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How to Quit the 9 to 5 and Become a Mompreneur

How to quit the 9 to 5 and become a mompreneur
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

A “mompreneur” is both a mother and an entrepreneur, someone who can expertly balance their roles as a parent and business owner. This may sound like an impossible feat, especially if you’re already juggling a 9 to 5 job and a family. But it’s not impossible. This guide offers advice for quitting the 9 to 5 and embracing life as a full-time mompreneur.

Start a side hustle

Before you can quit your job, you’ll need to figure out what your new business plan is. Whilst it may be tempting to give up your job and dive headfirst into starting your own business, this could be risky if you haven’t tried and tested your business plan.

The best way to get started with a new business idea is to start small and start it as a side hustle. This could be dedicating one day every weekend, a few hours in the morning or evening, or even a single night a week to your new business idea and starting it as a very small business. That way, you can see how easy it is to make money from your business idea and get the ball rolling before taking the leap. If you’re unsure how to start a side hustle and transform it into a full-time job, check out this podcast where you can learn from others who have succeeded.

Create a business plan

Once you’ve got the ball rolling with your side hustle, it’s time to create a business plan that will help you scale your business from side hustle to full-time job. You may even want to take this step before you start your side hustle as it will help you perform the necessary market research, set goals and milestones, and plan for the future.

If you’re unsure what a business plan looks like or what you should include in it, the UK government has plenty of resources for writing a business plan, templates and links to pages about self-employment and taxes. You should do plenty of research, especially before quitting your job, so that you have all the tools you need to succeed.

Get your finances in order

No matter how confident you are that your business will make you enough money so that you don’t need to work full-time anymore, it’s essential that you have healthy finances before quitting your job to become a mompreneur. Make sure that you and your family are living well within your means, pad out your savings account, and eliminate as much debt as possible.

This doesn’t mean you need to be rich to start your own business. Many mompreneurs start off with little to no investment and even take out business startup loans to get going. What’s essential is that your personal finances are healthy so that you don’t need to worry about them in addition to managing your business finances.

Take the leap

You can prepare all you like, but there’ll never be a ‘perfect time to quit your job and start your own business. At some point, you just need to take the leap and go for it. Whilst preparation and organisation are key to becoming a full-time mompreneur, it requires the courage to get started too. With the right balance of preparation and self-belief, you’ll be off to a great start.

Night Zookeeper Review and Discount Code

Night ZookeeperAs you may or may not know, we’re currently homeschooling the girls on a semi-permanent basis. Sausage is now in year 9 and will be home educated through to college age, whereas BB is in year 3 and is planning to go back to school once she’s had her COVID vaccine. This means that we’ve been using as many resources as possible to keep them both engaged by learning and also on par with their peers. Recently, I discovered Night Zookeeper and we were generously offered a 12 month subscription to try it for ourselves.

 It’s a subscription-based website which encourages reading and writing in a really creative way. It’s developed by experienced educators and brings together a compelling story, innovative digital technology, and effective curriculum-aligned educational content, to help your child boost their literacy skills.

The website is packed with games which help kids learn spelling, grammar and vocabulary and they’re so fun that the kids barely even realise they’re learning. I gave BB her login details and let her use the site without even telling her that it was a learning resource at first, and she was totally engrossed in minutes.

Night Zookeeper storytelling

Parents Point of View

One of the things I like about Night Zookeeper is the fact that it encourages kids to use their imagination. Sausage and BB have always had a thirst for knowledge and intense curiosity for the world around them and they’ve both channelled that through art and storytelling, so the format of NZK plays right into BB’s wheelhouse.

The site is really well set up in that there’s a separate login for parents so that you can see your child’s progress and see what they’ve been up to on the site. It even gives you a word count of how much they’ve written in each of their mini stories and it’s really interesting to see that the word count has been increasing with each time BB has used it.

It can also be used on tablets, laptops and PCs, making it accessible without the need for expensive new tech. There are lessons, writing challenges and word games which are immersive and exciting, telling fun, modern stories that the kids enjoy. There’s even a blog area where kids can write and share their own blog posts!

Perhaps the MOST useful feature of Night Zookeeper is the fact that real teachers can comment on BB’s work and leave her comments and suggestions to help her to expand her writing. Having that type of feedback is so valuable, I think it’s worth the cost of subscription all by itself.

