I’m really surprised sometimes by how much writers block I can get, especially when there has been a fair bit going on over the week. There’s also the fact my kids keep hijacking my laptop when I’m in the writing mood. Not even the secret biscuit club makes them give it up!
Maybe its because I’ve got lots going on in my head and I seem unable to switch off. Especially at night. I am still waiting for the amazing quality sleep I ought to be getting now I’m in my 40’s and the kids are not so dependent at bedtimes. My kids have great sleep, they can sleep all night and have a lie-in! I can only dream (excuse the pun) of nights like theirs.
Maybe I need to get a teddy bear and have a glass of milk before bed 😉, it works for them!
It could be now I’m working more I just have so much to do and remember and not enough hours in the day to fit it all in, or perhaps it’s just how it is?!
Work seems to be going well. I’m lucky to have really small classes and its local and fits in with my needs. I’ve had a job offer from the school, who knows where it will lead. It’s nice that I’ve only been there three weeks and they think highly enough of me to want to keep me. I can feel a bit smug about it I think. Although I do have concerns over the amount of hand gel I’m using I’m sure I’ll be getting alcohol poisoning 🤣, I wonder if you can use so much you’d be over the limit if you got stopped by the police? 🤔 Ooh, these are good ponderings…
So that’s why I have no time left in the day!
So what’s been going on this week then?
Hubs had a couple of days booked off Friday and Monday, and bless him just assumed that the kids and I would be able to have a long weekend away as we haven’t been able to go on holibobs this year. I guess he was just doing the man thing being thoughtful but not thinking about term time and the fact that I have a contract to fulfil bless (she says forehead slapping in despair), so we still went away but went straight after school had finished and came back on Sunday.
When hubby had booked the break away to Weymouth the weather reports looked fair but Storm Alex put paid to that. It chucked it down all weekend. I’m usually fully prepared for most eventualities the British weather can throw at me, not this time though. The kids and hubby had waterproof coats and waterproof shoes i.e. wellies for the kids and hubs walking shoes, but me? No, I forgot to pack my wellies and a waterproof coat. So I ended up with soggy feet and just as soggy bottom and back!
Despite it being so wet and windy, we had a great time. There is something about the seaside that is magical, even when its stormy. I do know that I’m going to remember to pack the essential gear (waterproofs and wellies) next time. Along with Gin. Purely medicinal of course.
Spent a lovely first day at West Bay beach, and yes the rain was coming down sideways, but that didn’t matter. We walked for what seemed like miles but it wasn’t really. The kids were fossil hunting and must have collected half the beach in their pockets! Sea water came up over the wellies and we had given up trying to stay anywhere near dry. We managed to squeeze in another walk through the nature reserve near where we were staying and ended up at Weymouth beach. Only thing is the kids were only wearing their trainers. I’m sure you can imagine how wet they got! So much so that it poured out of their shoes when they took them off! I had to put them in front of the fire for two days to get them dry!
The drive back was eventful! Littlest one was so tired, and excited from the weekend that she threw up, good job I can deal with it. Hubby was noticeably green, although I suspect he was more concerned about his car stinking of kid sick than anything else. The boy went green and made much more of an issue of the ‘vomit’ event than was helpful. Good job I had hand towels in the luggage!
Back to school after a busy, wet weekend was the usual chaos and constant badgering my kids in the morning. I feel I’m on repeat every morning. “Eat your breakfast”, “Get dressed”, “Have you done your teeth yet?”, “Have a wee”, “Don’t forget your glasses”… the list just goes on and on. I know I’m not the only one who experiences this. There are a lot of frazzled faces in the mornings!
Reaction to a furry thing…
It was interesting how parents and children reacted when I found a furry caterpillar just as I was queuing up to collect my eldest. Said caterpillar was quite active but it had the same reaction as a puppy would! Kids were fascinated by it. I wasn’t sure what type it was so we looked it up when we got home and it was a Pale Tussock which is a grey furry moth of the quite large variety. I’m fascinated by nature so this was a great find in my eyes.
I have noticed the kids, and myself, are much more tired at the moment which is normally something that happens a bit later in the term. But I guess the new normal is vastly different to what we are used to and adjusting to it all is taking its toll. Perhaps half term can’t come soon enough!
I’ve wittered on long enough, so until the next post…
I find myself pondering a few insignificant things of late. Nothing of any real interest but just those little things that make me go “I wonder why…?”.
How many people live in my house when we have four tubes of toothpaste and nine toothbrushes, I’m pretty sure we don’t have any lodgers at the last count.
How come we have so much washing when there’s only four of us?! There are three laundry baskets overflowing. If you put them one on top of the other they’d be taller than me. Alright, I grant you, me being only five feet four inches that’s not particularly difficult, but it’s still confusing as to why there is so much washing. Also see point above re: lodgers!
Why does the carpet always look like someone’s trailed mud through the house despite only just vacuuming it!
Where does all the Lego come from! I swear I picked it all up. How did it manage to get attached to the leg of my trousers and stuck on my bum! Probably best not to go there.
Why do I never have any change for parking when I swear I raided the change pot for some!
Where does all the loo roll go? We don’t have an ‘Andrex’ Puppy! (other brands are available – haha)
Why has one of my giant pumpkins decided to grow in next door’s garden?!
See… Lots of things to ponder and waste time! I do have the answer to one of my ponderings though…
I figured out the answer as to why the kids bedrooms smell, of which I’m pretty sure if you have farty kids that blame everyone else other than themselves or ones that secretly squirrel food into their rooms and then leave it to fester into a wonderfully green science experiment then this one isn’t such an ‘I wonder’ musing, more of an ewww pass the antibacterial room spray moment.
I love my kids, honest.
I’m surprised I’ve had the time to ponder, I’ve been so busy. I’m nicely settled in at my current contract placement and have managed to make it work quite well to fit my needs what with staggered drop offs and pick ups at the kids school and prepping for classes and such like. But it’s nice to be back in work and having others around me, despite me sometimes being a little anti-social and grumpy. We all have days where we just can’t be bothered to talk to people. I find there is one benefit in the pandemic, I know what you’re going to say, but hear me out here I’m sure I’m not the only one… I don’t have to make mindless conversation with some (not all!) people who I have little in common with in the school playground when I’m feeling anti-social! If I talk to you it’s because I genuinely want to.
There are other things I’ve been thinking about and I have yet to find the answers to be honest.
I wonder how Halloween will happen this year? Sweets are usually wrapped but do I really want my kids trick or treating and touching sweets in bowls that have probably been handled by umpteen others? Knowing what kids are like they aren’t going to hand gel themselves up every time they touch a sweet are they!
One of my neighbours had a great idea; rather than take sweets from others we could still go trick or treating but parents/guardians take a big bag of sweets with them and every house they see with a display up then give their own kids a sweet from the bag. That way there’s no calling on others, but you still get the fun of going out trick or treating and have the sweets too. Just safer.
It’s a shame the school Halloween disco isn’t happening as although we moan about the noise, a sign of getting old, and the faffing about I’m sure we secretly enjoy the occasion. The kids are on a high for half term and it starts it off with a bit of fun. Never mind we’ll have to have our own disco this year. I love decorating the house and garden for Halloween so I’m going to have to go all out for the kids this time around.
