Teenagers, Don’t Judge your Parents. It’s Tough on Us Too

I’m all over the shop in the parenting race right now, with 2 teenagers and a preschooler I’m pretty much at each end of the journey. That’s 17 years of putting other people’s needs way in front of your own, 17 years of guilt trips, wondering if you’re doing it right? And 17 years of small victories. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never found being a parent stressful, never once had that panic that I’ve messed up by adding to the human race, if anything my kids have been the making of me.

The pros have far out weighed the cons, one thing I’ve found though, is you can never quite predict what’s next.

2012 was the year I really had to consult the books, the year I realised that we were about to hit the turbulent years and I was loosing my grip and confidence on knowing what I was doing. Truth be told, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I’d trained in early years, the 0-8 age range, and that knowledge game me the gumption that I pretty much had a handle on the whole parenting thing. I oozed 0-8 years confidence and that confidence saw me through to the end of the primary years.

Then it hit me, my boy was going to secondary school, my boy was entering a whole new world where I had very little control. Not that I was ever a controlling parent, I prefer to describe as very much hands on in every aspect of his life. Not anymore though, now I’d done my thing and my little boy was about to be released into a big bad world of swearing, violence, sex, drugs and alcohol. A world where he would have to make his own choices, sensible or not, and all I could do was sit back and have confidence that I’d instilled some of my gutsy, don’t be a sheep ideologies and be your own person, make your own choices. 

Which probably quite amusing to my parents who had watched me fall prey to many of the teenage temptations and learn the hard way. Was I going to be hypocritical and say how bad those temptations were? And would I get my parental payback for all the strife I’d caused?

raising teenagers is hard, here's how I'm doing it

photo taken by The AMP Photo Co

My siblings and I often analyse our upbringing, we’re very close and open like that, testament to my parent’s treating us all equally and with honesty and respect to make our own way through life. Sure, we messed up, but we learnt from it and they never washed their hands of us when we did.

Whether that was ever a conscious decision brought about by a “how we gonna raise our kids?’ type discussion I’ll never know. ( I doubt very much though, I think my folks had very different out looks on life.)  We’ve all done alright though, all pretty emotionally secure. It was a pretty boss childhood. A few  blips, that’s life though; we probably could’ve done with a little more support through the teenage years when our parents were busy getting divorced. But that was just it isn’t it? They were only human and had to rein it in for a little while while they got their heads around what was going on.

And there is it, that one little negative, that one little human trait we all fall prey to. Which is why I guess I lost it at the thought of raising a teenager. What if my kids look back on their upbringing and say “yeah, she did all right. Up until I hit teens and then it all went a little belly up” ?

raising teenagers is hard, here's how I'm doing it

photo taken by The AMP Photo Co

But my upbringing showed that kids are pretty resilient especially if they have the best possible start in life, that sometimes throwing a curve ball, mixing things up and cutting back a little, getting your kids to start taking some initiative in life builds character. I loosed the Protective Mum reins, made our house a welcome place for all their friends and chauffeured them round. My thinking; teenagers are going to do what they’re going to do. All I can do is try to make things as safe as possible without helicopter parenting them at a time when they want to be free.

It’s a mind field and leap of faith I’ve had to talk myself through many a time.

Yet we’ve got there. I say we, there’s very little co parenting going on these days now I’m single parenting it. Which is a whole different thing to throw in the mix. But in some respects, doing it solo can be easier, there’s no conflict of ideas. I do my thing, I get back up and mull things over with my friends and family when need be.

So yes, I do feel I’ve got there; A 17-year-old who’s doing ok, actually I’m pretty damn proud of the man he’s morphing into. And my 13-year-old, my beautiful work in progress is showing great potential to go the same way.

But don’t ever let it be said that raising teenagers is easy. There will be tears, there will be moments where you think you’ve lost every ounce of control and there will be times when you think they don’t need you anymore.

But they do. And while you may get very little back, you just have to look for the signs of appreciation, sometimes with a microscope.

