Sometimes, being strong means stepping back. For Rosie Bulmer, whose home is brimming with children and grandchildren—with another two new arrivals welcomed last December and in early January—being strong means allowing her children to take responsibility for raising their own children.
It is easy for family roles to become blurred when several generations live together. Rosie and her husband, Bernard, share their home with daughter, Charlene, 27, and her two children, Isiah, seven and Ataya, five, as well as their elder son, Bernard and his partner, Kahran, both 22, who have a one-year-old son (also named Bernard).
Younger son, Darby, 19, and nephew, Lance, complete the household. (The couple also has a younger daughter, Molly, 24, who lives in Laura.)
When Charlene, a single mum with three children, signed up with Strong Families last September, she invited both her parents to attend sessions with her. Since then, Rosie has also signed up as a Strong Families member.
“For myself, personally, I now understand my role as a grandmother: to take my hands off and let my daughter take responsibility for raising her children,” said Rosie. “I have learned the different roles between being a grandmother to my grandchildren, and a mother to my daughter.”
“I am a strong woman,” added Rosie, who works for Home and Community Care (HACC) Services, delivering meals to Elders in Coen. “Working one-on-one with [Strong Families consultant] Carol, I have learned to support my daughter and different ways to build a strong family.”
For Rosie, the challenge is “getting our family to pull one way and all together”. She now appreciates that communication will play a key role in helping her family achieve this goal.