Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

The Rule Book

Rule: noun: from Middle English rule, from Old French riule, from Vulgar Latin regula (“straight stick, bar, ruler, pattern”), from regere (“to keep straight, direct, govern, rule”); see regent.verb: from Middle English rulen, from Old French riuler, from Latin regulare (“to regulate, rule”), from regula (“a rule”); see regular.

Rules, we all have them and mostly we all try and live by them. I am an absolute stickler for them. I cannot, try as I might break them and am filled with a sense of dread if I even attempt to. If a sign says ‘No Entry’ then there is nothing, not even a massive box of calorie free chocolate on the other side, that will make me enter! (although I would think about it)

Parenting for me has it’s own set of rules (instinctive ones of course!!) but also some black and white ones that my family and I all abide by. ‘Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.’ is one. ‘Work hard, play hard.’ another. More ideals and life philosophies than rules I guess.

And there is no place where rules are more enforced than ever, than in a school. A few months ago I went to a parents evening at my daughter’s school, and on chatting to her form tutor for a mere 15 minutes it was clear that my 11 year daughter was breaking quite a few of their rules. She was being rude to others, not handing in her homework and had got a couple of detentions in a couple of weeks. I was mortified. There has always been two sides to my daughter, she’s a Gemini and we’ve often said she has a good side, and a not so good side, and clearly the latter was rearing it’s ugly head more than the norm (if there is one!) for a pre-teen. Interestingly the form tutor’s advice was for me to be stricter with her. It was a moment when I had to do a bit of self reflection. My fiery red-headed daughter had always pushed boundaries with her fantastically outgoing and vivacious personality, and she’d always needed clear boundaries setting. However in the last year, with the birth of my third child and PND I had to admit that these boundaries had lapsed somewhat. It was easier for me to pick up rubbish she left in the lounge than have to have yet another argument about her doing it herself. It was easy for me to say yes to her having the laptop in her room at bedtime than have a battle to get her to go to bed. I’m not proud of my lack of ‘structured’ parenting, but I will admit to it and be honest about it. I had taken the easy route. I felt awful that she’d seen me so ill, felt terrible that she was old enough to know what was going on and that she’d had to comfort me on many an occasion. So, if I could keep her happy in other ways I guess I had felt I was making up for some of that. But now, the lack of boundaries was coming back to bite us both on the ass.

We came home, both of us very upset. There had been so many arguments and battles between us over the last few months, but for once after what the tutor had said, we were both speechless. I felt I had completely let her down and mother’s guilt kicked in with full force. She went to bed and I tortured myself with guilt and fears of being a terrible mother. My daughter and I had done a ‘love bombing’ day a few weeks previous to this which, although wonderful, hadn’t fully solved the issues and as soon as we returned home from our day out, try as we might not to let it happen, the arguments, resentment and frustrations returned. So we needed something new. I thought about what the form tutor had said and wondered how my daughter felt about it. We sat down and discussed what we were going to do, as our situation was affecting so many people. My daughter said she wanted rules. She said she wanted to know exactly where she stood and what she was and wasn’t allowed to do. I asked her how she would like this to be done and she decided on a rule book. We went to Paperchase and bought a massive coloured notebook, and some stickers. (and I may or may not have also purchased several smaller notebooks for me, but we won’t focus on that) We came home and together thought of what we both expected of each other. Each page was written with a rule, and a consequence if that rule was broken. Things like ‘all electronic equipment switched off by 8.30pm,’ ‘make your bed every morning,’ and ‘tidy up after yourself,’ were recorded and agreed. She wanted to sign every page to show she was committed to it. And I had rules too!

It’s strange, but after the book had been written and the rules were in place she changed. She looked happier, lighter. Without being asked she started following them, and was actually found singing as she tidied up! Upon asking her where this lovely good mood had come from she simply said that she felt a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and that she felt so much happier knowing exactly where she stood. She said writing that book had been a relief, and she was so happy we were working as a team to improve our relationship and her attitude. Over the next few weeks we looked at the book every evening and either stuck in a sticker (again her idea!) if she had stuck to it, or put a warning cross if something hadn’t gone quite right. Soon, as the weeks went by we needed to look at the book less and less and now, it’s hardly referred to at all.

