Feeling Rather Smug!

Feeling rather smug! 

Last night as I face-timed (Dave my partner) I was stressing out over the amount of items I still had to label and things needing organised for the children going back to school. 

Schools in Northern Ireland finish up for the summer break the last week in June, the kids are then treated to almost nine weeks of freedom from the classrooms. For parents it marks the start of fun filled weeks of family time, making memories (we did this too!) but for me it marked the start of endless arguing, and playing referee to three kids that after an hour of each other’s company ends in them each being sent to separate rooms for time out! 

Asides from being too long a break to keep kids entertained (in a climate that sees on average 3 days of sunshine warm enough to call it summer),  it also gives parents plenty of time to get themselves organised for the new school term. You’d think!!! 
Despite being organised in July with the purchase of most of the kids uniforms in the Marks and Spencers 20% off event, stationary, school bags and lunch boxes added to the list of items bought as the weeks counted down. I found myself in a complete meltdown! I had left things to the last minute again. Nine weeks of summer holidays clearly wasn’t enough time to get organised for the kids going back to school. I knew the dates they went back, they were in my dairy and in my phone. I had no excuse. So why then the last minute rush? 
Fast forward to this morning, the alarm was set for 7am! I was already awake, I woke the kids got them up, washed and dressed and we were all sat eating breakfast for 8! It was an achievement, as all summer I had battled with them to to do anything within a timescale. We even had time for a quick face-time call from Dave, wishing them well and to have a great day in school. 
We left the house for 8.30 and drove to school. Parking was madness and the air of excitement in the car had reached a new level when the kids spotted other children from their classes. 
We walked our way through the school playground, my eldest who doesn’t start school until Friday came with us and helped Connie find her class line in the playground and her friends. I walked on through to the junior playground to find where Reubyn’s line for his class. We found it, put his bags down and without a second thought for me, ran off to play, leaving me standing alone. It was then I realised that was the summer holidays over, routine was back in our lives and I am for one very glad!
Fast forward 12.15, the bell rang and out of the classrooms came lots of happy children. The first day back at school was over! We came home changed out of their uniforms had lunch together. We chatted about their first day back, what their new teachers were like, who they are sitting beside and the buzz from their friends.  They are even looking forward to going back again tomorrow! 
We did it!!! 

Claire
P.s maybe next year I’ll be a little more prepared! 

Not just a glorified taxi service.


When i was growing up I often heard my mum say she felt like a glorified taxi service. I didn’t quite know what she meant. I mean what’s the big deal? I was a teenager who wasn’t old enough to drive so therefore needed my parents to taxi me about. I used public transport to get to and from school, but it was at the weekends and for the after school activities I needed my parents to taxi me about. It didn’t stop when I had passed my driving test at 17,  those after school clubs became pubs and still my parents services were needed, as they yet again played taxi at all hours of the day and night! 
My children haven’t even reached their teenage years and already the past few years I have played taxi service, I now know exactly what my parents meant all those years ago. As I sit and type this post, in I am our local leisure centre cafe. I am surrounded by school children huddled in groups talking or playing on their phones, parents with kids doing their homework. There are tables with one of two adults sitting chatting and then there are those parents, who like me are quietly wishing their life away as they sit and wait for their children to finish swimming, trampolining or gymnastics. 

As the weeks of the school year pass, the faces become familiar as it is the same thing we all do every week! To some like me  it’s an hour each week we will never get back. The leisure centre is to far away from home to drop off and collect later, too far away from the nearest shopping centre and it is winter so it is dark outside so better to stay inside and keep warm. To some it’s an hours peace and quiet, time to sit and watch the world go by, time to sit and have a coffee and chat with friends. To me it’s an hour were I find myself thinking abut the list of things I need to get done or making new list for tomorrow and the week ahead and better still, thinking about the next child I need to collect and drop off to the next activity.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge my children the opportunity  to go to clubs and attend organisations outside of school, after all I have no room to talk I did the same. But I do find myself every week why I don’t have a taxi sign on the roof of my car. Maybe my parents should have got one, they could have passed it on to me!   With three children there are lots of activities and clubs, life revolves around the kids.

I am a working mum,by that I mean I am employed and get a wage. Lets face it all mums are working mums whether or not they get a salary at the end of the month. I work because I have always wanted to have a career. I had all three of my children and worked right up to near their due dates and returned to work after my maternity leave was over. But I am struggling lately with the work/life/children balance. (A post for another day). Family life is busy no matter how many children we have. We are all juggling life. I often dream about that lottery win,  although I should start doing it if I ever stand a chance! 

