The School Run Game

Guess what gang? I’ve invented a new board game. It’s called (just in case you didn’t discern this from the title of this post) The School Run Game. Yes, it’s a board game based on getting your little darlings to school on time. The game will come with little mum or dad shaped counters that will smack of existential angst. There’ll also be a dice that you throw to see what fate you and the light of your life will meet during the school run. Now  until the game gets the final approval from Hasbro*, I’m sharing below all the fun you can come across during the The School Run Game. With a handy dice, a pen and paper and some dried up raisins for counters you could probably play the game at home right now. Enjoy!

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  • You bark at child until they have their coat on (never done up), shoes on (probably on wrong feet) and hopefully with their school bag. Excellent start (go forward one place)
  • You leave the house at 8:40am and it’s perfectly dry. Torrential downpour commences at 8:41am & continues until 9:10am when it suddenly becomes perfectly dry and sunny again. (Swear under breath)
  • See a parent ahead that you can’t be bothered to have a conversation with. You walk really slowly so that you don’t catch up with them (go back one place)
  • Look behind you and see lots of parents you know well enough to have a conversation with, but notice that they’re all walking really slowly and probably won’t catch up with you (Cry inside)
  • It’s winter, you’re in the UK, it’s icy, you slip and land on your arse. You sit and cry and seriously consider commando crawling all the way to school (miss a turn)
  • Your child slips on ice and lands on their arse. You yank them back up, tell them they’re fine and march on regardless. You ain’t going to be late for school again and a little slip on the ice isn’t going to delay you (go forward one space)
  • A little shit A small child whizzes past you on their scooter, whacking your hand as they do so (which fucking kills) and then they suddenly stop in front of you, causing you to suddenly stop in your tracks and you put your left knee out (go back two places)**
  • You arrive at the school gates and conveniently there’s an impromptu game of football taking place RIGHT BY THE GATES. The football naturally whacks you on your head, knocks your glasses off and you yell at no one in particular (go back one place)
  • Inside the school gates, you see a member of the PTA looking hopefully in your direction. You pull a speedy, dodging move that the best rugby players in the word would be in admiration of (go forward two places)
  • You see your favourite school mum and literally skip towards them for a gossip pleasant chat (go forward three places)
  • Your child falls and lands in a muddy puddle. The twat. (miss a turn)
  • Your child has an argument with another child and no one can understand what it’s about. And nobody ever does…(go back one place)
  • You get caught up in a horde of active wear mums about to go on a group run (go back two places)
  • Whilst waiting for the school to open, you get stuck with the playground bore describing in minute detail their plans for the day (Cry inside again)
  • You forgot your child’s pack lunch, you absolute bellend (go back to the start)
  • Your child for absolutely no explicable reason decides that they don’t want to go to school today and they start crying. Between you and the teacher pushing them into the classroom, you managed it. You’re heartbroken, beaten up, traumatised, but you got your child to school on time whilst keeping them alive. Congratulations. You win.

*Hasbro are actually yet to learn of my brilliant idea

**Feel free to read my further thoughts on fucking scooters here

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Actual photo of me on the school run

Ironing: why bother?

Quite what is the point of ironing? I’ll help you out here: none.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of useless domestic failure. I love cooking, I’m one of those weirdos that actually enjoys cleaning and tidying and I’m a whizz at organising my daughter’s school/social life. However, ironing can just go swivel.

It’s times like this that I don’t feel like a proper woman. I’m fully aware that that sentence alone smacks of sexism. Just because I don’t iron, why does this make me less of a woman? Now *I* know it doesn’t make me less of a woman and you dear reader, will probably (hopefully) feel like it doesn’t make me less of woman. However, according to a recent study, women do all the ironing in 4 out of 5 households in the UK. Also, when 95% of my female friends all iron and talk about their huge piles of ironing that they have to get done, it’s usually met with either a blank look from yours truly, a slightly disingenuous “oh dear, how depressing” utterance or a hilarious suggestion that they should just get drunk to get through the ironing. In my head, it is also predictably met with “why the fuck do you have to do the ironing every time. What’s wrong with your husband’s arms?”. It is also met with “what even is ironing?”.

