Lucky

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It’s so easy to become bogged down in the daily grind of life and to forget just how lucky we are. I find myself focusing on the negative aspects and forget to take a deep breath, look around me and see just how incredibly blessed I am. I have five gorgeous children, live in a beautiful home, have money to pay my bills, am in good health and, most of the time, feel pretty happy. My children have had minor health issues like eczema and asthma, a couple have dyslexia, we’ve had a couple of broken bones, three operations and the usual viruses that may involve the odd broken night’s sleep followed by a couple of days of enforced idleness snuggled up on a sofa watching films and dispensing cuddles -what a hardship! I think I’ve had a bad day because I did a load of washing without finding the scrunched up tissue in a trouser pocket and so have fluffy clothes. I think I’ve had a bad day because I’ve had a grocery delivery minus the one vital ingredient for the recipe I want to cook. I think I’ve had a bad day because my children have left their dirty laundry on the floor rather than in the laundry basket. I need to wake up and smell the coffee. I am lucky, oh so very, very lucky to have such minor problems in my life when some people are faced with an uphill struggle every single day of their lives. 

I know that I have been fortunate; I’ve had my fair share of sadness in my life but have been so lucky with my children and have never had to deal with any critical illnesses. When my second child was twelve he experienced considerable pain in his feet and had to have operations on each of them to remove some extra pieces of bone that had fused together and were reducing mobility. He was reliant on crutches for a 6 to 7 month period, the beginning of which coincided with the start of the long summer holidays. It was such a difficult time for the whole family as his lack of mobility affected everybody’s activities. At one point he was in a wheelchair and we would visit places we had been to many times before when I had children in a double buggy, assuming that if it was easy to push a buggy round then a wheelchair would be fine. How wrong I was; at one point he was nearly thrown out and catapulted over a fence into an animal enclosure. He felt self-conscious, hating the way people viewed him and we all became frustrated by people’s un-helpfulness: their failure to open shop doors for us, their refusal to make way on footpaths, their lack of consideration in car parks. 

I was lucky enough to have a close friend who agreed to stay with us while my son had his operations and was immobile, so that there would always be another adult on hand. Without this support it would have been nearby impossible to meet the needs of my other children who still needed to be ferried around, still needed to be taken to school, still got ill themselves, still needed fun. It was a horrible time, a period when we ended up sitting around far too much watching TV and eating chocolate and a period when minor squabbles turned into more dramatic affairs. But we all knew that it would end and that it would end soon. And although my son had reduced mobility, he could function perfectly in every other way and was in very little pain. How different it is for those families dealing with disability on a daily basis and especially for those who don’t have a good enough support network, who don’t have the money or time to access the resources that they need. How different it is for people living in Africa who, on top of dealing with illness have no access to clean water. How different it is for people who have no home, no family, no friends.

I feel ashamed that I worry about the little things although I know that that is human nature. I feel ashamed that I don’t give enough thought to people who need my help. I feel ashamed that I have so much and complain when other people have so little and yet remain stubbornly positive.

I’m not going to say that I will never complain again – I will be nagging my boys later about all the usual things as surely as night will follow day – but I am going to make more effort to give thanks for all that I have and to do more to help others. We all need to have more understanding of people who face challenges and we all need to do everything in our power to campaign for the help they so richly deserve.

This post has been inspired by reading Nate’s story http://theaandnatesmam.blogspot.co.uk

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Leaving the Nest

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There are so many stages of independence in your child’s life but nothing quite prepares you for the awful realisation that soon they will be ready to fly the nest. The thought is always there at the back of your mind but it is generally easy enough to keep it firmly under wraps until that day when they first return from school with literature about careers choices or further education. Suddenly it hits you like a thunderbolt – your little baby is leaving home. It makes no difference when people reassure you that they will still return in the holidays or they will be working near to home and in all probability still be living at home. The fact remains they are becoming independent adults, free to choose where and how they live. You become assailed by doubts and wonder whether secretly they are champing at the bit and will leave home without a backward glance. Is their interest in a University at the other end of the country a reflection of their desire to put as much distance as possible between themselves and home? Is their interest in a Gap year in Africa a way of escaping from their family? You find yourself encouraging them in everything they propose regardless of how it makes you feel personally which then results in their conviction that you want to see the back of them. 