Raising teenagers just takes guts, trial and error and negotiation.

A bucketful of negotiation.

raising teenagers is hard, here's how I'm doing it

photo taken by The AMP Photo Co

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Pomelody launches to give children the gift of learning through music

It’s Launch day for Pomelody! These guys are promising to give children the gift of learning and development through music and I thought I’d weigh in with my tuppence to let you know why I’m rooting for them and the value I place on music throughout the early years (and beyond.)

You may or may not know that prior to being a blogger and social media manager I worked with children, clocking up 13 years in total. During those years I studied and pretty much immersed myself in the amazing concept of child development. Towards the end of this career stint I ran classes for parents and their babies and toddlers where speech and language was the main focus. While singing may not be my strong point, especially when your class co-host sings like a Disney princess, I did have a firm belief that singing and rhyme had a huge effect on a child’s language development.

I sang to youngest every day, even now we have a sing off most bed times and I have no hesitation in saying that it influenced his talking and understanding. Sometimes to my detriment, usually at 5.30 am when he can articulate, very vocally, what he wants. On repeat.

So if we’re singing on the sang hymn sheet (see what I did there?) read on as this Pomelody kickstarter sounds fantastic.

Home-based e-learning music platform for pre-schoolers aims to unlock a child’s innate musical talent and potentially increase IQ by 18% –

Pomelody is a comprehensive online music education system for children 0-6 and their families. It’s the world’s first music education e-learning platform for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. It’s designed from the ground up to stimulate a child’s music potential while giving parents (even those with no music ability) an opportunity to bond and have fun. Every quarter, Pomelody delivers an online (via PC, laptop, tablet) series of music.

The idea came from professional musicians Adam and Anna who, whilst raising a young family and knowing how powerfully music impacts on a child’s development, tried to find musical content that they could use in order to interact with their children.

There was very little musical content available and what was available was unstructured. They set about designing, testing and recording a series of specially recorded songs, music theory tutorials for parents and animated stories for kids. The result is the first simple to access (online via PC, laptop or tablet), fun and engaging platform for parents to embrace music along with their young children. Indeed, the first music-making classes for families ever put on video.

The production of content (season one is finalised) and building the platform is nearly finished. Pomelody is now turning to Kickstarter to secure funding of $30,000 to help develop further seasons (delivered quarterly) and to finish the platform build.

 

Pomelody are promising to give children the gift of learning and development through music and this is why I think thats great!

What do you get as a series backer of Pomelody? (earlybird discount $69)

  • Collection of 25 songs – composed, recorded and produced with 12 different bands/artists
  • 10 Pomelody classes recorded
  • One songbook
  • 3 animated lectures with music theory for parents
  • Animated stories

Importantly, Pomelody also has a of $55,000 on Kickstarter which will enable the development of an institutional version of the platform, giving free access to orphanages around the world.

Adam, Weber founder of Pomelody, said:

“Music is such a powerful medium to stimulate a child’s imagination. Its benefits stretch way beyond childhood with many reports suggesting that it can boost an individual’s adult IQ by up to 18%, compared to children with no early years music exposure. Whilst this is motivation in itself, it’s the sheer joy and bonding between a child and its parents that makes interacting with music so magical. With Pomelody we have a created a unique opportunity for families to bond, to learn, to have fun and to stimulate the next generation. We are very excited to bring this project to market and, fingers crossed, we can achieve our stretch goal and give free access to underprivileged children around the world.”

You can always watch the video below to see it in action;

 

Disclaimer

I received compensation in exchange for writing this review.  Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

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Stepping out in Vionic Shoes For Autumn

I’ve pretty much lived in my Vionic sandals this summer, as well looking pretty darn fabulous, they bloody comfy too. Definitely on my must by list next year, I’m sure my leopard print beauts will last another season but when I say lived I MEAN lived; dog walks, town trips, beach days, holidays. You get the idea! Being podiatrist designed footwear, featuring patented FMT orthotic technology, I’ve not managed to trash these as quickly with my slight over pronation. The knock on effect has been a much better gait over all. So I’m sold on how a decent shoe can help.