So confession time.

I’ve never ironed in my life.

I don’t even own an iron.

Thus, my child’s clothes don’t even get ironed. Not even her school uniform.

Yep, as I was saying. I sometimes don’t feel like a proper woman. Or at least a stereotyped version of a woman. And I definitely don’t feel like an adult, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. Probably best not to pull on that thread right now.

You see, I just don’t see the point. Ironing takes up a lot of time. According to this new study, on average, a woman will spend around 3,000 hours of her life ironing a pile of clothes that is four times taller than the height of the Shard building. Mate, life is too short for that. I can think of better ways to spend my time. Such as watching TV (yeah I know I could iron and watch TV at the same time, but call me foolish, but I like to sit and relax whilst I watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. I know us women are meant to be good at multi-tasking, but we really shouldn’t have to do it all the time), reading, baking, tickling my 7 year old until she vomits (true story, I’ve achieved this several times. It’s a mark of good parenting. Trust me*) blogging about why I don’t iron or anything but ironing.

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But aren’t all your husband’s shirts creased, I hear you cry?

  1. The state of my husband’s shirts are solely not my responsibility. If he wants pristine, crease free shirts, he can buy an iron and iron the fuckers himself.
  2. We have found that hanging his shirts up in the bathroom whilst he has a shower, pretty much leaves them crease-free anyway. This is how lazy people try and make themselves look presentable, people. Feel free to take note.

But don’t you feel guilty sending your child to school with a creased uniform?

Nope. Next question.

No, but really don’t you?

Look, her polo shirts don’t really crease and if they are a bit creased, they tend to sort themselves out after hanging in the wardrobe for a bit. Same goes for the dresses. Her pinafore dresses cover most of the shirts anyway, so even if there are a few creases left, nobody will bloody see them anyway. Plus, she’s 7. If you can’t have slightly creased clothes at 7 years old, when can you?

But I find ironing really relaxing. It’s like meditating for me.

Good for you, but it’s not for me. I find drinking copious amounts of Pinot Grigio whilst cyber stalking ex-boyfriends meditative. We all find our peace in different ways.

Sometimes, I feel quite alone with my opinion that ironing is the biggest waste of time. I know there are kindred non-ironing spirits out there. I just feel like either I’m seriously behind society with my lack of ironing participation OR myself and other non-ironers have discovered something that others are yet to (non-iron) cotton on to. And that is, there is literally no point in ironing. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I feel it was designed purely to enslave women to their domestic chores. I’m making a serious point here guys**. Chucking your iron away is as good as burning your bra.

So, are you with me or against me? Do you love your iron or like me, do you never touch one?

*Don’t ever trust me.

**I may be hyperbolising with my theory here

 

 

 

My 10 Most Popular Posts This Year

Right, let’s go straight into my 10 most popular posts out of the 37 that I’ve shoved your way this year. And because I’m not the least bit ashamed, I’ll also let you know my least popular post at the end. Just for balance.

Oh, but first please let me say THANK YOU so much for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and my blog would be nothing without you all. You’re all superstars!

Click on the titles to enjoy each post.

10. A Guide to Hanging Out with Cloth Ears

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This may have been even more popular if I hadn’t published it just as a Facebook post first of all. This post runs through everything you need to know if you either want to know what it’s like to be deaf or want to know what to consider if you’re spending time with someone who is hard of hearing. Ignorance is not bliss.

9. Halloween Playlist!

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This did surprisingly well and still gets regular views today. Err guys, it’s not Halloween anymore.

8. Just Another Book Club- July Book

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My first dabble with my online book club and it went down very well. Lots of people had lots to say about this one.