Night Zookeeper teacher feedback

How does it work?

“By providing thousands of fun and engaging lessons, challenges, and games, Night Zookeeper helps children to learn new words, use them in sentences, and then create amazing pieces of writing that are shared with children from around the world. They receive feedback from our team of tutors as well as other children that highlight where they can improve. In-game awards and competitions keep them motivated to continue to learn and progress. They’ll write about everything, from stories about magical animals to instructions on how to make the perfect hot chocolate. All genres of writing are gradually introduced including newspaper articles, persuasive writing, reports, and poetry.”

What Does BB Think of Night Zookeeper?

“It’s really good! It feels like you’re playing a game and you don’t even really realise that you’re doing school work. My favourite thing about it is creating the animals because I like to get creative. I also really like the mini games because they’re fun and feel like other games that I play on my iPad” – Burrito Baby, aged 7.

Value for Money

Night Zookeeper PricingFor what you actually get, I think the subscriptions offer really good value. There’s content on there which suits kids from ages 6 to 12, so it can be useful even beyond junior level, and I love the idea of the continuity that will offer as BB progresses. All subscriptions come with a 7 day free trial, so you can see if you like it before you buy and if you purchase a 12 month subscription, it works out at just £7.50 per month.

Night Zookeeper Discount Offer!

We’re delighted to also be able to share with you an exclusive link for you to use, giving you a massive 50% off of a year’s subscription! By using this link you’ll pay just £46.99 for one child for a year or a truly bargainous £57.99 for up to three children per 12 month subscription! Click on the image below to nab your half price subscription:

Night Zookeeper half price membership!Conclusion

I’m really excited to see what else BB creates with Night Zookeper! We have a few different subscriptions for the girls to use during our home ed and I honestly think this is going to be the one which provides the best value for BB’s literacy. Thanks so much to the people at Night Zookeeper for giving us the opportunity to try the site.

Some Tips for Reading a Fairy Tale Correctly to your Child

It is not uncommon for you to find yourself in front of two bright little eyes, looking at you, asking you to read them another story or once again the same fairy tale. The fatigue of the day may have overwhelmed you, and reading another page may seem exhausting, but the joy and satisfaction that is painted on your baby’s face completely compensates you! So here are some tips that will make your story vivid and extremely exciting!

Read slowly and clearly

Read slowly, enjoying every word. Do not forget that your child does not just listen to a beautiful fairy tale but at the same time learns and understands the language better.

Add excitement to your story

Start with enthusiasm and fun – as all fairy tales begin after all. The introduction to the story must be done in such a way that the little listener feels like he is entering a new world!

Become more vivid with your narrative

It is great for the whole body to be involved in a narrative. So you can shake your hands, make faces with your face and create heroes, trees, and anything else you want in the air with your hands. All this representation will excite your child and will entertain you too! So the story leaves the paper, gets tangled in your hands, rests for a while between the eyebrows of your face, can even be found floating in front of your eyes to return again to the pages of the book.

At this point it should be noted that there are now widespread audiobooks, which offer another intense experience to children using special narrators who can immediately convey any emotion of the fairy tale to your children. With the use of a narrator, these tales gain “life”, transporting the children themselves to imaginary worlds, with special characters and adventurous stories. You can see professional narrators at Voquent.com, which lend their voices in all kinds of content at such a short price.

Adjust the volume of your voice

The volume of your voice plays an important role. Start with a normal intensity making sure it has a pleasant and playful tone. As the story progresses, our heroes are introduced, enjoying every word staying the same style. When the upheavals and adventures of the hero begin, increase your rhythm and the volume of the voice where the story requires it. And at the peak, in the big upset, you do not need to shout and scare your listener. Maintain the stability of your voice by speaking slowly and quietly. The evolution of the story is fascinating in itself, so we do not need to burden it with “narrative” ornaments.

It is important to breathe throughout the reading. By breathing, we mean not holding your breath as you narrate but letting the air flow as if you were speaking typically. When we read a story, without realizing it, we hold our breath perhaps because we know what to say, maybe even because we are not relaxed and comfortable. When we speak, we never know what our next phrase is because it always occurs. So the air usually flows, and our breathing is normal. If you manage and maintain a proper breath during the narration, you will find that you will be less tired, and you will enjoy it more!