The real test (and subsequent #magicmoment!) came last Thursday. It was her end of Year 7 parents evening. A two hour extravaganza where I would meet every single one of her teachers. I was nervous, she was nervous. The proof, as they say, was going to be in the parent-teacher conference pudding. And it was the sweetest, most delicious pudding I had ever eaten. Phrases like, ‘wonderfully polite, ‘ ‘an absolute pleasure to teach,’ ”a fantastic team player,’ and ‘such an amazing attitude to school and learning,’ were said…about my daughter! She was praised for her perseverance, for her thoughtfulness, her kindness and determination. Together we discovered how truly amazing she is, and I have never been so proud to be her mother. She swelled with pride with every conversation and at the end of the two hours we were laughing and smiling and high-fiving (not cool for a grown woman I know!) all over the place. She was so proud of herself and everything she had achieved. And I had learnt to listen to her needs more, she needed rules and boundaries not my misplaced attempts at making her feel loved to try and ease my PND guilt.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that my daughter will forever be this polite, hard working and well behaved, she is about to become a teenager in the not so distant future after all, but I do hope that this wonderful phase continues and that it installs in her an innate sense of motivation and desire to work hard and succeed. She set her own rules and stuck to them. She excelled herself and turned it around. That parents evening was a truly wonderful #magicmoment. We celebrated in style with a lovely mother/daughter dinner, something we have vowed to do at least once a week, just the two of us. She’s an amazing child, and I think she is finally beginning to realise that herself!

Ten Stories I Wish I’d Been Told About Being a New Mum

Guest: Guest or The Guest may refer to: A person who is given hospitality.

Today on my blog I have the pleasure of hosting the first ever guest post!! It is written by the lovely Stephanie, who is a brilliantly talented writer and storyteller! You can follow her on Twitter @Storybramble and her fantastic blog can be found at
Stephanie is a trained actor, qualified drama teacher and mother of two. She is passionate about reading, writing and telling stories and created Storybramble as a resource for other parents who feel the same way. Over at Storybramble Stephanie posts a new audio story or poem for children to listen to each week with ideas for creative activities to go with it. She also blogs about all things story related including stories she is reading with her own children and ideas for how to make storytelling a part of your family’s life.

So, without further ado here is her brilliant guest post…please visit her blog and show her some love!

Ten Stories I wish I had been told about being a new mum

I am a big fan of stories. I believe they can transform, teach and even heal us. Stories are powerful creatures that are everywhere. When pregnant you become a magnet for stories. Birth stories, sleepless night stories, breast feeding stories are passed on aplenty. I vividly recall being wide eye with terror at some of the tales I heard when I was pregnant with my first child as a wave of horror birth stories came crawling out of the wood work. Episiotomy? Why did no one tell me before I had a baby inside me that needed to come out?!

Then that baby does come out. And I found, as you so often do, that the stories you heard about motherhood don’t always match up to the reality. So, as I am a big believer in all things magical, I decided to imagine what I would say if I had the power to go back and talk to my new mum self. What stories would I want the younger me to hear? And this is what I came up with:

1. It is ok to have pain relief when giving birth

I was lucky enough to attend NCT classes when I was pregnant with my first baby. They were a great source of information on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and a great way to meet other new mums to be. Natural was held up as the ideal when it came to giving birth and I had a lovely natural birth story all worked out in my head. Which was great, until I actually went into labour.

It was a story of complications, my son was back to back and not keen on coming out. It was a story of other worldly pain which I fought for longer than I should have before relenting and asking for an injection of pethidine. Within half an hour the labour stopped being a struggle and my son was born. The pethidine had affected him however making him too sleepy to feed properly and I was hit with my first does of motherhood guilt. I found I couldn’t enjoy the first precious days with my son because I was consumed with a sense of having already failed him as a mother. It wasn’t until I had my second baby naturally that I realised how different each birth is. The story I wish I had heard is this:

Birth is an individual experience, it’s great to aim for a natural birth but sometimes that’s just not possible. If you find you need pain relief that is ok, the goal of labour is not to create the perfect birth story, the goal is to give birth to a healthy baby so do what you need to do and don’t worry.