Christmas is going to be a bit trickier too this year. I’m not sure I can get away with saying Santa can’t come to visit because of covid! Although it’s tempting to leave an elf hat on a chicken bone skeleton shaped like an elf with a note from Santa saying ‘the elf was delicious!’… maybe too much? Yeah, probably traumatise the kids for life. I’ll rethink that one.
Have I managed to sort out the wardrobe ready for Autumn/Winter?
No. Not fully. I have managed to sort out a bit of it, but I need to get some new vacuum bags – those ones that squash down to nothing so I can pack away summer clothes. I really need to work out better storage for my bags and footwear as I have managed to accumulate a few more into the collection and this house hasn’t got the best storage. I will be scouring the depths of Pinterest for ideas on how to solve this small problem. Another small project for me to do.
I do have workwear sorted for now, although the weather is changing and I’m going to need to dig out warmer top layers. The heating isn’t on in my classroom and a chill has been noticed by my students. I’ve been banned from opening a window as they moan at me it’s too cold. They are softies. I can’t believe I actually wore tights for the first time in months it was a little chillier than I expected it to be. That’s another area I’m going to need to look into. New funky coloured tights! Boring black is too dull. Although I might have to invest in SNAG tights this time round as they are reported to be excellent fit wise, you don’t get the extra long baggy legs that usually come with having to buy the bigger sizes! Oh, and they come in some really amazing funky colours. ** Update** These really are amazing tights! I bought a pair and they are fab.
I’m going to look for clothes that have both comfort and style to them when shopping for new ‘to me’ items. As my friend says ‘reflecting our changing needs due to the pandemic’ comfortable lounge wear that can be made to look smarter is how many of us will be dressing over the next few months. Who knows where it’s all going to lead but we can’t slob about in joggers everyday especially for those of us who are going into the workplace, but we may have a few more calories on board so I’m all about comfort!!!
Oh and note to self – don’t wear heels when there are cobbles on the way to the classroom. It does not make for an attractive looking gait. I have a sore ankle from attempting to hobble over the cobbles in wedge heels.
Anyhow, I guess I’ve rambled on enough for now. I’ll continue to ponder, as usual and I’ll no doubt think of many more useless ponderings. But it’s fun and fun is a good thing during this odd time we’re having.
Thanks for being with me whilst I have been grotty. It has been a fairly uneventful couple of weeks of my family and I mostly being full of those pesky ‘back to school’ bugs that you get when little ones return to school. This time I think as we have stayed away from others as much as possible our immune systems are a little lower than usual and in a state of ‘lets chill and revive for a bit’ and then Boom! the germs from hell hit you. Younger children germs are hellishly potent. I, like most teachers, used to manage to get to at least half term before I’d be feeling really bad but we were knocked for six this time round.
With hubs and I both being key workers we had to have a Covid test to rule it out. But with all the issues there are with the Covid Labs we couldn’t get a test for at least 2 days after first symptoms. Eventually ended up travelling to a test centre near Oldbury, West Bromich as there were none locally to us. Given the issues the scheme is having our test results didn’t take too long to arrive which was a relief. As I expected we were all clear.
The kids were feeling fine with no symptoms other than a snuffly nose after a couple of days of being at home so they were feeling well enough to go to school. The school were on board and allowed them back. Hubs and I were still feeling rough, hubby more than me most of the time, but I think we as mums and being women tend to put ourselves in default parent mode and just get on with everything that needs to be done despite really only wanting to curl up and sleep it all off.
I was due to start a new contract on the Monday, but couldn’t start until the Thursday but thankfully the school were understanding enough to still want me to start with them. A week on and I’m enjoying being there as Head of IT by default – I am the IT department! The principal is an pleasant, amiable person to work with and its a nice little family atmosphere there. I work hard as teachers do but my class sizes are enviable and I have a timetable that has been worked around me and my needs enabling me to be able to do the school drop offs and pick ups and still have valuable family time. WIN WIN all round.
I have been obviously focussing on getting myself bug free but also I have been thinking about all the planning and bits and bobs that need to be done. Now I’m working and have a fixed timetable it makes everything so much easier. I sat down and meal planned, shopped for what I needed and have batch cooked so one less mum thing to worry about. If only everything else would be so organised.
Next on my plan is to sort out the wardrobe. Getting Autumn/Winter clothes to the front and getting outfits ready so I can grab and go in the mornings. It’s an awkward crossover time seasonally, as the September days can be glorious yet the late afternoon/evenings can be quite chilly. I notice the weather is a little unpredictable. It was wonderfully sunny one minute and yet just as I was going to my car it chucked it down with hailstones. I got caught out, despite me usually being prepared (four seasons in one day and all that!), a slightly soggy and battered mum collecting kids is not a good look.
I did the forgetful mum think the twice this week. Usually I’m on the ball and do our morning ‘have you got’ checklist with the kids. But, not for the past two days running, and consequently forgot youngest dear daughters’ coat. I am now being nominated for the bad mother award. In my defence I did ask them both if they had all of their things for school but I didn’t go through the list as I was in a hurry… oh dear… my kids think I’m the worst mum ever and it’s all my fault they can’t remember things. I’m pretty sure they’d expect me to wipe their backsides if I didn’t refuse to! It’s hard trying to get the balance of what they should really be able to do and actually doing. My two can be lazy and given the chance will get others to do everything for them. They are good at manipulating people into doing things for them!
Anyhow, I digress. I have now made sure I have a bag of coats in the boot so I don’t get nominated again for the worst parent award.
Now back to the wardrobe…
In the style club I’m a member of, the Autumn capsule has just been released which is really helpful as I can look at what I already have in my wardrobe and substitute as and where needed. I like orange as an autumnal colour, but its not my best colour so I would substitute it for a green, blue or a pink/purple which would flatter my cooler colouring better. I do wear orange though, I’m a little rebellious and will wear a colour that’s not my best but I usually compensate by upping my makeup when I decide to wear any, or using different accessories or styling my hair differently. I have brown hair with copper in it, naturally I hasten to add, and whilst my hair is warmer my skin is on the cool side, I can get away with some warmer toned colours but I do have to ensure they are the correct contrast level otherwise I get worn by the clothes and not the other way round.
I’m also looking at what I have that fits as I’m still battling with those extra pounds lock down helped me gain, it is in no way my fault, I did not up the UK’s glass recycling tonnage by an extra 50% at all with my wine bottles! I did have a rummage in a few charity shops one day a couple of weeks ago for a couple of ‘new to me’ items. I’m on a fashion challenge of the help the environment type. I would like to minimise the amount of new, proper new not new to me, items coming into my wardrobe and work on getting more quality items rather than fast fashions and poorly made items. I like the idea of reusing/repurposing items which is why I like a rummage in a charity shop as bargains can be found and if you need something for a shorter while it’s not being wasted and keeps the carbon footprint down.
What else happened this week?
Not a lot of interesting things going on I’m afraid. Just the usual daily grind and boring stuff that we just get on and do. Had an email offering me even more work, but I can’t take it as I’m already signed up for some. Contract work is like buses, they all arrive at once! Never mind, maybe next time.
