When I first came to Fatma’s house, she had no idea about how to set boundaries for her children. In the supermarket they would run through the aisles in order to pile up the cart with chocopops and cookies and what not. She gave in to all their wishes, feeding them cookies instead of bread and vegetables, and soothing their crying with sweets. And when things really got out of hand she would beat them out of frustration.
Then her marriage broke up, and her husband left her with a pile of unpaid bills: of the rent, of the utilities. For a month she lived without water, using rainwater to do her laundry, apart from accepting help from a neighbour, who offered the use of her washing machine and shower.
In spite of these dire circumstances she feeds her children regular healthy meals. They will ask her if they want something, instead of taking it. And sweets are only allowed at a certain hour of the day. In the supermarket the children will still be running through the aisles, but only to bring her the milk and the cheese that she has asked for.
Fatma is on the right track. I am proud of her.