2. Breastfeeding is natural but does not always come naturally

I knew I wanted to breastfeed and felt confident of my ability to do it. My health visitor and the NCT made it sound easy enough. The reality was very different. Within a few days I was a mess, cracked, sore and bleeding. I went on to develop an infection which added to the pain I was experiencing and each feed was agony. I was lucky, I was well supported by my heath visitor and also called out a breastfeeding councilor but they couldn’t help me. The only thing that was going to help was time, so that I could heal the cracks. I recovered eventually by expressing some milk and alternating bottle feeds with time on my breast. It was three months before I really had breastfeeding sorted and I went on to feed my son until he was two. I am glad I stuck it out but I could easily see why someone would chose not to go through that pain, if I had had another child for example I wouldn’t have been able to do it. What I wish I had been told was:

Breastfeeding is great but sometimes it is not straightforward. Be prepared by knowing who to ask for support and help. Have supplies of nipple cream on stand by and have and know how to use a breast pump incase you want to express at some point (3am in the morning is not when you want to be struggling with an instruction manual!). Don’t give up to soon, it is worth fighting for but equally don’t beat yourself up if it is not what you want or if it becomes impossible. You have a life time of mother guilt ahead of you, you might as well drop this one and do what is right for you.

3. It is ok to go back on things that you said you were going to do/not do

There was a time when I knew everything there was to know about parenting my children. I knew exactly what I would and would not do in each and ever situation. Then I had a baby and everything changed!

Before I had children I was sure I would use cloth nappies and I would never give my baby a bottle or a dummy. I was really quite annoying about it and it came to bite me in the bum big time. The cloth nappies were too much work for me in the early days and I gave up on them quickly and my breastfeeding issues saw me go back on my ideas about bottles and dummies. I found those moments difficult, it felt like I was going against my own moral code. I wish I had been told:

It’s great to make decisions about parenting when expecting but remember that when you have an actual baby in your arms things might be very different. You might need to change your mind about things and that is OK. Your baby wasn’t there when you made your plans and might not like them, go with the flow and let yourself off the hook.

4. Sleep, forget the housework!

Admittedly I did hear the ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ mantra but for some reason it didn’t make sense to me. If I slept then when would actually do anything else? The answer is this?

Drop your standards! You have a new baby, you are learning how to do the hardest job in the world with no training on next to no sleep. Rest, rest and rest again. Sleep deprivation is not a form of torture for no reason so do what you are told and sleep when that baby sleeps!

5. It is ok to not be ok

After both my babies I didn’t feel so great. Baby blues hit most mothers at some point but for me they hung around a bit longer than they should have. I felt terrible for not feeling happy. Surely this was meant to be the best time of my life? I had imagined floating around the house glowing and baking cookies. Instead I was dragging myself around in my jammies looking like I had been pulled through a bush backwards. I would tell myself:

Motherhood is amazing but it doesn’t always feel that way and that is ok. Don’t add to your stress by feeling bad about feeling bad. And if you are feeling bad then the next point is required reading.

6. Ask for help

Because I felt ashamed for not being full of the joys of motherhood I lied to the health visitor, my family and friends about how I really felt. I pretended all was well when in reality I felt pretty awful much of the time. I wish I had known:

Becoming a mother is a massive change in your life and while it can be wonderful it is also normal to feel overwhelmed, sad or a sense of loss over your old life. Normal but not OK. Normal because many parents feel that way, not OK because you shouldn’t have to struggle alone. Don’t wait, ask for help – you deserve support.

7. Don’t compare

Everyone has heard of the competitiveness of mothers but until you experience it first hand you can’t know how fierce it actually is. I was amazed at the number of little digs I got about my son’s awful sleeping or my struggle with breastfeeding. I wish someone had told me to:

Ignore, ignore, ignore! So their darling is sleeping through the night already, well good for them. Babies are all individuals who do things at their own pace. You are not doing anything wrong as a mother just because your child isn’t doing whatever their child is doing, your parenting is just fine.

8. Throw the books in the bin

I read them all. Gina, baby whisperer, books on attachment parenting. They were all very interesting. They were all totally contradictory. They all belonged in one place only. The bin.

Don’t read a ton of parenting books. If you do want advice you are better of either chatting to other mums that you know and trust or simply listening to your own gut, as they saying goes – mum knows best!

9. Stop

It is true what they say about parenting, the time really does fly. I missed out on a lot of the early days with my son because I was too busy worrying about what I was and wasn’t doing.

