38 articles Tag Parenting

Teenage Dream: Tips On Dealing with Tricky Tweens

Flickr Image At: Tammy McGary

Sometimes it can seem like that no matter how nicely we ask them to empty the dishwasher, set the table, tidy their rooms, or even come downstairs for dinner the response can be, well, not good. Due to hormonal changes taking place, both physical and mental, it can often feel like your good natured, peaceful and quiet child has been replaced by a stroppy, shouty being from another planet.

Remember Their Brains Are Still Developing

As a fully grown adult you’ll have all your cognitive reasoning skills, be able to see something from someone else’s view and have a firm grip on your emotional responses. Unfortunately, teenagers, not matter how much make-up they wear or how loudly they play their music, are still children and their brains are still very much developing. Puberty may also play a part in their emotions, don’t forget they’re dealing with some fairly stressful situations and will be fairly sensitive about their looks, emotions or even their ability to straddle the child / adult barrier i.e. they might want to curl up and watch TV with you, but their brains will tell them ‘that’s not the adult thing to do’.

Teenagers these days are quite obsessed with documenting every aspect of their lives on social media, so the last thing they want is for someone to snap them reading, doing homework or worse actually talking to their family. The good news is that this phase won’t last and gradually they will settle down and possibly end up confiding in you even more than they did beforehand. Surprisingly, even though it’s very hard to deal with the constant disagreements, arguments and back chat it does have a purpose as they are testing the boundaries and flexing their independence.

They may even develop some strange, out the box ideas or become introspective overnight. However this sudden pattern of deep thinking is important for their developmental response to complex emotional or philosophical questions. Eventually, if behaviour doesn’t improve it may be worth speaking to a psychologist or getting conflict resolution tips. For example, BHP Law have experience as family run solicitors and deal with dispute resolution and family law cases.

Use Your Communication Skills

First of all try to keep calm because most of the time they’re looking for a strong reaction, once they realise they can’t wind you up as much the chances are the behaviour will improve. You can even try using humour to diffuse a situation. Once they’re laughing they won’t feel quite as angry so it’ll take the heat out of the argument, lighten the tone of a difficult conversation or get siblings to back down from each other if they’re locked in a lengthy standoff. The chances are they’ll look at one another, ask ‘why’s mom or dad being so weird?’ and laugh together at your attempt to crack jokes.

Remember, humour is a great leveller but make sure they don’t perceive your diffusion tactic as an insult, think you’re mocking them or being sarcastic as that’ll make things much worse. Not every teenager knows that their being rude, mean, or stupid and we’ve all said things we shouldn’t have when our brain’s asleep. Gently, respectfully ask them if they meant what they said or say ‘that was offensive do you realise you’re being rude’, as chances are they had no idea or just weren’t thinking. Tell your child you value, and respect their opinions even when they aren’t respecting yours, as this way they’ll know that you are treating them like an adult, which sometimes is all they want so they might adjust their attitude accordingly. 

Let Them Know The Behaviour Is Unacceptable

Set clear guidelines about what’s acceptable conduct in your household and what it isn’t. if your child mentions that ‘ Amy’s mom let’s her eat sweets before dinner’ simply tell them that Amy’s mom is not theirs and ‘we do things differently here as you well know’. You may get a stroppy comment wishing Amy’s mother was, in fact theirs, but they don’t mean it, very few children actually want their parents to be replaced by someone else. Tell them why they have done something wrong but avoid focusing on them, don’t mention anything linked to their personality or character and instead use strong statements that show what you’re feeling.

Decide what the appropriate consequences for bad behaviour are in advance. For example, calling their sibling a swear word could involve a handwritten letter of apology, stealing money from your purse would mean equal amounts docked from their allowance for three weeks and being rude to relatives loses them their smartphone for the evening.

