Bottling it

My husband said “we are not shrinks or counsellors”. But I explained that’s exactly what we are – many skills are required in parenting. Particularly when assisting a 10 year old girl through the challenges of a new life, new school and being a tomboy in a girly world. Plus having a little brother to contend with and the pressures to be ‘an all-round kid’ – fit, healthy and willing to try hard. 

Banksy once said we dont let children be who they are. We say we just want them to be ‘happy’ but that comes with caveats….’good at sport (or at least try), good academically (or at least try), kind, raises money for charity, driven, ambitious, blah, blah, blah’. For a girl add – not fat but not too into her appearance either….but enough to be accepted.

So with all these expectations, no wonder the pressure rubs off on other children and often parents don’t realise the messages they are inadvertently releasing into a child’s subconscience. 

In an effort to cope with the pressures of being accepted at school, my daughter has been screaming at us and her brother like an old fishwife.  But I believe better out than in. The minute a child begins to internalise stuff that’s when problems brew. She found out on Pinterest a creative way to make sense of her feelings. She created a bottle with glitter, a minifigure and food colouring in water. When she feels angry or upset she just shakes it and sees how long it takes for the glitter and minifigure to come to rest – apparently this helps you to calm too. 

I’m just glad she is already working out her own (healthy) ways to manage her emotions.
This blog is for UNICEF. Thanks for reading. 

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Parenting, dreams and doing the right thing

When you are young, there are so many, wishes and dreams and hopes and aspirations buzzing around in your little head. Some of them are big, some may seem trivial or taken for granted by others. As life goes on, things happen – “events Watson, events” that send you a million miles away from your childhood dreams. Bits of reality turn out to be unexpectedly good, other parts of life push dreams away. 

I feel on the one hand I was blessed with motherhood – something I didn’t aspire to be when I was young but am sooo glad it happened. On the other hand the dreams I had of earning my living didn’t quite pan out. But, with the upkeep of home and costs of supporting children, the luxury of picking and choosing how you make your living no longer exists. 

Plus, as much as I would like to work part-time so I could be around for the children more – those hours just don’t pay the bills. With careers there is no half way house – it’s all or nothing. Which means more childcare and less work/life balance. So every moment with the children outside of those working hours is precious. A good thing but can put things under pressure too.

So you do your best and hope that things turn out OK. But I do find pushing out the seeds of doubt as to whether I am doing the right thing a daily occurrence. I think that is probably true of parents the world over.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

A better news?

Either I’m getting old or Radio 1 and just any music radio station just won’t cut it for me on my morning and Eve commute. The music is never quite right and the news quality is pants.

So I have made the switch to Radio 4. I am now hooked. The key to giving it the time f day is to commit to listening for 30 mins. Enough to really listen to the topic of conversation. It’s intriguing, fascinating, mildly entertaining but best of all, particularly with the news, you get the impression you are receiving the best possible reports. Of course the BBC is not free from biased reporting, but, as reporting goes, the spokespeople, the interviews, the overall quality is far superior to other stations and TV. 

However most of it is depressing. The war in Syria, the problems with the economic downturn, mental health, homelessness, sexual assaults, murders, paedophiles, it’s all just grim, grim, grim.

And the average person on the street can’t do much about it except spare a few pounds to charity, donate items to a local charity shop, tweet as a protest, sign a petition, maybe do a run for charity just giving etc ….but that’s it. Meanwhile people are determined to blow each other up regardless of who gets caught in the crossfire and the Kardashians continue to count their dollars and their Facebook likes.

It’s f***** up but no one has come up with a better alternate existence.

So we all just muddle through and try not to focus on the bad stuff for too long….

This blog is for UNICEF – a charity very much in demand in this crazy world. 

Wrong pan, wrong night

A friend of mine once said ‘you can only retain in your brain the equivalent of an armful of washing – too much and the odd sock gets dropped along the way’.

In my case it was a school jumper. I realised while putting the children in the bath that I was meant to be at parents evening….or rather my husband had realised. I was sure it was the following day because my phone had told me so (I trust the phone to remind me about everything but forget that it relies on me putting the correct info in the first place!).

Thankfully I have an understanding teacher but nethertheless felt bad as this is the first parents Eve I have been too at a new school so need to show that I share an interest in my child’s education….

Earlier that Eve my husband had taken the kids to our local supermarket between tea and bed desperately trying to locate a frying pan so we could do pancake day (as all our pans dont work on the new hob in our house). He got home only to find the one he just bought didn’t work either – so pancake day has been postponed…..

All in all both hubby and I felt like failures today.

Think I will now go to bed and try again tomorrow……

This blog is for the fantastic UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Families helping families through Sports Relief

I had lots of quality time with everyone over last weekend….well maybe not so much the hubby – because we were both being a busy pair of bees flitting from one house/ childcare job to the other. At times I did feel like throttling my little son, but most of the time I wanted to cuddle and kiss him to bits. My daughter continues to grow rapidly but still appreciates cuddles too.

Sport relief will help raise money for vulnerable children across the UK and elsewhere – particularly in Syria. One of the Radio 1 DJs recorded an interview with a family in Jordan, who fled Syria, their home, possessions etc for their safety. 

They lost their father en route when he was kidnapped and later discovered he had been killed. All they can hope for is surviving day by day. One lady said she would rather live in a tent for the rest of her life than go back to Syria.

All families should feel safe and have good health and wellbeing, regardless of ethnicity and origin. 

Which is why initiatives such as Sport Relief are so vital – giving those who exist in peace, the opportunity to help those living in turmoil.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Camila the angel

In the summer I was very sad to hear of the closing down of Kids Company.

Last night I watched a documentary showing what happened. Aside from the skewed editing and poor reporting, the documentary DID manage to show what is possible when a human being rises above obstacles to achieve amazing things for many, many people who need help the most.

Why shouldn’t children who began with nothing have a taste of luxury (fuck off Daily Mail readers). Why shouldn’t charities expand as much as they can? Why shouldn’t private organisations and individuals help subsidise the lives of the less fortunate?

The downfall of KC was as a result of a cleverly engineered campaign by Government officials that will be exposed in 10 years time.

In the meantime the local authorities will have to pick up the pieces of the many lives that have been let down by KC’s downfall. 

If only there were more angels on earth like Camila,

If only there were less ignorant and selfish people in our society. 

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.