Relax and enjoy, you won’t get this time back. Forget about what you feel you ought to be doing and do what feels right. And lie on the sofa eating chocolate and smelling your baby as often as you can.

10. Take space

When I became a mother I felt completely consumed by the work of parenting. My days felt like a bad record on repeat that went: Nappy, boob, washing, food, clean. Nappy, boob, washing, food, clean. I loved my son but I was bored a lot of the time and I felt like there was no space in my life for me anymore. I kept these thoughts to myself, somehow it felt wrong to want time for me. Now I see having time to do my own thing as an essential part of being a good mother. A radiator has to be warm to heat others and as a mother you need to nourish your creativity as much as you need to nourish your body with good food. It’s part of the reason I created my site Storybramble, it gave me a space where I could be creative and connect with other mothers. Storybramble was a place to share my passion for children’s stories and I am thankful to the internet which allows so many women the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Make sure you make time for you and your passions. Taking care of you is all part of being a good parent. Mothers have a unique perspective on the world so get out there and tell your own story, the world is waiting to hear from you.

What about you? What stories did you hear about being a mother and what would you go back and tell yourself if you could?

Thank you Stephanie, for guest posting on my blog x

An Advert Rant.

Adverts: Advertising is a form of communication for marketing and used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to continue or take some new action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behaviour with respect to a commercial offering, although political and ideological advertising is also common.

So, it is #rantyfriday and if you read my blog you know I often like a good rant, and sometimes that rant is about so called ‘parenting manuals!’ My dad once bought a manual to help him when I was a ‘difficult’ teenager. I don’t remember what it was called or exactly what was written in it but I do remember laughing out loud when I snuck into my parents bedroom to read it, thinking that the author clearly wasn’t a teenager as they didn’t get them at all! Maybe it was there that my dislike of parenting manuals began, who knows, but recently this irritation has spread to parenting adverts….

I was watching an advert for a popular squash brand this week and was infuriated by the tag line, ‘It’s great to be a dad, even better to be a friend.’ It is such a sweeping statement and I despair of parents who try and be their children’s friends; I’m of the firm opinion that you should be their parent! You, and they, probably have enough friends (I hope!) in your lives anyway. Parenting isn’t about being friends with your child, they are not supposed to like you, they are supposed to respect you and look up to you. Parenting is far more complex than friendship, and whilst I’m friendly with my children, I wouldn’t dream of actually being their friend. How would that help them? I’m supposed to discipline them, teach them the difference between right and wrong, nurture their talents and develop their personalities. I am not the one who should be having their first fag with them behind the bike sheds. Or be the first to hear about them losing their virginity. *shudders* I’m all for having a close,honest relationship with my children, but if they ask for my advice, the advice they will get is that from a mother, not a mate.

After watching that advert I then got a bit obsessed with analysing others. Nappies for example; ‘All your baby needs to wake up happy is your love and a dry bottom.’ What a load of sodding rubbish! I love my baby endlessly, and he always has a nice, clean and dry bottom, but does he always wake up happy, does he heck! I, for that matter, am loved and always have a nice, clean and dry bottom and I wake up in a foul mood almost daily.

And don’t even get me started on sanitary towels and, ‘Have a happy period.’ That was clearly written by a man. Why oh why would I or any other woman ever have a happy period? How could being bloated, tearful, irritated with everyone and everything, in pain, spotty and miserable as sin EVER be a happy experience. If a sanitary towel actually possessed magical powers and could make me have a happy period then I’d buy them in truck loads. Seriously, someone needs to invent that!

My point to this rant (albeit somewhat disguised!) is that parenting and life can be hard, and so many written words compound that. Books, magazine articles, adverts…if we read and believe them all we would go insane and never know what to do. Surely our instincts can tell us that if a child has a dirty nappy they will probably be unhappy. (and, for that matter, that we are never going to have the all elusive ‘happy period’)

My mum sent me this article in the newspaper this week (yes it was from the Daily Fail but still, I read it!)

In the article it says that 46% of Grandmothers listened to their own instincts. And the others shockingly took advice from Mothercare or Marks & Spencer. Can you imagine their advert, ‘This isn’t just any baby…this is a baby with the peachiest, smoothest skin. A baby whose cries sound like sweet music!’ Bleurch, you get the picture. Are these companies really that influential, do people actually listen to the words in their adverts? Are some men out there now changing their complete parenting style to be their son’s mates even though it could be going against every instinct they have?

