As part of the Meet the Mums in Bath Star series, I recently chatting with parenting coach, Madeleine Woolgar about food, musical theatre and what we both love about Bath.
You may have seen parenting coach, Madeleine, popping up in the Mums (and More) in Bath group doing lives to give parents help and support over the last few years. You may also be a member of Madeleine's Facebook group Heart-led Mums for Strong-Willed Children and be familiar with her great advice there. In this interview we had the opportunity to chat about Madeleine's life away from work and get to know the strong-willed child whisperer a bit better.
About Madeleine the parenting coach:
''If you have a tenacious, determined, spirited little one and maybe you have battles, or tantrums, or negotiations, then I am really wonderful at helping Mums firstly, to understand that kind of behaviour, but also reduce it in a really heart-led way by really nourishing and prioritising your relationship and your connection with your child.''
I have shared in the group several times that I have worked with Madeleine when she gave me some sessions in exchange for talking about my experiences and introducing her to the members of our community. I was in desperate need of some help to stop feeling so overwhelmed in my parenting and to reduce the shouting that was going on in our home. I worked one-to-one with Madeleine but she also works with two parents together, or in groups.
Who is Madeleine Woolgar?
Madeleine Woolgar grew up in Oxford, often being teased for only living in archtecturally pleasing cities, having now made her home here in Bath. She moved to North Somerset for work about seven years ago, using Bath as her hub. After falling in love with the city, Madeleine moved to Bath and set up her base for her coaching business here in 2018.
With a background is in autism, Madeleine has worked with families for over 10 years all over the world. She quit her 'regular job' to go and live in Australia and work with families who had autistic children. Whist working with these families she realised that these incredibly tenacious, loving parents, who had all of these tools to use, were finding it really hard to apply and utilise the skills they had learnt. They were exhausted and drained from supporting everybody. It was then that she realised that she wanted to support parents so that they could put their love for their child centre stage and actually be able to cope with all of the challenging behaviours they were experiencing. As she began to coach these parents she realised that there was a broader audience beyond autism and that her work could help all parents with the challenging moments they face.
''In your day-to-day life, if your child's having a huge tantrum and you start feeling uncomfortable and frustrated, there's no point you having a book on your shelf that might tell you the 'five steps to tantruming reduction.' What you need is the tools to understand how to be calm in those moments so that you can actually have the space to utilise the things that you are taught.''
Madeleine now works with parents all over the world from her home office in Bath and conducts many of her sessions online via Zoom. When the pandemic hit this meant that she was already used to working online. We talked about the value of technology and how it helps Madeleine to work with parents where they are without the logistics of arranging childcare and time in their day...
An interview for Mums (and More) in Bath wouldn't be complete without asking our Mums in Bath Star what they love about Bath. We had a good giggle about cycling to see an accupuncturist...
Along with so many of us, Madeleine loves the wonderful food on offer in Bath. We chatted about the fab variety available to suit everyone's tastes. Madeleine's top tips include vegetarian delights, cake and pizza...
When she is not eating, Madeleine is a self identifying 'musical theatre nerd' who loves performing at the Theatre Royal. We chatted about how her love for musical theatre led her to live in Bath and feel rooted in the community here..
The sense of community that Madeleine felt when she moved to Bath is one of the things I love about Bath too and why I do what I do running the Mums (and More) in Bath community. We talked about how quickly people seem to find their tribe when they move to the city and how strong a sense of community there can be here....
At this point in the interview we were interrupted by a couple of little people. I ended by asking Madeleine what one piece of advice she would give to Mums (and More).
''I think we feel like if we reach out for help, in some way it means that we've messed up or that we're doing something wrong or that we've failed. I actually really believe that asking for help is a sign of strength. Whether that is reaching out to a friend, or reaching out to a parent, or reaching out to a professional like me, giving yourself permission to do is a real sign of strength.''