Parenting Groups: Five Reasons for Quitting

parenting groupsFor a fair while, I’ve been part of a few different parenting groups on Facebook, places where mums and dads can go to ask questions about anything from “does this rash look like chickenpox?” to “which shops have Hatchimals in stock?” and largely it’s been good. I’ve asked plenty of questions myself and try to help others where I can. But, as of yesterday, I’ve removed myself from these groups (all but The Motherload) because it’s just messing with my head. There are questions which get asked over and over and OVER again and they’re things which make me so cross that I can actually FEEL my blood pressure rising. Here’s just 5 of those questions:

1. Vaccinations

This was the one which prompted me to remove myself yesterday and it’s probably the one which makes me the MOST angry. Someone asked “Have any other parents refused vaccinations for their kids and has is caused them problems with school and nursery?”. The comments are full of people who think they know better than the World Health Organisation (despite the fact that they get their info from American websites with URLs like VacTruth.com and nothing with any basis in actual science). Just in the last month, I’ve seen people cite the inclusion of mercury and aluminium in vaccines as a reason not to give them as well as one woman who claimed that the flu vaccine contained MSG which is, WAIT FOR IT…WORSE THAN GIVING HER CHILD COCAINE. (FML)Another woman claimed that she knew all about herd immunity and it meant that her child didn’t need vaccinations, thus proving that she actually knew nothing about fucking herd immunity.  I was one step shy of spamming the group of pictures of kids with smallpox, so I decided it was best to step away.

2. Baby Names

I’m aware that what people on random parenting groups name their kids is absolutely NONE of my business, but every time there was a “can I have suggestions of names for my unborn child?” thread, I’d read through with my head in my hands, feeling really sorry for the future generation of children who were going to have names like “Aliviyah” (pronounced Olivia, just in case you were wondering) and feeling like I was living in a real life Idiocracy.

3. Nub Theory

“Oh hi everyone. Can you look at this scan picture of my baby (who is probably too young to have even properly developed reproductive organs yet) and guess what their gender might be based on a totally theoretical and unproven method of working it out?”. Nub theory is a THEORY. Asking strangers to guess the gender of your unborn child is stupid.

4. Keeping Up with The Jonses

Do you know what I found myself Googling the other day? Matching Christmas dresses for me and the girls. Thanks to the people on Facebook parenting groups who go absolutely fucking OVERBOARD every Christmas with their EXPERIENCES and their CHRISTMAS EVE BOXES and their “BOOK-A-DAY” ADVENT CALENDARS and ALLLLLLL the other overblown shit that everyone MUST do and MUST talk about at length so that they can lord it over everyone else, I am seriously considering matching outfits for myself, my eight year old and my two year old for Christmas Day. And I’m pretty sure that makes me a massive twat.

5. Nastiness

I’m aware that what I’ve written above may seem like a bit of nastiness but this is NOTHING compared with some of the vile behaviour I’ve seen from grown people in parenting groups. There’s a LOT of stuff which gets discussed that I don’t agree with but I always try to be respectful and give replies to people based on actual knowledge and not just knee-jerk reactions. Often though (I assume on days when there’s a full moon and everyone’s menstrual cycle is syncronised) things can get NASTY. Simple threads about bottle feeding can lead to struggling Mums being called c*nts and being left wishing they hadn’t asked in the first place and it’s that kind of behaviour that I just don’t want to be a part of.

Are you a member of any of these kid of online groups? Do you find that they enhance your life or do you step away from your phone or PC feeling like your head is going to explode? I’d love to hear from you!

Common First Time Parent Stresses And How To Fix Them

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All new parents worry. It goes with the territory. All of sudden you have a new life to take care of, nurture and keep alive. You have no prior training, and sometimes it’s really hard. It may help a little to know that you’re not alone with these concerns. In fact, it’s all part of the process.

  1. Crying

All babies cry. We know this, of course. But before you have a child of your own, you don’t realise just how much. It can be extremely concerning but, in most cases, it’s completely natural. A crying baby doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. Babies cry for many reasons. They may be hungry, tired, need changing or under or over stimulated.

If you child can’t be comforted and continues to cry, you should speak to your doctor. They may be suffering from colic, which can be soothed and managed.

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  1. Fitting It All In

When a new baby arrives, he or she takes over your life in a way you never thought possible. All of your time is spent taking care of their needs. Many parents worry about fitting everything in and getting things done. This might include shopping, taking care of other members of the family, and just have some time to yourself to do nothing. The last point is not selfish. When your every waking moment is spent taking care of another human being, you need a little time to relax and just be yourself for a while. It’s about putting your own oxygen mask on first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others.

