175 articles Articles posted in Parenting

How Gender Normative Attitiudes are Damaging Our Kids

I’ve written before about how we don’t believe in gendered toys and that we encourage the girls to forget gender conformity when it comes to pursuing their interests, and for the most part it’s worked well. BB plays just as happily with toy cars and Nerf guns as she does with her Barbies, and Sausage goes to a martial arts class where she’s often the only girl. A phrase often uttered by me is “as long as you don’t need a penis to operate it, it’s not just for boys!” and despite the cringe caused by the word “penis” the girls are happy with this rule.

However, just recently, BB has run into some issues. It started a while back when she asked for some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwear, and we discovered that they didn’t make them for girls. We did, however, find some stretchy boxers on the boy’s section of H&M which had TMNT print on them and decided that they were just as good as knickers and would probably be quite comfy. BB has worn them, happily, for months.

A couple of weeks ago, she was getting dressed for school and I’d laid out her TMNT boxers for her to wear, and she got a bit upset and said she didn’t want to wear them that day. I asked why and she said that it was P.E. day, so she’d have to get changed in front of her classmates, and she didn’t want anyone to see her in her boxers. It transpired that a few kids in her class had been taking the mikey and telling her that she shouldn’t be wearing that underwear because it was for boys. She told the girl who was mocking her that “Mummy couldn’t find any others for me to wear today”, but she shouldn’t have to feel like she needs to make an excuse.

She’s quite a resilliant kid, our BB, but it was clear that it was bothering her to have her classmates telling her that she was doing something “wrong”. I started trying to ensure that I gave her girly underwear on the days she had swimming or PE, but the whole thing sat really uncomfortably with me.

It gets worse.

BB’s school, like the rest of the country, offers free school meals in key stage one, but they recently got rid of their cold food provision, so if a child wants a cold lunch instead of a hot meal, they can now take a packed lunch. BB was super excited about this as she’s a little fussy with food AND wanted to show off her new lunch box. Her new Spiderman lunch box.

She’s used it twice, and BOTH times been told by some of her peers that her lunchbox is for boys.

The problem I’m having is this – what want her to do is to tell them all off about their gender normative attitudes and carry on using whatever she wants to cover her ass and carry her lunch. However, it’s not me who has to fight the battle, it’s her. I can encourage her to stick up for herself and tell her classmates where to shove it all I like, but at the end of the day, she’s the one who has to do it. Part of me wants to protect her feelings, buy her the pink knickers, buy her the LOL lunchbox and let her conform, but a MUCH bigger part of me wants to encourage her to stick to her guns and wear whatever she damn-well wants. We don’t raise kids to be compliant.

The whole thing has really stuck in my throat. The saddest part is, I’m not surprised. I still see posts on things like Facebook Marketplace on an almost daily basis of people looking for “toys for boys” or a “pushchair suitable for a girl”. We’re STILL, in 2019, so hung up on the outdated rules we’ve had drummed into us about what is for girls and what is for boys and it’s being passed onto the next generations.

We’ve given BB a pep talk and told her that the opinions of others are not important, and that she should carry on liking Spiderman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles without worrying about what people think, and I’m hoping it sticks but there’s a chance that the damage has already been done. Daddy also made sure she had undies she felt comfortable in for PE days and bought her some in pastel colours. NOT that we should have needed to…

If you’re reading this and still teach your kids that toys and charachters are only for a specific gender, please join us in the 21st century and update what you’re teaching your kids, because I will NOT be teaching mine to tolerate that kind of bullshit.

(Also, is it any wonder we’re still having these problems when THIS is what comes up when you Google “TMNT girls”…because obviously, no ninja goes anywhere without their handbag and fucking stripper heels. EYEROLL)

Are Single Parents Being Penalised? #CostOfSingleParenting

Single ParentsPhoto by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

One thing you may or may not know about me is that I am basically a professonal bargain hunter. I never pay full price for anything, unless I’ve fully satisfied myself that there’s not a discount code or voucher that I can use, or some way to bring a price down before buying. I collect points for everywhere I shop, never EVER pay full price for a pizza without searching for a voucher code and I even shop around every three months to get my contact leanses at the cheapest price.

