• kids at wedding
    Parenting

    Kids at a Wedding – 5 Tips to Keep Them Happy (and Quiet!)

        Whether you are a guest, or the host, having kids at a wedding can be stressful. Finding the balance between keeping the kids happy, and turning the wedding into a Kinderfest can be tricky. We’ve all been to weddings where the tender vows of the bride and groom haven’t been heard by the guests because of a bawling baby! And I am guessing a few of you have attended a wedding with young children, chasing after them all day, having no fun, no wine and a pretty miserable time. Here are my top tips on keeping everyone happy.    1. Hire an Entertainer / Set up a Creche    …

  • Parenting

    Letting Go

    You roll your eyes and I bite my tongue. It’s normal, I tell myself. She’s a teenager. She needs to detach. Still, it hurts my heart. ‘You may give them your love but not your thoughts’ I was the centre of your world. Your rock. Your oracle. You looked to me for answers. And now your gaze has turned outward.

  • Parenting

    The Problem with “As a Mother…”

    When a sentence begins with ‘As a mother…’, it’s generally a bad sign. This rarely heralds an insightful observation, as Andrea Leadsom demonstrated. The discussion will continue around the political wrangling, but I wanted to pause for a moment and consider the idea that motherhood grants a woman anything other than the ability to cook meals one-handed while holding a wailing baby. As a Mother… I’ve changed. It would be impossible not to. The focus of my life has shifted, and the opinions and feelings of others need to be taken into consideration. I’m sure this is true for most parents, not just mothers. As a mother, I became aware…

  • Parenting

    Things Mums of Boys Will Know

    I was disappointed with Netmums’ article on ‘Things Mums of Boys Will Know‘. As a mother of a boy and a girls, I know that most of these are silly, and a couple are just plain ridiculous.

  • kids scared of fireworks
    Parenting

    Kids are Scared of Fireworks? Prepare for Bonfire Night

    For many, Bonfire night is eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. Some younger or more noise sensitive children find it overwhelming, loud and downright scary. In the run up to the 5th November, start to prepare your child for the big bangs and whistles.     Talk about Noise – and Make some Noise     Talk about animals that are loud, and those which are quiet. Play at being quiet as a mouse, and loud as a DINOSAUR. Get your child to ROAAAAAAAAAAR like a lion, and roar back. Let the child bang on some pots with a wooden spoon, and band the pot lids together. Think about getting the…

  • Parenting

    5 Signs of Low Self Esteem in a Child … and What You Can Do About It

    A guest post by Coach Rebecca Pintre, from Artemis Mindset Coaching, on recognising the signs of low self esteem in a child, and what parents can do about it.  Self-esteem is the sense of worth a person has about themselves, the value they put on themselves. It is important to have a good balance of self-esteem and a positive yet realistic sense of self-worth. As a coach, low self-esteem is one of the issues I come across frequently. As a mother of two young girls I know that fostering good self-esteem in my daughters is one of my key tasks.

  • Parenting

    Dear 13 Year Old Me…

    It is my daughter’s 13th birthday today. At last, she is a TEENAGER! She’s promised that she won’t suddenly turn into a stroppy, hormonal monster. Check back in a year to see whether she’s been able to keep that vow! I was thinking back to my teenage years, and what I would tell myself, if I could go back in time and give myself some advice.

  • Parenting

    How to Make a First Period Kit

    No, don’t worry. I’m not going to advise you to throw a First Period Party for your daughter. I can only imagine the sheer horror that my daughter would greet this suggestion. It is probably up there with ‘Mum-dancing with my guidance teacher at the school disco in an effort to get all the kids to dance’ on the 1 – 100 scale of embarrassment. Talking to kids about sex is an important part of parenting, and a part of this is talking to girls about getting their first period. One of the best ways to help your daughter prepare, is to make a First Period Kit.

  • Talking to Kids About Sex
    Parenting

    Talking to The Kids About Sex – Without Euphemisms or Embarrassment

    According to Planned Parenthood, teens who had good, honest conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use condoms or other contraceptives when they do have sex. So how do we go about talking to the kids about sex and puberty, so that they are informed of the changes ahead, know how they can protect themselves, and how to react to the pressures from others? Without euphemisms or embarrassment.

  • Parenting without Punishments
    Parenting

    Parenting Without Punishments

      When a friend recently talked about ‘Gentle Parenting‘, or parenting without punishments or rewards, I will admit to first having to look up the term, and second thinking that can’t possibly work.  After reading the list on this blog, I realised that I’d been practicing a version of this parenting philosophy, without knowing there was a name for it. There is no blueprint for successful parenting, and I wouldn’t say that I am an expert, but these are the tactics that have worked for me, and my family. 

