It’s Easier to Build Strong Children, Than To Repair Broken Adults.
Welcome back to my blog. Continuing on from my Mental health series I have had the pleasure of reviewing My Happy Journal Searching through Instagram one night I came across the happy journal page. I instantly loved it. The feed was so beautiful and colourful. Defiantly expressing happiness. I started to research about their company, and had seen that they make journals for kids to help them express themselves. I contacted Kirsty who very kindly sent me a journal for my Son.
Being a child can be tough, and from experience with my own son, they can be really hard on themselves. Sometimes there is so much pressure on them to exceed in life, to work hard at school, to have good manners, to behave all the time, to be the best at everything, and to be better than everyone else.
Especially in this day and age, where social media and the internet is very much in kids/teenagers lives. I dread the day when my kids are old enough to access social media, and start to compare themselves to what they see online.
Mental Health in children is something that is rarely spoken about, but it very much exists. My own son was going through some anxiety, and there’s no worse feeling as a parent watching your child have to battle with themselves, and their own thoughts, and being totally helpless.
Something that I am a big fan of is early intervention. I feel if you can help a child at their earliest point, they are less likely to grow up fighting these battles. My Happy Journal is a massive part of this. It allows you to bond with your child, and discuss their worries, as well as celebrating what they found good in that day.
It arrived in beautiful packaging full of confetti with a hand written note to my son. This was so personal and thoughtful. Kirsty has also included positive quote cards which we so inspirational.
So we opened the journal, and on the first page their is a note for the adults, this tells us about Kirsty’s vision, and why she had made the journal. As well as a couple of inspirational quotes.
Working through the journal
There is a 90 days for your child to fill out, they don’t have to be consecutive, just whenever your child feels like it. There is a page for your child to fill out his or her details, write down some of their favourite things, draw or put a photograph of themselves in. Make it their own. One thing that I expressed to my son through this, was that this is his journal, he can put what he wants in it, can draw and decorate it how he likes, it was his to do as he pleased with.
There are then pages where they can log what they enjoyed about their day. As I said above, kids can be so hard on themselves, so I like that they can pick out three good things about their day, and to be able to reflect on the positive things in life, instead of just focusing on the negatives.
There is happy, inspirational quotes throughout the journal, with lots of pages where the can draw and colour, and express themselves through art, which was a big positive for my son. Drawing is one of his favourite things to do. So he loves this about the journal. There is also a variety of fun facts and some tasks for the kids to work through too.
There has defiantly been a lot of thought and time put into these journals, and I feel designed for all kids, whether they are battling with a mental health condition or not. It’s a great way to bond with your child, and to find out more about their day. My son isn’t a massive fan of writing at the moment, and that can put him of doing tasks, so we have decided he will tell me what to write down, and then he can draw and colour the pages. I actually quite like this too, as it allows us to talk about his day, and reflect on the positives together. I would recommend this journal to anyone that asked, even if you child is like my son and doesn’t like to write, you can still talk about the positives and write them down for them.
I also feel this would be super beneficial for children battling with a mental health condition. When a child is constantly battling with their own thoughts all day, it can be really difficult for them to focus on anything positive, and I really feel this would help. It’s not like homework, it’s not a chore, it’s something that you can enjoy with your child together, and as part of a family.
Can women really have it all? The career, husband, children, social life? The answer, yes, you probably can, but it’s likely to come at a cost. To me, this is so frustrating. I was, and still am a woman who wants it all, I don’t want to give up my career to look after my children, and I don’t want to miss out on important milestones in my kids life because I’m working. I have to try and split my time between home life and work.
So what do we do? How can we have it all? Can we do it without it coming at such a cost? If there is, I haven’t found it yet. I’m hoping my career in blogging and vlogging will take off, and I will be able to be at home working, and looking after my children at the same time. Thankfully at the moment, I am on maternity leave, so I haven’t had to worry about what is written below for a few months, however that is about to come to an end in April when I’m due back at work.
Fortunately our household has just had a shift in dynamics, and my partner has gone part time at work. This will allow me to go back to work part time without the worry of looking for suitable childcare, or being able to afford it. Private childcare for babies is crazy expensive, and I’d be paying out any extra money I’d earn working full time on childcare. It will also allows us to share responsibility, and take it in turns to do the school run, attend school events, look after the baby, and being able to spend quality time with the children.