Find shortcuts wherever possible. Accept things won’t be perfect for a while. ‘Good enough’ is fine for now. Get help wherever you can. Enlist family and friends to help out and get the shopping delivered. We live in a digital world there are services available you may not even be aware of. For example, what do you do if you’re feeling unwell but you just don’t have time to go to see your GP? An Online Doctor App may be the answer. You can book an appointment with a doctor to take place over the phone, even out of hours. You can also arrange to pick up any resulting prescriptions from your local chemist.

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  1. Bonding With Your Baby

Many parents are led to believe that as soon as your baby is born, you will bond immediately. This isn’t always the case. After a long delivery, it’s likely you’re feeling more exhausted than anything else. Bonding is something that will happen naturally over time. The process is different for everyone. Try to tune out unhelpful voices that tell you how their bonding was instantaneous. 

  1. Keeping In Touch

Many parents worry about keeping in touch with friends and family once their baby arrives. They may vow never to lose contact and to keep to regular social events. In reality, this may not be practical. As you celebrate your new arrival, you will realise that things have changed forever. Things won’t be the same again, and you wouldn’t want them to be. But this doesn’t mean that you need to lose touch with people. You just have to readjust your thinking, plan ahead, and organise a little.

There are many things that new parents worry about. As well as being a magical time in your lives, it can also be stressful. But there is always a solution and a way around things.

The Real World Parenting Awards with Infacol

Sometimes, parenting can be a lonely business. Even if you have a loving partner to share the highs and lows, there are always times when we feel overwhelmed by the pressure of being a parent. Many of us are lucky though, in that we have that one person around to lend support, sympathy and occasional tea making skills, just to take the edge off and make us feel human again. Perhaps its a friend, family member or even a trusted health professional who went above and beyond their call of duty to support you.

For me, it was my Mother in Law. Obviously, Husband was around and we shared the parental responsibilities and stresses, but his mum was a godsend at times. From doing simple things like coming over and doing the washing up to letting me use her as a sounding board when the stress of dealing with a colicky baby with a cows milk protein allergy got on top of me, she was there through thick and thin…and still is.

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I had no contact with my own mother throughout my pregnancy with Burrito Baby, nor since, which was hard. A mum is someone who is supposed to be there to listen to your woes and make you feel better, and I didn’t have that. Except, thanks to my Mother in Law, I did have it. She stepped in and became more than just a Mother in Law, she became more like a Mum to me, as well as a close friend and ally. She’s still the person I ask for advice about everything from how to make dumplings to whether I can get away with wearing a maxi dress!

You may wonder why I’m telling you this? Well, Infacol have teamed up with the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology to launch the The Real World Parenting Awards, designed to reward those real-life heroes who make those first few months of parenthood more manageable.

“Having a baby is a life changing experience and an incredible one, but it can be stressful,” says Dr. Hilary Jones, who will be part of the judging panel. “If you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful family around you, or great friends, it can make a huge difference.”

As well as honouring friends and family, the awards are also looking for nominees for the health care professionals who have gone above and beyond to help someone under their care.

“Becoming a parent for the first time isn’t easy, and the first six months can be especially tough,” explains PCSG Chair, Dr. Richard Stevens*. “That’s why families need support, and the encouragement they receive from their GP or health visitor can make all the difference. As professionals, we sometimes forget we can provide a lot by just being there and being constant.”

The Real World Parenting Awards will be launched this July with two separate categories: one for health professionals, which has been developed by the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology, and one for supportive family and friends. Both awards are supported by an educational grant from Infacol.

Ts & Cs

Launching in July with a presentation in September, the Real World Parenting Awards will be open to nominations from appreciative parents, colleagues or the individuals themselves. The entry criteria are simple: an individual who has demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond. Just let us know their name, workplace (if nominating a health professional) and why you want to nominate them by emailing competitions@satellitepr.com. The closing date for nominations is July 31st. Entries will be judged by a panel of PCSG Chair Dr. Richard Stevens*, GP Dr. Hilary Jones**, and Native Media founder and mum-of-three Jo Studholme.

