Parenting is hard at the best of times, but parenting during Christmas can be a real challenge. Kids can be super excited and as parents we are trying top organise a fabulous family Christmas making it even more of a challenge. So here are some tips to keep things running smoothly over the festive period.
Being a parent is the hardest job I have ever done. In fact it isnt even a job as you don’t get paid for looking after your own children. But it is the most rewarding and amazing thing I have ever done, but nothing prepared me for being a Mum. Nurofen for Children asked me to share with you when I first started feeling confident as a parent. Well for me that took quite a while and had a lot to do with me stopping comparing my child to books and others and started to concentrate on my parenting milestones.
Parenting is the hardest job I have ever had. In fact it isn’t really a job as I can not resign, can I? So anything I can do to make it easier is great by me. In the past I think parenting hacks were often just called tips, but no matter what they are called I totally dig finding new ones. I used to think that some of these hacks were just old wives tales (like the vapour rub on feet), but when you have a child coughing at 3am, you will try anything!
Even before children are born they are affecting your sleep patterns. Did you get a good night’s sleep in your third trimester? After both my boys were born all I wanted to do was sleep for a week. Little did I know that sleep is for the weak and that lack of sleep theirs and mine was something that I was going to learn to live with for years to come.
Being a parent can be a slog. I am not going to lie there are times when I find mothering a monotony. Now do not get me wrong, I adore my children and have come to know that I was born to be a parent, but heck there have been days and even months when I have wanted to tear my hair out over thinking about cooking yet another meal or wiping another bottom (thankfully baby days and toddler days are long gone). Kids thrive on routine, well at least mine do. They like to know what we are having for dinner, what time is lunch and Maxi likes to be more »
My boys are nearly 8 and just turned 9 and last summer I championed #Freerange parenting. I tried to give them freedom to explore, play and investigate independently.
I just want to share with the world my husband, the father of our two children does not babysit his children. babysitting – the work of a baby sitter; caring for children when their parents are not home Note the fact that it is only babysitting when parents are not at home, not when their mother is not at home. parenting – the care and upbringing of a child So stop asking when I am not with the children is my husband is babysitting them or else I will growl at you and say no he is parenting.
The Virtues of Laidback Parenting
I grew up on the stage. From ballet lessons to freestyle to jazz to musical theatre to drama classes, I was an all-singing all-dancing child that adored dress rehearsals and the thrill of applause. Clad in character shoes, a scrapped back bun and glitter, I would waddle on the stage with a perfected plié and my proud parents, who drove me to theatre school every Saturday, would gleam at me from the stalls. It was pretty magical and undoubtedly, hugely expensive (although that didn’t cross my mind when I was a child).
So, did I become a west end super star after ten years of theatrical teachings? No. No I didn’t. Not even close. Sure, I had dreams of grandeur and I’m still a major fan of musicals and all things jazz hands, but two things got in the way.
Firstly, I’m really crap at dancing. I have no natural rhythm, agility or grace and my poor parents had to sit through hours of the Sugar Plump Fairy. Secondly, I made the conscious decision to focus on my education, no less. At the age of 12 I was offered an agent and the possibility of a bit role in Eastenders but, ever the sensible Susan, I told my parents that I wanted to wait until I’d completed my GCSEs and then my A-levels. Unsurprisingly, A-levels led to a degree (literature) and here I am, over ten years later, with the stage a fading line on the horizon of my history.
The point is, I was never pushed to perform. Sure, my parents supported my artistic endeavors both financially and emotionally, but they never made me go to auditions or forced me to accept that agents offer. Some might argue that, had they applied a little more pressure, my life would be very different and I’d agree. However, it would be different against my will and that’s no place to be. I’d likely resent them for having taken away my freedom of choice and mightn’t have harnessed the kind of independence that I so cherish now. As I’m sure is true of many children’s hobby clubs, I saw many a parent/child relationship crumble under the applied pressure of success. There was always the kid that had the beautifully handmade costume and the most dramatic make-up. Her ballet shoes were the best money could buy and she had a personalized Pineapple dance bag with a matching water flask. I, on the other hand, was in a hand-me-down leotard. To the super-kids, performing was a lot more than a hobby; it anchored their home lives and their relationships, it was their future.
As an adult, I’m totally pro liberal, laidback parenting. My folks allowed me to explore my interests without the burden to succeed. That’s what education was for. Singing and dancing was for fun and that’s an important distinction to make I think. Indeed, these days’ lots of clubs focus on the latter, providing a place where children can nourish their imaginations rather than their trophy cabinet. From surfing to horse riding, motorsports to magic, the hobbyists gamut has never be so varied. If I could go back and do my time again, a Glee club summer camp would have been my idea of heaven on earth. Sadly, Glee Club didn’t exist when I was a sprog. I had to settle for Fame, which my darling mother took me to see as a birthday treat – although the Phantom of the Opera remains my absolute favourite production of all time.