7. Top 10 TV Character Fashion Idols

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This post provides a run down of all my favourite fashion icons that have ever graced our TV screens. From Denise Huxtable to Sybil Fawlty, it’s an eclectic collection.

6. Just Another Book Club

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An introduction to my idea of holding an online book club and luckily lots of people seemed to be as excited by it as I was. It also gave the list of books to read for the latter part of 2017.

5. F**KING SCOOTERS

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I stand by every word of this and I still fucking hate fucking scooters.

4. Love Your Body

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A lot of people sadly were able to relate to this. I talked about how there has been a steady increase of eating disorders in very young girls and I suggest ways we can all help to combat this.

3. Everyday Sexual Harassment

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Another post that sadly a lot of people could relate to. Whilst it was quite devastating to hear other people’s experiences, it was in some way slightly comforting to know that I am clearly not alone with my experiences of sexual harassment. This post still regularly gets daily views.

2. 10 Most Influential Albums of my Teenage Years

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This post is what you might call, a slow burner. It got moderate views when it was first published, but it receives views most days, which meant it slowly crept up my list of most popular posts.

  1. Dear Stephen

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Whilst this remains the hardest blog post that I’ve ever written, what is wonderful about this post being so popular is that so many of you lovely people read and heard about my wonderful friend. It helped make it the tribute that I wanted it to be. It would also be nice to think that it may have possibly helped someone somewhere.

The one that didn’t quite make my top ten: The Importance of Creativity for Children 3 views away from making the top 10.

My least popular post this year: Music Tag Thingy, but then again I didn’t really do a very good job of promoting it. It got a paltry 56 views- whoop.

My most popular post ever: Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business. Nuff said.

Thanks again and see you next year for more irrelevant and irreverent shit (I really know how to sell myself, don’t I?)

 

New York with Kids

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

You might think that taking a small child on holiday with you to New York City, would be a bad idea, but you’d be wrong. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in New York, but my time there has only been for myself or with my partner. So, when I recently visited New York for 8 days with my little person (she’s 7) whilst her Dad worked over there, it was a completely different experience. I got to see New York through different (little) eyes. It was just the two of us venturing around the Big Apple. With this experience I have compiled a list of tips and things you can do with young children in this crazy, but wonderful city. Look out for hyperlinks throughout this post for further information on each suggestion.

  • Staten Island Ferry 

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So first thing’s first, get yourselves on this ferry. Why? First of all, it’s FREE. Yes you heard right. The first thing I’m offering up for you to do in NYC with your children won’t cost you a dime. Secondly, you get to see an amazing view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. When you get to Staten Island, many people just jump straight on to the next ferry back (you can’t stay on the one you’ve travelled over on), but I’d encourage you to take a few moments admiring the views over on Staten Island. We sat in the sun, not quite believing what we were looking at and got a ferry half an hour later. If you want to stay even longer and see a bit of the island, the Seaside Wildlife Nature Park (or Pirate Park as its locally known) is meant to be fantastic for kids.

The Staten Island ferry leaves every 30 mins, but is best to be avoided during rush hour as it is used by commuters. The nearest Subway Station is South Ferry- Whitehall St (1 train) and it is located near Battery Park, so you can have a wonder around there whilst you’re at it.

  • One World Trade Center Observatory

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Go to the top of the tallest building in the USA and the 6th tallest building in the world with your precious darlings, you say? Why yes. Yes I do. Honestly, mine didn’t bat an eyelid at the prospect of being so high up and being pelted up a building at high speed in a lift (elevator, sorry). It is all rather fabulous. The views of New York are fantastic, as you’d expect. The ride in the lift alone is great as the walls of the lift turn into video screens that show you how New York has developed over time. My daughter was fascinated by it. My top tip for you visiting here is PRE-BOOK YOUR TICKETS. You’ll avoid unnecessary long queues and you also get a slight discount buying them online. Under 5s are free, 6-12yr olds are $28 and 13-64yr olds are $34. You have to select a time to visit and arrive about 15mins prior to this time, but it will be worth it once you see the queues on arrival. Oh and it’ll definitely be worth it once you get to the top. There is of course the 9/11 memorial and museum nearby. Whilst we spent a short moment quietly at the memorial (my daughter asked if she could jump in to the flowing water. That was a firm “NO“), we didn’t visit the museum as I did not feel it appropriate to take my young child to. Older children would probably get a lot more out of it though. There are lots of Subway stations nearby to the One World Trade Center. You can find out which ones here.