It’s time now, though, to put those tootsies away as cold feet just ‘aint ma thing (unless it’s a night out, then it’s all about the pedicure bearing heels) so I’m swapping my sandals for some Vionic trainers for out and about days. The nice thing about this style is it’s more of smart / casual trainer which I can wear with jeans and still look relatively cool, although my teens aren’t too impressed that Mum’s sporting the must-have black and white footwear which they both own!

I on the other hand relish at any opportunity to ‘get down with the kids’ and embarrass my brood.

Fancy following suit? It’s all about the share game on here so if you’re looking for funky yet practical, no reference to age here, it’s all about combining comfort with looking good without compromising on style, something which any age can follow. Then read on…..

My latest Vionic shoes are all about combining comfort with looking good without compromising style, something any age can follow
If you’re still reading and haven’t scooted off to their website to see what I’m on about, I’ve teamed up with Vionic to share offer you 20% off their entire range using the code below

 NUTSHELL20

20% discount site-wide VIONIC shoes UK website.

Valid from today until midnight Tuesday 19th September 2017.

 

 

Disclaimer 

This is a collaborative post 

 

 

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Divorce – to party or not to party?

D-day is almost here and I’ve been thinking about the best way to handle it. As Divorces go, it’s been ok I guess, that could just be down to my general approach to life; keep positive and look forward never dwell. Sure, there’s been hiccups and moments where I’ve wallowed in a massive pool of self pity, I’m an awful mother for putting my kids through this and I’ve failed at being a wife days.

There’s also been moments of complete and utter excitement as I anticipate what the future brings. I don’t dare plan too much, that’s the knock on of separation. After a long relationship is you realise life can always throw you a curve ball, and I’ve no idea if there will ever be a Mr Right in that future I don’t dare plan. I’m still an old romantic at heart and love the idea of happily ever after, but I’m not going to make that my sole mission in life.

For the first time, in a very long time, I’m quite happy being me, myself and I.

One thing no one warns you about, when you and your husband go your separate ways and you take on the role of My Single Friend, is you become a go-to and confidant for everyone else’s marriage troubles, that’s a great reminder of how much better off I am right now. That could be a reason to party.

So that clears up where I am on Separation Street, the perfect time to put it out there, that conversation which keeps popping up;

Are you going to have a divorce party?

Is a divorce ever something you should celebrate? After all, it’s a failure to maintain a relationship, and one which I worked bloody hard to keep going, but come the end, the lows far out weighed the highs, it was a pretty dark place for us all then things came to light which made the fight to stay together futile.

If I’m honest, there’s no denying I’m much happier with how life is right now, but do I celebrate the reason for why I’m here with a party? My release into my new life….

should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?

I’m not the angry, bitter, man-hating soon to be divorcee, so I don’t need a freedom style party. Neither do I feel the need to burn my wedding photos or dress. My current status is what it is and there were moments when married life was ace, 3 amazing kids being the ultimate showcase, and my best coping mechanism is to not dwell on the past or revisit old wounds.

And while I’m not proud of being a statistic; a single mum of three, purveyor of a broken home. I am proud of the life my boys and I have now, we may not be a home of 2 parents, 2.4 kids. But we’re a happy, relaxed set up.

What constitutes a normal family these days anyway?

So the alternative is to celebrate new beginnings and continue to look to the future. For me, divorce is an end of an era and stepping stone onto my next adventure. I’ve reflected on my part in the break up and learnt what not and what I should do next time.

And I’m sure I’ll have the odd moment of ‘what if I’d done this’ which I’ll then put it aside, raise a glass  and wish my ex husband well with the hope that we’ll both go onto have happy, healthy lives.

While he’s stands there,

burning wedding photos.
should you celebrate the end of your marriage with a divorce party?