Sure, I’ll never be Christine Daaé and it’s unlikely that Steven Spielberg is going to call any time soon to star me in an onscreen adaption of Starlight Express, but I’ve gained something quite different from all my years as an infant thespian. I’ve become a confident and somewhat dramatic individual that possess the virtues of independence, golden memories and a dedicated passion for the theatre. Okay, I still haven’t mastered the step-ball-change but once a Sugar Plump Fairy, always a Sugar Plump Fairy, I figure.
I used to think I was a crap mum. I used to feel that my family would be better off without me. I do not say these things for people to counter with “no you aren’t” or “no you weren’t”. The fact is that I really did feel this way and I truly thought that MadDad and the boys would be better off without me. I suffered with Post Natal Depression, I bullied myself, catastrophised everything and was filled with terrible anxiety. I couldn’t separate rational and irrational thoughts. I received fantastic treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy over five years ago now and it changed the person that I was and helped make me the mum and person I am now .
I was reading Kate’s post earlier in the week about how scared parenting made her feel and it brought all those feelings back to me, but rather than let them take over me, I remembered that I am parenting in an imperfect world and my imperfect parenting skills are just preparing y boys for the road which they will travel. This is one of the biggest things that CBT gave me, it helped be put things into perspective and process them. I am not a perfect mum, but I am the best mum the boys could hope for, I am their mum and I love them with all my heart and every fibre of my being.
I have two quotes that help me navigate the waters of perfection, for as soon as I realised that I didn’t need to be the perfect mother, that it was OK to give shop bought food and not beat myself up about formula feeding and ensured that if I was happy so would the boys be, things started to come together for us all.
“There is no one way to be the perfect Mother, but there are millions of ways to be a good one!” – Jill Churchill
“Being Happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect, It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” – Gerard Way
So on those days when I am screaming like a fishwife at my boys or wondering how to find the words to tell them about challenges that life may through at them, I hope that I can remember that it is OK to be an imperfect parent in an imperfect world and give myself a break, for this parenting lark is the hardest, unceasing, but most rewarding job I have ever done or will ever do.
Pitfails of peratngion
We were invited by Samsung to go to the Dinosaurs Unleashed exhibition at the O2 in London on Saturday and I thought it would be a good idea for just me and Mini to go, as we needed to mum and son time together and leave Maxi and MadDad at home.
Last week was my first experience of half term as a mum with two boys that are both in school, previously when I had two preschoolers, I used to dread the holidays coming along, as all the mum and toddler groups and other things were halted for the holidays and the soft play places and parks were fill of bigger, rougher and louder children (yes this is what I used to think). It is amazing the difference a year or two makes, as the minimads are now 4 and 5 and I have to say I have looked forward to this half term pretty much since the first week of school more »
Sleep, it really is the holy grail. not just for parents, but for everyone and as an insomniac it is possibly the one things that’s on my mind the most. How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep? Will I get enough? Will I fall asleep quickly tonight? Will a child come in our bed tonight? On and on and on. One thing I am learning about is that I need good sleep hygiene and I am making it a priority.
Yes, you read that right, a parental control app that my boys hate and this is a GOOD thing. Really it is! Something that my children do not like and I am going to rave about it…… Want to know more?
Parenting: reality versus imagination. Before my boys came and lit up my life I really didn’t have any experience of children other than being one! I was the epitome of a career woman. Over the years I hope that I have shared the reality of parenting here, however, I too still reel from the difference between parenting expectations and reality!
One of the most monotonous bits of parenting is feeding. I swear I spend hours thinking about what to prepare, shop for and cook that we will all eat as a family. You see, I want to prepare something healthy, scrummy and delicious and to see empty plates at the end of the meal. Our dinner times are sacred and I want to keep them that way. I see a good meal as a way of bringing my hungry boys to the table each night. This Creamy Leek and Mustard Chicken meal is a fantastic meal which was a big hit with my family.
One of the things that I love about the school holidays is the amount of time we get to spend together as a family and it reminds me that I need to make time for the kids during term time.
We are loving the beautiful weather this summer and making the most of it with some fab DIY giant garden games. I love garden games for keeping kids off electronics and as they are perfect for families to play as a group.
It’s tough being a teenager these days. Not that it was ever easy. But the world is moving faster than ever, and influences flow in from all sides twenty-four hours a day, bombarding kids with more pressure than some of them can handle. Everything coming in from outside can lead to or exacerbate personal challenges a teen is experiencing, like ADD/ADHD, a learning disability, behavior or emotional disorders, addictions, or just raging hormones.
When did the term Mum or Mum become so derogatory? Why is having Mum hair or Mom hair as the NY times put it, such a bad thing? Mom hair a “longer-in-back, slightly–shorter-in-front bob” and apparently is inescapably frumpy!