Leaving home is hard to do. We’ve all been there and know how on the one hand it can be an exciting and liberating time but on the other scary as hell. For siblings left behind it can be a chance to grow up, be taken more seriously as the family dynamics change, to develop one’s own personality without the constraints imposed by an older sibling. But it can also be lonelier without an older sibling who was always ready with help and advice, was an ally when parents were being a pain, or who perhaps acted as a surrogate parent by putting you to bed or reading you stories. As a parent there is the need to adapt to a smaller household and also the loss of a friend. You worry that you haven’t prepared them enough for the big bad world. You worry that they won’t be happy. You worry that you won’t be there for them when they most need you.

My eldest went through a period of uncertainty during his last year at school, not quite sure if he wanted to go to University or not. He chose a University and a course that really enthused him but still had doubts. I naturally encouraged and supported him, reassuring him that no matter what he chose to do I would support him 100%. I often met up with a friend at a similar parenting stage and we laughed as we discussed how we both came out with all the stock phrases about our children leaving home all the while secretly harbouring a desire to shout out, “don’t go, stay at home like this forever!” For my son, I think one of the deciding factors in choosing to go on for further study was the promise of another three years of long holidays; as a homebody he wasn’t quite ready to totally leave the comfort and security of home. 

The day I drove him up to Manchester to start his university life was one of the hardest ever. A four-hour drive is tough when you are dreading reaching the end of your journey and things became worse when we saw his room in hall, one of the most depressing I have ever seen. We quickly hopped back in the car to hit the shops and came back with brightly coloured cushions, lamps and other homely accessories. Eventually it was time to leave with instructions to my son to go down the hall to the Common Room to introduce himself to whoever else was around. I stumbled back to the car, just about managing not to cry and then started the lonely journey home feeling like I had totally abandoned my little boy.It was like his first day at nursery, only a million times worse. I was so glad that I was on my own and didn’t have to consider the feelings of my other children at this point, in particular my youngest who was already distraught at the thought of his biggest brother not being around anymore. It gave me a chance to brood in peace without the need for presenting a cheerful demeanour. By the time I got home I was in control although it was a good few weeks before I could bring myself to go into my son’s bedroom.

Naturally, we all adjusted: my son to University life which he loves, the rest of us to a diminished household. I think it was hardest for my youngest child who missed his big brother dreadfully and for the second oldest who, although very different from his older sibling, perhaps needed him around to keep him grounded. The fact that my son was happy made it easier for me to adjust to his absence and I discovered the advantages – one less person to ferry around and also less anxiety about his safety;  because I didn’t know what he was doing I couldn’t really worry about it. And it also gave me chance to focus more on the younger ones, something my Mum had said to me when they each went to nursery and she told me it was time for the next in line to receive some more one-on-one attention. He phoned me regularly and also kept in touch by text and email (so much easier than in my day),  sometimes sending me a picture of an item of clothing to see whether it should be put in a whites wash or a coloured wash;  obviously all that help with the washing when he was a toddler paid off! And I learned that I had prepared him well for a life outside the nest; I had done my job and now it was time for him to spread his wings and take advantage of all the opportunities that life offered. Home would always be here for him, I was only ever a phone call away and would always drop everything if he needed me but he was ready to fly and was making me prouder than ever in the process.

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I now have two sons studying away from home so our house can seem very quiet during term time. Today is the first day that I’m back to only three at home and already the house seems different, tidier(!), quieter and with a slight air of abandonment. It will take us a few days to become adjusted to calmer meal times, reduced grocery buying, smaller laundry piles but we will adjust: boy three will regain control of the remote control, there will be less teasing of the youngest boy and of me, fewer demands on my time. And then, before we know it, the house will be a seething mass of male bodies again and the family will once more be complete.

I have at least another year before I am down to only two boys but the thought doesn’t scare me in the same way as it did. I know that when they make the move they will be ready but most of all I know that they will always want to come back, to see their home, to see me, to be with their brothers. Life is full of change and we need to embrace it if we are to flourish. It may be hard but that’s ok, we’re used to that.

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Don’t Judge!