This summer, we’ve been trying to do things as a family and we’ve been fortunate to get ‘family’ tickets for a lot of places, thanks to the fact that we’re a “two adults and two kids” family, which is where most discounts are firmly aimed. However, it got me thinking about the fact that single parents are being penalised and missed out of discount opportunities, despite the fact that with just one adult, they’re probably in greaterneed of offers and discounts than anyone.

PayPlan has put together an infographic showing the true cost of the summer holidays to a single-parent family and some of the figures are truly eye-opening:

Do Single Parents Feel Penalised?

As well as missing out on the discounts, being the sole breadwinner must be daunting for many. I thought I’d ask some of my single parent friends if they felt that they were penalised for being a non-conventional family and about the difficulties they’ve faced. Here are some of their comments:

Zoe (Insta: runningonempty_mummy) said “I’m new to the single mum world and notice it all the time – family tickets [aimed at 2 adults and 2 kids], holidays abroad – I got charged a supplement, kids eat free with two adult meals bought etc”

Sarah said “I’m not a single parent but I travel and go out a lot on my own with my 5 year old. I find I can’t use child free places on holidays, I have to sometimes pay single Supplement in rooms as he’s only 5, I can’t take advantage of family deals at the cinema (even with the husband we don’t have enough kids to make the min number) I also effectively pay more per head on the train as well as with groupsave other adults can travel free bringing cost per person.”

Mandy said ” I had an argument in [a cinema] once; they had this promotion on for families for tickets and like a snack combo thing, which worked out cheaper than me and sienna and a snack combo, but they wouldn’t let me have it”

Sian said “Not [a single parent] anymore, but continue to be sick of having to be quizzed as to who I am to my daughter when bringing her home from abroad get no one ever cares what kids I’m taking out the country!! Just because we made the mistake of putting a fathers name on birth cert doesn’t mean we should be interrogated and humiliated at every UK airport!”

Toni said “Private renting is my biggest problem. I work but obviously don’t earn enough to be able to private rent a house without claiming top up and no one accepts it. So i am left renting a damp house with a leaky ceiling because I am worried if i complain i will be evicted and homeless.”

Are you a single parent? Do you feel like you’re overlooked when it comes to money saving opportunities? Do you experience other difficulties? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please do leave me a comment below.

Make Your Life Easier as a Mumpreneur

With childcare costs at an all-time high and earnings not really falling into line, it’s little wonder that so many women are turning to the idea of running their own businesses from home. The advantages of working in your own home are numerous, allowing you to set your own hours, work around school times and school holidays, and ultimately save a lot of money on childcare. It’s not for everyone, and some people struggle with the challenges of running a business in their home, but if you’ve got the drive and the patience, it can be a great alternative to a traditional 9-5 career.

If you’re thinking about becoming a work-at-home-mum, or even if you already are and are looking to make your life a bit easier, we’ve got some tips on how you can delegate certain tasks.

Get an Assistant

If you’re not keen on the idea of having someone coming to work alongside you in your home office every day, virtual receptionist services could be a great solution. For as little as 30p per day, you could have an automated service to handle all of the calls you don’t have time to deal with. It also means that you’re not tied to a desk and have the freedom to work from absolutely anywhere without the risk of missing important calls or losing business – far cheaper than a human assistant!

Outsource the Cleaning

Having a cleaner may seem like a luxury you can’t afford, but when you think about how much time you spend cleaning in a week, and then consider the fact that you could spend that time working on your business instead, can you afford NOT to have a cleaner?! Taking the domestic chores off of your plate can free you up for more important things and increase your earning potential.

Co-Parenting

As we mentioned above, childcare is a massive expense for many families, which is why homeworking is good for parents of younger kids. However, when you’ve got a deadline or an important meeting to deal with, having kids around isn’t always doable. Teaming up with another Mumpreneur could be the answer – arrange to cover each other’s childcare during important times and the reciprocal arrangement means your childcare won’t cost anything and you both have the opportunity to develop your businesses when you need to. This can also work when you have to start doing school runs – take it in turns each day to take the kids to school while the other works.