Below are a list of challenges I have faced as a working mum.
1. Missing out on important school events
This was the one that happened all the time. My sons school are really great about involving parents in what they do. They have open days about learning, teaching parents basic French and Spanish to help with the kids homework. They have had cookery lessons, and open days about homework. I missed all of these because I was at work, and I couldn’t put in individual holiday dates, as I needed these for when the schools broke up for summer. I’d miss out on concerts, and assembly’s because I just couldn’t get away from work.
I remember one day in particular, and this probably sounds really stupid to most people, but I missed my sons pre-school graduation! I mean graduating from pre-school, it’s not that big a deal, but to me it was. I was so proud of my son, and I wanted to see him get his little certificate, and applauded him for doing so well! I missed it because I mixed up the dates and took time off for his end of year concert instead, which was still fantastic, and I loved every minute of it, but I was gutted that I had missed his graduation. My mum phoned me at work to tell me (as she had managed to go) and I stood in this tiny office, and cried! Cried like a baby, because I was gutted, and I felt that huge weight of Mum guilt getting heavier on my shoulders! My son will never remember that day, however I will always feel guilty for missing it. Fortunately this year I managed to go to his nativity play, that I had to miss last year, and it was fantastic. Fantastic not to feel that Mum guilt again!
2. Having to take time off work when your child is unwell
So here is the other end of the stick. When my son was unwell I had to take time of work. I was a single mum to my son for the first 4 ish years of his life. I was solely responsible for him, so I had to be the one that stayed home with him. My son picks up every bug and cold going, and sometimesI felt like, work are going to think I’m messing them about. I just couldn’t take any more time off work. So he had to go to my mums
house….que the Mum guilt again! Sometimes I’d be able to work from home, but that was only really in my last job. My previous employment was in care, so it wasn’t possible to work from home. I either had to let me employer down, or my son down. I didn’t want to do either.
A lot of employers aren’t sympathetic to your other role as a parent, especially if they aren’t a parent themselves, it can be really hard for them to understand why you need to be the one to take time off again.
3. Missing out on first words/steps/quality bonding time
I went back to work when my son was three months old. Due to being a single Mother, I had no other choice. I had to work, I had to provide for my son. So I missed out on so much of his early years. His first steps were caught on camera and sent to me, his first words, giggles, tucking him into bed every night. These were all things I missed. As a single Mum, you have to do, what you have to do, to look after your baby. I would work nightshifts, come home, and sleep for an hour or two, and then I’d go collect my son, and stay awake until bedtime. I’d be so tired sometimes, I’d be zoned out. So even if my son did do any firsts at that point, I wouldn’t be able to remember it anyway. I still feel a huge sense of guilt for not being able to either remember his firsts, or that I wasn’t even there to see them.
That was one thing I didn’t want to do this time. I couldn’t imagine missing all of those with my daughter. There’s a chance that I still might, while working part time, but I have a higher chance I won’t, as I am going to be at home more. One thing I always want from now on in, is to be tucking my babies into bed every night. Regardless if I have to go back to work part time or full time.
4. Not being able to have a family breakfast
This one was a more recent one, as the job I was in before I went off on maternity leave, was an office job, Monday to Friday, 9-5. Even those this has many perks, especially having my weekends off, and being able to put my kids to bed at night. My son had to go to breakfast club at school every morning. He’d be at school from 8.15am most days. Fortunately he loved breakfast club, and misses it sometimes now, with me being off on maternity leave. I still felt bad for him that as soon as he was awake, it would be a quick shower, dressed and into the car to go to school.
5. Trying to fit in home work, after school activities, dinner and quality time in within a couple of hours before bedtime
Oh my goodness, 5 year olds get a lot of
homework, he still gets lots of homework now, but we have more time to complete it. I’d really struggle with trying to fit all his homework in, especially as we weren’t getting home until almost 6pm most nights. We then had to get dinner, try and spend time together and fit in homework before bedtime at 7.30pm. We’d have swimming on a Thursday night too, so that day was out of the question all together to complete homework. It would be rushed and half arsed most of the time, and it usually result in us getting stressed at each other. Not how I wanted to be spending my quality time with my son after I got home from work.