The car had to go in to the garage for an MOT. Oh dear. It had been given an extension due to the lock down, but as I had a broken coil spring happen it would have been a failure and illegal so I booked the car in for some work and a service which was very much needed. Knowing the car would be for a day or so and Bessie bus would be sleeping over I had a little courtesy car whilst she was away. It was an automatic. I hate automatics! But it wasn’t a bad little car if I’m honest, it did what it needed to do. Got me from A to B and further without any glitches. And to be fair I almost stalled Bessie when I got back in and drove it as I’d got used to driving the auto in a short amount of time. Maybe I’m warming to them, maybe when I win the lottery and buy a posh car I’ll have to get one. In my dreams!
I could breathe a sigh of relief when it came to the bill as it wasn’t as much as expected, especially as I’m waiting for payday to rock up. Although, I noticed when I got home that I hadn’t been charged for the MOT so I’ll be popping back up to pay for that bit. I believe in Karma and I can’t let this slide, I like to be honest and I couldn’t feel right not paying for something like that. Call me a fool, whatever. My daughter doesn’t like Bessie bus anymore as she has had a really bad rattle fixed and little one says that Bessie doesn’t talk to us anymore. Sweet. Kids have some strange attachments don’t they? I’m just happy the heatshield is fixed and doesn’t make the car sound like its having a coughing fit ready to keel over!
I haven’t a clue! Apart from the wardrobe reshuffle, I haven’t planned much. But now I’m feeling more human again I will need to start looking at organising myself over the next few weeks.
I know that I have a couple of interviews with stylists coming up so that’s something to look forward to. I have a travel bucket list post I’m writing and I do need to do some style posts somewhere in amongst all this too.
I may have an update on the kitchen and it’s progress (or lack of). Who knows. If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be….
I’m feeling a bit Meh, at the moment. This week has been a bit difficult. Tired kids equals grumpy kids and top that off with equally tired parents makes a stressful week. It’s been one of those review weeks, where I sit down and review the year, I can’t believe Tiger King was the most normal part of 2020, and look at going forward into next year. Budgets are done, plans made and it’s a busy time, but I can’t help thinking it’s all been in vain 🤦♀️.
Kids are back in school after almost six months at home since the start of lock down. Fair enough the little one went back for a good few weeks leaving me with the eldest to home school and then BOOM! the summer holidays happened. Oooh fab, she says with an eye roll, another six weeks with my lovely dear little darlings making fab memories already taken off the rose tinted glasses by this point!
I felt sorry for the kids teachers having to deal with all the feral children all that little bit older and wiser or so they seem to insist. But, then again, I have to deal with everyone else’s feral teenagers so actually I’m in this for myself! I need to get earning some money – I’m going to need more Gin!!!
Have they been put back educationally? Not that it seems to be if I’m honest. They are doing well catching up on their work missed, and having loads of fun with their class ‘bubbles’. Reading, writing and spelling is coming along a treat and they’ve only been back a few days. Kids and teachers working hard together.
A friend asked me what was I going to do with all my free time now that the kids are back. Seriously?! Eyebrows getting higher and higher and are about to leave my face! Free time? Whats that? I get the kids ready, take them to school, faff with the staggered drop offs battling for a car parking space where the car stands a better chance of not being hit by parents who clearly haven’t been behind the wheel for a very long time as they’ve forgotten the general rules of the road and how to actually drive, then I make it home do battle with mountains of washing, do the housework, run some errands and then go and attempt the pick ups repeating the faffing of parking. Once said children are collected, it’s home to do spelling, reading and hand writing practice, doing things for the blog, whilst attempting a wholesome evening meal simultaneously. And, no… it doesn’t always happen. They get fed, and they get fed healthily most of the time but sometimes a shop bought pizza will do!
Oh, yes, and this is often squeezed into a small micro slice of time if I have work on. So my free time? I have none! Straight to work after dropping kids off, work, then collect, then do all the kids stuff, food prep and housework. Woohoo, such a fulfilling life, another eye roll. Have I had a break this year? No. Do I need one? Hell yeah! Am I going to get one? Probably not this year, Covid-19 and all that. Although, I may eventually get a honeymoon next year – 10 years you know. Yep, I haven’t had a honeymoon despite being married for almost 10 years. Sigh. There is a story behind this though and it involves me being preggers when I got married and then having to go straight back to work teaching two days after my wedding day. It will happen one day I’m sure.
My days this week since the kids have been back in school do remind me a little of the BJork song ‘Oh so quiet’. It is eerily quiet without the kids about, but then when you have been lulled into a false sense of security… they’re back! The house then resonates with screams of laughter, tears, he said she said, and the usual “Muuuuummmmmm”. Ah, its lovely.
Despite it being a faff it’s actually useful having staggered drop off and pick ups, at least this way with social distancing in place I don’t have to play the playground politics with clique little groups, biting my tongue whilst being polite as I was brought up to be. The best bit that made me laugh was last year finding out that your car just is just “too shit to be in our group” but when you rock up in another car (much newer, and borrowed because the old knackered one is in the garage being fixed) you are flavour of the month. And, yes someone actually said that and is actually that shallow. If you speak to me pleasantly and engage in polite conversation because you want to do so that’s great, but if not I’m not that bothered. I’m only annoyed with your ignorance and arrogance. Maybe we are fighting the same battles or not. Doesn’t matter, we are who we are and we shouldn’t have to ‘prove’ ourselves to anyone. That’s something I’ve learnt over the past couple of years after my kick up the bum boost (referring to a past post here!).
On a style note, I have the task of figuring out what to wear now for work as I have some part time work at a local school. I’m also going to have to go Bra shopping! I have been as feral as the kids I think since lock down started, I haven’t worn an underwired beastie for almost 6 months!!! I have been keeping the ‘girls’ under control by wearing sports support but let’s face it they are great for support but not for style 🤣🤣. Watch out M&S here I come.
I have been learning a lot from my amazing friend who is a stylist (again mentioned in a previous post), and I am looking forward to getting myself out of the rut I’ve found myself in and I’m going to start by looking at how I can bring out my personality in my clothes and accessories as I do have a great collection but they are seriously underused. I’m fed up of wearing my daily scruffs, of which I have been slobbing about the house in since lock down. I need to find comfort and be a little bit stylish. Or at least try. If I’m feeling brave enough maybe I’ll share before and afters at some point. Be nice to me though!
Anyway, it’s a short one this week. But I do hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll do better next week😉.
I find myself in a bit of a quandry. I took my eyes of the ball so to speak and now I feel a little bit of a hypocrite. I became complacent, a little too secure and boom it hits you.
Cut to the chase… there is a possible case of Covid-19 nearby.
It’s really strange as I was having a socially distanced conversation with my neighbour about Coronavirus and this happens. Very unnerving.
Why is this an issue?
It’s a worry for me as I’m classed as high risk and I thought I’d been so careful when out shopping. Masks and hand gel abound! But I wasn’t so careful at home. I thought I was, I thought I was sticking to the social distancing guidelines. But it seems as though I let my guard slip. Easing of restrictions was a relief in a way. I could allow the kids a little more freedom and allow them to play outside. But it seems so did all the other parents on the estate. Looking at the guidelines again it says that there shouldn’t be more than 6 in a group and only from two households.