Do Everything Online

The world is set up so that most things can now be one online, so set aside a couple of hours each week to get as much done online as you can. From your weekly shop to paying bills and even booking appointments, doing things in a set time slot each week can save you lots of time and give you a clearer head for dealing with work-related tasks. You can even use services which will not only remind you that someone’s birthday is coming up but will also send a card out to them without you even needing to go near a post box!

Get Your Beauty On!

If you’re the kind of person who likes to look ‘put together’ but struggle for time, there are a few things you can do to help you feel good without spending hours in the bathroom each morning. A Brazillian blow dry will cut down on hair styling time and keep your mane sleek without too much heat. Having your eyelashes permed and tinted could help give you the confidence to go out without mascara and having your eyebrows micro-bladed could save you loads of time each day, too. Think about your beauty priorities and see if there’s a permanent or semi-permanent solution.

Surviving an airport layover with kids

My number one rule has always been: when travelling with children always book direct flights. I know how much I dislike layovers as an adult, so I’ve always been dreading having a layover with my little Alfie who has much less patience than I have (and I set the bar quite low). However, there are some times when you can’t avoid layovers, even more, if you are flying long distances and on a budget.

I often travel for business with Aviation Spares and Repairs, a ground support equipment supplier, and from time to time I take Alfie with me, but they are always short haul flights which are perfect for both of us. It does help that he loves all things aviation related, so my extra knowledge about airports, aviation and ground support equipment helps keep him entertained.

I’ve always wanted to take him to Australia to visit my sister who moved there a few years ago. But when I was looking at flights, I couldn’t find any direct flights – I started to panic. How will we both survive an airport layover? Should I pick the cheapest ticket and wait for more than 10 hours at the airport? All these questions started to make me overthink. I took a deep breath and thought how on earth we were going to do this without any of us ending up screaming or crying. I might be a bit over dramatic – bear with me.

You might be in the same situation as I was, overthinking, over worrying, over everything. Don’t worry anymore, I’m writing this article because I was actually able to survive it with Alfie and it all worked well(ish). If I can do it, so can you! Keep on reading for some tips on how to survive an airport layover with children.P

Consider long layovers.

Layovers might not be the worst thing to consider. An article on the Mirror mentions that “having a stopover might break up the boredom and give the kids the chance to burn off some energy.”

After my own experience, I believe that having a layover is not the end of the world and sometimes the longer the better – it will give you plenty of time to rest, refresh and explore the airport, instead of having to run around trying to find the gate in a short period of time.

Research, research and a bit more research.

Before travelling, make sure you research about your layover airport: where are the changing rooms, play areas, charging stations, lounges and your gate location. Researching about these areas will not only save you time but will also prevent you from wandering around the airport clueless.

Stretch your legs.

After a short or long flight, I always feel like I need to walk around for a bit. Nobody likes being sat down for too long and a good stretch around the airport once you’ve landed will do wonders for everyone.

If you need a bit of a rest at the airport or time for yourselves, try to find an empty gate. This will give the little ones space to run around and play without disturbing anyone. An article on Skyscannerrecommends finding the airport chapel to get some quiet time or visiting the lounge to have some extra perks, such as food, snacks and sometimes shower facilities.

Make time for fun time.

Giving your children time to play will make this whole experience a lot more pleasant for all members of the family. Some airports have various play areas to keep the little ones entertained. For example, the Calgary International Airport has a pre-security and post-security play areas suitable for children up to 12 years old. While other airports have golf courses and IMAX theatres, such as the Hong Kong International airport.

Remember that technology is your friend. I always try to keep screen time to a minimum, however, when all else fails it’s okay to break the rules – don’t forget to download their favourite shows on your tablet, so they can watch it offline, as some airports only let you use free wi-fi for a short amount of time.

Keep your tummies happy.

Children and adults can get hangry and cranky whentheir tummies start rumbling. Prevent all the growl noises by being prepared with lots and lots of snacks. Try to have a good selection of food for everyone as it will be cheaper than airport food or in-flight food. However, if you feel like you want to sit down for a good meal, maybe check if there are any restaurants near the airport that you can walk to or take public transports to.