6. Not being thought of for promotion
It’s no secret that gender pay gap still exits. Fortunately not in any company that I have worked with, but it defiantly still there. This goes for promotion and recruitment too. It has been known for employers to even ask woman if they plan to have children/more children in an interview! I never mention that I have my own kids in an interview unless asked. The fact that I had a child or children doesn’t affect how well I can do the job. Women are less likely to be considered for promotion or even have it mentioned to her if she has children! That’s just crazy, the independent wrote a good article about it.
7. Having to try and find childcare for during the school holidays
This is a massive pain. My sons school gets 7 weeks off during the summer! 7 fricken weeks. I get 28 days annual leave. I have to try schedule 2 weeks off, schedule my sons Dad having him a week or 2, him going to his grandparents house, my aunts house, and anyone else who is free to take him! Luckily I have a great family who always help out at the drop of a hat, but it’s still pretty stressful.
8. Fighting with the other parents at work to be the first to try and get the school holidays off.
On the back of that, you have to try and get your holiday dates in before the other parents to ensure you can get that time off. Most parents like myself, put those dates in as soon as the new holiday year begins.
9. Childcare! So pricey
I’ve been looking into childcare for going back to work, and one of the main reasons for both myself and my fiancé looking at part time work was because we’d be paying out anything extra we make working full time, into private childcare. Your talking on average £1000 a month! That’s just a crazy amount of money to pay out.
10. Having a social life
Trying to fit in a social life when being a parent and a full time worker is just so difficult. Luckily and not so lucky, me and my friends are mostly in the same position, so we understand. We try to get a catch up once a month, some months we see each other more then that, and sometimes we can go a full month without seeing each other at all. It really just depends on how busy we all are.
It’s really just a juggling act. You have to weigh up your tasks and priorities them. You can defiantly have it all, but you can’t have 100% of everything, and as a working mother, that’s something I will just have to learn to live with.
I’d love to hear how other working Mothers get on, do you face difficulties in your workplace. How do you juggle parent-life with a career? Leave you comments below.
Finally getting around to my first blog of 2018! What a crazy couple of weeks It has been! I love the festive period and everything it brings, especially the family time, which has prompted me to write this post.
So as you know if you have read my other blogs, I have a 6 year old and a now 4 month old. When it comes to 6 year olds they can have a list as long as their arm for Santa, and my son was no exception!
We went to visit Santa while on a day out, and when Santa asked Ben what he wanted for Christmas, my son replied with “oh I want lots of things!” I was so embarrassed! Mainly because he knows how fortunate he is to have what he already has, and happily gives toys away to children who aren’t quite as lucky as he is. However I suppose he’s just a typical 6 year old kid, who was excited about Christmas and what it would bring.
Christmas Eve brought even more excitement, and off he went to bed with hope of getting a lightsaber! Well he had only mentioned it a few days prior, and it wasn’t anything that we had bought him, and there was no way I was running out to buy him one. I had already bought him too much! They both got far too much for Christmas, as you just keep buying incase it looks like there isn’t very much. Next year I am planning on doing a 12 activities present, where they will get to open a new envelope each month with an activity that we can do together as a family that month! Whether that be a paid or a free activity.
The first thing my son did on Christmas morning was look and see if Santa had drank all of his milk, and had taken away the pictures that he drew for him!
There it was, the reason I am so proud of my son. Instead of running to the presents, he wanted to make sure Santa got his! (I am so glad I remembered to take the pictures away!) He then took it in turns to open his presents and help his baby sister open hers. He was just as excited for her presents as he was for his! Christmas is about giving, and spending time with people you love. That’s why it’s my favourite time of year. We continued the rest of the day with family at my parents house, eating, laughing and playing games all night.
It’s so easy to let a 6 year old to sit on a games console all day long and not really interact with them, because it’s easy, they are occupied, and they are not causing any hassle! Now don’t get me wrong, I let my son play the Xbox every now and then, but it’s only for an hour at a time, at the weekend, and he has to earn his time on it throughout the week. I really think our time together could be spent better, than me watching him play a computer game.