There have been quite a few children playing in our road – it’s the safest on the estate and the smoothest so roller blades are out in force. It’s like an army out there. I have allowed my kids to play out and hadn’t considered the risk so much. Like I said I let my guard down. But, I feel rotten about it all because for the first time in an age my kids are seeing their friends and being children, doing kid things and finally enjoying themselves. No homeschooling to worry about, no being cooped up inside and only going out into the garden for small amounts of time. Actually being able to have a little freedom to grow, laugh and play.
I find out from a friend that someone is quarantining with potential symptoms. Why does this concern me? It’s a little more closer to home than is comfortable for me. I know I should have been more vigilant, but you just don’t think it will happen to ‘us’ or be near us in our sleepy little village.
I have been more on the ball since I found out about the potential case and I know it’s almost a bit like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted but I feel I need to get back on the ball especially as the kids will be going back to school and I may have potential supply work. Although I’m still not sure how I feel about going back into secondary schools. It’ll be a bit safer with masks on in public areas where social distancing is harder like corridors and such like, but I can’t see how overcrowded staff rooms will be safe unless staff are going to be staying in their classrooms all day and not having much interaction with other colleagues.
I look at some of the scenes that have been shown about the illegal raves and packed beaches and I can honestly say I’ve been the first to comment how irresponsible those involved have been, and yet I have been the same. Irresponsible. Albeit in a smaller scale. It’s such a shame as the kids have been desperate to get out and play and yet I have no control over anyone else’s kids many of whom don’t live on our street, but they can’t be policed all the time and nor should they. We would be the first to complain about kids being computer game addicts and stuck in front of a screen for hours on end and yet when we do get them to go outside it’s almost a no go and they get moaned at for being kids. Can’t win. Can’t please everyone.
I have reminded my kids to be more socially distanced. Definitely no sharing of toys/bikes etc, and make sure there are no more than 6 in a group. Make sure they don’t go into their friends gardens and houses, and stick to the rules! If there are too many of their friends out playing I’ve said to come in, or go somewhere away from the crowd. I think it’s such a shame they have to play that way but ‘rules is rules’ so they say. I had read the guidelines inside out and thought I knew them. I did. But as I said I let my guard down, and got a little too comfortable and now I need to up my game again. Luckily the family involved were sensible and had a test done and self-isolated, thankfully for them the test came back negative.
So, sorry if your child wants to play with mine, it just might not happen so much at the moment. It’s nothing personal, it’s just the way it has to be.
Have you felt your guard slipping like me? What did you do about it?
Why I won’t publish images of my kids on social media, or any other medium for that matter. I’m not being miserly or rude. I just don’t want my kids images plastered all over the internet and I don’t want them there before they could even consent to being photographed. Yes, I am concerned about my kids privacy and any digital footprint they have, we all know that once it’s up there, it’s there forever. Social media has made it easier for us to keep in touch, whether you live in the same street or across the world. And I genuinely love seeing your posts, where you share your little ones achievements, I simply chose not to upload every image I have of mine. I’ve never been overly comfortable sharing images of the kids, this could stem from my own inability to be comfortable in front of the camera but the reality is there is a lot more to it than that. I can count on one hand the amount of images I’ve posted and these are mostly the initial baby ones after birth.
I have no idea if they will be disappointed when they’re teenagers and learn they don’t have a billion followers because I didn’t set up an Instagram account for them when they were babies. Sure they do crazy things and make me laugh and yes I’m sure they would be great things to share with my friends and family on social media but I’m still getting to know my kids and their personalities. They’re still little. I’m asked why I don’t share pictures of my kids online now that they’re older. I have a simple answer: We live in a time where information is king and people can learn a lot about you in a very short space of time and I don’t want people knowing where we are 24 hours a day. My kids are still young and I want to respect their privacy. They may not be at an age yet where they fully understand the implications of the internet and if they’re happy with me sharing their life with the world.
Is it so important that we push everything we do to the ‘gram or other social media before our kids are even born? It seems if you don’t you are an outsider or a little weird if you don’t. We are made to think that we would be left out of the popular ‘mum’ culture if we don’t succumb to the pressure. Very early on my hubby requested that we don’t share images of our kids which I wholeheartedly agreed on. As I’m a sharer I was surprised I wasn’t more upset with this choice but I can see the positives to it, will my kids be upset at not having their super cute bath time bubble Mohican hair do shown to the world? Probably not. Ok, so if they do something super amazing then who can I share it with? Simple, I email or send a text to those who really need to see it. They know not to publish it. They respect our choices.
I did feel lonely initially when the kids were born and there were loads of posts of newborns and kids plastered everywhere, but I soon realised that there was another side to this. What of the potential mums, want to be mums but can’t be mums and others who may be struggling to have kids. I didn’t want to add to anyone else’s pain. It can be hard seeing images of bouncing babies and happy families for some. It’s hard enough feeling pressured into striving for perfection but having the additional pressure of happy families is painful. I will admit it was hard not to post images even though deep in my heart I knew it was what we had both agreed to. I felt silly not being able to post but maybe as my kids get older I’ll be able to post nice arty shots which their faces don’t show or are obscured in some way without giving things away.
Just because I don’t post images of my kids doesn’t mean I think it’s wrong that you like to share your kids with the world.
Have I taken photo’s of them looking cute when they were babies at bath time? Yes. Have I taken pictures of them when it was their first day of school? Yes, but I’m not sharing them with the world. If I’m at a birthday party and you take a photo which might happen to include my kids am I going to say don’t post it? No, I probably won’t. But, what I will ask you is that you don’t tag me or my hubby in. I can’t protect my children from everything, it’s not humanly possible, but I will aim to respect their privacy and right to choose. And for that I do not apologise. If when they choose to have social media accounts when they’re old enough then I’ll be more than happy to share their photo’s if they wish until then I’m keeping it private.
Ultimately its about my kids, and me not posting endless images of them isn’t a habit I’ve developed so I’ll not have to wean myself off when I become soooo embarrassing as their mum when they’re older! 🤣🤣🤣
Here are some of the not so nice reasons why I don’t share images of my kids on social media
Children have a sense of who they are as an individual and of others perception of them at around about the age of 5 and sharing personal content on social media can make children feel like they don’t have ownership over their own bodies or own values. Children often don’t have the opportunity to disagree with their parents posting bath-time and other sensitive photos on social media, especially before they are posted.
As a parent I am concerned about how others may react to some of the images I may share about my children online. Others may be able to use old photos and stories published about my kids to make fun of, insult them or even bully them as they grow older. If an image is shared and catches on it doesn’t take long to go from an inside family joke to full blown gossip for an entire school. Think I’m overreacting? Just look at some of the nasty comments people put on kids videos on YouTube. It’s no different. It’s all social media.