  • Central Park 

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You could easily spend a week just exploring Central Park alone with your kids. Not only do you have vast amounts of green space for them to run about and rocks to climb, there are 21 different playgrounds spread across the park. Each playground is unique. We played in the Heckscher Playground near the park entrance, mainly as it was the first one we came across, but also because it was a very hot & humid day and it features a maze-like structure with water features throughout. If you’re visiting NYC in the summer, playgrounds with water features or sprinklers will be a Godsend. However, if the green space and the 21 playgrounds aren’t enough to entertain your children, there’s the wonderful Central Park Zoo. IMG_6717It is a compact, but marvellous zoo that actually feels a bit magical. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed it and every other second exclaimed “WOW” at everything she saw. Our particular favourites were the penguins and the seals that you can watch as they swim about under water. There’s also a Children’s Zoo that is included in the price of your ticket that is situated close to the main zoo. The zoo is quite reasonably priced especially if you don’t pay to view the 4D film. For myself and my daughter, it cost us a total of $19. If we’d wanted the price of the film included then our ticket price total would’ve gone up to $31.

And if you still need more entertainment for the kids in the park there’s also the lake to go boating on, an amusement park (in the summer), an ice rink (in the winter), the Alice in Wonderland statue that was designed for children to climb all over, fountains, a carousel and a flipping castle for goodness sake. I promise they will not be bored. There are toilets and cafes situated in several places in the park. You can buy $2 maps from several posts situated all over the park or you can pick up a free one from the many visitor centres there (or just download one from the website here). Considering Central Park is 2.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide (stretching from 57th street to 110th street), there are several Subways that you can get to the park, depending on whereabouts in the park you’re going.

1, 2, 3, B and C trains for the west side

4, 5, 6 trains for the east side

A, B, C, D, 1, N, R, and Q for the south side

  • American Museum of Natural History

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Or the Night at the Museum museum as we call it in our house. There is so much to see at this museum. You could easily spend two days exploring here. Obviously, one of the biggest hits with the kids are the plethora of dinosaurs (head straight to the 4th floor for those). There is also the African Mammals and Ocean Life exhibitions that my daughter loved. Not to mention The Mummies, primates, an Imax cinema and your ticket also includes entry to the Rose Centre for Earth & Space (where there’s a planetarium and everything). Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to go there (too much to see at the museum and not enough time). Oh and if you’re also fans of the Night at the Museum, “Dum-Dum” can be located on the 3rd floor in the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific People. There are plenty of toilets and cafes throughout the museum and lifts elevators to every floor. Tickets start from $22 (depending on what package you want) and you can buy them online. If you want to pay less, you’d have to buy your tickets at the museum. Nearest Subway station is 81st Street station, C & B trains.

  • The High Line

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Well it’s about time we took ourselves to another park, isn’t it? How about one that is off the ground? Like, up high? One that was once a freight rail line, but has now been transformed into a beautiful, public park for all to enjoy and meander around? How about the High Line? The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street (1.45 miles). It’s either accessible via stairs or at certain points via ELEVATOR (I’m learning). Elevator points are at Gansevoort & Washington Streets, 14th Street, 16th Street, 23rd Street and 30th Street. There are also places to eat and restrooms along the way too. We particularly enjoyed the part of the High Line at 14th Street, the Diller von Furstenberg sundeck & water feature. It was perfect for my daughter to cool down in on a very humid New York day. Whilst you’re there, you may as well pop to Chelsea Market and get yourselves an ice cream or taste some of the delicious food they have there.