Statistics also show that interacting and playing with your child is great for their development. If nothing else it allows you and your child to bond, and make happy memories together.
Most of my favourite memories are from family days out, holidays, and just being able to spend time with my kids, enjoying their company. Below are a list of my 5 top favourite activities to do with my children, most of which are free, or cost very little money.
1. Family Games Night
This is a new tradition that we have brought in for 2018, we love to spend time together and play board games, so every Sunday night, it’s T.V off, phones away, no distractions. Just myself, Kris and my kids. We love it, even though my son get “board game rage!” Especially with Monopoly! Anyone else’s kids have the game rage? Haha, but it also helps with his learning, he’s counting, reading cards, and learning to take turns.
2. Long walks and going to the park
I love going out on family walks, there are so many beautiful places near by to go and visit. As well as some great play parks. The fresh air always helps us feel better, and my son loves an Autumn walk, where he can go digging around in the leaves! He’s just learning to ride his bike now too, but is still quite nervous about falling off! So the plan is to get out as often as possible to help him achieve his goal of riding without stabilisers.
3. Visiting the beach
Oh I do love to be by the seaside! I love it, the fresh air, the calmness of the sea, the laughter of kids running in the water and making sandcastles! We don’t have a beach on our doorstep, but it’s just a short drive away. Ben loves it! He runs in the sea, no matter how cold, looks for sea shells, and buries me and his Step Dad in the sand! I can’t wait for summer to come, so we can get our beach trips back. This time we will have little Darcie to show the sea and sand too! Ben will love that.
Both of my kids are water babies, and we love the water! Swimming costs a little depending on where we go, but it’s totally worth it to see the pure joy on my children’s faces! We particularly loved when we were on holiday to Majorca, and had use of the outdoor pool whenever we wanted! Ben has been attending swimming lessons which he loves, and I will be looking for a swimming class for Darcie soon too. As much as they love swimming, I think it’s very important for kids to learn how to swim! You just never know when they might need to use that skill.
5. Spending time in the garden
We don’t have a particularly big garden with very much in it, and we don’t have many days in the year that we can just sit and relax, and play in the garden. But when we do, I just love it. My son will spend time jumping on his trampoline, bringing his action figures outside, and when we have the weather, playing in the paddling pool! In the winter we love playing in the snow, building snow men, making snow angles, but again we don’t get many days where we can, so we like to make the most of it.
What do you do with your children to spend time with them? What’s your favourite activity?
Much love 💕<<<< gt;<<< ><< p>< /p>
So I have just said yes to my dress of my dreams to marry the man of my dreams a year and a half from now, which has kind of prompted me to write a post about how we met. Also about what it was like dating as a single mum, and what it was like to date a single mum from kris’s point of view. This post is the first of 3 parts.
Before I met Kris I was not long out of a relationship with someone else, a very short relationship and I think I was just too scared to be on my own, that I settled. It was apparent very quickly that was never going to work out, and that ended after a night out…..anyways fast forward to meeting Kris.
I was browsing the wonderful world of online dating, not really sure of what or who I was looking for, if anything. I certainly knew I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Swiping left or right on tinder was usually accompanied by friends and a glass or four of wine! It was a laugh, like a catalogue of men to browse and most likely scrutinise! Too tall, too short, he’s posing with a girl, oh I know him, he has a wife! Jeeze there’s my ex! So it was never really taken seriously.
I met Kris on a site called pof. A free online dating site, as I was not up for paying to use the catalogue lol. POF was worse, I’d get countless messages from sleazy men sending me photos of things I did not want to see! I mean why would you feel the need to send naked picture of yourself. No thank you! But in amongst the craziness of online dating, I met Kris.
I had this notification pop up on my account, I had been favourited. I went on and had a little browse of his profile. Cute, tall, dark hair, great smile, tattoo’d, yeah he was defiantly my type, so I hit the favourite button back. I didn’t really think too much about it, nothing usually comes of those things. The next morning I logged onto my account to see a message from him, with something really cheesy like, “you just made my night by favouriting me” haha he insists to this day he wasn’t cheesy, but he really was! We got chatting and we spoke every day for a good couple of weeks. Kris worked offshore, so we had arranged to meet up when he got back. He wasn’t long out of a relationship either, so we were both happy that we weren’t wanting anything serious, just a bit of fun, and a few dates.
