, visiting filming locations, and listening to podcasts about it, generally geeking out a bit. I met lots of the cast when they were filming series 4 in North Gower Street (which doubles as Baker Street for the programme) and barely slept afterwards because I was so excited!
I also love reading nonfiction – is it odd to confess to loving self-help books? I love books on creativity and time management and lifestyle stuff.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I consider it a success any time I’m able to help or encourage someone else. I’ve had some lovely comments about how my blog has helped people, and I’m really pleased to be able to do that. Just recently it was ranked as Feedspot’s number one UK adoption blog, and Tots 100 listed it as one of their ‘10 amazing adoption blogs’ – both in the same week, which was so encouraging.
From your own experiences, what do you find the hardest part of parenting and what is the easiest/most rewarding part?
As an adoptive/SEND parent, it’s not just the parenting itself that’s hard (although that certainly has plenty of challenges because of the way early trauma has wired their brains). It’s the relentlessness of the admin – we fill in forms, send emails, and attend meetings constantly to try to get the right support in place to meet their needs, and getting on to the right waiting lists, getting seen, getting one set of professionals to talk to another… it’s exhausting and often frustrating.
The most rewarding part is all the little ‘breakthrough’ moments – hearing them read and be excited about books, having another parent say they appreciate the way they looked after another child, seeing their imaginations and creativity, having them voice their appreciation about something… those things are a complete joy.
Parenting in itself is no mean feat; how do you juggle everything you need to in order to get everything done on a daily basis?
I don’t! Things get dropped all over the place on a regular basis. I’m not super-human! I have a lot of reminders on my phone and I use the iCalendar for everything, which help me stay more-or-less in control. We also use the school’s breakfast club so we can start our working day a bit earlier, and the children are almost always in bed by 7.00pm, which helps give us a bit of time for unwinding or catching up with emails and forms in the evenings.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
I had a disappointing experience on a course for adoptive parents that was supposed to cover self-care but stopped quite a long way short of the depth I felt was needed. I did some reading on the subject, and couldn’t find much that tackled the specific needs of adopters, who are doing particularly challenging and intense parenting and often managing various sets of professional involvement in their children’s lives too. I saw that there was a need for self-care resources for adoptive parents, along with various simple documents that make things easier, like a template for what on earth you’re supposed to say when you write to your child’s birth family, or tell a new teacher about your child’s additional needs. So I decided to start trying to fill that gap. I also write reviews of the various books and other products that come our way too, to help others evaluate whether these things could help their families.
Tell me a bit about your blog?
The purpose of my blog is to help adoptive parents: equipping them with resources to make their lives easier so that they can help their families thrive. It includes interviews, book reviews, advice on self-care, printable resources (such as template letters and school holiday schedules) and signposting to other sources of help. I host a linky where adoptive parents who have experienced child-to-parent violence can link up their blog posts about it, or just read about others’ experiences in order to feel less alone.
What do you want your blog to achieve and where do you hope to see it go as it grows?
I hope that it becomes increasingly widely known among the adoption community as a resource hub. I want it to continue to grow in usefulness and relevance as I grow in personal experience and understanding – my children’s teenage years are not far off and I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a big learning curve!
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a blog?
I’d suggest that they should be really clear about what they want to write about and who their intended readers are. I’d recommend using WordPress and going self-hosted fairly early on so that they have more freedom to make it what they want. And I’d encourage them to join a blogging community like Aby Moore’s The Revolution Inner Circle where they can keep on learning and growing and being supported. I’m always picking up tips from Aby’s courses and advice, and others’ comments in the group.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
2. Steven Moffat, because I have so many questions about Sherlock series 4 and the directions they took the characters.
Tell me three random facts about you
1. I own a coffee cup that was used as a prop in filming the Sherlock episode ‘His Last Vow’, in the scene where Sherlock and John get into the lift at Magnussen’s office.
2. I love mountains, and especially the Swiss Alps. Visiting the Reichenbach Falls and Grindelwald in one day is pretty hard to beat.
3. My favourite season is autumn: log fires, blankets, jumpers, bonfire night, the colours of the leaves, and sausage hotpot in the slow cooker making the house smell delicious. It makes me happy just thinking about it!