“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” – Sue Atkins
For those times that you need a gentle reminder of how much you are worth as a parent, remember this quote.
Ignore the social media, ignore the people scoffing and “offering advice”, ignore everything on the internet that says you are doing something wrong, and just remember this.
Spend time with your kids, make time for them, help them to grow in to fully functioning adults. Be daft with them, protect them and teach them. Do everything you can to help them make it in this big wide world and don’t go hard on yourself when you cannot achieve everything.
This is what parenting is all about – doing your very best and being there. No one is perfect.
So, just remind yourself of this, in the times that you need it.
Picture the scene…
It’s one of the rare days where every member of the family is home with no commitments. Everybody has gotten up, got dressed and eaten their breakfast and are now ready to go and spend some much needed quality time together. When suddenly you remember.. that really important parcel is due to come today and the courier, being their usual helpful selves, have told you it could arrive any time between 6am and 6pm.
You can’t all go out today.
Suddenly, you go in to panic mode – you have a family of people who have the ability to get incredibly bored, incredibly quickly. What can you do to keep everyone entertained and happy? How do you still make that time together special if you are inside?
Why not use one of the following ideas?
1. Plan an indoor picnic.
If they are old enough, get the kids to help you make some sandwiches in the morning. Pop them into sandwich boxes and then store in a picnic basket if you have one. Top up the basket (or whatever you use) with some fruit, goodies, drinks and anything else you would normally take if you were going on a picnic.
When it comes to lunch time dig out your picnic basket, shake off any old grass and lay it in the middle of the living room. Turn your TV and any devices off and get everyone to sit down on the floor. Use plastic or paper plates, share the food you made earlier between everyone and Bob’s your uncle.. you have a picnic!
2. Build a fort.
Yes, I know – this is an oldie. You have got to admit though, it is a good one and keeps little ones happy for ages.
If you haven’t put together a fort before, it is basically putting together a variety of objects to create a comfortable area for you all to sit in or hide in. When I was little we used to make forts out of the dining chairs and a few bed sheets. By placing the chairs in a rectangle or circle and then draping bedsheets over them, you are left with the perfect hiding place.
3. Finger painting.
Messy but fun, finger paints are always a winner. Especially if you can pair them with an A1 piece of paper.
Strip the kids down, don aprons if you have them and everybody let loose (yes, even you). It’s great fun and you will be amazed what art you can all create just using your fingers.
4. Make biscuits and decorate them.
Biscuits are quick to make, which is great for short attention spans, and you get a sweet treat at the end. Get the kids to help you stir the mixture and place it on the tray before everyone taking a number to decorate once they are baked.
Why not set a challenge or a theme for the decoration? It could even be a competition and the best decorated biscuit chosen at the end.
5. Get out the construction toys.
Construction toys are great and they keep both kids and adults entertained (ever found yourself building an entire city out of Lego when the kids get it out?). Clear a space on the floor or table, sit down in your respective places and build, build, build!
I find that Duplo or Mega Blocks are brilliant for younger children – they’re bright and colourful, can be placed together but are much bigger than Lego. Reduced risk = happier parents!
When stuck at home, don’t be afraid to show your child like side and have some fun! It will stop you being bored and the kids will love to have a play mate.
Do you have any other ideas for spending a day in with the kids? If so, let me know in the comments – I always need extra ideas!
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It’s that time of the year again.
The sun is out, the skies are blue, the weeds are growing (sigh) and the social media timelines are filled with people complaining about how hot it is.
It’s holiday season.
If you are anything like me you are about to head off on your annual holiday with kids in tow. As a relatively new mum, with two children under 3, I find that there is a lot to think about when packing for everyone. In fact, more than often, I end up forgetting something and hoping I can buy it there.
So, what are some of the important things you need to take with you when you take little ones on holiday? Well, let’s start with the obvious…
1. Suncream, suncream and even more suncream.
You can never pack too much suncream. Even in good old sunny England. If you’re at the beach the kids will be in and out of the water all of the time, and if you’re not then they will be running around like mini whirlwinds, sweating it off.
Of course, if you don’t take it you could probably buy it from wherever you are going to, but be prepared for it to cost double the price.
2. That toy.. that toy.. that toy.. and that random rock they adopted from the garden and called Bob.
A toddler without their favourite toys is a brewing temper tantrum unless distracted, so why risk it? Just be sure to buy in spares to stay at home, just in case.
