Blogging · BritMums Blogging Carnival

BritMums Blogging Carnival – Current Affairs

Today, I have the esteemed honour of hosting the BritMums Blogging Carnival, a round up of all of the posts that fit my chosen theme, which is ‘Current Affairs’. If you’re a regular reader of Mum’s the Word, you’ll know that I love nothing more than to ride the highest of horses, sharing my opinions on just about everything in the loudest of voices, so I thought it was probably time to turn the tables and see what everyone else has to say about what’s going on in the world at the moment.

So, to kick off, ‘Orli, Just Breathe‘ tells us all about what it’s like to live in Gibraltar. The British Overseas Territory has been in the news a lot of late, owing to the dispute over the British Government attempting to create an artificial reef just offshore, while the Spanish government claim that it’s actually an attempt to thwart Spanish fishing efforts, but Orli gives an insight into what real life in Gib is actually like, behind the headlines.

If you watched this BritMums Hangout before the birth of the Royal Baby, you’ll know that I’m not exactly a Royalist, and this post from ‘Over There to Here‘ is a brilliant example of how the Royal Family is still stuck in the dark ages, with its attempt at placation when it comes to sexism.

Back on a more family-oriented note, Bod for Tea wondered last week if children of these modern times are losing their imaginations, and whether outdoor play would encourage them to use their creativity a bit more. It’s an interesting point that I’ve talked about myself in the past, and it’s good to know it’s an issue that’s being considered on a wider scale.

This next post by Single Mother Ahoy! is one that I absolutely loved when I read it. I must confess to having been guilty of tweeting the odd picture of unusual names that featured on a Coke bottle, but only because my awkward spelling of ‘Jayne’ means that I never get my name on anything and am insanely jealous! This post exposes the kind of parochial, sanctioned racism in the best way possible.

One recurring current affairs hot-button is social media and technology, especially children’s usage of either, and Emma and Three is questioning “how much is too much?”. In a refreshing twist, she acknowledges that social media and technology are as much of an addiction for her as they are for kids.

Jenny is tackling health issues, over on Cheetahs in their Shoes, specifically how difficult it can be to get a diagnosis for a rare condition, and how that process can be made even more difficult when the NHS is stretched almost to breaking point because of budget cuts and staffing issues.

Ellen at In a Bun Dance is entertaining with a humorous post about David Cameron and his waxed chest, which may be funny but makes a very serious point with which I wholly agree. Should the private lives of public figures be aired for all to see? You may say a strident ‘NO!’ but as Ellen so eloquently demonstrates, it’s not always that simple.

Domestic abuse has been all over the news recently, after the whole world saw Charles Saatchi’s very public assault on his wife, Nigella Lawson, but perhaps the scariest thing has been the public reaction to the incident, which ranged from the right and proper ‘outrage’ to downright flakiness. Lexicon Lane puts an excellent perspective on it all.

There’s been an influx of ‘shock’ journalism lately, mostly by women associated with the Daily Fail who don’t care who they hurt as long as they make headlines, and Autism Mumma tells us why Liz Jones’ latest fountain of bile is a step too far.

Finally, Five’s a Fellowship has been giving an honest and insightful update on her anxiety and depression and showing how, while there can be down-sides to anti-depressants, it is sometimes possible for people to regain balance when opting to go down the medicinal route. Given that it’s estimated that one in 4 Britons sufferes from some form of depression, I hope this post can help a lot of people.

So there you have it, my pick of the bunch! If you know of any other posts that you’d like to share, on a Current Affairs theme, do leave a link in the comments below.

BritMums - Leading the Conversation

Humour · Parenting

The Mysteries of Parenthood

its-a-mystery-500x325In the past five years, two weeks and six days, I have come to realise that there are certain occurences, certain mysteries of parenthood that I will never understand. And these things appear to be fairly universal, as I see lots of other people mentioning these occurences on social media and the like. What makes me feel infinitely better is that none of these people have the answers to these unexplained phenomenon either, so I know it’s not just me getting a great big ‘F’ in the parenting stakes.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of a few of the things that continue to evade me, despite having 5 years of parenting experience under my belt.

1. Why is it that children have absolutely no inclination to bounce on the bed…until, it’s freshly made, that is? What is is about a newly-made bed that just screams “RUIN ME AND NEGATE YOUR MOTHER’S EFFORT!!” to kids, the world over?

2. Why is it, that a child can sit in a room and completely ignore a toy for hours on end, but when it comes to moment you want to tidy said toy away, your child suddenly develops a deep and burning need to play with that toy, right this second?

3. Chores. Everyone hates them and I think most of us can probably attest to our kids being pretty resistant to getting involved in housework when we ask them to help. So, why is it that when they go to Nanny’s house, they’re suddenly like a spawn of Kim and Aggy (should they ever perfect making a person without sperm, that is) and prompt cries from mothers-in-law of “Oh, your Mum is so lucky to have a child like you, helping around the house!”

4. Cardboard boxes. One year, for Christmas, we spent nearly a hundred quid on a play kitchen for Sausage, then spent most of Christmas morning assembling it, only for her to become umbillically attached to the box it came in. In fact we, like mugs, kept that box in our lounge for her to play in almost until the next Christmas.

5. How is it that you can offer a child an item of food, which they refuse, only for you to sit down with the self-same item of food, only for them to then hover round, wanting whatever you have, DESPITE YOU OFFERING IT TO THEM TWO SECONDS BEFORE?!

Is there anything that you find utterly frustrating and mysterious about your child’s behaviour? Do share them with me below!

