Two years of school run fun

school-sign

Back in September 2014 as a newbie school runner I had no idea that, over the course of the following two years I would experience days that felt like mental torture – the ones when, standing at the school door, it appeared that everyone else had someone to chat to – a close friend or even group of friends with whom to huddle whilst I pretended to be engrossed in my iPhone weather app, tears pricking my eyes.

It felt as though my alienation extended itself to my son who seemed unsure of where he fit in with his class mates and complained of having ‘no friends’. Teachers at parents meetings assured me that this was not the case and that he was sociable and well balanced.

read more

Pursuing Happiness…

The Pursuit of Happiness

I am currently reading Ruth Whippman’s book The Pursuit of Happiness (and how it’s making us anxious) and although I haven’t quite reached the end yet I’m finding it fascinating. As a former Happiness Project disciple I have begun to feel thoroughly de-constructed. A pin has most definitely been unceremoniously jabbed into my little Americanised bubble. I say Americanised, but only half of me seems to be have been converted.

Several times throughout the book Whippman points out the marked difference between the British psyche and that of our Atlantic cousins – the former deeply entrenched in *reality* – with a heavy dose of ‘this is all a bit rubbish’ bubbling under the surface, whilst the latter remain perkily upbeat, optimistic and outwardly positive at all times. She remarks on the way in which us Brits have been involved in a huge sea change towards the American way (citing the changes she’s noticed in the things her British friends share on Facebook these days and the fact that we have also been enraptured by the idea of happiness as a goal we can achieve through activities like yoga, meditation and mindfulness).

read more

Friendship: when your children grow apart

Baby group flyerWhen JJ was a baby I very quickly realised that sitting around the house on my own all day long was not an option. Fortunately my health visitor put me on to the local Sure Start centre, initially as a place to go for baby weigh-ins. There I heard about the ‘First Friends’ group – a place to go for 90 minutes on a Friday morning, lay your baby down with 16 or so others and drink a cup of tea while discussing the joys of cracked nipples, sleepless nights and debate the relative pros and cons of getting high on gas and air.

read more

The blogging community: changes afoot?

tumbleweed computer

There seems to be a lot of talk lately about the loss of that sense of community on our personal blogs. I’m not sure about everyone else but I seem to be added to a new Facebook blog group every week at the moment and after my recent post about my love/hate relationship with that platform it occurs to me that this may be another part of the problem. I get notifications every time anyone adds a comment to a thread I’ve shown an interest in so every time I look at my phone I seem to have at least 16 notifications which gives me a dose of social media/information overload.

read more

Facebook: Love or Loathe?

Facebook

Facebook: it’s like a drug right? I keep coming back it to it time and time again and I often get that high that I’m seeking – a friend or acquaintance’s birth announcement; a happy throwback photo reminder of my (former) babies; an invitation to an event (!); a really funny picture or the heads up to a fascinating blog post that would have otherwise slipped under the radar.

I like being able to be there for my friends in their times of need – even if only through leaving a supportive comment to say I’m thinking of them; and I like being a part of the banter – I just don’t get that with Twitter (maybe I need some Twitter groups in my life?) it’s just too sprawling and random and involves constant self-editing. Facebook also gives me that comforting feeling that I’m not alone, even if I’m sitting in an empty room feeling lonely – there will always be at least one person on my friends list active at the other end of the superhighway.

read more

Five ways in which motherhood has changed my life for the better

Five ways motherhood...Any given choice we make is a matter of swings and roundabouts (or, if my children had their way, slides and climbing frames) – we’re all different and no-one has the key to a perfect life. Having said that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the parenting journey over the years and wondered, for a while, whether I was just another stupid idiot who had foolishly succumbed to that irritating ticking – you know: the biological clock.

You may read a lot of wonderful reports about the ‘overwhelming love’ that children bring into your life* but then again you may read tales of woe centred around any number of challenges that parenthood throws up on an almost daily basis. They bring us to our knees some days. I haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel but I have seen the end of my tether. Regularly.

read more

First school report

JJ on my desk!This is it – the home strait, the final few weeks of term in what has been a whole new chapter in my gorgeous 5 year old’s life. A time to evaluate, and look to the future.

Recently JJ received his first ever school report. It has indeed been a year of firsts for him what with his recent sports day (during which he won his running race!) and first after school play & tea dates, but the report is something a bit different. OK so there is only so much to report back to us parents after the speediest 10 months ever. Suffice to say we have no worries about his general learning progress – he’s a typical boy by all accounts, average at reading and writing, slightly above average on the maths front, but it is in the social, emotional and communications skills that he seems to have grown so much. For example, he is noted for having resolved minor disagreements between his friends fairly. Wow. I know this seems like a relatively small thing, but seriously – conflict resolution at such a young age? I’m signing him up for the UN 😉

read more

The Truth about living on a main road

Hello neighbourBack in 2008 when we decided to move in to our current home the hubster and I had few real reservations about the fact that our house is situated on a busy main road. We were a bit concerned about the lack of allocated parking outside but the times we visited there was invariably little reason to believe that the strip of freely available parking right outside wouldn’t always offer an available space. I grew up living on a main road – albeit on a ‘drive’ set back and a little more secluded from the road by hedges and trees, so I wasn’t too worried about getting used to the noise. I also lived on another busy street in Brighton whilst I was at university and knew that the worst kind of traffic noise occurs when you are too close to a set of lights and have to listen to people slowing down, radios blaring and engines revving.

read more

Motherhood can be a lonely place

One is the loneliest number

A couple of weeks ago I had one of those days. You know the ones – they start off with you on your own with one or two (or more) kids under the age of 6 and they end 12 hours later with you still on your own but a few marbles short and, frankly, a little bit puffy eyed. They are compounded by your choice of turning to the social media feeds to provide some pretence of adult companionship, only to be bombarded with images of people you don’t really know (but were hoping to bond with at some point) having frivolous, cocktail driven lunches together, forging or solidifying their own budding friendships whilst someone else looks after their children.

read more

Older mum, younger children

Sometimes I really feel quite schizophrenic about where I fit in in the scheme of things, amongst people my own age, slightly older, or people ten or even fifteen years younger who happen to have children the same age as mine.

In real life I have one or two friends in a similar situation but in the majority of cases people my age who are parents normally have children heading on into their teens. I have to admit that I never really thought about any of this when I was in my early thirties (and wasn’t ready for children) or when I got to my late thirties (and was). All I knew was that my biological clock had finally begun ticking.

read more