I am aware that any image I post of my kids could have a far reaching impact on them further down the line. Who knows how algorithms will work in the future. A potential employer may be able to see something that is personal to my children and it could very well go against them when job hunting or if my children become influencers or have a much more public life then how are their childhood photos going to affect their careers. You never know what may happen and I don’t want to be ‘that person’ who does the one thing that can make or break their careers.
As a teacher, and a teacher of IT in particular one of my areas is internet safety. So I am more than aware of some of the dangers of posting personal images on the internet. Especially social media platforms. I am aware of images posted by other parents turning up on disturbing websites and forums. Some dedicated to child pornography. That little video you posted of your naked child makes the perfect medium for such an outlet.
After doing some research I found that according to an Australian Children’s eSafety Commissioner, one site offered at least 45 million images (source: https://jelliesapp.com/blog/). Around about half of which were photos of children taken from social media accounts. These photos were of everyday family activities, but the worrying thing about it is that they were accompanied by wholly inappropriate comments many of a sexual nature.
We also forget that social media posts can also provide little indicators that can help people identify where a child lives, plays, and goes to school. Posts with information like location tags and landmarks give strangers ability to locate a child and other family members. I can image that this is especially dangerous for families who may be trying to manage custody disputes or escape domestic violence situations.
When my kids are older and more able to make an informed decision about what I share, I’ll ask them what they’re comfortable with and take some precautions when doing so. I already have quite good privacy settings on my personal social media account but I must remember to regularly check them as some updates automatically revert back to public settings. I will choose the photos carefully and watermark the ones I post publicly.
I will involve my kids in deciding what is appropriate to share with others as these conversations can help ward off bad feelings in the future, and lets face it are useful for preparing them for living in a digital age.
To sum it up, here are some tips for being a good ‘sharent’
Be mindful of metadata — most digital photos contain information about the time, date and GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken.
Don’t add comments to photos that identify locations; for example street address, school name, or even identifying features in front of your home.
Only ever share with people who you really know and trust. Please don’t post to all of your friends on social media, be selective and use the privacy settings on your social media platform. Also, be aware that if one of your friends likes your picture, it may also become visible to their friends, and so on.
Ask parents before posting and sharing images that include their children; that recent birthday party for example.
Don’t share photos and videos that contain personal details, such as full names, personal contact information, or school uniforms that identify location.
At least you don’t have to mute me or scroll on by and lets face it, I’m one less poster of kiddie spam!
But for now, enjoy the time with your little ones. Take as many photos and share or not share. Your choice. Just share carefully if you do.
For someone that likes to talk its surprising that I have suffered a little from writers block this week. It happens to everyone who writes, be it a little or a lot, at some point I’m sure. I just wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. I’m only a few posts in! I do what every blogger does and have planned and planned content to the extent where if my life went to that plan I’d have enough for a whole year! I have a fairly clear idea about what types of posts I’d like to do, but this week I looked at the plan and just couldn’t find the inspiration to write about any of it.
I had a choice of about ten different things to write about from my plan and not even my top three favourites: the best blogs to follow for style and beauty inspiration, my wanderlust list (top ten places I want to travel to and why) or healthy changes to make this year, made the cut this week!
I decided on a roundup of the things we’ve done this week instead, perhaps there’s something here you may want to do with your family or dare I say it have a bit of grown up fun doing kids things!
The kids have been happier this week as they’ve been able to join their friends playing outside in the close, all socially distanced of course. Our road is the only one that’s had a full resurface and is the smoothest on the estate so we have most of the kids from surrounding streets playing there, it’s also a small close or cul-de-sac so its super safe for them to go crazy on their bikes and scooters. It’s lovely to see them all playing together, some we knew from school, some we didn’t know and kids do what they do best and make friends and have fun. My youngest is only five and there aren’t any girls of her age playing out yet but it’s just so sweet seeing the older girls and boys involving her in their games and helping her up if she falls off her bike or trips over on her roller skates. Its been a joy seeing their smiling faces. Bedtimes have been so much easier too! Worn out children mean they drift off and sleep in – win, win for me!
It’s been the second week of the school summer holiday, and we haven’t done as much as we had initially planned. Lock down easing has definitely made things easier but we are still a little cautious of where to go to keep us all safe. The kids like their funky face masks and although I know they don’t have to wear them they asked for one. We did have a trip out to the Cotswold Lavender Farm near Broadway, just before their season had finished which was lucky as we’d originally planned to go to a nature reserve called Greystones on the edge of Bourton-on-the-Water but there were road closures and I got lost. If I’m honest I was ignoring Sat Nav! I’d zoned out and with the kids been noisy in the back I could hardly hear it anyway, especially as I had forgotten my hearing aid – not a bad thing sometimes 😊.
Having suffered being stung by a wasp on the back of the arm whilst putting the washing out I was left with an ever increasing red hot rash spreading brilliantly down my arm I decided against doing too much driving for a couple of days as I had that horrible heavy feeling in my arm and it wasn’t from covid calories this time! A week on and I still have a hot itchy rash but it’s not as sore as it was thankfully.
Hubby had a day off Monday and now he has his fishing (or is it angling?) licence he went to some local fishing lakes and we met him there in the afternoon with a picnic. The kids had a go at fishing but were disappointed they didn’t catch anything. I’m beginning to wonder if hubby managed to catch as many as he said he had. But, that said, he’s a lot quieter than the kids and I’m sure their running around scared the fish away. Even the duck army came over chastising us as they quacked and flapped across the water! The kids had a great time and have asked to go again. I’m wondering how long it’ll be before I become a fishing widow? I suppose it could be worse, it could be golf! 😉
Tuesday we decided to pop out to the local garden centre which has a huge pond with equally huge fish in it which always makes for a good trip out. My two are happy with the simple things in life. We had some food there looking out over the big pond which would have been even better had the weather been sunnier, but it was lovely all the same. We even had discount on our food as I hadn’t realised restaurant was participating in the UK Government ‘eat out scheme’. Nice when your bill comes to half as much as expected. Having had the bonus of discounted food I let the kids run riot on the reduced plant section and spent a further £30 on a boot load of pretty plants for the kids part of the garden. I love a bargain me! They badgered me to let them plant them all when we got home to which I almost ran to get the trowels out of the shed for them to get started. I had visions of getting a coffee break with my feet up. Fat chance! But it was lovely seeing their excitement at getting more colour in their little patch. They even planted some broccoli and cauliflower plants so who knows what we may get.
Most of the things we have been looking at doing over the summer holiday involve being outside as much as we can as I just feel a bit more comfortable about it, I’m just doing what some mums do and being cautious trying to keep my family safe. The kids have both been given a summer challenge pack from school and there’s plenty in there to do. I also have a freebie book from Sainsbury’s I managed to pick up a few years ago now and these have some fab things to do in them so I think we’ll look through it again and pick an activity to do. I like the Sainsbury’s book as it has age appropriate activities for kids (and for the whole family).
Here’s some of my favourite things to do from the book:
1. The one that always falls top of my list is den building. It can be done indoors or out. Soggy days aren’t going to stop us having fun!
2. Creating a scary zoo out of old tights, socks and fabric is always fun – if you don’t mind the mess. But isn’t that what messy play is about?! Just watch they don’t pinch your wooden spoons to make bats with!