The winning health professional will receive an educational grant of £1000 from the PCSG to further their career or chosen area of research. Those who nominate their superstar health professional will also be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a short break at Knoll House, Britain’s original family friendly hotel.

Do you have someone in your life who has gone above and beyond for you and your new family? Leave me a comment below, and of course, don’t forget to nominate them!

Visit www.pcsg.org.uk for more information

twitter.com/PCSGastro (@PCSGastro)

For further information on the PCSG please contact:

Kirsty – secretariat@pcsg.org.uk


Infacol, Britain’s Number One Infant Colic remedy (based on IRI unit sales data 19/03/16), is licensed for the treatment of infant colic, wind and griping pain. It can be used from birth onwards and comes with a handy dropper, making it easy to give your baby.

For the treatment of colic. Contains Simeticone. Always read the label.

Visit www.infacol.co.uk for more information.

How To Encourage Your Children To Follow Their Dreams

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Being a parent has many different and often difficult aspects to it. One key side of things is encouraging their psychological and emotional growth. This is often considerably harder said than done. However, it is a vital and necessary part of being a parent. Any parent who wants to do their job as well as possible needs to learn to come to terms with this side of things. If you are a parent, and you are wondering how to achieve this, then this post is for you. We will be looking at the main ways in which you can encourage your children to follow their dreams. While this might sound a tad cliched, it is in fact an essential part of growing up. There are many things you can do to encourage this kind of psychological growth in your children. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Prepare & Plan

This is one of the main ideas which you would do well to instill in your children. No matter what task they are facing in life, they should remember the importance of preparing and planning. Chances are, they will start to understand the importance of this from a very young age. However, it becomes more and more important as they get older. As more responsibility gets taken on, you should express how important it is that they learn the relevance of planning. When they go to university, you have a great opportunity for this. Help them prepare their Uni Baggage and their paperwork. This will put them in good stead for the remainder of their life.

Persist

This one is vital for the healthy development of your children. All too often, kids are inadvertently taught that giving up early is a viable option. In truth, this is in part because of our fast food culture of instant gratification. That’s why you should do everything you can to encourage your children to foster the quality of persistence. Doing so is now no less than a revolutionary act. Whenever your kids come into something difficult, encourage them to carry on. This doesn’t mean wilfully putting them through excessive pain. It just means that you encourage them to keep their heads up and carry on. This is an important quality for just about anyone to develop.

Collaborate

One of the most important values in our society and in the world is teamwork. Your children need to learn to be part of a team as well as an individual. You should try to encourage your children to be willing to ask others for help. This is a vital lesson that everybody needs to learn: there is no shame in asking for help. The other side to this, of course, is to be readily available to give help to others. This is the give-and-take which you should try to instill in your children. It will set them up well for their adult life. Being willing to help others, and being happy to ask for help, are useful qualities.

Why I’m Not A “Cool Mum” (And Why I’m Totally Okay With That)

Cool MumBeing a parent really makes you view things in a totally different way. I was talking to some friends the other day about how, when we were kids, we did the whole ‘hanging out in front of the shops to ask an adult to buy us cigarettes’ thing. We were all saying that, now we’re mums, there’s no way in the WORLD that we’d buy cigarettes for a child who was underage and that when we look back, it was terrible of us to have been coercing adults into our naughtiness, but it’s a prime example of how our views have changed with our personal circumstances.

Last week was Sausage’s school disco and it’s kind of a tradition that I always go along and help out, usually on the stall which sells all the novelty neon crap that the kids absolutely lap up. I commented to another mum that there seemed to be a whole lot more make up, perfume, body glitter and skimpy clothing at this disco, which is mental given the fact that the oldest kids there would have been 9. I know they’re in the juniors now, but it seems like they’ve all suddenly taken a massive leap away from childhood and towards the hairy, scary teen years.

It got me to thinking; should I be letting Sausage experiment with these things more to help her to fit in? Obviously, my brain screamed ‘NO’ before the thought even completely formed, and here’s why: I firmly think that allowing her to wear make-up to events would be selfish of me. You see, I’m completely against it, so if I were to loosen the rules, the ONLY reason would be so that she’d think I was a “cool mum”. I’m sure she’d be thrilled if I let her leave the house in make-up, but who would ultimately benefit?

