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Brenda Griffin - Moving On Experience

“They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I believe mistakes make you innovative! We can all learn and adapt and grow from our mistakes.”

My name is Brenda Griffin from Tralee. I did my Leaving Cert in 1983 - the recession year. I wasn't encouraged to go to college even though I wanted to be a fashion designer or an art teacher. At this stage in my life, I'm 55 years old, divorced and a Carer. I have a beautiful daughter Danii who is currently in Paris living the dream. I was a little lost when I heard of the Moving On programme from my friend Mags. She was constantly telling me if her adventures with "Moving On", so I had heard all about it. With that in mind I applied for "Moving On". Lisa O'Flaherty interviewed me. We went through my CV.


I have done so many courses since my kids were born, however, Lisa saw straight through me and said “Why don't you teach sewing?” Around the same time Maria Fitzgerald rang me from the North Kerry College and asked me to teach night classes. It took until February for that dream to come through but it gave me time to do the Moving On programme and the STEPS programme with Dee Keogh. All of this has been amazing.


The work with the two Lisa's, Mary Beary, and of course Dee and Sheila and the guest speakers. But the best of all are the girls. My friends, true ladies. So many personalities, kindness, energy, experiences. I love meeting them. The one thing I miss because of covid19 is not meeting my ladies for coffee and hugs.


As a Dress Maker and Designer, I make mistakes. However, I have learned to deal with them in a positive and creative way. I now turn my mistakes into a design feature. For example, if I cut out a dress and make a mistake with the hem, I sometimes turn it into a scalloped hem or put a frill on it, thankfully, the latter works well at the moment because frills and tiered dresses are fashionable.


By turning a ‘mistake’ into a feature or a positive, I have the ability to find solutions to difficult situations, and to reinvent or make something better. I have taught myself many dressmaking and creative skills including arran stitching for arran blankets. When I make a dress for myself, or a patchwork quilt or an arran blanket, it takes time. I sometimes make mistakes, and I might put it away for a while. But that's OK, as I will find a way to rectify it and finish it. I have learned that I am a very determined and creative person.


As Dee said in STEPS, Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.!” It showed his determination and creativity. This can be true for life too. Sometimes when we make mistakes, we need to be creative to rectify them.


I know the lock down is very scary, but at this moment in time I am the happiest I've been in a long time. I am happy with me. I know it seems very strange but I think it's because I have no outside stresses. I am at home with my son Chris, who lives with autism.


I thought this was going to be very difficult as Chris loves going to his service with Kerry Parents and Friends in Listowel. He loves travelling on the bus, going to Special Olympics and other activities which he can no longer do.


However, I can honestly say he's been great and perhaps this is because I'm not stressed.

We have a sort of routine - trying to get a walk, some exercise classes, gardening and doing jobs done around the house. He loves watching the home school hub, making Lego, completing word search, and watching DVD’s. No one is coming into the house so I don't feel pressure to have the house looking like a dolls house. I think this is the greatest relief.


I have also taken on board what Dr. Eddie Murphy on Operation Transformation said - “Stop being perfect parents and just be good enough parents”. I know I'm very lucky with Chris as his communication, understanding and trust of me is a lot better than when he was younger and when I was trying to learn about Autism and ADHD. I admire all those families trying to remote work and home school their children.


Moving On Women Kerry

This war on Covid19 will be over soon. I hope to keep some of the slower way of life and not revert back to the stress and the madness.

I hope everyone stays safe and well.

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