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.
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 »
Make Sure to Send your Teacher a Thank You Card this Christmas is a paid collaborative post with ThankATeacher.co.uk. Every single day I take my hat off to the teachers out there. I have always said that they have the ability to make or break the school experience and I am so lucky that my boys have, and have had, some amazing teachers in their lives.
Technology giving you Power in Birth, Pregnancy and Beyond is a paid collaberation with Bounty. When I was pregnant 14 years ago smartphones were not really a thing – I had a blackberry for work but hadn’t heard of an app. Now there is no chance of any more babies here, but I wanted to share with you some fabulous details of how the Bounty App can really give you power in birth, pregnancy and beyond. I really wish this had been around when I was expecting.
At the end of 2018, I attended a conference at Instagram about Teenagers and social media, specifically teenagers and Instagram. I am not going to lie, it has taken me all this time to try and process the thoughts that came out of the event and also from my experience of parenting one teen and one soon to be teen boy. Plus add that to the fact that I once was a teen and a pretty tearaway one at that (I hope my boys are better behaved than I was)!
Once a week we sit down as a family and talk about what we loved about that week’s menu and what we want the following week. It has started to become a real family affair as both the boys are now preparing and cooking at least one meal a week. I am a sucker when it comes to stationery, so I have gathered together some fabulous free meal planning printables to share with you.
As all parents know sleep really is the holy grail of parenting, whether it is you not getting enough or encouraging the kids to go to bed and sleep or to stay in bed longer. So I am delighted to be teaming up with Otty for this fabulous giveaway for an Otty mattress and two pillows worth £600. We have an Otty mattress (well Maxi does), so I can testify just how fabulous it is and how amazing this giveaway is.
Mini has always been a challenge when it comes to sleep and now as a nearly 12 year old it isn’t much different, but I thought it would be worthwhile sharing with you our tips for dealing with tween sleep issues. We have tried everything over the years and can firmly say that some things work better for us than others. Mini is a much nicer child when he has had sufficient sleep. We also wanted to share with you how using a Simba Sleep Mattress has made a big impact on Mini’s quality of sleep and why.
Screen time for me is the ultimate parenting conundrum. I am really aware that my boys’ are growing up with amazing access to technology and as a parent, it is my job to manage their access and help provide balance to their life but I have no framework or experience to build this on as it wasn’t around when I was a child. We had one TV with 3 channels and a phone that had a dial and cable! I remember illicitly taping the top 40 on a Sunday hoping the DJ wouldn’t talk over the song and that I could press pause and play fast enough to minimise the gap. My more »
I am in such a reflective mood. Maxi, my precious first born turns 13 in March. How on earth has that happened? I blinked and have a teenager. In all seriousness though it really seems like only yesterday when I was thrown in at the deep end of the parenting pool without a life raft or even armbands. I came to parenting pretty late and really had no idea what to expect and I had absolutely no idea how hard it would be.