Itchy and scratchy show

I am 36 and I have nits. Kindly given to me by my little boy who has a whole head full of the little blighters. My husband was combing through all of our hair like a mountain gorilla – he refrained from eating them..

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading. 

It’s been 12 days

Since my last post.

I was hoping to be able to contribute something every day. 
So, I had a think about what could be achieve able and I considered how I would like to look back on my younger years when I’m old and frail. It’s a bit like looking back at photos and films of family and friends from years ago. At the time when you take them it didn’t seem like things would change that radically. But looking back the main emotion you feel is wonder that life was ever like that.

So a sentence or two a day, well worded, just to give a flavour of the day should be enough to jolt memories. I encourage you to try it.

For me there are things I didn’t expect I would be feeling at 36. A marriage that is still giving brilliant highs and depressing lows, a job that I didn’t intend to be doing but things change and so do priorities. The number one priority being a job that means you see your children! And a house and location I didn’t expect – the last place I thought we would be in for years…

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Political parenting

The last time I posted it was before Brexit. I voted remain.

The last time I protested in Parliament Square, it was against the Iraq War, because of the predictions that have now been realised. 

I hope the predictions for the country post Brexit are not realised.

I won’t say any more….

It’s a good time to be a parent at the moment, to inspire them in some early activism – ’nuff said.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Enjoy the present

I made a conscious effort to enjoy the present today. As I walked back from dropping my son off at nursery, I thought to myself “I am not going to let my mind wander to what next and where we are going” , “I’m just going to enjoy this moment, our lives at present and not sleepwalk through today in anticipation of tomorrow”.

So this meant doing things slightly differently. I rode my motorbike to a meeting and discovered I had turned up to the wrong building in the city and it was going to be another 15 minutes trying to navigate my way to the correct building. When I finally discovered the right road it was closed and I was running late for my meeting. But, I just reminded myself to enjoy the sunny day on my bike and focus on the journey rather than panic that I was going to be a few minutes late. Turned out the people at the meeting were not worried about it and I arrived relaxed enough to do what I needed to do. Refusing to let any panic set in had kept stress at bay. That was helped by enjoying the moment. It’s a positive side of being mortal that because you don’t know how much time you have left, you have no choice but to enjoy what you’ve got.

When my children returned from school, instead of worrying about the bath and bed routine, we all sat down including my husband and played a game of kerplunk. Before I knew it, we had improvised the game and had progressed to having a marble race by blowing through straws. Just before bedtime I was judging a dancing competition between my son and daughter. There was lots of fun and for some reason it felt like a weekend, as if we we weren’t allowed to have this much fun on a weekday. 

So, if you are reading this, I hope it has served as a reminder to enjoy the moment and find something positive in the here and now……tomorrow can wait.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Lid on…apron off

It’s been a long time since I posted. So long, I don’t recognise the formatting. I started out with good intentions of a post a day. But life (and apathy) got in the way.

Today I put the ‘man’ into woman. I was done with the ‘wo’ for a while, having spent a sunny Sunday in the galley of the sailing club volunteering so that the rest of the family could enjoy the boating life. The pics of our daughter having fun sailing the topper in the sunshine while her little bro looked on from the tender made all the pan washing worthwhile.

Conscious of my love handles poking out of the apron and my greying hair pinned back with hair grips, I was feeling way to mumsy.

I needed to be introduced to my 17 year old self. So with pleasure I took a meeting as an excuse to jump aboard my cbf600 and take a short buzzy trip in the sunshine. It felt too good and I reluctantly made my way home after the meeting resisting the temptation of the roads inviting a longer journey to the coast.

Ive said this before and I will say it again bike = sanity.

Also enjoying watching the TT – but what the fuck is with the pit stop ladies in their make-up and tight ad clad outfits dotted around the winners enclosure like billboards. C’mon this is 2016 (grrrrr!!!)

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading.

One life

I thought today about all the opportunities that we choose to turn our backs on in favour of a particular route. We have to make these decisions early on in life, then…around about middle-age…you start to question some of those decisions. It is a completely pointless exercise, since nothing can be changed and a bit depressing as reflections and decisions taken in middle age no longer have the flexibility of youth to give them room to grow. 

There are many things in life you only get one hit at. Taking that hit while you are young carries less risk and gives longevity. When you are older it’s much more of a gamble and success is minimal. 