So until that life changing lottery win I’m not sure if there are any ways around the much needed taxi service, so for now I shall battle on! I would love to hear from you if you have found yourself in a routine of work, kids sleep and how you kept the momentum going?

Claire

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Gentle parenting, my way. 

A hashtag on instagram and phase used in blog posts and lately has had me thinking what you would call my style of parenting ?

To me parenting is anything but gentle. I have three children. Harrison, my firstborn was delivered early at 36 weeks, when my waters broke and I was later induced as he didn’t want to make an appearance despite a day of pacing the hospital maternity department. His birth was a  speedy 2 hour something delivery (story for another day). Then there was Connie two and a half years later followed by Reubyn three years later. Both of them induced births at around the 38 mark as my consultant wanted to make sure I was in hospital given the speed of my first delivery and he was right! Both births progressed quickly and were around the two hour mark from first twinge to sitting up eating my tea and toast. All totally different births but one thing definitely was the same – they were anything but gentle. 

Let move on to the next few weeks of their lives. They didn’t sleep, all three had silent reflux were difficult feeders. I gave breastfeeding a go but it wasn’t for me I never seemed to get it right. By the time number three was on the way I had already made the decision I wasn’t going to even attempt it. But I had myself together by number three and new exactly what I was doing or at least at the time I thought I did. Learning to parent is a steep mountain to climb and everyone who has ever gone before you will always have an opinion on how you should be doing things. I often heard the phrase, “you know in my day we did it this way” or “we didn’t have those in our day.” But one thing is for sure, I did it my way and each child did well and thrived. 

They will always find their own way!

Parenting for us didn’t come naturally. I struggled being a new mum and after Connie suffered with severe postnatal depression. I used to compare myself to my friends and how they had totally had the whole parenting thing nailed. How they managed to be supermum and have three loads of washing done the housework completed, baked cookies with the kids and still had time to wash their hair and put makeup on before lunch! Most days I would still be in PJ’s come 3pm with yogurt in my hair and scraping some sort of baby mush of every surface my kids had come into contact with. Parenting was anything but gentle. Both hubby and I were absolutely shattered most, if not all of the time and resembled extras from zombie movie. No black eye makeup or pale complexions needed we had that down to a fine art and without even trying! Sleep was something that was in short supply! 

Co-sleeping, I had never heard this term to quite recently. I was selfish when it came to sleeping. I mean we were sleep deprived for pretty much 8 years in a row so if I was going to get a few precious hours sleep I wanted to make sure I had the bed to ourselves so no co-sleeping in our house. Don’t get me wrong there are often weekend mornings when our king size bed has everyone in it or on it!

We teach our children to be confident and happy children

I wish I could say I was the mother earth type but I’m not. In fact I would say I am pretty much winging it on a daily basis in my own unique way.  My work colleagues often laugh at my stories of parenting and the rules that have developed over the years in our house.  We all have rules but it is has been a hot topic when I say my kids don’t have playdough, paint or sand at home! My logic, they get to play with those at school and sand, well its for the beach! And then there’s glitter, dont get me started on glitter. I hate glitter. In fact my hatred for glitter was even known by one of my child’s teachers. When  Connie was in junior school I received a Christmas card from her teacher, addressed to the whole family. To my delight when I opened it it contained more glitter than a disney store snow globe. I was seeing glitter in my carpet well in to the new year! 

Fast forward, the children are now older. There are no babies left in our house. We have a son who’s eleven going on 16, complete with hair gel, too much aftershave and the inability to leave the confines of his bedroom. An 8 year old daughter who is the easiest child to parent, for her anything goes and a 5 year old son who I guess will always be my baby and is never too far from my side.

Three happy children
For me parenting is pretty much anything but gentle. It is a journey into the unknown. Each child arrives, grows and develops at their own pace and with their own ideas and agendas. Believe me when your child wants tomato sauce sandwiches for breakfast and you have repeatedly said no. They will get just help themselves when your back is turned! I like to think of my parenting style as, learning as you go! No two days are ever the same and my approach to parenting is slightly different for each child. They are individuals and need to be treated or parented in an individual way what works for one wont necessarily work for another.

Tomato sauce sandwiches for breakfast!
Raising confident, well adjusted happy and healthy children is our goal and it doesn’t matter what way you do it!

Claire
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