3. Go pond dipping. Grab a net and explore. Just make sure they don’t fall in. Although my two would find it hilarious if they did. We have a small pond in the garden and my two are always poking around in it, I feel for the fish they see wiggly fingers and think its food!
4. Gisbee, where golf meets frisbee. Go to an outdoor space such as a park or wood and set yourself a course (e.g. trees as target points) and the aim of the game is to do the course in the least amount of gisbee shots as possible.
5. Make your own instruments and hold a concert for the family. Uses up the recycling!
6. Create your own wacky races. You could have the one trouser leg race (a bit like a sack race but using a pair of your trousers, but beware skinny fit as that makes it a little tricky!). Then there’s the cartwheel continuum, longest head/handstand, 20m roly-poly, tug-of-towel, water bomb catch, flapping balloon race, crab scuttle race and a fancy dress race.
7. Build a nature pond. You can go as big or small as you can fit with this one. A simple washing up bowl will do as long as you have a few large stones to one end so that hedgehogs and other animals can escape if they fall in. Pop in in a water loving plant and you’ve got a wildlife pond. Just wait for the frogs they’ll find it.
8. Have a picnic but with a twist. Theme it. Do fancy dress, whatever you choose, you could even have a grown up Downton Abbey style one if you want! Your picnic your choice.
I know there are so many other things to do, but those are just a few we had on our list of summer fun. There’s no shortage of places to go and things to see in the UK, so many beautiful unspoilt places, just make sure you check where ever you choose to go is open to save yourself a wasted journey. Remember, we are still easing out of lock down and not everywhere is fully open yet.
Where ever you go, whatever you choose to do, stay safe and enjoy it.
I’ve had a busy week. Lots going on and not much time to really get stuck into much. I was wondering if I’d even get this post finished in time!
There have been a few visitors to the house what with the water meter repair man, the fence repair man who was so patient with my son’s constant questions and offerings of assistance, the hairdresser and the piano movers it’s been a bit like a train station. Thankfully everyone was sensible and wore PPE as with the guidance and we all kept our distance. And… Yes, you read it correctly. We have a piano. I’m following in my grandmothers footsteps now we have acquired our neighbours lovely old upright piano. The easiest money a removal company has ever made it took them no more than 30 minutes from their arrival to finishing the job, including moving it a few yards. I just need to find the time to scour YouTube for decent teach yourself piano lessons!
I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on my previous ‘The truth about lock down’ post and some of the comments made, it was nice to feel I’m not the only one who found it somewhat challenging during lock down. So, for this post I thought I’d look at what I enjoyed about lock down as there were some treasured moments.
There’s been a lot of negatives to lock down, social media and news reports everywhere touting bad news, and it has had its ups and downs for me as it will have done for many others and I also know that some of you may not have had the opportunity to enjoy lock down and will have continued working in a key worker role or working from home juggling endless demands from work and/or kids and such like, for which I bow to you – I couldn’t have done it! So, this is my list of five little things I’ve enjoyed about lock down.
Spending time with my family
This one is probably the most obvious. I love my little family and treasure the moments we have together, yes, even the not so nice ones where we’re all tired and cranky and we aren’t getting along, which usually only lasts about five minutes but it’s hard all the same! And I confess to having had a feeling of slight dread initially at having the kids at home over lock down and then trying to manage home schooling but we made it through in one piece albeit with a slightly dishevelled gin soaked mum following behind 😉
I do realise I have much more of an appreciation for my family both near and far. I really missed my Mum and Dad when we couldn’t see them as much but I looked forward to the regular chats to them on the phone and I loved my daily check in texts to them to make sure they were both doing well. I had a hard time not being able to spend time with them for Mothering Sunday or for my Dad’s birthday, but thankfully I can see them more now we have social bubbles. I enjoyed my Zoom and WhatsApp meetings with friends and family, which was a small step towards social normality for me.
Although hubby was working all day he was at home hidden away in his office aka the man cave. But, I realised how nice it was to have him at home. He’d pop down for a coffee and we’d have a catch up for a couple of minutes before he got back to his work and it was so nice being able to cook an evening meal ready at a decent hour so we could all eat together as a family. The kids loved having him at home, and showing him what they’d done, they’d put little presentations up on the telly and do a rundown of their day each evening, it really was sweet. It’s certainly given us something to think about for the future, life is too short for long commutes and endless work hours. Now we just have to work out how we can achieve our perfect work/life balance.
Time in the garden
I’m not a gardener by any means. I have a pop it in the ground and hope for the best approach but I do love watching Monty on Friday evenings with a glass of wine. Our garden is modestly sized and we’ve worked hard during lock down tidying up the patch where a huge 12 feet tall by at least 25 feet long stretch of Leylandii once dominated the landscape.
I have found it rewarding working in the garden although not many plants seem to have come up this year like the riot of colour we had last year but I guess we have a biennial garden! This has meant my list of things to do and shop for has grown substantially as I’ve had time to think about what we need for the garden. Its been enjoyable digging and working the ground especially the bit where the hedge had been as the soil needed significant improvement in quality having been drained of any goodness for 30 odd years. The assistance of a huge pile of well rotted chicken and horse manure helped considerably and the plants we planted are now thriving there. It’s a good feeling when you’ve achieved something despite it being hard work.
Its been a pleasure to just sit outside in the sunshine on the bench hubby gave me for Christmas, which I’m still debating on what colour to paint, and watching the kids enjoying themselves in the pool. Much laughter and brevity abound. Seeing the kids’ faces when a seed they’d sowed popped up was just so sweet, and ploughing through the umpteen weeks worth of lettuce and trying to avoid the cabbage white caterpillars that were incredibly heavily camouflaged was a daily chore. We may even have a few giant pumpkins for October if they carry on growing so well! Even the kids butterfly farm now has cocoons!
Having some me time
Although I’ve not been able to get my brows done, return of the monobrow anyone? Or go to the hairdressers which would normally be my little bit of me time, I have found the kids have been much more relaxed about things at home including bedtimes which has meant I’ve been able to have a few minutes each day to have a little bit of time for me to sit and spend some time doing something for myself. Reading a book, having a relaxing bath or painting my nails, these are the simple pleasures I cherish as I rarely get to do them.
Like most mums and dads I have little time left after doing stuff in the house, looking after the family and working, and just about everything else in between to spend time pampering and looking after myself that when I do get some time I value it and use it wisely. And no, I will not be getting up at the crack of dawn to get myself ready for the day I’m just too tired! I value my sleep, what little I get.
I admit Friday evenings with Monty are booked out every week regardless of what’s happening so I guess you could call that a little bit of me time but it’s not quite the same as a long soak in the tub is it?
This was also my opportunity to have a little ‘slowing down time’ despite the chaos of our little home! Even though I work part time I still find it can still be quite stressful. I’ve spoken to friends who’ve been furloughed and they’ve found their time out of the rat race to be particularly beneficial. Many have said that it’s given them time to reassess their way of life and what they want or need out from it and it’s become apparent just how important the work/life balance really is. I really hope employers think about this when reassessing their own business needs/wants. Happy staff are more productive and cost effective.