  • Dylan’s Candy Bar

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Dylan’s Candy Bar is apparently the world’s largest confectionary emporium and sells itself as a modern day version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I took my daughter here as a surprise and the look on her face as it lit up when she first saw it was delightful. Visiting Dylan’s Candy Bar was definitely a holiday highlight. If your child has a sweet tooth (and I’m guessing that they probably do), then they’ll be in heaven. Technically, it is free to visit, but it would be near impossible leaving here without spending any money as your child runs around with a wild look in their eyes squealing, “can I have this Mummy? And this? AND THIS AND OOOOHCANDYFLOSSOOOHLOOKATALLTHECHOCOLATE”. Don’t expect them to get to sleep early that night. On the 3rd floor (yes this is a 3 storey sweet shop), there is a reasonably priced cafe that serves pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and ridiculous sweet based drinks. In the above picture my daughter is drinking the Pink Cloud Lemonade (and yes that is a heap of candy floss on top). The service was great and if you’re lucky you could be seated in one of the huge cupcake seating areas. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is also played on loop in the cafe. Oh and parents, the best thing about this place?  There’s a bar, so you can get drunk on cocktails and forget about how much you’ve just spent on bloody sweets that have seemingly turned your child slightly demonic. Nearest subway station is Lexington Ave/59th Street, N, R, Q, 4, 5, 6 trains.

  • Coney Island

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What’s not to love about Coney Island when it comes to entertaining the kids? Large sandy beach- check, amusement park catering for all ages- check, world famous hot dogs- check, pier- check, plenty of toilets- check. Perfect. I totally recommend taking the Wonder Wheel ride at Luna Park (which is right by the beach and boardwalk) as you get fabulous views of New York at the top. Some carriages swing and some are stable. You can choose which one you want to ride in. IMG_6887You can buy all day wrist bands for unlimited rides at Luna Park, that start at $29. My daughter loved it at Coney Island and I think she could’ve happily come here several days in a row. Nearest subway is Coney Island- Stillwell Avenue, D, F, N, Q trains.

  • Prospect Park

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Prospect Park in Brooklyn was designed by the same people that designed Central Park. It’s a beautiful and peaceful park and much like Central Park there is lots of green space for your balls of energy to run around. We ended up finding and spending 4hrs at the Lefrak Centre at Lakeside, where my daughter roller skated for 2 hrs and ran around the sprinklers for a further 2 hours. Other attractions for kids in the park are 7 different playgrounds, Lefferts Historic House, the zoo and boating. At Prospect Park, you are also close to the Botanic Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum. So much to see and do with kids and probably not enough time. Nearest subways are 7th Ave (B, Q), 15th Street (F, G), Eastern Parkway- Brooklyn Museum (2, 3, 4), Botanic Garden (S), Prospect Park (B, S, Q) and Parkside Ave (Q).

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Wow, get yourselves down here as the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge are amazing. Also by the water, you have some playgrounds, a nice park walk, a swimming pool, climbing walls, a carousel, fitness equipment, a roller rink, sports fields, BBQ areas, a beach, ferries, cafes AND the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory who serve delicious and generously sized ice creams. It’s cash only though, so don’t forget your dollars. Nearest subways to the park are High Street (A, C), Clark St (2, 3) and Court St (N, R, W).

  • Thoughts on Times Square

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I mean, I’m not sure why I’m even bothering to put this in here, but my thoughts on Times Square might help you decide if you want to bother going there with your young child or not. To be succinct, I hate Times Square. It makes me feel all…stabby. I only took my daughter there as we were in the area and thought that she may as well see it. As you can tell by the look on her face, she wasn’t too impressed. As you can imagine, it’s very busy and hectic and there’s not a lot for them to get excited about. However, we did find the big Disney store, which she loved. There’s so much else to see and do in New York that is so great for young kids. If you’re short on time, I’d spend it elsewhere. Somewhere much more enjoyable for them. And you. Nearest subway 42nd St (1, 2, 3). Have I sold it to you?