The article ends with the sentence, ‘We think it’s important for mothers to be encouraged to discover their own inner instincts – something books can overlook!’

COULD NOT AGREE MORE. And now I think this not just about books, but hugely influential advertising as well. What do you think?


Behaviour: Behavior or behaviour is the range of actions and mannerisms made by organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, and voluntary or involuntary.

‘It wouldn’t do for us all to be the same!’ my Dad used to say. It’s amazing the silly little things you remember from someone who is no longer around. And scary how much you forget. But this little phrase has stuck with me over the years. Whenever I have a differing of opinions with someone, or start to be Mrs Judgey Mcjudgerson, I think to myself how dull life would be if we were all the same. How boring relationships and friendships could be if we didn’t all bring a myriad of different things into them. There are certainly positive things that come out of us all being different, and then there are undoubtedly some negative things. And if there is one area where everyone is doing it differently, it’s parenting. How we sleep, how we feed, how we school, or discipline our children, we all do it differently. But do we respect that? Often no. Parents are often very quick to criticise others and judge them on situations they know nothing about. I was recently judged by someone regarding my daughter’s behaviour, someone who probably doesn’t to this day realise that they made me feel judged. It’s not nice. It made me cry and do something I hate, which is doubt myself. They didn’t know my background, or my daughter’s and judged me on a two minute conversation I’d had with her. Anyway, I digress. The point I wanted to discuss in this post about us all being different, is about the differing ways we discipline our children, and whether our methods help our children to understand their actions, or shame them into feeling bad?

Yesterday I was involved in a Twitter chat about discipline and for a while it was difficult to work out if we were singing from the same hymn sheet or not, but we were both very respectful of the other’s opinions, using them to back up our own. It got me thinking. Disciplining children is often a hot topic for debate, many thinking that it should be simply black and white, right or wrong, and then there are others who adopt a kindness approach where they try and understand the children’s feelings and use this to help them understand that what they have done maybe wrong. Discipline is often historically though of as something which is based upon rewards and consequences. Children are often either praised for what they have done right, or disciplined for something they have done wrong. But are they ever allowed to have their feelings justified? Are they ever allowed to explain why they did something? Talk about how they felt? And if they were, would this be a more effective way of teaching them about what is/is not acceptable behaviour? Bad behaviour often stems from fear, or anger, or confusion. It often stems from an emotion, or an inability to control an emotion. And more often than not it stems from curiosity, from wondering ‘what would happen if?’ Maybe instead of telling your child off for them flooding the bathroom from experimenting with water, you could dunk them in the bath with all the tools they need to explore this further. Instead of criticising them for breaking a toy on purpose, explain that this isn’t how we treat our belongings, and then give them something they can rip, tear, break so they continue to learn and discover. Obviously hurting other people doesn’t fall into this category, but if they are frustrated and need to kick or punch or bite, give them something they can do this to. And then talk about their feelings when they’ve calmed down. Justify those feelings, tell them you know they are feeling angry, but that they must never hurt others. Bottling up angry feelings doesn’t ever have a good outcome, and a tantrum is simply a child trying to communicate to us how they feel.

Children in my opinion have an innate need to please, and crave endless attention. If they are often referred to as naughty and through being ‘naughty’ is how they get all of their attention, is it any wonder that they spiral into a succession of wrong doings or become fearful of experimenting, of using their imagination and nurturing their natural curiosity? Wouldn’t it be easier to say that what they are DOING is ‘naughty,’ not that THEY are naughty? (Personally I don’t even like to use the word naughty!) Sadly I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation that we’ve misjudged, and have fallen into the trap of making empty threats (I did this once, never again!) that are never going to be carried out. I think we need to be consistent, children need to know what is and isn’t acceptable, but they also need to understand why these things are or aren’t acceptable, and then they need to be taught to recognise, understand and manage their feelings.

And finally…NEVER forget the power of LEADING BY EXAMPLE, the more you show your children how to treat others, how to behave in certain situations and how to look after their belongings…then the more they will DO THE SAME!

So, what are your thoughts on discipline and behaviour?