  • Parenting,  Review

    Review of The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen

    I interviewed ‘The Yorkshire Shepherdess’, Amanda Owen for Jump! Mag this week. When we started talking about raising children, Amanda had some great thoughts on allowing kids to explore and develop, that I wanted to share here.Amanda loves the isolation of Ravenseat, the farm in the Yorkshire Dales, but is connected to the rest of the world via a satellite dish that provides the farm with an internet connection. She discovered Twitter and started sharing tales of her life in 140 character chunks, accompanied by stunning photos. Her chatty informal style was a big hit; she has amassed over 7000 followers and recently published a book.The Yorkshire Shepherdess is reminiscent…

  • Parenting

    Raising Girls vs Raising Boys

    The comparison between raising girls vs raising boys is one that I have been making these past years. My children have conformed pretty well to the ‘gender stereotyping’ by being sensitive, artistic and the peacemaker (my daughter) vs rowdy, maths and science fan and dominant (my son).  A friend recommended the book by Steve Biddulph, “Raising Boys” a few years ago. I glanced through it, but really didn’t get on well with it. I can’t remember much about it, or why I put it down, but was interested to hear that Steve has followed up with a book about girls, called (predictively) Raising Girls.   On Radio 2 this morning,…

  • Parenting

    Saver or Spendthrift – And Were You Born That Way?

    How do you teach your child to be good with money? Are some people pre-destined to be sensible savers, or is it a learned skill?    When I saw the competition by MoneySupermarket.com about SuperKid Savers, it reminded me of a blog post that I have been meaning to write for quite some time.      When I first left home, I was terrible with money. It took me a long time to learn to budget, and if I am very honest I sometimes forget this important lesson. We are constantly tempted, by advertising that persuades us that we just cannot wait to get the newest gadget, by peer pressure…

  • Parenting

    Listen. Believe. Love.

    In the past weeks it has been almost impossible to open a newspaper or click on a blog link without reading something about Jimmy Savile. I have avoided the topic, not because I have nothing to say but because I have so much to say that I am finding it difficult to concentrate on one aspect of this story. Some have written about the BBC covering up the abuse, others have complained about the cancelling of the TV show last year and their sticking with the planned Christmas TV special about the life of Savile. Still others have compared the abuse with that of the girls in Rochdale, who like…

  • Parenting

    Ban TV for Children Under Three Years Old? Not In This House

    Ban TV for children under three years old – every couple of years a new ‘study’ is released calling for banning of TV for young children. This one was released by Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman. Mumsnet Bloggers’ Network asked, ‘Are parents being demonised?’    The problem with making such a statement is that it immediately puts parents on the defensive, and that it sadly does not reach the parents of the children who are watching TV because their parents cannot be bothered interacting with them.  I am not being snobby, but lets be honest – the kids that are plonked in front of Cbeebies all day every day are unlikely to…

  • Parenting

    Love Bombing by Oliver James – A Mumsnet Blog Prompt

    Love Bombing by Oliver James – does this book present a new concept, reheated advice from other ‘parenting gurus’, or just plain common sense?     As the animated thread on Mumsnet shows, books that tell us parents what we are doing wrong and how to fix it are met with suspicion, hope, derision and praise. The ‘Holy Grail’ of parenting advice simply does not exist. While some parents reach for a book from the Attachment Parenting shelf, others will head for F for Gina Ford. Oliver James’s new book ‘Love Bombing‘, according to the blurb will reset our children’s ’emotional thermostat’ and is advertised as a way to help children…

  • Parenting

    I Demand An Apology

        I enjoyed David Mitchell’s article in the Guardian about the demanding of apologies and I laughed at the story he told about his parents.   It reminds me of being made to apologise as a child. I remember a specific occasion when my parents were furious with me for some reason. And I was furious with them. It was a standoff. They were demanding an apology or else, as I recall it, basically nothing was to be allowed in future: food, sleep, not eating all my food, not immediately going to sleep, going outside, being allowed inside, contact with the cat – all banned. It was a massive…

  • Parenting

    “Are Those Men Married To Each Other, Mum?”

    It is something that we have never talked about with the children. Not because we were avoiding it, but because it has never come up and it would have felt forced and strange to have brought it up. Tonight, watching the fabulous Sugar Dandies on Britains Got Talent, my daughter looked intrigued when Bradley talked about his love for his partner Soran.   “Awww, sweet”, she said. Then, “Are they married to each other?”. “Yes, they are. Men can be married to men, just as they can be married to women. Some men love men, some love women”, I replied. “And do some women love women?” “Yes. Sometimes.” “Cool”, was…

  • Parenting

    Sex Ed and Enthusiastic Consent

      I posted yesterday about women who find it difficult to believe that they had been raped, and since then other women have come forward to say that they too have been remembering incidents that they had pushed to the back of their minds. I have been thinking of moments in my life, that I had put down to a bad decision, which I now can see differently. I was not raped, but I was coerced into doing more than I felt comfortable doing. The women confiding in me were talking about incidents that happened in their teens or early twenties. They are older and more experienced now and are able to…

  • Stranger Danger - How to Protect Your Child
    Parenting

    Protect Your Children – The Danger of Stranger Danger

      This is a post that I have been meaning to write for quite some time. For some readers, this post will be distressing or upsetting – Trigger Warning for discussion of abuse and abusers.  I am reminded of it every time I read about the angst that many parents have, that their child will be abducted or abused. Often this comes up at times when there has been a high profile case in the newspapers. The worry is understandable, we all want to protect our child from harm. First, it is important to understand the risks.   Stranger Danger   The big fear is often “Stranger Danger” – that…