The thing is, for me, parenthood is about being the bad guy sometimes. I’m sure Sausage would think I was the best Mum ever if I suddenly became permissive and let her wear make up, skimpy clothes, forget her homework, generally get away with living the easy life. But as her mother, it’s ON ME (and Husband, obviously) to make sure she does things, no matter how much it might make her resent us or how horrible it feels to be the bad guy. And, I’ll go as far as to say that, sometimes, I really don’t give a toss how much they hate me – homework needs to be done, manners need to be remembered and some rules MUST be followed, no exceptions.

Don’t get the wrong, I’m not talking about being a hard-ass all the time; she’s a really good kid which means she often gets leniency just because we know she’s the sort of kid who won’t take a mile when given an inch. We use our judgement to decide what’s okay and what’s not and I’m sure that, sometimes, our version of okay is different to what other people might consider suitable (for instance, she’s a huge fan of Bob’s Burgers, which is probably not aimed at her age group but we know she’s mature enough to deal with the slightly more grown-up themes in some episodes).

The main thought that I can’t shake is simply that Mums aren’t supposed  to be cool. Sure, there are times when mine and Sausage’s interests overlap but largely, kids are supposed to cringe at their hideously outdated parents. As a person, I’m not trying to appeal to a 7-year-olds sensibilities and I feel like it would be really weird if I did. It’s one thing to enjoy watching Harry Potter together, but it’s quite another when you realise that the parent is actually sadly immature and is trying to avoid being a grown-up!

However, the fact is, as parent, it’s our job to make the tough decisions, to be the ones to guide the girls in right or wrong and to make them do the things they don’t want to do, regardless of how much it might make them hate us, or how ‘uncool’ we seem. So, you see, I’m absolutely FINE with not being a ‘cool’ mum, because that means that I’m being a good Mum. What do you think? Is it possible to be “cool” and consistent? Do you go our of your way to be a cool Mum or would you rather be seen as a stuffy old adult if it means your kids are safe and happy? I’d love to hear what you think, so do leave me a comment below.

The Four Core Aspects Of Looking After Your Child’s Future

The future is far from set in stone. It can be quite scary just how flexible it is and how much and change. Even more so when we think about our kids. I think all parents bite their nails at the idea of their child coming face to face with many of life’s problems. Especially if we’re not there to help them. However, we can still help them. It just means thinking way ahead. It means helping them now and teaching them as they develop. Not just disciplining and sustaining them, but trying to teach. Here are a few ways we can do that.

Picture sourced by marcisim

Finances

A big concern for anyone’s future, really. We can help our child financially in all sorts of ways. The most obvious is by saving up to help them pay for their education and get in less debt. We can also help them understand financial responsibility.  If they’re in high-school, convincing them to get a part-time job can go a long way in that. We need to take more time to teach them about taxes, debt and credit, too. After all, they won’t be learning it from school. If we have medical risks, Gocompare recommends life insurance as well. This way we’re making sure we don’t hinder them with having to worry about our health costs.

Health

The impact you can start making immediately with selecting the right health options is immense. Just think of the different lives your child could live in the future. They could easily be a motivated, healthy and energetic person. They could also be obese, self-conscious and at serious health risk. You would love them either way, of course. But don’t deny which you would rather they be. Making unhealthy treats a thing of the past in your home and getting active with them can help you influence that future.

Emotion

It’s not just their physical health to be concerned with, either. Mental health is just as huge a part of the picture. Being accepting of their identity, whatever it may be, is a huge part. Helping them come to grips with life’s difficulties is about being open to them. Without judgement and without pigeonholing, spend time understanding their plight. Empathise with them and be patient. Kids make a lot of mistakes. Losing patience with them won’t stop them, but it will make them fear the consequences as well as you. Reinforce, don’t discipline.