3. Something familiar
Kids tend to thrive on routine and going on holiday can throw their sleeping off, especially on the first few days away. It’s not unusual for me to spend the first night of the holiday pacing around the caravan trying to make a certain toddler as sleepy as possible because she refuses to sleep in this new strange place.
If you take something that they are familiar with from home, such as a blanket or favourite teddy, they can use this familiarity to help them feel more relaxed and therefore go to bed earlier (please!).
4. Their favourite book
Again, for helping them relax at bedtime but also for those moments where the excitement of the day has got just that bit too much and everyone needs to take just a few moments to relax and calm down.
5. Swim nappies
Ah swim nappies. What wonderful things they are. It’s not until you forget to buy them and attempt your first paddling pool session with just normal nappies that you appreciated how brilliant these nappies are.
They don’t swell up when wet, they keep in those typically timed poops, they pull on like pants making them super quick to put on and they’re just plain awesome. Just make sure to pack lots because the packets they come in don’t hold many.
6. Lots of plastic bags
Where else are you going to store all of the sandy, wet clothes from the beach?
7. A stash of crayons and paper
If you are going to a town destination or heading to somewhere like Haven or Centre Parks, you will probably find yourself in a restaurant or cafe at some point throughout the holiday. One of the most difficult places to keep children entertained is in a restaurant setting because they don’t have the option to run around and blow off steam, they just have to sit quietly where they are put.
This can result in some very bored children, and can threaten the potential of a major tantrum.
So, why not take a selection of different crayons and different types of paper? The kids will have fun colouring in and generally making a wax coated mess and you may be able to finish your meal whilst it’s still warm, for once.
8. A fan
With the weather being as warm as it has lately, kiddies can find it very difficult to settle down at night – particularly if they need the feel of a duvet covering them to sleep properly.
This is where a fan comes in handy. Not only does it blow cold air around the room, creating a bit of air movement and cooling everyone down, it gives an element of white noise which is great for helping little ones get undisturbed sleep.
9. Your tipple of choice
Because, let’s face it, a holiday with two very young children will never be a relaxing one. So in those brief moments that you do have, take advantage and enjoy a tipple of your favourite drink… and maybe book a week off after the holiday itself to recover.
10. A camera
These are days to enjoy and remember. Before you know it they will have grown up and will be going off on holidays by themselves, so take photos to look back on in years to come.
What do you think are the most important things to take with you on a holiday with young children? Let me know in the comments below!
(Seriously, I could do with some tips!)
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As people, we are all different. We like different things, dress, think and act in different ways and generally live our lives differently. In the same way, we all parent differently.
Some people breast feed, others bottle feed. Some people use disposable nappies, some use cloth. Others buy noisy toys for their kids, others stick to wooden… the list goes on!
But, at the same time as being uniquely different from each other, we are also all going through the same thing – finding our way through parenthood.
We will all experience that sense of self doubt and worry that we are doing the right thing by our children. We will all feel guilty about some aspect of our care – whether that’s due to working full time and being away from the children, or even the feeling that your child is not developing as quickly as the websites on the internet say they should be.
I, myself, have been experiencing quite a lot of “mum guilt” lately. Since going back to work, I have found that my time with the children has been significantly reduced and I am missing out on things that I would not have if I wasn’t out all of the time. I have also found that comparing my family’s life to others makes me feel like a bad mum – even if I cannot always pinpoint the reason why.
But we shouldn’t feel guilty.
As parents we are all doing our best for our children and we are all pushing ourselves to make their lives as full and as joyful as possible whilst trying to teach them the ways of life and help them grow into functional adults.
When you are feeling frustrated due to lack of sleep or a growth spurt, remind yourself of the time you have dedicated to relaxing them, making them feel calm and loved and helping them to drift off at night.
If you are feeling guilty for choosing to going to work – remind yourself of the money you are bringing in to the family and what you would have to do without that money.
If you are having wobbles about choosing to bottle feed, or not going down the baby led feeding route, remind yourself of the questions and arguments that went through your head before you made this decision and why you decided this was the best thing to do.
You are a wonderful parent, and you are doing a fantastic job. Don’t compare yourself to others and beat yourself up because you are not doing what they are doing. Don’t look at their social media feeds and feel like their life is so much better than yours because there is no sign of difficulties or arguments. They are there, they’re just not recorded.
Remind yourself each day to just do it your way – the way you feel is best. No one is more qualified to make decisions on behalf of your little ones as you are.
And don’t forget that! Have a little self belief and you might just surprise yourself!
What tips would you have for parents experiencing feelings of guilt or doubt about their parenting skills? How do you help yourself?
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