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What’s your mantra? Healthy body – healthy mind is one I try live by these days, being a self employed solo mum, I mentally, physically and financially can’t afford sick days, so I do the utmost I can to keep in tip-top shape. Not so much obsessive ‘my body is a temple’ and all that malarkey health freak stuff, consciously careful is probably the best description of my lifestyle.

Wondering what that means exactly? For me I guess it means balancing out sitting at a desk with trips to the gym and occasional runs, I’m a pescatarian and eat healthy yet happy eat pizza on those days when I’m not in the mood for cooking, and my end of the day treat is a glass of wine, sometimes more if its night out but I always keep 3 days alcohol free.

It’s not a difficult lifestyle to maintain and so far so good, all’s looking pretty ship-shape. But that’s only one side to feeling good, as it’s also about what’s going on mentally. Many years ago, I’m talking like 25 ( crikey, did I really just say that out loud?!) gripped by the doom and gloom of being a teenage goth, my mum bought be a self-help book on positive thinking. While I admit, it probably took a few years to sink in and understand, it did set the path for me being an optimist  and to this day, I’m a huge believer in P.M.A – Positive Mental Attitude.

It’s a stance which has seen me through many a tough moment and was tested to the core in the first few months of my marriage ending. For a while, like a few weeks, I hit rock bottom as reality of failing at the basic task of being married set in and I realised the enormity of raising 3 kids on my own, trying to study, run a business and start divorce proceedings. Overloaded was a word bandied around quite a lot. But stubborn me didn’t want to succumb to the black cloud trying to drag me down so on the suggestions from a friend, I tried some alternative therapies.

I called it my first aid kit and it all started with a belief that it would work.

I try keep onto top of my health by eating well and exercising, as well as taking a holistic approach to my mental well being with a 1st aid kit of vitamins, homeopathy and Bach Flower Remedies Number one in this kit was a bottle of Bach Flower remedies. I’d used Rescue Remedy to get me through my driving test and the kids SAT’s and GCSE’s (them not me, I should add) so reaching for an alternative remedy was nothing new. This time though, I sought out some specific formulas tailored to my state of mind. I needed something to help me balance my emotions and get me back onto my positive outlook on life. Sweet Chestnut was my first choice, 2 drops every few hours with the promise of serenity

 Embrace optimism and peace of mind. The positive potential of Sweet Chestnut is having hope

And while life’s pretty god damn fabulous right now, I just need a little reminder to follow my gut feeling now and then when making decisions. There’s been moments when my heart and head have clashed so those days, when things are a little foggy, Cerato is my go to;

Trust your inner wisdom and don’t doubt your own judgement. The positive potential of Cerato is shown in those who trust their own inner wisdom and follow it.

And finally, it’s not all about my mental wellbeing. I come as a unit, and as any parent knows, your  children’s happiness has a massive effect on your own. So when my son was struggling with some negative thoughts, we tried a couple of drops of White Chestnut in a bottle of water.

Don’t let those repetitive thoughts get in the way. The positive potential of White Chestnut is peace of mind.

Knowing that I’m willing to listen and can offer a gentle solution was the first step in helping him retrain his thoughts. Along with a hope that by the process of osmosis, my PMA will filter through to my little hormone fuelled teens.

This is where a supportive, holistic lifestyle has helped us all with our transition through rocky waters. Rather than waiting until you have to treat something with a ‘top down’  approach, I’d rather the boys and I live a preventative take on life, keeping things in check, looking after our wellbeing by getting outside as much as we can, keeping fit, eating healthily and looking for signs when things are slipping. Sort of a nipping it in the bud stance I guess.

Meaning we’re free to indulge, now and then, with the odd lazy day or, my own personal trait of burning the candle at both ends, without it impacting on our health.

Give it a go, if you’re not already, it’s ace!

How to maintain wellbeing with a holistic approach to healthy body and healthy mind

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Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post with Bach Flower Remedies, and they’re available to buy from www.amazon.co.uk

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