Time: Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science. Some simple, relatively uncontroversial definitions of time include “time is what clocks measure” and “time is what keeps everything from happening at once” (Wikipedia)

Last night I made the mistake of reading the news, and it got me thinking (and feeling ranty!) I read this article- – about how Michael Gove is proposing longer school days and less school holidays.

The article frustrated me for a number of reasons. Children need time to be children. Childhood is such a magical time and is for such a short period in our lives. Children need time to PLAY and EXPLORE. With what Gove has suggested they’ll be too damn knackered to do any of those things. Too exhausted by endless hours trying to be the best. I’m not saying have no aspirations or aim high, I’m passionate about encouraging children to achieve their full potential, but it frustrates me because some children could be at school 24 hours a day/7 days a week (my daughter is one of them) and they would still never be the best. It doesn’t mean that these children don’t have skills, or talents, or will be amazingly successful in their lives. Encouraging children to DO their best would be a far better route to take. It doesn’t go hand in hand that the more time you spend in school the more academically intelligent you are. Gove has looked at other countries and decided that their education system is better than ours, and proposed that we adopt their rules. But, as I say on MANY occasions, ALL children are different and what works so well for one, could be a compete disaster for another. Why does one concept for education suit all? It couldn’t possibly! It makes me wonder if in coming to this conclusion, Gove has truly thought about the consequences on children, parents or teachers? Has he thought about what’s best for each child or only what they ‘should be’ or ‘ought to be’ doing? Does he think that getting grade As is the only thing that matters? Is that what he values? Is that what success is solely measured by, how well we do academically at school?

This then also made me think of someone I know very well. There are so many things that she does with her children that are very different to the way I parent my children. And whilst I’m a huge advocate for bringing up different children in different ways it got me thinking as to whether she (and me for that matter!) is listening to them and bringing them up how they dictate, or whether she is parenting how she thinks she ought to. Do we do what we think is best for our children, without possibly really finding out what is actually best for them? Do we know our children’s natural talents or their interests, are they allowed to nurture any?

We all have dreams and hopes for our children before they are even born, but do our children always follow our hopes and ideals for them? You might want your son to like football, yet all he talks about is rugby. You might want your daughter to be a ballerina, yet all she craves is hip-hop. And you might want your child to be the cleverest in their class, yet they still struggle at school.

Michael Gove is, in my opinion, naive if he thinks that by placing children in school for longer they will each magically become a genius! Are schools becoming too focused by paperwork and results and grades, too focused on numbers and statistics, when they are said to be more ‘child-centred?’ Is Gove too focused on ‘shoulds,’ ‘musts’ and ‘ought tos?’

When I had my daughter I was young and naive and doing it on my own. I gave her a bottle for an evening feed at four weeks because that is what I was told I ought to do. I never co-slept because I was told she should sleep in her own bed. I became frustrated because she didn’t do what she ought to be doing. She didn’t eat as much as she should. But as she grew up, a strong willed and stubborn red haired child, all of the, shoulds, musts and ought tos went out of the window. And instincts kicked in.

She liked to wear blue, wasn’t the sort of child that liked ballet and liked to graze on food all day instead of having three set meals. And at school, she struggled. She didn’t learn to read when she should have. She couldn’t count to ten when she ought to have. But it didn’t make me want her to go to school more. It didn’t make me want to get her a tutor or drown her in homework. It made me want to take away the stresses of school and the pressure off. It made me want to have as much fun with her as we possibly could at home. She was allowed to be a child. We played, we laughed, we sang, and she relaxed. She can count now, and she can read and write. And she has a wealth of experiences to draw upon when doing these things.

Pushing children, in my opinion, is never going to work. It potentially just gives them more chances to fail to reach what are often unrealistically high expectations. It’s the classic teacher quote of ‘could do better!’ I think they should be encouraged to pursue their talents, play as much as possible and be supported in being confident of who they are.

What do you think?

Read Your Baby

Read Your Baby

Read your baby, not a book,
Go on give them a good look.
Listen to what they’re telling you,
Then you’ll know just what to do.

Trust your instincts, you know best,
Give the guilt and doubt a rest.
You know your baby inside out,
I know you do, you know, don’t doubt.

But ‘help’ you cry ‘I don’t know how,
I don’t know what to do right now.
I know, I’ll pick up a baby book,
I’ll only have one real quick look.’

