Month: June 2016

One foot in the playground, one in the office. Working parents.

A lot of parents work. Parenting takes a lot of work…

‘Hurry Mummy!’ shouts Leo, ‘Put your speedy shoes on little man’, I yell back. How is it that even if you have been awake since 2011…well five am…you still seem to be late for school. Where are the keys, does he have his water bottle…where is his book bag?! The office is ten minutes’ drive from my house, but factor in the school run and rush hour traffic; it takes me an hour. I arrive in a flurry; porridge on my sleeves and a hollow feeling in my tummy as I have had to watch my son’s little shoulders hunch and lip wobble as he walks hesitantly into the classroom.

The other afternoon I got a text from my son’s school as I drove to pick him up,

‘Parents can come to school tomorrow between 8.40 and 9.00 and read with their children.’

I felt my heart sink. This is the most upsetting text I ever received. My son ran out of school in his slightly too big shoes and inherited clumsy mummy gait. Beaming with excitement through a face covered in what I think was macaroni cheese he said, ‘you get to read with me tomorrow’. I felt an ice cold smack of guilt. At 4pm I could not book the next morning off from work. I told him I was so sorry, that we would dress up as pirates and read Peter pan together that night. I felt frustrated at the school: praise assemblies, reading time, and art and craft mornings. I wish just once in a while something would be planned for parents that work and desperately want to be involved…or be given enough advance to try and book it off.

Ten times I was (am) a bad mummy #Parentfails (that I have learnt to laugh at).

I have been receiving so many lovely comments on my blog about how well I talk to my son, how beautifully and effortlessly I seem to explain things to him and yes, I really do try hard…but I do not want to lead you down a rocky path of pretence. I do bugger up a lot, sometimes I am too sleep deprived to be empathetic…like all of us I am not ‘mummy’ Teresa. We are all just trying to cope…so in solidarity to the ‘oops’ times I have listed my ten best, or depending how you look at it, worst, parenting fails.

I realised when my son was 2 weeks old all the things I said I would never do as a mum, I would do. Dummy, Tv, sugar, shouting etc…DONE IT

1.When I binge watch Netflix at night then pretend the internet does not work in the daytime when my son wants to watch the same episode of Paw patrol for the 100th time. At least we have moved on from Peppa pig.

2. When I force little man to stand by and at times sit upon the laps of unknown people in various itchy, likely smelly costumes and smile as I take photos whilst simultaneously instructing him to never talk to strangers. One year Santa was particularly terrifying and Leo held on to the door of the grotto and screamed…Not such a Merry Christmas.

3. When he was potty training and had successfully done a wee on the toilet, I went to delightedly high five him, I misjudged and basically just ended up with my hand missing his and pushing him into the loo. We now play it safe with ‘well-done’ stickers.

A broken toy and ways to help a child manage loss.

The speedometer was flickering between 27 and 29, it was raining and we were driving home. The radio was murmuring quietly. I was paying attention to not putting my car into the wrong gear and discussing what food ninja turtles would best like to eat, pizza or chocolate cake. The conversation yo-yoed as it does when you are talking to a mini person with the attention span of a moth. All of a sudden my little boy sighed and said in a small voice that made my heart tremble,

‘I miss Ra-Ra.’

Ra-Ra was a dinosaur toy he was given for his second birthday, it was half the size of him with eyes that glowed red when it roared. It roared A LOT and scared Leo at first. Toys with sounds are on my top ten list of things that give me stress wrinkles. Ra-Ra and Leo did everything together; they watched TV, they went to the park and Ra-Ra was force fed spaghetti hoops because he was a ‘kind’ dinosaur. A few months ago when trying to figure out where the batteries lived Leo broke him. Children’s experience of the scale of a loss may appear illogical to an adult…He lay on the floor for 45 minutes and did not sleep that night. We talked about how he felt, I encouraged him to label his emotions; his tummy was ‘angry and crying’. A child who is dealing with loss has many of the same feelings and needs that we do, but because they are a child have far fewer resources and abilities to cope with feelings than we have. It’s up to us to provide them.

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I could not fix it and Ra-Ra lived on top of the dresser waiting for the ‘dinosaur doctor’ (Attenborough?!). We moved house, the dresser shelf became empty and Ra-Ra took a one way trip to the recycling centre.