Family · Fashion and Style · Review · School

Back to School with Clarks Shoes

A few weeks ago, Clarks asked us if we’d like to go along to our nearest store and have Sausage properly measured for her next pair of school shoes, so armed with our £40 voucher we went along to the Southend branch this week to get started with our back to school preparations.

When we got to the store, I was eternally grateful that we’d arranged an appointment – the upper floor where the kids shoes are housed resembled a soft play centre on a rainy day rather than a shoe shop! The assistants were run off of their feet and it whole place had the electric atmosphere that you get when 2 dozen hyperactive children are verging on shopping-induced revolt!

Thankfully, we found a corner to sit in and we didn’t have to wait long for an assistant to come and measure Sausage’s feet. I was impressed with how thorough the measuring process was, having never been to a Clarks before and was pleased to note that they check width as well as length, which I think is really important for feet which are still growing.

Clarks Feet Measuring

Once the lady determined what size Sausage would need (10G, just in case you wondered!), she presented us with boxes of shoes that came in the right size, which was really helpful as it saved Sausage from getting her heart set on something, only to be told that she couldn’t have them.

Eventually, Sausage chose a black patent leather pair, with a velcro strap which would make it easier for her to get them on and off when getting changed for P.E. and swimming. The fitting didn’t end at the measuring though, as the Clarks assistant then put the shoes on Sausage, checked how much space her toes had, checked for space at the heel and even checked to see that the shoe wasn’t too tight on the top of Sausage’s foot. I must say, it was the most thorough shoe fitting I’ve ever seen, and the woman had no idea that we were there for a review, so it’s not like she rolled out any special treatment for us.

Clarks School Shoes

The shoes themselves seem to be very good quality. The sole is thick and sturdy, the strap looks very well attached and the attention to detail on the upper and inner is very pretty – they even have fairies printed on the inside, which Sausage immediately fell in love with! These shoes were £34, which I thought was reasonable for a pair of good-quality shoes.

Clarks Shoes Attention to Detail

Most importantly, Sausage is very comfortable in her new shoes and I think they’re going to last her very well over the coming school year. Thank you, to Clarks, for having us along to pick out some shoes – Sausage is a very happy girl!

Art · Family

Draw With Me – August

The lovely Sonia over at This Mummy Loves has come up with a new linky with her daughter, which involves a theme being set for our littlies, who then draw a picture to represent that theme. This month’s theme was ‘Summer’, so I got Sausage on the case, who came up with this beautiful, seasonal offering:

Sausage's Summer
Sausage’s Summer – Aged 5

This is a multimedia composition, using both pencils and pastels, and although chicks, lambs and rabbits usually represent spring, we had such a naff spring this year that I think all of these things became far more synonymous with summer! One thing that I adore about Sausage’s art is that everyone depicted, be they human, animal or mineral, is always smiling. I like to hope that’s because my daughter is also happy and views the world around her through happy eyes.

Anyway, that’s our effort for this month. Sonia is planning to do this every month and it’s something that I can see Sausage and I getting involved with on a regular basis. Click the button below to go over to This Mummy Loves and see the rest of the entries.

Draw With Me – This Mummy Loves

Family · Parenting · Personal

Expectations of a Biological Clock

biological clockAlmost as soon as Husband and I got married, people started asking whether we had any plans for children. I’m aware that, traditionally speaking, people used to get married so that they could start a family, but I was surprised that the expectations of starting a family were still so heavy in the 21st century. And even once we’d had Sausage, the questions didn’t stop; people almost immediately wanted to know when we planned to have more children, as though we’d opened the floodgates with one child and would breed with unbridled abandon until my sagging uterus could take no more.

Just recently, one of my close friends admitted that, at the age of 34, she’d come to the conclusion that she simply wasn’t feeling all that maternal at this stage in her life. She loved her nieces and nephews, as well as her friends’ children, but she was happy with the way her life is at the moment and a baby simply didn’t fit into that plan.

When she told me, I was a bit sad that she and her Husband might not have kids, and I’ve since come to the conclusion is a completely irrational reaction from me. Why should I be sad that they don’t want kids?! My reaction soon turned to one of admiration, with my brain saying “Wow, what a brave thing to admit!”, but having had more time to think about it, I feel a bit cross on their behalves.

Why should anyone have to explain whether they choose to have kids or not? Even the fact that I used the word ‘admitted’ when describing our conversation shows a certain expectation of people within an age group, and that somehow anyone who chooses to deviate from the ‘marriage+kids’ path needs to explain themselves.

What I’ve realised now, is that I wish more people had the guts to admit that they don’t see kids factoring into their lives. There are so many people in the world who seem to take absolutely no joy from being a parent and I often think “Why did that person procreate in the first place?”. Having kids should be something that you know you want, with both body and mind, not a societal obligation that we should fulfill just because our biological clocks or peer groups tell us that “NOW IS THE TIME”.

Perhaps if people weren’t so base, and thought a little bit more about what having kids really meant, there would be less kids in care, foster care, or waiting for adoption? I’m not going to go all Jeremy Kyle and start parading the High Street, screaming “PUT SOMETHING ON THE END OF IT!” at people, but at the same time, I do wish people would at least consider what it takes to have a child and the sacrifices that need to be made. That’s the admirable part, saying “You know what? I’m happy as I am and I’m not willing to change that”.

What I’ve learned from all of this is that I have a whole new level of respect for people who say “I love kids, but they aren’t for me”. Other people (generally those who have or want kids, I’d imagine) may find it hard to reconcile that someone would choose not to have children, but I actually think it’s one of the most selfless conclusions that a person can come to, rather than the potential of having kids and none of you being happy, just for the sake of not missing that window of fertility opportunity.

What do you think? Have you always known that you wanted kids? Have you decided that kids aren’t for you? Leave me a comment below.