Pack all the essentials.

Besides snacks and games, some other essentials that you should pack in your carry-on should be wipes, change of clothing, toiletries, changing mat, their favourite cuddly toy and a first aid kit (with tablets for upset stomachs, plasters, antiseptic, etc).

A change of clothing is my favourite thing after flying. It’s perfect to freshen up and to recharge your batteries. Just clean your face, maybe splash some water and change into some fresh clothes – you’ll feel brand-new.

Explore the city.

If you have a long layover, why not enjoy a short tour around the city? Of course, you’ll have to do your research to figure out how far away the airport is from the city and how long it would take you to go there and come back.

Some airports offer free tours to passengers who have long layovers. For instance, Changi Airport Singapore offers free Singapore tours to passengers who have at least 5.5 hours to 24 hours to spare until connecting to their flight.

Relax.

In case you have a long layover and just want to take some time to rest and for the little one to nap, I’d recommend booking a hotel room in the airport or at a nearby hotel. This will give you the opportunity to take a shower and close your eyes worry-free.

Try to not let this experience stress you out as it won’t make any of it easier. Just relax and make the most of it. Being prepared and planning things ahead is my best advice. What are your own tips to get through an airport layover? Do you have any special games you play with your children at the airport?

This article was written by Hannah Tolson, a part-time freelance blogger, who enjoys writing about all things aviation and travel related. You’ll find her and Alfie strolling around airports naming different types ofground support equipment or at the beach enjoying a sunny day.

College Homework: 8 Essential Study Habits for Parents

If you are a parent and attending college, you are likely to have problems organizing your time. It becomes even more difficult when you are working at the same time. The thought of juggling between work, studies, and parenting is overwhelming in itself. Therefore, you have to find the right tricks that will help to survive under such conditions. Here are some tips for you to get your college homework done.

IMAGE: Parents Attend College Too

  1. Create time for everything

Although it may seem like there is not enough time to perform all your duties, you will be surprised to find out that you can create it. Proper planning ensures that everything is done at the right time. When you do this, you will even have time to spend with your children and family.

  1. Invest in the right study apps

The use of applications in education is one of the best things that ever happened to students. As a parent who still has to work and study, you need applications that will help you to organize your functions. They should also make it easy for you to access your notes and communicate with your tutors.

  1. Look for online courses

Since you will be spending most of your time at home taking care of the children, an online course could come in handy. You will notice that it allows you more flexibility compared to traditional classrooms. You can feed the kids, put them to bed, and proceed to take a few lessons.

  1. Technology will be your savior

In this age, you cannot overlook the importance of technology when it comes to education, especially when you are a parent and a student at the same time. Find the latest trends in technology and see how they can help to ease the pressure on your shoulders.

  1. Invest in high-quality educational gadgets

What are some of the gadgets that you use for your college education? If you want to enjoy the best experiences, you have to invest in high quality calculators, laptops, document readers, printers, and all the tools that you may need,

  1. Find online forums for parents in similar situations

There are many parents who are juggling between many tasks the same way you do. Find them through online forums and find out how they cope with it.

  1. Rest is important too

It is good to focus on your studies and give them your all so that you may succeed. However, do not deprive yourself of rest because a lack of it will only lead to unfortunate situations.

  1. Find someone to help with your homework and essays

Since you have too many other things to do besides education, you may want to find experts to help you with your assignments and essays. You can find such experts online, and they will save you a lot of time and energy.

In a nutshell, the fact that you are a parent should not make you abandon your dream of getting a college education. By suing some of these tips and getting help , there is no doubt that you will complete the course.

The ABCs of Daycare

You are starting a family and though everything has been planned out you still have that nagging worry in how you are going to care for your kid when you have to juggle between house chores and work. Sadly, an entire family cannot sometimes live off only the salary of one of the parents and thus leaving the care of the child to experts in Daycare Cambridge. If you are like most parents and shiver of the idea of leaving your treasure alone with practically strangers, then do not fret as this is absolutely normal.