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I read a post recently bemoaning the fact that so many parents use social media as a means of boasting about their children and about their lives. This got me thinking about the whole concept of competitive parenting. I think we all know parents who have a habit of making us feel slightly (or very) wanting in our abilities, whether it be the ones who always seem to be wonderfully turned out every single day of their lives, or the ones whose children excel at every sport, are top of the class academically, and who get the best part in the class assembly or school play, or the ones who seem to know every other parent in the school but who can never quite remember your name. It can be difficult not to feel resentment in the face of such people, to feel that their successes are being flaunted but is this really the case? Quite often when you dig a little deeper beneath the surface you realise that things are not quite as perfect as they seem. Quite often it turns out that the very people who you feel are in control are those who see you as being the one to envy.

At one school my children attended there was a mum who always arrived looking absolutely perfect: beautifully co-ordinated outfit, flawless make up and not one hair out of place. Every day, rain or shine, she looked impeccable. How on earth did she do it? The rest of us sometimes looked good but more often, especially at morning drop off, would look as if we’d hurriedly pulled on whatever we could lay our hands on as we fled from a burning building. Everyone viewed this poor woman with suspicion and unease until we found out that she had problems sleeping and would always get out of bed at 5 am and then spend the next hour and a half getting ready for the day. The only way she could cope with facing the world was by making sure she was wearing her protective armour and she in fact envied all the other mums who seemed to have so much confidence that they didn’t need to preen themselves before leaving the house.

Another mum I knew from years back was fiercely competitive about her children’s sports achievements and would do everything in her power to ensure that they were the best at everything -if they didn’t show any aptitude at a sport then they weren’t allowed to play it. She would coach them, regulate their food intake to ensure their energy levels were boosted and would run along the sidelines at a match shouting instructions and drowning out everyone else. The children were naturally sporty anyway and would probably have done pretty well without all this effort but that wasn’t good enough for her; they had to be the best. All the parents of children who never made the school teams felt intimidated by her and felt that she looked down on them when they repeated their mantra ‘well, it’s all about the taking part isn’t it?’ until one day when she explained why it was so important to her. Basically she felt that her children were isolated socially because they found it difficult to make friends and play in groups and  that the only way she could get them to socialise was to involve them in sports. It allowed them to be with other people their own age, forced them to co-operate with them, albeit within the strict confines of the sport’s rules,  and also gave them some much needed self esteem when their team won. Without this she didn’t think they would ever learn to be with other children. By making them the best she possibly could at sport she earned them an element of popularity among their peers that they simply couldn’t have found by themselves.

We often envy those parents with children who get straight As all through their school career but why?Sometimes academic success is down to incredibly hard work, sometimes it is just an accident of birth – being born with the right gene pool that will provide both intelligence and an absence of any learning issues. Do we really want parents to feel that it is wrong to celebrate their children’s success? Just because a parent reports on social media sites that their child has got 10 A*s at GCSE doesn’t mean that they are boasting and saying ‘ha, ha my child’s done better than yours!’. Surely we’re all mature enough to be able to see this? Surely we can pleased for them and still take enormous pleasure in our own children’s achievements? 

Does it really matter if someone reports that their children have been given ten Easter eggs each yet our own only have one egg? Surely people have the right to make their own decisions about these things based on their own individual circumstances. It’s the same with Christmas and birthday presents. Every family has their own traditions, there is no right number of presents or correct value of money to be spent. Even within families things change from year to year based on what else is going on. Children seem able to cope with this so why can’t adults? And just because someone may tweet about chocolate and toys doesn’t mean that they only see Easter and Christmas as commercial events; we have no idea what else they may do to celebrate these occasions. We are only seeing one small part of their family celebrations.

What we see of people on social media or at the school gates is just a snapshot of who they really are. We judge people so quickly and often have no idea of what is really going on in their lives. We take one isolated comment and read so much into it with no idea of the true context of that comment. People see a child having a tantrum and immediately decide that it is down to bad parenting – what about the other 99.9% of the time when that child behaves perfectly? People hear a parent shouting and shake their heads in disapproval not realising that the child has hearing problems. We see a photograph of a child with a huge heap of expensive looking presents and tut to ourselves without knowing that the child’s family has just experienced a traumatic year and desperately needed to celebrate their first good day in an exuberant fashion. We read a mum’s account of the craft activities she has organised with her children and see it as boasting without realising that it is the first time she has enjoyed playing with her children.We visit friends’ houses and judge them to be too tidy for comfort or not tidy enough.