Also study the images of the fairy tale

If you are reading an illustrated story, take some time to look at the pictures. A new fairy tale will spring up in front of you after you discover that you are hiding the second text in the book, given only with pictures! Ask your child about colours, the sun, the moon, the heroes, what they wear, what they hold and anything else that comes to mind. This sharpens your child’s mind and stimulates his imagination.

Take real interest in your child

But the most important thing, the most important of all, is when you read a story to your baby, to do it with love. Only then will the story reach his heart and make him happy!

Fab Career Tips For Kids Of All Ages

Fab Career Tips For Kids Of All Ages
Photo by Amina Filkins from Pexels

Part of being a parent is dispensing advice, no matter what age your kids are.

And career tips are no exception. There’s absolutely no rush to propel children towards the world of work, but when they start to become aware of it, it’s never too early to have healthy conversations on what a ‘good job’ might be and why that can feel different for everyone.

School is also the start of a journey which might have full-time work as an eventual destination, and even children attending university or even approaching destination don’t always have well-developed career plans.

All that considered, here are a few fab career tips for kids of all ages.

Career books for kids

Yup – career books for kids are a thing. But think wonderful Roald Dahl-esque wordplay and inspirational illustrations rather than the type of sleep-inducing pamphlets you used to pick up from your school careers service. Adele Writes An Ad by top pro copywriter Andrew Boulton is a brilliant example – if you work in advertising, reading it together with your little ones will explain how you spend your days in a superbly fun way. And even if you don’t, it might sow the seeds of a creative career choice in their minds.

Work and play

Another way that kids can serendipitously discover possible careers is through play. For example, an innate skill with Lego toys could transfer to an adult career in architecture and engineering, or for older children, awesome hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity developed through video games can possibly be adapted to a career as anything from a pilot to an eSports professional. With gentle encouragement, there’s no reason that play can’t lead to a passion for an exciting professional career.

Paid internships

Once children are a little older, a paid internship is a great way of them testing the waters of a full-time career and gaining great experience to bolster their CV – there are lots to choose from, so please take your time. Consult an employee-focused comparison site like Glassdoor for a selection of paid internship opportunities, then cross-check the employee reviews in order to ascertain what it’s really like to work there. Once you’re convinced that your child’s chosen internship is not exploitative and represents a genuinely great career progression step, encourage them every step of the way.

Online qualifications

Undergraduate degrees and postgraduate qualifications can still be passports to dream jobs for your children. But depending on their experiences at high school and other lifestyle and family commitments, full-time study on a physical campus might not be possible for them. However, an online degree which they can study flexibly when it suits them best is a brilliant choice that adds a new dimension in career possibilities. Lots of reputable universities now offer outstanding degrees online – for example, you can even earn an online Data Science MSc from ARU Distance Learning and progress to a terrific career in AI and machine learning.

These career tips for kids of all ages should help steer your offspring to success and happiness – enjoy putting them into practice!

How Can I Stop My Child Being So Messy?

Messy kids bedroomAlthough it can be normal for your child to make some mess, it can be frustrating when you know that, ultimately, it means more work for you. You may want to find ways to help them become a little bit more organised with their possessions, to cut down on the amount of fetch and carry, alongside wiping and other cleaning, that you then have to do throughout the day. No matter whether your child is 2 or 12, they can be taught to break their messy habits.

Bedroom Storage

One of the first considerations you may need to make when trying to get your child to be a bit tidier is the storage they have available to them. Items which are small, stiff, or even difficult to reach may prevent your child from tidying. An idea to resolve this issue can be to swap out their existing bed for a cabin bed, like those found at roomtogrow.co.uk, as this may have storage attached. A cabin bed is not overly tall, meaning your child will be able to reach the drawers and cupboards, as well as the under-bed space that they may use. This can also help to keep all items in one place, rather than you constantly going through a number of different furniture pieces to look for missing socks or other supposedly lost items.