Some studies conducted have estimated that about 70% of families rely on daycares or some version of it to allow them to work their 9 to 5 jobs. And as there is an obvious need, the market has done its magic and sprouted plenty of daycare options for you to choose from. You can select from one of the excellent daycare Cambridge centers to hiring nannies. There are essentially two different kinds of daycares, a group center or a home daycare with each having its own pros and cons. Group daycare centers are established by licensed professionals who hire people with expertise in child care. They offer an environment not just for learning academically but allow them to mingle with other kids their age so they mature mentally and socially.

This article will try to help you answer all your questions about daycare and how you can then decide which one you are going to choose for you child.

The types of day care centers

A daycare facility is the physical space where you are intending to keep your child while you are off to work. There are usually two options depending on where you are situated in the city.

Group Day Care – These kinds of centers are regulated by the state and are usually run by the owners themselves. About one fourth of all infants and toddlers go to these kinds of centers. Being in a shared environment such as this means your child will be allowed to interact with other kids.

Home Day Care – Home day care centers are less of a formal setting than group day care but it does not necessarily mean that it is inferior. It is often run by a homeowner and uses the home itself as the facility. Most of the time, the owner will have kids of their own and will care for their kids and yours simultaneously. While some of them are licensed, there are more that do not have any formal training in the field.

Why you should send your child to daycare

Continued care. Most center offers to care for children from as young as infancy up until they become toddlers and, in some cases, even beyond. This gives you peace of mind knowing that you would not have to worry about the formative years of your child as he/she will be exposed to consistent care through out.

Education. In order to prepare a child before going through formal education, there are some things that he/she needs to be able to do. This includes reading, writing, knowing their numbers and even talking properly in front of other people. Being busy at work, this might be time that you may not be able to set aside for your child. Day care centers usually have curriculums based on their age where they will be able to make most of the time that they spend while they are away from home.

Socialization. An integral part of developing a child before he/she starts going to school is to make him/her comfortable around other people, especially around other kids his/her age that he/she are yet to be acquainted with. Being in a daycare where there are typically a few groups of kids that he/she can be a part of will prepare him/her for the journey that awaits him.
Cost. A nanny is an alternative to a daycare cambridge center. While you can be assured of the quality that professional nannies can provide, they usually come at a price which renders the need to send your child to care so you can work kind of pointless. However, there are instances that children may need special attention and thus there may be no alternative to hiring nannies.
Reliability. First time parents are often not well versed with child care. There is no shame in this as there rarely is ever a chance for people to practice being one. Sending your child to daycare assures you that your children will be handled by professionals with countless years of experience among them. This, not only settles your worry of not knowing enough to care for your child but affording you an opportunity to learn as well.

Choosing your daycare

Choosing a daycare center is no picnic. Seeing that the best of the daycare centers are hot commodities, finding one that fit your route to work in itself might already be a challenge. This is the reality of it but through it all, you would do everything for your child and thus you still want the best daycare for him/her.

Research is key

In the age of mobile electronics, it is quite simple to track down establishments as well as learn what people have said about them. This should come fairly easy as long as you know where to start looking.

Interview the centers

It might not be enough to rely on the words of other parents to put your mind at ease before deciding to let someone else care for your child. You may go to the centers themselves and look at the facility as well as talk to the ones in charge. This is an important step as a face to face conversation can tell a lot about a service provider. This will also allow you to see the kind of children that your child will eventually be playing and learning with.

The Next Big Thing in Parenting – Sleep Education

There is a lot of information out there that teaches you how to be a good parent. It talks about how to deal with tantrums, stubbornness, how to improve cognitive development, how to feed your child well and so on. There are so many issues you have to begin addressing as parents and the first thing to do is find the root of these issues. As with all roots, it lies in the dark.

Sleep, or the lack of it, is one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed by parents. It is a behaviour that is to be observed from infancy to the later years of the child’s life. It is one of the biggest contributing factors to the cognitive and physical development of the child. Here’s why all parents need to take a good hard look into the sleeping behaviours of their children.

Sleep and Cognitive Development

The cognitive development of a child begins in its infancy. It is observed that infants who slept less than 12 hours a day experienced poorer cognitive and language skill at two years. This is because there is a lot of activity in the brain during sleep and therefore, resulting in cognitive and memory consolidation. REM sleep is important as it is during this stage that the brain is active.