‘Hold on, no wait this isn’t true,
What it says my baby doesn’t do,
Now I feel worse than I did before,
I don’t know if I’m a good mum anymore.’

It’s when you doubt and feel like this,
Throw out the books, give them a miss.
Sit down somewhere, think things through,
Hear your instincts speak to you.

They will tell you what to do,
If you trust them to help you through.
Do you need to hold baby tight?
Do your instincts tell you what’s right?

Do you need to ask a friend?
Do you need them wine to send?
Confidence and trust you need,
To use your instincts, sow the seed.

Why don’t you try, give it a go,
And if it works then let me know.
It might be hard first, at the start,
But it soon becomes part of your heart.

Prose for Thought

My Favourite Moments

Today’s #Prose4T has been inspired by my three beautiful babies. I’m pretty sure I am not having anymore children, and realising this made me reflect on their births, and how magical and precious those first moments are.

My Favourite Moments

The last push,
The first cry,
My favourite moments.

Skin to skin,
Pain forgotten,
My favourite moments.

Eyes open wide,
They meet mine,
My favourite moments.

A new person,
A new life,
My favourite moments.

A new name,
A new identity,
My favourite moments.

Personality showing,
Character building,
My favourite moments.

Family larger,
Family closer,
My favourite moments.

First introductions,
Spreading the news,
My favourite moments.

Clasping fingers,
Feeding now,
My favourite moments.

First night together,
Neither of us sleep,
My favourite moments.

So much hope,
So much to share,
My favourite moments.

Our future together,
A new family created,
My favourite moments.


Sunshine is sunlight, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun, especially in the visible wavelengths. (Wikipedia)

So today is Monday, and this week’s #magicmoment is brought to you by sunshine. (Sunshine, what’s that? I hear you cry!) Well, it’s a lovely thing that comes from the sky, and brings with it light and warmth. It makes everything look more beautiful to me. And it gives me hope.

Yesterday was my middle child’s 4th birthday. He’d already had his party (Bleurch, read previous post lol!) so the day was going to be a simple family day. Just the five of us, plus my Mum up from Cornwall. The birthday boy wanted a Wagamamas for lunch, and a robot cake. Simple. As the clocks had gone forward that night, getting up at half past seven hadn’t seemed so bad. (I tried not to think about what time it really was as I am NOT a morning person at all) We came downstairs, he opened presents and had a lovely breakfast together. Simple. We played with the toys he’d been given and then my mum arrived. Still simple, still so very lovely. We all went off to Wagamamas. Lunch was eaten and then we returned home. Simple. And it was after we returned home that for me, the magic happened.

For those of you who have read my blog you will know that I have recently been quite poorly with post-natal depression, and thankfully am starting to come out of the other side. In just over a week’s time I should be completely antidepressant free. It’s been a tough few weeks reducing my medication, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and for me, yesterday was another giant step forward. Another moment when I realised, and believed, that I really am getting better. And it was all because the sun came out. Tentatively at first, peeping out behind a few stray clouds. And then slowly it became stronger, and warmer, and out for longer stretches of time. There is always a temptation when the sun is out to quickly rush out of the house, to go somewhere, to enjoy every second of it and make the most of it whilst it’s here. Get our bikes, pack a picnic, hike up a hill. All wonderful things to do, but I forget that I actually have a perfectly lovely place to enjoy the sunshine not more than two metres away from me most of the time. A place that doesn’t require hours of planning, endless packing and organisation and more often than not a lengthy car drive. My garden!

So into the garden we went, and as we sat there, in the sunshine and for the first time in what feels like such a long time feeling warm, I felt a huge sense of optimism and hope. I watched my children laughing and running around and I felt hope for the future, for a summer full of sunny days (We are ALL most definitely due one!) For a summer where I can spend time with my amazing family in my garden, and in the sunshine, and actually enjoy it! Last summer was swallowed up by a giant black cloud for me, both literally and metaphorically, and I was unable to really enjoy any of it. I mostly spent it crying, panicking or trying not to run away and never come back. But this summer, when my youngest will turn one year old, I know that I will truly be back. The magic of the sunshine yesterday made me know that I will be the person I used to be, before the b**** that is PND took me away.

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