Opokua Britton

Opokua Britton about when it won't be as you thought so

Opokua Britton is a nurse, doula and hypnobirthing instructor. She can call herself a writer and she has the podcast Okrystat with her sister Asabea Britton - and has several projects in the works! For me, Opokua is a great parental role model and inspires in many different ways on the account @curlydoula on Instagram.

I spoke with Opokua about parenting, feelings and things that don't always turn out as planned.

Hi Opokua! Would you like to tell us a little about what you do?

I am a nurse first and foremost and then I am a doula. And then I'm a hypnobirthing instructor and have the podcast Okrystat with my sister!

What does the family look like - how old are the children?

I have a husband and then I have a 16-year-old bonus child and a 6-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.
Opokua Britton

"Sometimes I think it's so obvious that you should be happy, that you think it's like the basic feeling, but that's certainly not always the case"

What unexpected feelings do you experience as a parent?

I think even though I had heard about it, I wasn't really prepared for how much guilt I would have. And it came a little later, now that the son was about one, then I felt it.

Yes really, it's one of those things you hear about but can't really absorb until you're there yourself..

No.. you hope to avoid it, of course, but...

Mm, that will probably happen to everyone, no matter how "right" or "wrong" you do it.. Do you talk about feelings with the children at home? In what different ways do you do it?

Well, with my daughter we have used the emotion cards quite a lot. Now she will start school. She talked yesterday about how it feels completely sick that she only has two weeks left of preschool. Then I asked "Where does it feel somewhere?" and I try to be open to being angry, to be sad, and I try to be permissive for both the difficult and the fun feelings. But even if you are angry and sad, you must not be rude or mean to anyone. So we talk about that, and since the one-year-old there hasn't been much conversation with, I can't say..haha
Opokua Britto

"I wanted to show him that 'I see you and I love you and right now we have a different focus but I'm looking forward to it being more you and me"

That communication perhaps takes place more in other ways.

Exactly. And with the 16-year-old, it's a little more difficult now anyway because he's hardly at home, but trying to show that if he's sad, it's calm..it's okay to cry..and a lot of this about being honest with what you feel, especially towards yourself. I have tried to press a little extra on that!

What do you wish that talking about feelings can give the children?

I think it gives security. That you don't try to run away from your feelings and I think, when you're sad or angry - that it's considered something bad that you should try to avoid. You can't avoid it, of course, and you learn something from the difficult feelings. Trying to be comfortable in "It sucks now"..not trying to escape from it. You notice after a while that it lets go of itself.. and then maybe it comes back but not as intensely as when you try to avoid it, because then it's simmering inside you all the time.. That's what I think, like yes..dare to feel your feelings! Simply! And also the good feelings! Sometimes I think it's so obvious that you should be happy, that you think it's like the basic feeling, but it's definitely not always like that..and sort of appreciate when you're happy and accept when you're not happy.

Speaking of feelings! I understand you and your husband got married recently, but it was the third time! It sounds so wonderful – to celebrate love with weddings several times! I think that we are often quite bad at showing what we feel or at celebrating the big emotions. Do you want to tell?

Ja jag tror att dels så vet jag att min man avskyr sin födelsedag, så då ville jag göra något på hans födelsedag som inte hade med själva födelsedagen att göra så att han skulle kunna ha något positivt att tänka på när den väl kommer.. Och i år har vi varit gifta i tio år så då kändes det här ju perfekt – jag överraskar honom med ett bröllop och det känns som att det var extra viktigt att göra något fint för det som har varit - med båda barnen..första året.. det blir så mycket fokus på barnen och att försöka få ihop någon typ av vardag, ännu mer nu när barnen är fler, att liksom bara hålla sig flytande på något sätt. Att ta hand om förhållandet har inte varit något som jag har känt att jag kan prioritera, på något sätt så litar jag på att vi kommer ut på andra sidan och att det blir bra sen. Jag ville visa honom att ”Jag ser dig och jag älskar dig och just nu har vi ett annat fokus men jag ser fram emot att det ska vara mera du och jag”.

So nice and also maybe rare that we take the time to do such things..

Yes exactly! It was a lot of work and such, but once he got out of the taxi and you could see how happy he was! Then just, damn this was the best thing I've ever done!

I also think it's so good to show the kids that you actually take the time and do this!

It's so true. I think my daughter thought it was so funny that I had arranged this. Hope she will remember it later when she gets older..I think she will.
Opokua Britton

"Just as I work a lot on being patient with my children, I work on being patient with myself."

Yes, and regardless of whether a clear memory exists or not, the feeling of what has been given is there.

Yes exactly!

We have met a couple of times and I experience you as so nice, cool and calm in your parenting. Can you recognize yourself in that picture and have you always been like that?

I think when I had my daughter, I thought this was going really well! And then, of course, there have been dips over the years.. when you felt that "but God, am I doing the right thing, am I doing what is best for my children?"

There was a short period maybe when she was 2-3 - then I felt that maybe I'm bad, maybe I'm not doing so well... but it was still quite short. I try to remember, I do my best, I can't do more than that. And if I've done something that I don't think is good, then I also usually try to tell my children that. Although it's been a while, because sometimes it takes a while to realize that this didn't turn out well. That you say it: "I apologize, this did not turn out as I would have liked".

Mm show humanity ..

Yes exactly and remember to tell me if there is something that doesn't feel right. I think you have to be patient. Just as I work a lot on being patient with my children, I work on being patient with myself. You can't do everything right, that's just the way it is!

Finally, do you have something you want to add about everything we have talked about? Children, parenting, feelings ..

I think you want to tell yourself that..well, sometimes your own feelings won't be what you want and that just when you have a child, that it can be okay not to feel like just 100% exuberant love. But you can feel that this was a lot of work! Most of the time, that love comes later. And that sometimes you get angry at your children, you feel sad for them - that's also okay. But that you try to react the way you want them to react. I think it's okay that I get mad at my kids, and that I say I'm mad. That it shouldn't be so dangerous for a parent to show emotions. I think it's okay, but do it in a respectful way. It means that you don't shout or do something that you yourself don't want someone to do to you.. Showing your feelings in a respectful way - I don't think anyone loses from that. That we should refrain from crying in front of our children, for example, how will they then be able to see that it is okay to be sad?

Yes, it probably depends a little on the times we live in as well, how you should be as a parent, "be this way and be that way!" Everyone is equally sure of their cause. But who should I listen to..

Exactly and so I think that you don't always have to find the answers elsewhere. Try to start with yourself. What do I feel is right? After all, you know your children best and yourself best, so start from that first and not some Instagram profile or some parenting book. First think about how you feel inside, what you think is right and then you can be inspired by others.

Exactly, that's where we have to get to, to not read everything as the only truth..

That's how it is. It's not easy.. first child, and you just feel "How the hell did people fix this?!" and then you realize after a while... no, no one is going to fix it...

Yes! The first mistake you make as a parent, you think there is a general solution, a recipe..

Exactly..and as I said, you can be inspired by others, not controlled!

Opokua Britton -SOMETIMES it wON'T be as one imagined