As they grow up, children who struggle to sleep have trouble paying attention in school. They have behavioural issues and are mostly irritable. During sleep, memories are reactivated and transferred from short term to long term. Sleep deprivation can make them forgetful, impacting their academic performance. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to provide a good sleeping environment for their child. Clinically proven products are available in the market to foster good sleep at any age.

Sleep and Physical Development

80% of the growth hormone ‘somatotropin’ is released during the Non-REM stage of sleep. Lack of sleep can create a deficiency in the production of the growth hormone. The growth of a child can be slowed down or stunned by sleep deprivation. It not only affects the child’s height but also the weight, lung strength and immune system.

It is important for parents to ensure that children sleep well throughout the night. If they have trouble sleeping, encourage naps during the day. However, the body functions much better while sleeping at night. It is critical for parents to check for good quality mattresses in the UK and compare features and reviews.

Sleep and Mental Illness

A lot of people are suffering from mental illnesses and many teenagers now fall under the category. Sleep deprivation has been perceived to be a consequence of mental illnesses like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and anxiety. However, it is also noticed that sleep problems can, in fact, be a contributing factor to mental illness.

Sleep deprivation can affect levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones causing the brain to go into chaos. It impairs thinking, emotional regulation and leads to psychiatric illnesses. The treatment of mental illness is also affected if the patient continues to lose sleep. Participants in a study with a history of insomnia were more likely to develop depression. It is important for parents to keep a watchful eye out for behavioural changes in their children. CDB oil for sleep is a revolutionary product to reduce anxiety, combat insomnia and help improve sleeping patterns. The product has no side effects and is approved by doctors.

Sleep and Obesity

Sleep deprivation is directly linked to weight gain and obesity. The hormones leptin and ghrelin become irregular with lack of sleep, leading to increased BMI. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates appetite and increases with one night of sleep deprivation. Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. It essentially sends signals to the brain that you are full. Sleep increases the level of leptin, telling your brain that you have enough energy. Lack of sleep reduces the levels of leptin and motivates you to eat more than you need.

Parents need to notice unusual appetite changes and regulate sleep cycles. Uncomfortable mattresses can often lead to sleep deprivation. Before purchasing popular brands like Kluft mattresses, it is imperative to first compare brands by features and quality of materials.

Sleep and Immune System

Sleep is essentially important for the body to rest, repair and heal. The relationship between sleep and the effective functioning of the immune system is quite complex. Sleep deprivation fundamentally suppresses the immune system. With increasing sleepless nights, the body’s ability to fight germs and illnesses decreases, making your child more susceptible to ailments.

With each phase of sleep, our body builds the ability to function efficiently. In a completely relaxed state, our body takes the initiative to repair damaged tissue and regrow new tissue. It is not through sleeping more but with sleeping efficiently does the body function the way it needs to. Parents can visit mattress brands, carpets and rug stores and do sufficient research to create a relaxing, nurturing sleeping environment for their child.

Sleep and Risk of Injury

Children who don’t get sufficient sleep are groggy, clumsy and tired. They may not be able to react to emergencies at the same speed. This can lead to children getting frequently injured and requiring medical attention. It can also slow down the process of healing from an injury. A research conducted among student athletes found that sleep hours was the strongest predictor of injuries.

It is a vital part of parenting to take on an active role in determining the sleeping behaviour of the child. In case symptoms of sleep deprivation are noticed, parents need to immediately encourage the child to use relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help them sleep faster. The best way to combat insomnia is to create rigid sleep schedules from a very young age.

Healthy Sleeping Rituals

It is never too late to start healthy sleeping rituals. It can be beneficial for both, the parent and the child. Some healthy sleep rituals include relaxing music, warm chamomile tea, avoiding caffeine and sugary treats, a warm bath and an active life. It is a lifestyle change and would require you to take a closer look at how you treat your body. Physical exercise during the day can also help you fall asleep faster.