Rules

A good parent knows that they cannot be fun all the time. Rules and boundaries are important for your child to be able to grow up with a good sense of morals, and know which behaviours are acceptable. You may have a list of rules within your household, that you expect your children to follow. Adding rules about tidying up can help them to understand that these tasks are important. If you choose to add penalties to breaking these rules, such as missing a day out, or no time on a games console, it is important that you stick to what you say, otherwise your child will think that they can continue being messy with no consequence.

Set an Example

Children of all ages can learn through copying any behaviours they have seen, which can either be useful or problematic. If your child sees you leaving mess around the home, they may think it is also acceptable for them to do so. Likewise, if your child sees you putting your books or clothes away, and helping out, they may think that is also what they should do. Setting a good example can be vital to your child’s development, as well as not allowing them to be influenced by any bad examples they may see from their friends, other adults, strangers on the street, or even via the media.

There may be a number of reasons why your child is messy, and each reason will vary from child to child. By finding ways to help promote cleanliness, and giving positive reinforcement for jobs well done, you may be able to replace these behaviours with those that promote a tidier and more hygienic lifestyle.

How To Balance Business and Parenthood

Working parents understand how difficult it is to juggle a career with child care. Parents who own their own businesses, on the other hand, face an additional layer of difficulty. To an extent, business-owning parents are trying to juggle two kinds of infants: the children they are trying to raise and the business they are trying to build. To be successful, both require nurturing and attention, especially in their early phases, and business-owning parents must learn to meticulously plan and prioritise their time to make sure that each receives the care they necessitate and expect.

Here we look at some tips to help you to balance parenthood and business.

Image

Delegate, outsource and learn to say no

As a business-owning parent, balancing your venture and family time can be tricky, as both require a significant lot of time and resources. The sooner you realise you can’t be in two places at the same time, the better. Prioritize the moments with your children that require your full attention, and make sure you have someone to stand in for you during those times. Outsourcing is a popular strategy for many small business owners, for example, paying a digital marketing agency to handle your online marketing or an SEO specialist to get your ranking up. This frees up valuable time for you to spend with your family.

Prioritize your health and wellbeing

Use mindfulness or relaxation techniques. Set your well-being as a top priority. When life becomes an unending demand on your time, the first thing to go is your self-care. However, with 40% of firms not having a succession plan in place, taking care of yourself is critical to the future of your business – as well as ensuring you are the best parent that you can be.

Create clear boundaries between home and work – and stick to them

Establish firm time limits. Define when you are and are not available, and stick to those boundaries. This is a good lesson for your kids to learn. When you are not available, you are not available – unless it is an emergency, of course. However, when it is time to be with your family, you leave work behind and be entirely present with them. Create home/work boundaries and stick to them.

Don’t expect perfect balance every day

If we believe that we can remain balanced every day, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are pushing extra hard or disregarding our business. Reassure yourself that your children benefit from seeing you work hard at times and that spending quality time with your children benefits your governance

Be in charge of your own calendar

One of the benefits of being your own boss is that you can control your own calendar and be in charge of your schedule. Arrange meetings with clients when the children are at school, switch off completely when they come home from school, and do your admin work when they are in bed, for example. Find a routine that works for you and your family.

Tips for Busy Moms: No House Helps

Moms have a lot on their plates, probably more than men have in their briefcases. How do you manage a home without going insane? Good organization is critical. If you are a busy mom feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to read through these tips. They will make your life easier.

Meals

Nothing is more exhausting than daily cooking. What immense efforts were made for a meal that was then quickly swallowed! But offering healthy food to your family is well worth the time. Use these tips.

Frozen foods: Stock up on frozen foods. They are picked at full maturity, stored at the best time of freshness, and they will save you precious time: no need to peel them! 

Meal planning: Plan your menus for the five evenings of the week. Indeed, it is not preparing a meal that takes the most time. It is choosing what to cook! Last-minute decisions about meals are not just time-consuming; they can be stressful.

Cook on weekends: During the weekend, spend half a day cooking. Prepare as many dishes as possible for the week, which you will store in the refrigerator or freezer. When you get from work in the evening, all you have to do is reheat them and add the final touch (a fresh sauce, parsley, etc.).

Shopping

Make a shopping list: Make a shopping list of the products you need regularly. You will hang it on the refrigerator. Whenever you / the nanny / your husband find that something is missing, update it. When it’s time to go shopping, refer to it. It will save you from unending trips to the store during the week.