Opportunity

We want our kids to be healthy, secure and stable. We also want them to be go-getters. Not just because financial and career success lies in that way. Happiness and a fulfilled life does, too. We need to teach our kids motivation, empathy and confidence from a young age. They should feel the ability to open any door life throws in their way. This can mean teaching them leadership through getting them involved in team sports. Or empathy through going volunteering with them. The point is that we need to make the effort to help them explore these options. That way they’ll continue to have the motivation to do so as they grow.

Further information on Proven Ways to Help Your Picky Eaters can be found here:  https://www.myparentingjournal.com/child-health/picky-fussy-eaters-tips-healthy-meal-ideas/

How Modern Life Helps Us To Be Better Parents

Me, the lilac shell-suit, circa 1989...Me, the lilac shell-suit, circa 1989…

Growing up in the Eighties and Nineties, there are huge elements of my childhood which would seem unbelievably alien to children of my kids’ generation, for better or for worse. Lots of people focus on the negative sides of modern life and it’s effect on childhood, but I was thinking about some of the ways that modern life actually allows us to be better parents than previous generations, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Smoking

If, like I did, you grew up in a family of smokers, there’s a good chance that you were exposed to a LOT of second-hand smoke. I remember sitting at the table in my Nan’s house, surrounded by no less than 5 adults, all puffing away. These days, we have a lot more knowledge about the damage that second hand smoke does, and have brilliant things like a ‘vaping kit‘ which allows grown ups to get their nicotine fix without putting the kids’ health at risk.

Communicating

When I was little, kids were allowed to play out in the street or parks and once you left the house, that was it – the only way you could be contacted is if your Mum came to the park in her pinny and slippers to shout “YOUR DINNER IS READY!” from the gate. Now, we’ve got mobile phones which means we can keep in touch at the touch of a screen and even have apps which allow us to see the exact location of our kids at all times.

Information

Homework is an arduous task for any generation, but the availability of information these days is SO much better. In the 90’s, very few people had home internet so if you needed to know something you either went to the library or looked it up in the (very probably out of date) encyclopedias if your parents had them. Now, parents are able to wow their kids with their ability to help with homework from any internet-enabled device.

Health

Aside from the aforementioned encyclopedias, and perhaps a bit of hand-me-down knowledge from your Nan, anything health related was a matter for a doctor. Now, I’m not saying that internet diagnosis is always a good thing but I see SO many Mums getting their minds put at rest through Facebook groups and online forums and it means that we don’t have to drag out kids to the germ-infested doctors waiting room, only to be told it’s just a viral rash.

Entertainment

In the Nineties, unless you were one of the very privileged few who could afford satellite TV, kids programmes were confined to a couple of hours after school, before Neighbours (or Home and Away, if you were a CITV kid…) and the 6 ‘o clock news came on. Now, we’re able to provide our kids with 24 hour entertainment, if we want to, thanks to the myriad kids channels, Netflix, Amazon Prime and even YouTube, making our generation the official busters of boredom!

Do We Expect Too Much From Our Kids?

As parents, there’s definitely a certain amount of “do as I say, not as I do” that we get away with on a daily basis, and it’s a natural part of child rearing, to an extent. However, there are certain things that I’ve observed other people saying to their kids that absolutely baffle me. Obviously, I’m not advocating letting your children behave badly, but sometimes I think adults really do expect too much from their kids. More, in fact, than they’re even prepared to do themselves. Here’s just five of them.

1. Cheer Up

As adults, we aren’t expected to be permanently cheery and it’s accepted that everyone has a bad day. But for some reason, when it comes to kids, we expect them to be constantly cheerful. I even hear people say to their kids “what have you got to be unhappy about?”. Sure, kids don’t have the stress of work or a mortgage on their plate, but they do have the stresses of learning and developing socially, as well as getting their little brains around day-to-day life. Everyone is entitled to an off-day, regardless of their age.

2. Stop Showing Off

It’s human nature to feed off of the rewarding feeling of other people’s praise or laughter. Kids will often exhibit behaviour that adults perceive as negative or “showing off”, but they’re simply soaking up the feedback they’re getting for their behaviour. As an adult, I guarantee YOU show off at times too, but you don’t have a larger adult around to belittle you for your behaviour. Everyone likes feedback. Full stop.