Reading stories in a tranquil voice to your child is not only a relaxation exercise but also a bonding opportunity. It is imperative to take time out to ensure that the child feels safe, comfortable and protected during the night. Anxieties during the day can often keep the child up at night if they are unable to process their emotions thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to spend time with your child every day, asking about their day and consciously creating a safe space for them to disclose information.

Modern Pregnancy Monitoring Solutions: 4 Advantages of Using A Smart Pregnancy Tracker

PregnancyPhoto by John Looy on Unsplash

Pregnancy has always gone along with procreation, and there is something mystical about the whole process, the creation of a human life where once there was nothing: genesis, so to speak. It is a natural and beautiful thing, but there are parts of it that can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for the woman, which is why it is so nice that advancements in technology have made things a little easier. Foremost among these innovations is the smart pregnancy tracker. There are different ones on the market, and it would behoove the modern woman to consider getting one, like those offered at bloomlife.com. Here are four reasons you should consider monitoring your pregnancy with a smart tracker.

They Will Warn You of Sudden Changes with the Fetus

The primary purpose of most pregnancy trackers is to monitor how the fetus is doing in the mother’s belly. As such, for the expectant mother who is wearing one, if the child is in distress, the tracker will alert her before she might be aware that anything is amiss. These trackers can let the mother know if what she is experiencing is only something ordinary like gas, or whether it is, in fact, the onset of early labor.

Your Partner Can Be an Intimate Part of the Process

With a smart pregnancy tracker, your partner can have an insight into what you are experiencing like never before. It’s true that they won’t be able to feel the mother’s contractions, for better or worse, but they will be able to quantify what is taking place. This is a way to create an additional emotional attachment to the woman who is carrying the child that you will both be rearing together.

You Are Less Likely to Go to The Hospital Prematurely

If you’re in the third trimester and you are getting close to the due date, then false labor can easily occur. This is where you are experiencing a bodily sensation that mimics the feeling of labor but is not the actual event. Through the use of a smart pregnancy tracker, you will be much more likely to identify when the main event is about to occur. That can save you multiple unnecessary trips to and from the hospital maternity ward.

When the Time Comes, You Can Precisely Track Contractions

A critical part of the birthing process is the tracking of contractions so that the mother knows when to push. This reveals how quickly the child is coming. With a smart pregnancy tracker, there is no guesswork. The tracker monitors uterine activity in real-time so that the frequency and the duration are there for all to see. This is useful for the birthing mother, her partner, and the medical team who are taking care of her.

Medical technology and prenatal care have progressed to the point where giving birth is so much more likely to produce a happy result in the form of both a healthy child and mother. The smart pregnancy tracker is another innovative tool that a mother can use to ensure that both the pregnancy and the birth go smoothly.

Why ‘Me Time’ is Important as a Parent

When you become a parent, it’s pretty safe to say that your whole world changes forever. No longer are you able to cater solely to your own whims and wishes; instead, there is a tiny baby relying on you for care, support, love and attention.

Of course, welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time unlike any other, but as the weeks, months and years pass by, despite your best intentions, sometimes things can become a little overwhelming.

Many prospective parents underestimate just how much work goes into raising a child, which is sadly why some find it difficult to cope. After all, it’s not just an increased level of care and responsibility. For most, it’s also sleepless nights and lack of sleep coupled with a disrupted routine and, in the early days, often a lack of adult social contact.

For these reasons, it’s important to remember to take some time out to just be yourself. Parenting is hard work, so sometimes, it will do you good to take a step back and spend a few hours as yourself rather than just ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’.

What Makes Self-Care Essential?

Of course, self-care is important throughout life. Taking the time to look after yourself will improve your mental health and wellbeing, helping you to become a happier, more confident person in yourself. Even just a few hours a week can help you to relax, unwind and de-stress, enabling you to refresh yourself ready for the upcoming week.

However, many parents struggle to find time for themselves. Young children require around the clock care, and the need to be constantly on hand can end up taking away your personal time. One solution is to find a trusted family member or close friend who won’t mind babysitting for a few hours every now and then. Alternatively, there is always the potential to squeeze in a couple of hours in the evenings once you’ve put your little one to bed for the night – as long as they sleep through the night!

What are the Benefits of Time to Yourself?