Experimenting with food
I’m not the world’s best cook. Lord knows I’d love to be but it just isn’t going to happen, I don’t have the ‘Nigella turn to camera and pout in a sultry manner’ skill, but I do have a knack for just throwing things in a pan and hoping for the best, surely that’s a skill – right?
I have a friend who is an amazing baker and she regularly posts her creations on Facebook. Every time I see them it’s like a scene from Turner and Hooch! I’ll just leave that one there…
It’s been great spending time in the kitchen making meals with the family, something that we did a little of before but never the amount we do now. I’ve become a lot more chilled about the spills and empty utensils pot at the end of each cooking session, and the amount of pots and pans it takes to make a one pan meal when cooking with kids, but that’s the joy of it in a way, they get to understand what it takes to make a meal and there’s a real appreciation over what they’ve made.
I have learnt a lot about not wasting food and using what we have in the cupboards, freezer and fridge. I raided the bookshelves for any of my recipe books and scoured the internet for ideas and came up with a couple of great tasting, easy to throw together family meals that the kids actually wanted to eat, and actually asked for seconds. Yes, seconds! Feeling smug here.
I really like http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com as they have some super easy, very yummy recipes which are family friendly. Another site I found useful was http://www.realfood.tesco.com which you put in the ingredients you have and it finds recipes for you based on what you have. Genius. I got quite a few from here.
Maybe I’ll share some on a post one day if you’d like?
Hearing, seeing and breathing it all in
What do I mean by all that? I have thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet lock down has given. Yes, I’ve heard kids in the garden enjoying themselves in their pools and on their trampolines and generally just having kid fun, but I’m talking about the fact that I can hear the birds and insects, not the hum of vehicles or industry. I have terrible hearing and without a hearing aid I’m pretty much deaf and during lock down my hospital appointments to check my ears had been cancelled which has meant my already bad hearing had got worse, but because there hasn’t been the background hum of society I’ve been able to hear the sounds that normally get drowned out. It’s been a delight watching bees go about their daily business pollinating and buzzing about. Hearing the birds singing and seeing them come down to the feeders getting braver each day, and chastising us when the feeders run empty. You can see them lining up on the fence looking at us! They’ve got so used to us being in the garden with them that they don’t even bother to fly away.
I’ve been able to see the colours clearer because I’ve stopped and really looked, I’ve been able to sit on the bench and take it all in. Yes there are always niggles about job security, paying the bills and what’s going to happen next with Covid-19, living with the unknown is always going to be something that’s there at the back of my mind but putting that to one side it’s been nice to switch off from it all occasionally – even for just a few minutes a day.
Have you been able to slow down and enjoy lock down? Or are you one of our brilliant key workers looking forward to a little time off to try to enjoy some valued ‘me’ time? What have you enjoyed about lock down? What, if anything, are you going to take away from this strange time in history?
I know I’m going to appreciate nature a little more, it’s been a trying and unusual event that isn’t going away in a hurry and I’ve been able to reflect on some of what has happened and learn from it – especially how important family and good friends are.
How’s it been for you? I see so many perfect Instagram posts about how wonderfully people are coping throughout lock down and how home schooling has been nailed, along with working from home and all the perfectly kept homes and gardens. It’s not just Instagram it’s pretty much plastered all over social media of any sort. So many posts of how much people are looking forward to spending lots of time with their partners and children, if they have them, and how the moments are to be treasured. That’s fantastic, I’m really pleased for you. Genuinely I am. Even I felt like this to start with.
Perhaps your children are perfect and will sit in full concentration hanging on to every educational word you mutter and are happy to share the required PC world sized collection of electronic devices needed for home schooling. Or perhaps you have a partner who isn’t working and will happily take the responsibility of managing the housework and keep out of your way whilst you’re working, or perhaps you both work and have managed to coordinate your work schedules and space so you are in perfect harmony with each other.
You have the perfect life, I envy you!
The reality of it may be very different. Your kids may be feral and refusing to dress in anything other than the pyjamas worn for the past three days that are becoming decidedly smelly and sticky. Oh and good luck trying to get them in the shower! Or you are now after an initial flutter of ‘wow, this is fab working together’ you realise your partner’s working habits are distracting and you have to share the dining table because you don’t have the luxury of a spare room, and quite frankly if they interrupt another meeting then there’s no guessing what you’ll do, and what is it with bloody zoom meetings anyway?! Seriously I haven’t had one yet where I don’t look like Uncle Fester on steroids! Or perhaps you have partners who maybe aren’t working and haven’t lifted a finger to do the housework, although the washing pile isn’t so bad as everyone is wearing clothes for at least three days, and they’re sitting on their arse all day binge watching Netflix or permanently attached to the games controller!
Yes, dear readers that is pretty much what it has ended up being like for many. And for me? Well, I have the experience of my semi-feral children wearing two day old pyjamas and the only way I was going to get them anywhere near water was to encourage them in the pool for a swim, whilst simultaneously wrestling a kindle, a laptop and the telly controls off them in the process. My kids have only ever been slightly ‘trainable’, you should try living with a head strong sassy girl who does “talk to the hand” with some serious sass, and a boy who could be the next David Attenborough with his keenness for nature and all things grubby, who simply must bring in the grasshoppers and varying manner of bugs he finds – we’re currently running a caterpillar hotel in the living room, don’t ask, just don’t go there, so after days or should I say weeks of being cooped up and trying to do all the expected home schooling and various other arduous tasks on the never ending to list, and getting to the point of frustration where I just think coffee just isn’t going to cut it and where’s the Gin! And, who’s that wimpering again? Ah… it’s me (hangs head in shame!).
We have the luxury of having a spare room so I was able to ensure hubby was cordoned off each day. As long as he had his supply of coffee and biscuits, which he would pop and get on his irregular tea breaks, he was happy to be there. It’s amazing what a constant supply of naughty snack food can do to productivity!
And then there were the hours upon hours of waiting to see if an online delivery slot would become available, and then when you thought you’d got one you realised that you aren’t considered essential (story of my life, eye roll!), and damn it you’ll now have to go out and somehow face the world in something other than clothes that you’ve been slobbing around in doing the housework, gardening and various DIY jobs that needed finishing off on the to do list(s), because you never just have one list do you? There’s always more than one on the go that just seems to continually get longer and longer. The thought of putting on make up and brushing my hair was almost as bad as trying to figure out what to change into, especially as most things don’t fit due to slight excess covid calorie consumption and because, let’s face it, it’s much nicer to watch Joe Wickes keeping the nation going with his PE with Joe sessions every morning than actually work up a sweat joining in! After the first one nearly killed me I thought I’d join in from the sofa, wink, wink!
So, after mustering up the enthusiasm to actually go out, when you get to the shop you are faced with social distancing rules which so many people seem incapable of following. Yes, the guy with the sudden urge to breathe on my neck and reach over me whilst I’m getting something from the bakery aisle! Nice one mate! I have to say my meals at home were particularly inventive especially as we tend to eat a lot of pasta and rice in any normal given time, but could I get any? No, because the whole bloody nation went mad and bought sixty billion bags of rice, pasta and toilet roll! Seriously, if you need that amount of toilet roll then you should have been seeing a Doctor way before Corona came to town!