Use home delivery: Take advantage of the stores’ delivery services. As long as you group your purchases, the amount of the bill will surely entitle you to free delivery.

Shop online: Shopping online can be a bit more expensive. Butyou save the cost of the car trip, and you save yourself a lot of effort. A shopping cart for four people weighs at least 30 kg. Think about the strain on your back when you load and unload!

Cleaning

Pace yourself: It’s not about cleaning everything thoroughly every day but about keeping your home consistently tidy and clean. Clean that uncluttered kitchen table, dirty sink, a stained floor as soon as you notice that they need cleaning.

Use the right products: Most of us are don’t have the time to clean. So finding a cleaning product that speeds up the work can significantly save your time and effort. The right tile cleaner, for instance, should be tough on stains and gentle on the tile surface.

Get every tool you need: Gather all the equipment you need in a plastic bin that you can carry with you. This will eliminate the need to leave one room to pick up a brush or soap in another or from wondering where you may have put the mop or the cleaning product.

Be strategic: When you tackle the cleaning of a room, proceed methodically. Update your knowledge on how to clean grout. Learn about the products and techniques that work best. When cleaning, start at a corner of the room and dust while going around until you return to the starting point. Then clean what is in the middle of the room.

Laundry

Get a laundry basket: Install a basket of dirty laundry in each bedroom or on each floor to encourage everyone to throw away their belongings. This will prevent you from stalking dirty socks under the bed and picking up T-shirts behind the toy box.

Documents

Talk to the children: Teach your children and your partner to empty the pockets of their clothes before putting them in the dirty basket. Nothing is more painful than the white paper handkerchief that we find crumbled on all the clothes or the purple bus ticket, leaving its mark on the ivory blouse!

Sort your receipts and papers, including pay slips, bank statements, reservations—separate bills from correspondence.

Among the documents to be processed, immediately deal with those which require an urgent response or which do not require more than five minutes (a check to write, a slip to fill out). Andgather the others in a file. You will deal with them later.

Good luck!

5 Best Laptops for Mums in 2021

Everyone appreciates a new and quality laptop. Mother’s Day, Christmas or New Year could be the best time to give your mother a new MacBook or choose any other laptop she will appreciate. She might need a new laptop to replace the old one or just to have the latest model.

A laptop that is easy to use while at the same time being of the new model and at an affordable price is the best to acquire. As a mom, you might not know about the best laptop to purchase so proper research is essential before buying the desired laptop. Let’s take a look at some of the best laptops for a mom in 2021.

Lenovo Yoga 920

Lenovo Yoga 920 ranks as the best laptop for a mother as it offers good performance and comes at a very reasonable price. This is a thin and powerful laptop that has a lovely design and can play movies and games. It also provides a superb experience for doing work assignments, surfing net at great speed and helping kids with their homework.

Lenovo Yoga 920 comes in several configurations, though it has not gone overboard by offering a confusing array of choices. This model comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 256 GB SSD, 8GB RAM, a 13.9-inch 1080p touch screen, an active Pen stylus, and Intel UHD Graphics 620 and costs $1,199. It’s easily comparable to a new MacBook as it does not disappoint you on any front. MacBook will remain a winner, but the idea here is to cover equally good or slightly better things.

Acer Chromebook R11

Chromebooks, such as the Acer Chromebook R11, make good laptops because of their relatively low price and ease-of-use. The Chromebook R11 runs on ChromeOS instead of Windows 10. This makes it resist viruses and other web nasties. You can freely hand it over to your children without any worry. It comes with Acer Chromebook R11 tool that offers you the ultimate web browsing experience while unleashing the full features of Android apps.

It will soon have a touch screen that spins around to get it into the tablet mode. To add to the beauty, an all-metal finish makes it look like a fabulous machine. This model comes with an 11.6-inch screen, 16-32GB SSD, 4GB RAM, an Intel Celeron N3060-N3150 and Intel HD Graphics. It’s convertible and has a good battery life so you do not have to worry about your battery letting you down.

