Julie Helen: Engaging in 'Acts of Kindness' as we raise our kids

Julie Helen praises an Act of Kindness page which is a great way of reaching out when in need of something, and connecting with others in these difficult times
Julie Helen: Engaging in 'Acts of Kindness' as we raise our kids

Logging on to access an 'Act of Kindness'. Picture: Stock

THERE’S a lot of paraphernalia that goes with a young child. As a new mum, I have tried to keep all the “stuff” that follows our son to a minimum.

As the stages progress and he’s starting to eat and move, he needs bits and pieces to help him along. He loves his high chair. It’s a cheap and cheerful one that was handed down by a good friend and widely touted as one of the best around. It can’t be bought easily in Cork though as it’s not an Irish brand so knowing someone with one was a real win.

I was extra lucky with this high chair because I thought getting a growing young lad in and out of any contraption at a height from my wheelchair would be very difficult if not impossible.

I’m learning that I underestimated what I would be able to do in terms of lifting and hauling as a parent.

We have grown together and it has been a gradual process of figuring it all out. The high chair we have is neat and the perfect size to slot in nicely at the corner of the table.

The next phase for us will be that Ricky will need to go to a childminder while I work so I set about finding another high chair for that house.

I know many families have gone through these transitions, people are doing it all the time. It’s all new to me. Before I had a child, I bought what I needed in shops or online and never really thought about it too deeply. If I was to buy everything I “should” have for a baby, I’d be stoney broke!

I saw an ad on a local “Act of Kindness” webpage I follow. My cousin suggested I start keeping an eye on it when I became a mum because people often swapped really good quality baby equipment. I was sceptical that I would ever find anything suitable for us and was conscious that there are people who need kindness a lot more than I do.

Then I started watching the interactions and I realised that it was people living in my local area, reaching out and connecting in the online space and I could see that lots of local families were benefiting from it.

Especially in our Covid 19 environment, we need to be able to find ways to communicate with other human beings and realise that the business of helping all of our children grow up has not stopped.

I sent the girl that had posted about the high chair a message asking how much she wanted for it. Sometimes people ask for some money, particularly on expensive items so I didn’t want to assume anything. She was willing to pass it on to another mum for free, she had used it for both her own two children and would be happy for others to get use out of it rather than dumping it.

I met the girl’s dad the following day in a car park, he put the high chair in my boot and that was that. We will make sure we pass it on again when we are finished with it. It was such a great feeling knowing that with the cycle, many families could benefit from the one item. It also meant I didn’t have to buy more plastic and the other girl doesn’t have junk she doesn’t want or need building up in her home either. I’m sure  there’s plenty of webpages covering all areas of Cork, it’s just a matter of tapping into the community both virtual and real and being part it.

Julie Helen writes a weekly column in WoW! in The Echo every Wednesday.

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