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Our Faces of Parenting: the Goodbody family

"Hello, I’m Van Goodbody and I live with my husband Mark in Swansea, with our 2-year old daughter Lily.

Mark grew up in Bridgend and we met in Vietnam. We had two weddings – one in Swansea and another in Vietnam.

We’re both working parents – Mark works in computer software and I work in finance – but we try to juggle our days to spend as much time with Lily as possible, so that we don’t miss out on her development.

I am originally from Vietnam so I think it would be nice for Lily to be able to learn some Vietnamese language and culture. Lily speaks both English and Vietnamese, sometimes in the same sentence, and already has a really strong personality. I remember when Lily went to crèche for the first time it was very emotional for all of us – but she was actually better than me about it. After spending so much time together on maternity leave, it’s really tough to just hand her over to someone else to look after, and I still miss her when I’m in work, but she quite enjoys it and the best reward is when you go to pick her up and she comes over and gives you a great big hug.

Over time we’ve learned to cope with her more challenging behaviour by using distraction techniques, staying positive, and showing love and affection, especially when we’re both tired.

We’ve had quite a few tantrums and some of them have been pretty bad. At one time I remember calling the health visitor and asking if all this screaming was normal but she told me it was and that lots of parents go through it.

It’s not always easy being parents and I see it as the most challenging but rewarding job you can have.

It is definitely a big learning curve for parents and we’ve relied on advice from a lot of people, especially our parents, other family, friends and colleagues at work. I had a very good health visitor as well, who was really helpful in the early days. She told me not to worry about the housework and all those little jobs as they can all wait. She said; “Lily is the most important thing in the world right now and you need to focus on her.” It was such good advice and really made a difference to me.

I know I’m biased but Lily is beautiful, exquisite, funny, clever, curious, loving and caring. She can also be short tempered, stubborn and a bit naughty at times but that is part of her personality and I wouldn’t wish it to be any different."

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