The Jamberry nail experiment. Stripey fingers ahoy. Review and tutorial.

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This post is not about Jam, or berries…or any pudding at all for that matter…

I would love to have good looking nails all the time, but I don’t, once in a blue moon I will paint my digits but one game of hot wheels later they are chipped. I have had Shellac at the salon before which I love whilst it’s on as my nails seem superman style indestructible…but each time after it is removed they do get really brittle and I vow never to do it again. The same as when I eat a whole Toblerone.

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The lovely Ceri is an independent Jamberry consultant and sent me some fantastic nail wraps, thin vinyl sheets that are pressure and heat activated to adhere to your nail for a long lasting and beautiful look. They are non-toxic and require ZERO dry time…perfect for mum’s who need their hands 24/7.

There are over 300+ amazing styles…for a mani and pedi sheet the price for the style I chose is £15.00 which is much cheaper than having it done at the salon and I don’t have to leave home! They also do Junior Jamberry sheets so you could have a lovely mother and daughter evening…or on if any one else’s boys like to wear nail varnish like mine…a mother and son evening…

Finding your blog niche…or like me…not.

Apparently, to be a successful parent blogger you need a niche. ‘Need’ like my son needs a ham sandwich at 2am. Examples of niches being; delia’esk cooking, sofa’s…..I mean home-style, looking genuinely awesome all the time with outfits that I would love to pull off and blogs that focus solely on discussing the different faces of Ryan Gosling…I hope that site exists. Everyone has things that they love, or areas of expertise. Even if it is simply being able to make your tongue touch your nose.

Niche ‘a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service’, from the Old English word for, ‘I do not have one’.

My bottoms large enough, if I could find my niche I could, I think, fill it…

This blog is a haphazard mix of things I need, like a mother’s handbag. It is for tips and for tales, for when I want to greedily unleash onto a page all of my feelings; it is my deep breath, it’s where I want to share my happy moments. Sometimes it’s for crap with glaring grammatical errors.

It is imperfect but it is mine. It is clumsy and kind and a little scruffy, just like its creator. She is a trier.

5 Soothing Summer Bedroom Tips for parents and their little ones.

I was woken up at three am the other night by a little boy with a ‘hot tummy’ that needed a drink and was ‘having a nightmare about ninja’s’…

It has been very humid the last week, I lay in my bed hearing little irritated sighs and coughs from my son’s room waiting for the imminent high pitched ‘MUMMMY.’ He has informed me that I need to turn the radiators off and was really irked when I informed him gently that the warmth is the fault of Summer and not the central heating.

I have therefore concluded children do not sleep in Summer, it like the antithesis of Winter and hibernation. They toss and turn and grumble, that said so does my other half. I on the other hand still want the duvet on and have only just conceded to removing my socks. I might be cold blooded. Like a fish.

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Your body temperature needs to drop slightly before you go to sleep which is why you just can’t sleep when the room is too hot and stuffy. So with parental sleep deprivation in mind we want to share our simple, effective tips to ensure you and your little mischiefs stay cool and comfortable in bed this Summer.

Healthy Mummy, Happy Baby. 5 Tips to improve wellbeing. Learning to be kind to yourself.

Forget having it all, mothers these days are doing it all, raising children, running households, having successful careers; juggling so many brightly coloured balls. Life is busy. Within my juggling everyone else comes first; my son, my partner and then me. I made this order of things… I have made myself a 50’s housewife (without the fabulous hair). We do it all, we take care of everyone but sometimes I think we forget ourselves and then feel so much guilt that we do not measure up to the expectations we have for ourselves.

Welcome to Catch 22.

We may be superwomen with far reaching responsibilities but we are not invincible and need to acknowledge that we need time for ourselves: our whole selves, to regroup and recuperate our exhausted bodies and minds. Motherhood does not have to partner self-sacrifice.

Keeping this in mind I was approached by Hellenia who have started “F.L.Y. First Love yourself”. Through this campaign they want to highlight the importance of treating yourself with extra care because we come first. Without being proud or egotistical, if we are not healthy and happy then how can those we love and care for be?

So I sat down with my laptop, put on my fluffy feel good socks and thought of 5 things that I could do to improve my health and wellbeing as a mummy. There translatable to daddies and non-parents alike! Pretty much for everyone with a pulse.