3. Be Nice

Kids are expected to be sweet and kind all the livelong day, and don’t get me wrong, these are great traits to instill in your babies, but are YOU nice all the time? Do you ever ring your bestie or your Mum to have a bitch about someone? Do you ever give major side-eye to the Mum in the school playground who’s dressed wildly inappropriately for the school run? If so, that’s YOU not being nice, and if you can’t do it, why should your child? Being unkind may not be a desirable trait but it is human nature.

4. Give Them a Cuddle

There was a fair bit of controversy around the article in The Guardian which said we shouldn’t be forcing our kids to hug grandparents, but I have to agree. As adults, if we don’t want to hug, kiss or shake hands with someone, we simply don’t; we’re afforded the agency over our own bodies and personal space to say no. Kids should also be afforded this right. If they don’t feel like being affectionate, we shouldn’t be forcing them to.

5. Eat What’s On Your Plate

I’m a firm believer that, if they like what is on their plate, kids will eat as much as they need and then stop. I know this doesn’t cover kids with food issues or extreme fussiness, but if a child has a good relationship with food, we should be allowing them to dictate when they’re full, rather than forcing them to overeat. Ultimately, this will ruin a child’s own sense of when they are full and lead to a poor relationship with food as an adult.

Do you have any more to add? Leave me a comment below.

My Parenting Legacy

Mother and Daughter Hanging Laundry on Clothes Line

Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how my daughters will look back on their childhoods, and specifically how they’ll remember me, as their mother. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I no longer have a relationship with my own mother which has opened my eyes to how fragile relationships can be, or simply my want to be the best I can be for the girls, but it’s definitely something which plays on my mind a lot.

I see things across social media on a regular basis, little memes giving a heartfelt message of gratitude from child to parent, people proclaiming their mums to be the best in the world and I always get a little pang of…something; an unidentifiable emotion – not quite jealousy, not quite resentment, but something verging on the side of negativity which I don’t like. I’m happy that my friends have mothers upon whom they can rely and relationships that they want to shout about from the rooftops, and I won’t deny that I wish I had the same, but I think I’ve been estranged from my mother long enough now to know that’ll never be the case again.

But how will my girls look back upon me? And, more to the point, how do I hope they look back upon me? I try my hardest in a lot of ways. I try to be the Mum who always helps at the school disco and bakes cakes for the school fete. I try to be the Mum who makes sure the girls go to every party to which they’re invited, neatly wrapped gift in hand and party dresses pressed and pretty. I try to be the Mum who is never late and never lets her girls down – I remember feeling extreme anxiety at always being late for everything as a child and as a result, I try to be on time for everything with my girls, although I will admit to having to knock on the classroom door after getting there 2 minutes after the bell on more than a few occasions since BB has been with us!

I try to be the Mum who is always available to help with homework. I’m not always the Mum with the most patience, I will admit; I sometimes forget that just because Sausage is super bright, doesn’t mean that every single thing comes easily to her. I try to be the Mum who remembers dates; sports day, class trips, open evenings. I try to be the Mum who makes Christmas as much fun as possible and makes a huge fuss of birthdays. I try to be the Mum who makes things fun and doesn’t spend all her time doing housework.

I try to be the Mum who sets a decent example. My girls have seldom seen me drink alcohol (not that I’m judging others who do) and have certainly never seen me using anything stronger than a codeine for a particularly bad migraine. I try to be the Mum who provides my girls with balanced meals and a healthy attitude towards food, whilst still allowing them treats in moderation.

I try to be the Mum who allows them to be children. To play in the mud. To monkey around with the hose in the garden. To walk along the beach. I try to do all of that without worrying about the state of their clothes or the height of my washing pile. I try to be the Mum who is their friend, but above all is their moral compass, even if it means being the bad guy.

I try to be the Mum who is there to share a joke just as much as she shares their tears. I try to be the Mum who will ALWAYS defend her daughters against injustice of any scale. I try to be the Mum who has her daughter’s backs. I try to be the Mum who would take the word of her children unquestioningly and above everything and everyone else. I try to be the Mum who would never manipulate or influence her kids, choosing instead to let their opinions and personalities flourish.

Most of all, I try to be the Mum that I would have wanted.

I hope they look back and remember all of those things.