Alienware 17 R5

Alienware 17 R5 from Dell is a good choice of laptop, especially if your children are serious gamers. It has good gaming features with an overclocked GTX 1080 graphics card as well as being able to handle heavy-duty tasks like photo and video editing. It has a large screen size of 17.3-inches and a large storage capacity of 246GB SSD, a RAM of 32GB, an Intel Core i9-8950HK processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX1080 graphics.

It’s a sturdy laptop, weighs about 10 pounds and its performance is out of this world. Get this laptop and your mom will appreciate the goodness of technology.

Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3 is an excellent laptop with a solid-all aluminum body that withstands knocks and bumps that is more than powerful enough to study and work. This makes it the best laptop for a mother who has children at home as they can use it for studying while she uses it for her work, all this at an impressively low-value. 

It offers a superb trackpad and a backlit keyboard that makes typing a breeze. Acer Swift 3 comes with a 14-inch screen, 128-256GB SSD, 4-8GB RAM, an Intel Core i3-i7 processor and an Intel HD Graphics 620. It has excellent performance and a reasonable price, you will see the value of your laptop.

Dell G3 15

Dell G3 15 is another awesome gaming laptop that will surely keep your kids entertained, it is cheaper than other gaming laptops but that should not fool you as its performance is on point. It comes with a good graphics card for playing modern games at 108p, a huge 1TB hard drive for your photos, videos and documents. 

As a mother, you will get to enjoy watching your memorable videos and photos with its nice graphics. It has a screen size of 15.6-inch, 128-256GB SSD plus 1TB HDD, 8GB-16GB RAM, Intel Core i5-i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050-GTX 1060. It’s very affordable and a great performer for the money you shell out.

Conclusion

A mother needs a laptop that she will comfortably use and one that has a fair price. There are many different laptops out there on the market but you need to choose the one that will suit your needs. A laptop that is up-to-date and trusted to deliver quality services is the best to buy. You cannot afford to buy a laptop that fails to deliver optimum processing speed or is not smart and trendy, matching 2021 style. As a mother, you will enjoy these quality laptops since they will deliver what you exactly need.

Author Bio:
James Dorian is a technical copywriter. He is a tech geek who knows a lot about modern apps that will make your work more productive. James reads tons of online blogs on technology, business, and ways to become a real pro in our modern world of innovations.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy – The 5 Levels

Diagnosing cerebral palsy - the 5 levels Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Cerebral palsy can come in several forms, all of which are characterised by differing levels of motor function impairment. While some cases of cerebral palsy are linked to developmental issues in the fetal stage of a child’s life, other causes include accidents during birth, after birth, or medical negligence at any stage of the fetus’ development, birth, or early life (see cerebral palsy lawyer Boston for more details on cerebral palsy due to medical negligence).

Diagnosis of cerebral palsy involves grouping and classifying the symptoms into three main categories, with a fourth category reserved for those patients who display a combination of symptoms from the first three main types of the condition. Whatever the diagnosis, the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is used to describe and label the severity level of the condition. There are five levels.

Level one (I)

This is the least severe level of classification relating to motor function impairment. At level one, children are observed to be demonstrably capable of full independence. This means the child is able to perform necessary tasks unaided, with minor issues over coordination or balance.

Level two (II)

At level two, mobility is generally only affected on uneven surfaces, with independence otherwise retained. For example, children with a level two diagnosis may benefit from the use of handrails on stairs, but would otherwise be considered capable of performing daily tasks.

Level three (III)

Level three is where mobility becomes a more serious issue. Children with a level three diagnosis will generally require the intermittent or permanent use of mobility aids such as crutches or a wheelchair. However, stairs may not be an issue with the use of handrails.

Level four (IV)

Level four is considered to be the level at which mobility becomes a serious issue. Children with a level four diagnosis generally cannot balance or walk for a period of time that would be considered conducive with independence. Wheelchair use is required for daily mobility needs.

Level five (V)

Level five is where the child experiences severe restrictions on voluntary muscle control. This diagnosis means that the child is not expected to balance, stand, or walk independently, instead requiring significant daily assistance for all tasks (e.g. mobility, eating, hygiene, etc.).

A diagnosis may include tests such as vision and hearing examinations, monitoring speech development, and monitoring emotional and intellectual development. Brain scans may also be used to evaluate the child’s condition.

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)