Around ten years ago I remember going Christmas shopping feeling very stressed indeed. I was in the process of packing up our house as we were moving two weeks before Christmas. I had four children under ten and was seven months pregnant with number five, my mother was terminally ill and I knew she had very little time left, I had just broken my small toe and so could only hobble around in an oversized pair of trainers belonging to my husband, I had shopping to do but no desire whatsoever to do it. At one point I was stopped by someone who was collecting for Charity, a Buddhist priest who commented on my calm aura. I was absolutely amazed and told him that nothing could be further than the truth. Even when I told him what was going on in my life he insisted that my aura was calm. It’s something that I have been told by others. My friends laugh at my social media name of Frazzled Mum and say that I am always really calm but the truth is on the inside I often feel like my life is spiralling out of control. Somewhere along the line though I must have decided to project a calm persona to the world, perhaps in the hope that it will then become true.

We all have to stop judging people and reading too much into what people say or do. Very people expose the real them to the outside world. We all have a persona which enables us to go out and face everyone else. We save our inner self for our homes, for our closest family members and for our very best friends. The rest of the time we are the public face that we choose to wear, the public face that enables us to function in an alien world. Let’s try to be kinder to one another and not see someone else’s success in terms of ourselves being failures. Let’s stop the judging.

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Easter Nests

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 Crafty CooScan 5k loves these really simple Easter Nests.    They’re so  much fun to make!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

We used 18 Shredded Wheat (full size), 750g chocolate and decorated with 3 Cadbury’s Mini Eggs per nest. This made 26 nests -yum!

Melt the chocolate either in a bowl over a pan of water or in the microwave.

Meanwhile place the Shredded Wheat in a large bowl (the bigger the better) and crush with a rolling pin. This is the part the children love most but they can get carried away with the result that nothing stays in the bowl!

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Add the melted chocolate to the crushed Shredded Wheat and mix together until it is all coated with chocolate. Spoon into pretty cake cases, top with the Mini Eggs and then leave to set. That’s it

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I’d Rather Be A Tortoise Than A Hare

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This week I have felt a little as if I’ve been stuck on a treadmill, in perpetual motion and unable to get off. I have started each day feeling calm and positive and have enjoyed a quiet half hour or so before any of the children have surfaced but after this each day seems to have degenerated into utter bedlam. I have been constantly on the go and yet seem to have achieved nothing. I look back on my childhood and can’t remember my parents being this busy or being so stressed but is that just a case of seeing things through rose coloured spectacles? Sometimes I feel like we all need to slow down, take a deep breath and just stop racing around. Sometimes I think I would much rather be a tortoise than a hare. 

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I tried this the other day. It had been one of those days that started well but then everything seemed to go wrong: the boiler went wrong so there was no hot water, the washing machine malfunctioned on a day when I had six loads of washing to do, the lawnmower developed a fault just at the moment that we were about to bring some order to an unruly garden, and a whole host of other little things occurred which made the day challenging to say the least. By the afternoon I was feeling thoroughly fed up and completely weighed down by an ever increasing to do list. I really needed to plough on and try to sort the mess but instead I decided to take a rest from it all. It was a gloriously sunny day so I went outside with my youngest child and had a bounce on the trampoline. It was wonderful! For the first time that day I felt relaxed and carefree; I forgot all the trials and tribulations of the day and just gave myself up to the sheer joy of being a child again. We went from bouncing to just lying on the trampoline looking up at the clouds and chatting; and then on to the swings and a tour of the garden, joined by two of the other boys. We all had huge grins on our faces and felt on top of the world. Such a simple thing to do and yet so important, taking time out of a difficult day to have fun together. Part of me was worried that my playtime would completely prevent me from getting my jobs done but in fact the opposite was true, the change of pace had re-energised me and I ended the day feeling like I had made real progress.

I know I need more ‘tortoise’ moments like this and so do my children. When the boys were little I played with them a lot; every day before their bath time we would head out into the garden and play together, perhaps football or playing on the swings or hide and seek. If it was bad weather we would play something indoors. It made us all happy before the start of the bath and bed ritual and most of all helped to strengthen our family ties. As children grow older it is so easy to stop playing games together. Life becomes so busy, school takes up more time, children have their own active social lives and gradually everyone seems to lead separate lives only coming together at meal times. That’s fine up to a point but sometimes it can feel very disjointed, almost as if the family is breaking up. A few days of doing things together whether it be a family outing, sorting out the garden shed, cooking together or playing a game together has an almost magical effect and gets everyone really talking to each other and becoming close again. Somehow or other I need to slow down time and take life at a slow and steady pace rather than tearing around trying to do everything at once.