So our first date came around, Ben was at his dads for the weekend, it was a bit awkward, I felt like I knew him after talking to him every day, and totally stalking his social media to ensure I knew he was who he said he was! But we had never met, so I didn’t know him at all. “Shall I shake your hand or kiss you on the cheek when we meet?” A line that I later found out he used on all the girls! Haha. A kiss on the cheek it was! He brought me flowers! Big tick ✔️ I couldn’t remember the last time anyone brought flowers for me, romance wasn’t dead! We spoke for hours, and had a bit of a kiss! He made me laugh, and gave me excited butterflies in my tummy, defiantly what I was looking for in terms of dating.
We pretty much saw each other every night while he was home that trip, when Ben went to bed, he’d come to mine and chill, watching tv, chatting and getting to know each other. When Ben was away to his dads we’d go out on dates and he’d stay over! I remember us lying in bed one morning, having a conversation with each other ensuring we were both on the same page, the friends with benefits one! Which I was, but I knew I was starting to fall for him, and he was for me too! I tried to look for faults to stop myself, but I couldn’t find any. There really wasn’t anything about him I disliked…might be a bit different now! Haha, so I thought, just go with it, your enjoying dating him, don’t think too much into it.
He went back offshore, and I missed him like mad, he’d phone me every other night, sometimes every night while away, so clearly I was more than a friend with benefits to him too! We had arranged to go away for the night in Glasgow when he came back. Something to look forward too! I couldn’t wait until he came home. By this point my family and friends knew all about him too, but no one had met him yet and certainly not Ben. If there was one thing I knew, it was regardless of how our relationship was to go, I wasn’t introducing Ben until I was 100% certain he wasn’t going to fuck us over, and even when I would introduce him, it would be as my fiend to start with.
<< was home! And our night away to Glasgow is one I will never forget. For reasons of which I can't disclose on here! Haha, but it was also the first night he told me he loved me! Wow, LOVE! yup so we aren't just friends with benefits then are we! He was drunk so I wasn't sure if I believed him so I didn't say it back, even though I was totally screaming in my head I love you too, while jumping up and down! When we woke in the morning, he said it again, ok he's sober now, it must be true. I said it back. We are in love! I was so incredibly happy! The happiest I had been in a very long time. I'd also like to point out that we dropped the L bomb and we weren't even officially boyfriend,girlfriend yet, and that wasn't to happen for another few weeks! << 'd continue to see each other in the same manner for a few months before he met Ben! This was challenging at times, as all of you parents out there know, that sometimes toddlers don't sleep all night, and Ben was just under 3 when we started seeing each other, and didn't sleep through the night properly until he was 3 and a half. I didn't want him to meet Kris by chance I wanted it to be planned. All you parents out there also know what it's like to be in new relationships and how passionate it is. There was one night I will never forget (and sorry mum, and any other family members reading this) me and Kris were, you know! And we hear this little knock on the living room door. (was safer in the living room as it was further away from Bens room, or so we thought!) I had never seen anyone jump so quickly and hide behind the chair clutching his clothes looking like he was a naughty teenager, who had just been caught by his girlfriends dad! Haha. Hilarious, but it must have been a struggle for kris. He was 24 when we met, so he could go out there and meet anyone, someone that didn't have a kid that would interrupt the sex sessions! Someone who he could go and see whenever he wanted, and not have to come second to their child. I'm not really sure I could have done it, and I know that's really hypocritical of me, but I'm not sure I would have been strong enough to date someone who already had a kid, and maybe that's because I knew what baggage it can come with, or maybe I just didn't want to come second to someone else! Who knows, I just knew it must have been hard on Kris, but he never complained about it, not once. It was one of the many reasons I realised that I wanted to introduce him to Ben. I'd love to hear other single mums or previous single mums experiences while dating. I was lucky to not be in the dating game long, however it was never planned that way. My next blog post will be all about kris meeting Ben, and what challenges that brought and can continue bring at times. Please like and share my post if you enjoyed it x