  • Parenting

    A Girl Needs A Dog

            A girl needs a dog.  The pictures above were taken by my daughter. Our dog is a patient and beloved photo model.   A friend recently told me the story of her son at circle time (what the Americans call Show and Tell). She had gone into to Parents’ Evening and the moment her son’s teacher saw her, the teacher started to weep. My friend was alarmed, and thought that her son had been doing something very wrong in school. The teacher tried to compose herself, but all she could manage to say, between sobs was, “A boy … needs… a doooooog”. Apparently, each week when…

  • Parenting

    The Balance of Motherhood

    “She is Just A Mum. I imagine she sits around all day in her PJs, drinking tea and eating chocolate biscuits” “Oh, she is a working mother. Her children are in nursery all day, the poor things”   Is that it? Are these the only options? How much do we give up of our lives, our hopes, our dreams when we become mothers? And when is it ok to say, “Right. Enough. I am not Just A Mother”       Today, I read a post on my favourite parenting blog FreeYourParenting about nurturing yourself. Clare talks about the every day stresses of family life, and how we can get away…

  • Parenting

    Guilt Free Breastfeeding Advice

    Breast is best! Breastfeeding improves children’s IQ Breastfeeding prevents obesity Formular Feeding mums are lazy Formular Fed infants are more likely to develop illnesses   Is anyone else fed up with this? Occasionally I will come across a website that states this and more (I am not going to link to these websites as I don’t want to cause trouble with other bloggers and to be quite frank, I can do without the hassle of my blog being invaded by militant breastfeeding activists). We all know that for the best start in life, breastfeeding is truly advantageous. There is no disputing this fact. For some women, breastfeeding does not come…

  • Parenting

    Family Bingo

    Are you already dreading visiting the family for Christmas? I am incredibly lucky. Both my parents and my husbands parents are genuinely lovely people, but even lovely people can get on your nerves sometimes, especially when you are cooped up in an apartment with them for several days. The old fish/guests adage was never more true. Little niggles, that would normally not bother you become vitally important and we find ourselves fuming at something as irrelevant as mother Not Putting The Lid On The Jam Jar. It is important to remember that everyone does things slightly differently, both in the home and in regard to child rearing. I touched on…

  • Parenting

    GummibearGate – Kids and Swearing

    Do you get all <catbum mouth> at people who swear at their children? You are not alone if you do. Who would not look disapproving at someone shouting and swearing at their child? Who would not judge that person as a Bad Mother for using bad language, for shouting at a poor little innocent child. If you had observed me on our trip to Germany, you would have judged me and found me wanting. But stop for a moment and think. This post is not about parents who verbally abuse their children, who shout and swear day in, day out. But about the parents who lose their temper and patience…

  • Parenting

    Do You Have a Parenting Philosophy – Your Children are not Your Children

    Attachment Parenting, Benign Neglect,  Authoritarian, Helicopter Parent, Tiger Mum – which one describes your parenting method best? Can you put a name to your Parenting Philosophy, explain it in two or three words?   In those first hazy months of parenthood, many of us read books on parenting. We search for answers, for reassurance, for advice. Or we use websites such as Mumsnet, Netmums or Babycentre. Perhaps you already had an idea of the kind of parent you wanted to be, and found that the reality of parenting was slightly different to the theory.   I can recall being indignant at my husband’s Grandmother, because she told me that when…

  • Parenting

    Raising Independent Children

    Only one in five children can tie a reef knot, according to a survey carried out on behalf of the Scout Association. My first thought on reading this was, “How on earth will they manage to tie a neat knot in a silk scarf when they are older”, which may not be quite what the Scout Association was worried about.     While being able to tie an reef knot, or mend a puncture may be a handy skill to have, there are other items on the list that we really should be teaching our pre-teen children. How to cook a meal – my daughter is 9 years old and recently…

  • Parenting

    Coping with an Interfering Granny

    It is a topic touched on with some regularity on Mumsnet, and I am sure on other parenting websites. Mothers, and in particular Mother-In-Laws. MILs.  Not a day goes by without a MIL bashing thread, some of them justified, many not. A few years ago,  I visited a colleague who had just given birth to her first child – in Mumsnet speak a PFB – Precious First Born. She told the tale of the in-laws’ visit. How horrified she was when MIL suggested giving her grandson a drink of apple juice. How angry she was when MIL just “picked baby up and waltzed out into the garden with him”. I…

  • Parenting

    Compulsory Education Checks for Two-Year-Olds

    According to The Telegraph children may soon undergo compulsory development assessments. Great idea, but a closer look at the plans reveals that all is not as rosy as it seems. At present the Early Years Foundation Stage, which was introduced by Labour in 2008 is the framework for checking development of children. It has come under fire for being overly bureaucratic and too complicated and so the new plan is said to simplify and reduce the burden of paperwork. We are all in favour of reducing paperwork, and allowing the nurseries and childminders to get on with doing the actual work for which they are being paid – caring for…