I think I’m going to institute a games night, one night a week when we all get together and play something. Just an hour out of everyone’s schedule so that we all have a rest from the rushing around and can enjoy a moment of being together as a family. All the things that need doing will wait for us. One hour to take stock and to have some fun before we go back to running the race. I’ll let you know how I get on…….

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Holiday Madness

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I love the school holidays and having all my children around but I always forget how frenetic it can be and just how little I manage to get done when they’re all at home. Even though there is no school run I find that I wake at the normal time and find it impossible to linger in bed. There’s also the knowledge that in all likelihood I will be the only one awake in the house for at least an hour so I can’t resist the opportunity to enjoy a peaceful coffee and a few chapters of my book. Generally there’s no chance of an early night either as one of the boys will probably hatch a plan to see friends and need a late night pick up. I generally volunteer to do the late night collection, partly because one pick up around midnight is equivalent to two lifts during normal daytime hours so I end up building a very healthy credit balance with other parents, but also because the only way I can stay awake after midnight is by keeping busy so I will then manage to catch up on various household chores and on all my paperwork. The occasional catch up like this enables me to feel as if I’m on top of things and then I can relax and enjoy my days with the boys. This may mean fun filled outings or simply sitting around chatting, making cakes, or pottering while they do their own thing. It reminds me of how things were when they were young. I gave up most of my daylight hours to playing with the boys, taking them to the playground, making things with them and reading countless books. I would clean the house (with their help) and shop for food (again with their total involvement) but apart from that would leave all other tasks to those precious hours when they were safely tucked up in bed. At that point I would retire downstairs and launch into action. It may be four hours of ironing, DIY, catching up on work, sorting out cupboards or an evening of cooking and freezing; whatever the chosen task I would work non stop until I could no longer stay awake. I would go to bed feeling extraordinarily contented, satisfied that I had done a good day’s work and had earned another fun day with my children.

Once my children grew older and started going to bed later I naturally had to adjust the pattern of my days, no longer able to leave everything until the evening. This though makes it impossible in the holidays as I can neither get things done during the day nor in the evening with the result that the house looks like a bomb’s hit it (my boys call it homely), the laundry basket’s overflowing, the ironing pile is the size of a mountain and I have an ever growing list of things to sort out for work. It’s at times like these that I truly feel like a frazzled mum.

But if I ignore the mess and the chaos I have to say that my days are perfect. It’s wonderful to have all my children at home with me, to enjoy watching them together, to see how strong their bond is and how much they enjoy being a complete unit again. And how lovely to be able to meander gently through the day without any fixed timetables. It really doesn’t matter if I haven ‘t done the laundry, they’ll find something they can wear. It really doesn’t matter if the house is a mess and there’s no point worrying about it, it can all be sorted very quickly once they’re back at school. As long as I have enough food in the fridge we’ll be ok. This morning I had a heavenly time in a local park with my eldest and youngest sons-the others were still asleep. We walked and talked, sat on giant swings, balanced on precarious play structures and then sat in the glorious spring sunshine eating ice creams. All around us were other happy families doing exactly the same, all taking pleasure in one another’s company and in simple things: playing with water, playing leapfrog over wooden posts, flying kites and kicking balls around. Everyone was smiling all caught up in the sheer joy of being alive on a sunny day with no need to do anything but play. The sheer delight of school holidays!

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It got me thinking about how lucky I have been to spend so much time with my children and how I would hate to lose out on school holidays with them. I am so fortunate to have my own business and to be able, for the most part,to fit my work around their needs. I have never had to miss a school assembly, a sports day or any other school event. I am always there for my children before and after school and have always been able to look after them in the event of illness. This may mean that I’ve had to work until two in the morning or have had to take them into work with me but that’s a small price to pay. I have enjoyed so many lovely days with my children, days which I hope they remember and will want to replicate with their own children. I am so lucky to have been able to make this choice and am determined not to take that for granted. So many parents (and this applies equally to both men and women) have no choice. There are very few jobs that really work around children and child care is expensive and not always dependable. Some people really want to work but the practicalities get in the way. Others desperately want to stay at home with their children but simply can’t afford to. Some try a middling approach, perhaps job sharing, but then what do you in the school holidays or if your child is sick?