Win an Apple iPad Mini 4 – 16GB Wi-Fi with JCT600

With the summer holidays approaching, we are excited to work with JCT600 to produce the ultimate guide to surviving those long car journeys when travelling with kids. To help ensure you enjoy a hassle-free journey, we shared our experiences and offered our top tips on how to tackle entertaining the little ones on your road trips this summer.

To give you a helping hand planning the entertainment, we’re giving you the chance to win an Apple iPad Mini 4 – 16GB Wi-Fi. To enter, all you have to do is submit your details below and follow JCT600 on Twitter. For a bonus entry, visit the JCT600 Facebook page and to get an additional three bonus entries, simply leave a comment with your top tips below.

ENTER HERE FOR a Rafflecopter giveaway

(The competition closes at midnight on Thursday 30th June and a winner will be selected at random.)

Good luck!

My mum-splanations. Three common questions parents are asked and how I answered.

  But WHY?!

Little people are notoriously inquisitive, from the age of 2 to 5 I have been bombarded with questions. I read in an article that proclaimed children ask 300 questions a day. In my house it has to be closer to 1000. I wish the answer to everything could be kittens, or 12.  I think on average the most common query, always asked in a high pitched whine is, ‘are we there yet!?’ Closely followed by, ‘What is the dark made of? Why are you so old? Why do I have to do to school?  Are aliens real?’

The most beautiful enquiry from my son came last Wednesday, ‘Why is love called love?’ The hardest one being, ‘Where is your daddy?’ At 5am I have had a little finger lift up my eyelid (not cool) and an even littler, whispery voice utter, ‘Mummy why does a carnivore only eat meat?’ It’s like I am living on a gameshow. You may sometimes go for diversionary tactics. ‘Let’s ask nanny.’

Below are my top three conundrums so far:

Why is the sky blue?

I went with what I thought was whimsical creative response; ‘Because the sky knows blue is your favorite colour’. Little man gave an exasperated sign and replied, ‘My best is purple’. Thwarted I bundled him into my arms and went into the garden, I asked, ‘Where does light come from?’ He answered with all the conviction of a 5 year old, ‘Sun and lightbulbs’. I clumsily explained that light is made up of lots of colours and it travels in a wave (then did wave disco-move hand gestures). He raised an eyebrow. I then said more blue light gets broken in the air because of dust in space so it bounces round and gets into your eyes. I don’t as an adult quite get it myself as you may be able to tell. They take in a lot more than you would think, our little sponges. The other day I told Leo I loved the long white clouds that airplane’s leave behind and Leo said, ‘I think you mean contrail mummy.’ Need to start saving for university for that boy…

From single mum to someone’s girlfriend. From two to three. Five tips for introducing a new partner.

My son calls my partner by his first name, to adults we describe him as Leo’s ‘stepdad’ though we are not married. Scandalous shock horror.  No wait, it is ok nanny already knows I have a child out of wedlock.  The title stepdad is a weighty title to take on, step-dad, it also never sounds as important on the tongue as it should.  To me he is a man who makes me feel like a grown up, that takes care of me, even though I am stubbornly independent after being alone so long. To Leo he is a man that plays Lego, loves him and cuts up his dinner in careful squares.

At first I was anxious, ready to startle like a fearful horse. The dating world I had forgotten, cast away, lost in a haze of nappies and sleepless nights. Casual dating is much more complex with a child. As relaxed a person as I am I did come with baggage, a beautiful blue eyed boy that brings me unending joy, but who also does make me a little bit more complicated.

I did not want to bring someone new into child’s life that might drift away again. I did not want my boy to grow up thinking that men leave. I want him to have positive male role models, to respect men, to be proud as he is a man, albeit a mini one. In the beginning when Leo would spend time with his dad, my partner and I would spend time as a couple. The weekends were for us. It was gradual and steady.  ‘Us’ weekends began to develop into ‘us three’ weekends. My partner moved from a friend to mummy’s boyfriend which we explained clumsily but as best we could to a toddler who could only just understand his own name. I made sure Leo and I still had our 1-1 special time.

After two years we moved in together. Some say it was too long, some say it was too soon. There is no one size fits all approach.

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