‘Me time’ allows you the capability to pursue your own hobbies and interests, as well as ensuring that you are able to adequately relax. Of course, how you choose to spend your personal time is entirely up to you, but it is a good idea to try and vary things so you can fit in everything you want to do.

While catching up on your favourite TV series or finally getting to finish that book is a good place to start, why not consider pampering yourself with a little indulgence? Whether it’s a full-blown home spa experience or just taking the time for a catch-up with a few friends, these are all great ways to unwind. For those parents who are regularly pressed for time, why not treat yourself to your favourite dish for dinner or take five minutes out to enjoy a luxurious cup of coffee? Investing in the best quality coffee equipment can be a nice way to treat yourself every now and then – after all, being a parent is the most difficult job on earth!

While bringing up children is an incredibly rewarding experience, it’s also essential that you are in the best possible position to be able to give them your all. Being stressed and overworked can be detrimental to your health in both the short and long-term, so it’s important to do what you can to combat the pressures of everyday life. At the end of the day, regularly taking the time to properly look after yourself is a surefire way to lead to a happier, healthier version of yourself.

Taking the Horrid Out of Horrid Henry

There’s no denying that Sausage and BB are very different in their personalities; Sausage has always been one of those kids who’s almost too well behaved and Husband and I have wished in the past that she’d been a little more outspoken so that she doesn’t just go with the flow and have her opinion disregarded. BB, on the other hand, is NOT the sort of kid to ever let her opinion go unheard and largely her strong personality is something we cherished (albeit through slightly gritted teeth at times!). Just recently though, we’ve seen a bit of a change in her personality and we couldn’t work out where it was coming from. Her normal strident approach to life was turning into a downright stroppy one, and it’s something which was impacting all of us.

One of the phrases which had mysteriously entered her vocabulary was “IT’S NOT FAIR”, which was usually accompanied by some sort of pout and throwing herself bodily onto the nearest soft surface, and I just couldn’t work out where it was coming from…until Sausage mentioned one of BB’s recent televisual favourites…Horrid Henry.

It wasn’t until Sausage mentioned how often Henry utters this phrase that we realised the direct correlation between BB watching the show and this phrase becoming her go-to protest. With age-gap kids, there was no doubt we’d face a bit of attitude from BB purely because Sausage is given a little more leeway and responsibility than her little sis – it’s normal; Sausage is nine, BB is three. However, the push-back has been so much worse of late and I’m definitely laying some of the blame on Henry!

I must confess, I’ve always been hugely sceptical when people blame things like TV or video games for kid’s behaviour. I’m a child of the Eighties, Husband of the late Seventies, so video games feel like they belong to OUR generation and I’ve seen far more evidence-based studies which prove positive effects of TV and computer games than the negative ones. We’ve always been pretty chilled out with what we let them watch and how much screen time we let them have, and with Sausage it never seemed to be an issue, but sometimes we forget that with BB, we’re not parenting Sausage Mark II, we’re dealing with a totally different kid…that and the fact that Sausage never watched a TV show, the entire premise of which was of a bratty little shit who no one actually likes!

So, in a somewhat unprecedented move for Husband and I, we’ve put a temporary ban on all things Horrid Henry for now, and if it makes a difference it will probably become a permanent ban. Instead of allowing BB to watch it when she’s using Netflix, we’re guiding her to shows where the characters aren’t mean and nasty all the time, where there’s no cries of “IT’S NOT FAIR” in every episode and where the main plot lines don’t revolve around mean-spiritedness. I never thought I’d be THAT mum, but it seems I am. And, after just a cursory search, it seems that we’re not the only ones either – I’ve found DOZENS of tweets from other parents about how they’ve banned Horrid Henry from their houses, making me feel a little bit less like Mary Whitehouse.

Horrid Henry Banned Tweets Horrid Henry Banned Tweets 2

Have you ever banned your kids from watching a TV show because of the effect it had on their behaviour? Did it make a difference? (we’re only 24 hours in and it already seems to be making a difference to BB but that could be a fluke) Do you think that it’s all nonsense and that TV doesn’t really affect the way they behave? I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions on this so please do leave me a comment below.