On reflecting on those things you can no longer achieve, it’s a bit sobering to think you will go to your grave having never experienced them. My bucket list will start when I am 40.

It sounds cliched but if fundamental decisions in life are led with the heart, the outcome will eventually be the happiest even if it wasn’t intended. At 36, it’s the unexpected that has revealed the most exciting, fulfilling and happiest moments in life to date.

In summary, I didn’t plan to have children, yet now I have two……enough said.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Interesting lives´╗┐

Life becomes more interesting when you meet people that make you think. 

Sometimes they make you think in a positive way, others negative. Either way they rock our little bubble of existence with a different perspective. 

Today I met an inspirational person whose life had been transformed by a guide dog. She talked about how her dog had sensed things ahead that could have put her in harms way, yet if alone she would never have guessed what was round the next corner. Animals have a level of sensitivity that we are barely capable of. 

I met a guy the other day who has six children, yet he still finds the time to volunteer to teach children in his spare time – sharing knowledge of a sport that he loves and inspiring a generation.

Then I see mums who are bringing up children on low incomes, with the capacity to love and cope despite the struggle, because parenthood is a struggle, even more so when money isn’t easy to come by.

Lots of people doing things against the odds. So next time you overcome something, achieve something, or just get through the day – give yourself a pat on the back.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Thanks goodness for the NSPCC

The NSPCC sent me an email regarding child safeguarding campaigns inviting me to contact all police and crime commissioner contacts calling on them to prove what they would do to react. The NSPCC did all the donkey work for me and i received two responses – one from the conservatives and one from labour – 2 out of 7 candidates. I am aware that they probably had the staff yo man their inbox but both email responses were good and timely. It’s great when you feel democracy works. Let’s just see what happens after the elections. 

Today I also reported an incident of child abuse to the NSPCC. I had observed a couple of incidents over the past month on my way in to school and I witnessed the same mother again not caring for her son, this time when he fell and cut his head open. She seemed to be accusing him of causing himself the injury – a 6 year old. This was a busy school run with lots of people about but she was aggressive and antagonistic towards her young child. I wondered if she is like this in public then what is she like behind closed doors? It is tempting to look the other way and many people do. But how many children could have been saved if less people had turned their backs? 

My children are growing up too fast and I feel like I should be filming every minute to savour this time. My son now says water instead of mortar. But he still has a brilliant alternative to difficult (diccifult) and certificate (I can’t even type it). 

My daughter is at that wonderful age where she is still loving playing and being a child but has a growing maturity that means you get to have some fantastic and interesting conversations. Every day I am thankful that I am a parent, even on the bad days. So to witness the consistent abuse and neglect of a child in a world which does not tolerate such behaviour is incredibly saddening. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

An ideal solution for working parents?

I have been plunged into a scenario that most working mums dream of – the chance to genuinely have a work life balance through a home-working ob – that also pays the bills – and you don’t have to be self-employed.

I jumped at this chance, turning my back on a career move that would have helped me climb the ladder, but at the expense of my family. Its a choice I made with my head as well as my heart and a choice I was very grateful to receive. It took hard work and perseverance to get to this point though – 5 months of job-hunting, application forms and interviews – to whittle down to the jobs that were actually going to be achievable without your family self imploding.

I know the feminist part of me says that guys dont have those considerations – they just go for it and expect the other half to pick up the pieces of school runs, bedtime routines etc. But my hubby would be happy for me to go for the job with the longer ladder – we just cant afford the childcare costs at the moment (and I do still want to be a part of their daily lives before they become teens and wish to disown me out of embarrassment).

Childcare is still a big issue for Mums on middle to low incomes. The fact of the matter is that if you have a preschooler, work just doesnt pay. Have 5 years off and you have an awful loy of catching up to do – and best of luck getting flexible working around school hours. There are still many schools who do not offer breakfast clubs and frequent after school clubs, so even once they are at school age there are still a number of hours to cover if you want to fit in a 9-5 plus commute time.

So I am so delighted to have found a forward thinking organisation willing to invest in home working. They recognise that people can be just as productive, if not more so, when they are given the chance to be parents too and spend more time working rather than commuting.

I will let you know how it goes – just need to sort out my new ‘she shed’.

This blog is for Unicef – thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

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.