I had a day long work conference yesterday which meant that I had to leave my 20 year old in charge for the day. I came back home to find him cooking the evening meal, our online grocery order had been unpacked and put away by the 14 year old, the 16 year old had sorted out the animals, the 18 year old had cut the grass and the 11 year old had helped in the garden. They had all managed perfectly well without me. I, on the other hand, had found it such a long, dull day. Admittedly a small part of me enjoyed being in work mode but for the most part I found myself resenting the fact that I was missing out on a precious day of the holiday. It made me so glad that days like that are few and far between. I don’t know whether my children have benefited from being looked after me but I certainly have. Yes, school holidays can make me feel like I’m living in a madhouse but I wouldn’t trade that for any place else.  

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Old dogs, new tricks

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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but hopefully I’m proving that wrong.

images-4Up until a couple of months ago I was completely new to blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and the rest. I used spreadsheets and word processing regularly for work, happily emailed, Internet shopped and researched all manner of things but that was as far as it went. I didn’t even read any blogs and pretty much my only knowledge of them was from watching the film Julie and Julia which portrays the blogger Julie Powell’s quest to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s first book. I did though have a vague sort of idea that it was something I might quite like to explore at some stage and one day found myself purchasing Blogging for Dummies. This suggested that the easiest way to learn about blogging was to actually set something up so that’s what I did, purely as an exercise and with no intent to take it any further. Another chapter talked about ways to promote blogs and that’s how my Twitter account was born. I spent many hours reading my guide, drawing pictures for my profiles, playing around with email accounts, scanning pictures, writing profiles and the like. I still saw all this simply as an exercise but, completely unexpectedly, I found that I loved the Twitter world and found myself becoming immersed in it. I loved feeling that simply by responding to someone’s tweet I could make a real difference to them, perhaps by sharing an experience that I had had with one of my children. And that is the beauty of Twitter, that there is always someone out there who can hear what you’re saying and respond with a nod, a smile, some words of support. I like the way you can form bonds with people purely based on what they say, rather than being influenced by how they look, where they live, what car they drive. And how when I feel like I’m having a bad day I can be brought down to earth by seeing just how difficult it can be for some people every single day of their lives.

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I had absolutely no idea how many people out there blogged and must say that I am totally in awe of the many who seem to manage to do this on a daily basis. And the sheer variety of subject matter is incredible; I could spend my entire day flitting through blogs and still only scratch the surface. It really does open up the world.

I’m not quite sure how my children view this epiphany of mine: bemused, amused, despairing of my poor IT skills, resigned to the fact that I’ve been too busy grappling with my computer to bake a cake. Mostly I think they’re pleased that I’ve found something that gives me pleasure.

It has been (and continues to be) a hard journey. Some things have been easy to set up, others less so. Sometimes I wish I could just hand everything over to someone else and ask them to set me up a fully integrated system and then I could get on with the fun bits. I get frustrated at how difficult I find some things and feel like tearing my hair out. Other times I feel proud of myself for getting this far. And it certainly has taught me loads even though I am still nowhere near as adept as even my youngest child. I must say that it has given me a little more empathy for my boys’ inability to master the workings of the washing machine or dishwasher. The only difference is I am trying to overcoming my shortcomings on a daily basis, they are not (boys please take note)!

I’m still not sure who exactly I’m writing my blog for. Is it for others, for myself, for my children? I suppose in reality it’s a combination of those, primarily a means for me to reflect on my life, both past and present, but also a means to share my experiences with other parents. If I help just one person in their journey through parenthood then it will be worth it. But also I hope my children will enjoy reading it, if not now then in the future. I hope it will help them understand just how much I love being a mother, how proud I am of them all and how I don’t regret a single minute of it,not even when I’m being ground down by the minutiae of daily domestic chores. It can be a tumultuous journey but what else is so fulfilling, so rewarding? And I hope it will help to reassure them when they are parents themselves that no matter how hard it can be, each day is a new beginning and things will always improve.

So please bear with me on my blogging quest. It’s early days and I have much to learn. Technology doesn’t always do what I want it to do and I have a habit of mucking things up big time; hopefully though I’ll get there in the end.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the learning process, enjoying making new friends and enjoying setting myself new challenges. Just as long as the technology doesn’t change too quickly or I’ll never catch up!

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