Day in the life of Monica Gomes

Monica is a Healthcare Assistant and LEAP Parent Champion. She lives in Tulse Hill with her husband Nildo, and her two children.

I’m Portuguese and I’ve lived in the UK for 14 years. My husband Nildo is Brazilian. We have a daughter Mayara, aged 10, and a son Guillherme, aged 19 months. We’re bringing them up bilingually – at home we only speak Portuguese.

My husband Nildo creeps out of the house at 5am to go to work. I open my eyes to say goodbye to him then go back to sleep. The alarm goes off at 7.15am and I wake my daughter, Mayara.  Guillherme usually wakes up when he hears her moving around getting ready. We have breakfast, which is normally toast or cereal and milk to drink.

Mayara leaves for school at 8.40am, making sure she has her lunchbox, book bag, PE kit or whatever else is needed for the day. We have to be organised and have everything ready so she’s ready to go on time!

There’s usually shopping and housework to do next but today we made time to play at home and then went to the park. Guillherme loves the playground in Brockwell Park. His favourite things are the swings and the slides.

Parent Champion training

In the afternoon, I went to Jubilee Children’s Centre for a training session as part of LEAP’s Parent Champion course. Guillherme was in the crèche while I was in the training room. There were nine of us in my group and we got to know each other really well over the eight weeks of the course.  We learn a lot but always laugh a lot too!

At today’s session we learned more about LEAP and the themes it supports: communication and language, diet and nutrition, and relationships and well-being. We did fun, hands-on activities such as creating pictures with fruit and vegetables (diet and nutrition), singing songs (relationships and well-being) and making dual language mini-books (communication and language). I then collected Guillherme, picked Mayara up from school and went home for tea.

It’s normal for my days to follow a different routine. Three days a week I do a job I love working as a Healthcare Assistant in a renal clinic. My husband and I are a great team: on the days I work he takes care of the children. It’s so good for them to have a hands-on Dad.

As a LEAP Parent Champion, I hope I’ll be able to support other parents in the local community. At the same time I’ll be getting experience and developing skills which will help me in the future. I recommend this course!

Since sharing her experience, Monica has completed the Parent Champion programme and is now actively involved in helping LEAP service development including LEAP’s Community, Activity and Nutrition (CAN) project.