There were a couple of occasions where I was honestly beginning to struggle a little with lock down. I found it particularly hard when it came to family birthdays, of which there were three at the height of lockdown and one during easing. I really struggled to keep a happy face when I dropped off my Dad’s birthday gift, as I couldn’t go in and have a chat like I would normally do, and it’s just not the same on the phone. We had both kids birthdays as well and this was quite hard for us all, as they couldn’t have their friends or grandparents over which we would normally do. Family mean so much to me and not being able to do the things we have taken for granted has been really hard emotionally. I did make a point of checking in with my parents daily with a text to make sure everyone was ok, we chatted a couple of times a week to keep some kind of sanity and this did help a little. I was glad when I could go and have a socially distanced meet up for my Mum’s birthday. Just being able to sit in the garden with my parents was lovely.
I was also quite glad that they started easing lock down, although I still had my concerns and the news reports about packed beaches and tourist hotspots just reinforced my belief that some people are just inherently stupid, but for me I was happy that some schools were beginning to re-open with ‘class bubbles’ and the kids could begin to get some learning done whilst still keeping it as safe as can be given the unknowns with Covid-19. I found it much easier when the youngest went back in reception and I then only had to deal with home schooling the other one. Which was still challenging as he’d got to the point where he was just fed up with it all and wanted to go back. I think he just saw it all as an extended holiday and would often dig his heels in refusing to do anything until at least 11 o’clock in the morning, of which by then I’d run out of enthusiasm too, after all watching Joe being energetic is quite tiring…
All the kids got to go back for a reset week, which I thought was the best thing for them. They got to see their friends again and had some proper class teaching which is what they needed. My kids have now finished for the summer so we will continue in our efforts to keep up to speed whilst having some fun over the holiday, and the kids have lots of fab challenges set for them to do so I’m sure if we find ourselves at a loose end there’s always something there. Although I’m bracing myself for the constant “mum”, “where’s the…”, “I’m hungry”, “I’m thirsty”, and the running around picking up their dirty clothes for which I need a HASMAT suit to go near, or opening ‘mum’s café’ at breakfast time and throughout the day for that matter, serving up all manner of lovely choices of food for them only to take one bite and discard and say “want something else”.
I love my children, however, I do feel the need to say at this point that I’m going on strike. Gin anyone?
Short answer? I didn’t. Not at first anyway. It was, and still is, a slow process.
Many parents and carers have found themselves in the unenviable position of being both parent/carer and teacher as kids are off school or nursery and businesses are following government advice and staff are encouraged to work from home. Its a difficult task trying to work and get kids to do anything remotely school based. Many people are being furloughed or waiting to see if they are going to be furloughed and worrying about paying mortgages or rent, putting food on the table for their families and such like which add to the stress and worry of everyday life during lock down.
There are so many people already living hand to mouth, payday to payday that one little blip can send finances reeling and then we’re in a position where most of us really don’t want to be. I have realised just how much we, as a society, don’t save for the future or have the ‘rainy day fund’ as I refer to it. I may be generalising but many people I’ve chatted to have said they haven’t any extra put away and are living payday to payday with huge debts and overdrafts to contend with too. I know I’m one that isn’t really in a position to save and have found it particularly tight, having to cut down on a lot of things cancelling subscriptions and other unnecessary direct debits. I know I am one of the lucky ones so I’m not after your sympathy here, I have a support line in my husband who covers the key bills but given that any money I do earn goes towards the extras now that I lost all my contracts immediately the schools and colleges were told to shut I lost ALL of my income. I couldn’t even get furloughed initially as I am employed by an umbrella company who were in talks with the government as we are classed as zero hours contractors. What I have managed to get has been peanuts, but at least it’s something and might just pay for a bit of fuel for the car. This has made me consider how I manage my money better in the future, so much so that I’ve downloaded the book ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George Samuel Clayson and it’s long I grant you that but it makes a lot of money sense. Well worth a read if you can get your head into it.
I have had my own battles with my two kids, mostly on a daily basis and yes I’ve been tried and tested to tears but just as we’re starting to come out of lock down I’ve finally cracked it! Only a few weeks too late but hey, so what I have achieved a ‘Yes! fist pump moment!’.
I initially made the mistake of trying to set up homeschooling to be just like school. BIG FAIL! I am a school teacher and find it hard to get out of the ‘must be a teacher’ mentality. Of course I’m not a teacher at home I’m Mum. My kids don’t, and won’t, ever see me as anything other than Mum so trying to be teacher just simply was’t going to work. After a while of trying various strategies found by hours of trawling the internet and following Facebook posts, I got to a point where I just sat my kids at the table and had an honest conversation with them. You know the one, the ‘Ok, I’m done, I don’t know what to do or where to go from here’ conversation. However, credit where credit is due, they did listen and they did have a really grown up kids talk with me. We decided on focusing on one of them in the morning and the other in the afternoon or as soon as the first had finished their work and then we would work on a project, usually something grabbed from the internet, or free time fun play after. I found out just how much my kids love gardening, baking and science experiments which was an eye opener. My son has such green fingers, he seems to be able to grow anything!
I also found that having a Smart television helped as I could ‘beam’ the kids work to it from the laptop and they like playing teacher which is a really effective way of getting them to learn something. My daughter loved doing ‘Phonics with Rosie’ on the big screen and my son loved putting presentations together about what he’d learnt that day. It was brilliant seeing their enthusiastic faces as they played teacher. This is a strategy I’m going to continue to use with them when I want them to practice their schooling over the summer. We all know that kids lose a little of their sharpness over long holidays away from school and six weeks is a long time, so I’m aiming to make it easier for them when they go back especially as we’ve lost so much school time due to the pandemic.
Of course I fretted and worried about how much my kids would be put back by not having a school based education like they’ve been used to, and yes it was a little easier when the little one went back and I only had one to cajole on a daily basis into doing at least one something! Reward charts are my saviour! But now they’ve both gone back I know that they’ll be ok, we have the summer to do a reading challenge and some extra writing practice but I know that as long as my kids are happy and safe and we try to stick to a sort of ‘normal’ they’ll be fine.
I know that some of the ideas that I found whilst surfing the internet won’t work for us in any way shape or form, however I do know there are some ideas that I can take forward and use for personal use in the office my hubby has commandeered! His Man Cave we call it now. There are noticeboards and tally charts that I can use for keeping me on track and not just the kids. I’ve printed off posters and learning tools that the kids like to use so will be continuing with those for September mostly courtesy of Twinkl the school resources website (Note: I do pay a subscription for this provision) so I know they are tried and tested and they are readily used in the classroom so the kids are used to the layout. There are lots of good charts, posters and such like on places like Etsy and you can find a ton of them on Pinterest if you look in the right place.
There are still many worries and stumbling blocks to come at this strange time, but the one thing I have learnt and will say to you is this, whilst you might not feel it right now – we are going to come out of this eventually and you will be Ok, your kids if you have them will be Ok, we are living this together as a nation, as a world and it will pass. Don’t strive for everything to be perfect, we can’t do that right now lets just settle for being Ok for the time being.