Things that I wanted to do with my child, but didn’t have time to do.

  • Brooklyn Bridge: I really wanted to walk across the bridge with my daughter, but it will have to wait until next time. If you fancy it, it’s best walking from the Brooklyn side towards Manhattan. The pedestrian entrance is on Washington Street and Prospect Street.
  • South Street Seaport: This is a lovely area to walk around with great places to eat outside. For children there is the South Street Seaport Museum where they can wonder around a huge historic ship or hop aboard the Shark Speedboat. There’s also the Imagination Playground and great views of Brooklyn Bridge.
  • See a show: Okay, so it seems almost sacrilegious going all the way to New York with our child and not taking her to see a show, but it all came down to money and again, time. However, there are cheaper ways to get tickets via Todaytix. Current shows in NYC that would be great for kids are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, School of Rock and Wicked.
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum: the first museum in the world specifically for children, offers lots of play and art activities. I think this would be a great place for a rainy day. They can also hold and feed animals and play in a miniature city. There also seems to be lots for under-5s to do here too. More info here
  • Washington Square: Hot day and need somewhere free for your kids to cool off? Chuck ’em in the fountain at Washington Square. Your child can also do things like the free kids yoga or join in with the National Geographic kids club that takes place once a month, but mainly they’ll enjoy splashing about in the water and playing in the playground.
  • Governors Island Play:groundNYC: Don’t do what I did and that was go to Brooklyn Bridge Park with the idea that we’d hop on the ferry there across to Governors Island on a weekday. The ferries only run from the park at the weekends.  Restrictive hours aside, the great thing about play:groundNYC is that you can actually leave your child there and go off and explore the island. They have play workers within the playgrounds at all times keeping on eye on children. And your children? Well they’ll be given lots of materials to build with, imagine with or indeed destroy if that’s what floats their boat. Other things to do on Governors Island with your kids are the play fountains, other playgrounds and huge slides going down hills (one is 57 feet long). Oh and a castle. And kayaking. And learning centres. Quite a lot then.
  • Alice’s Teacup Being huge Alice in Wonderland fans, this would’ve been a perfect place to take her for lunch, but we didn’t make it. There are three Alice’s Teacups in New York with the one on West 73rd Street being the original one. Looking at the menu it looks very traditionally British, so it might feel like a home from home place.

Other Suggestions (particularly for older children)

  • Empire State Building: as we’d already been to the top of one tall building, I felt it would’ve been almost a waste of money and time to take her up another. Next time, I’ll take her here though.
  • Statue of Liberty: most people say that the queues are so bad when visiting the Statue of Liberty, it’s not worth going and sailing past it on the Staten Island Ferry is enough. Personally, I loved visiting it and climbing up to the crown, but then it was February when I went to see it.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Museum: one of my all time favourite museums. I think it would be appreciated more by older kids though. Your ticket to the see the Statue of Liberty includes entrance (and the ferry rides) to this museum.
  • Tenement Museum: this is a fascinating museum that is only accessible by guided tour, but again it would probably be more ideal for older children. The museum recommends that if you do take young children the “Meet Victoria Confino” tour would be the only one suitable for them.

Tips

  • Subway: generally the subway is bit of nightmare for prams and wheelchairs, but there are some accessible stations, so it’s worth planning ahead for your journey here. Unlike the London Underground, you generally only have one flight of stairs to conquer to access the stations. The trains run much closer to ground level than they do in London.
  • Uber: it’s worth downloading the Uber app for times that you’re too tired or lazy to get the Subway. Of course, there are the yellow cabs too, but I found Uber cheaper and more convenient.
  • Water: if you go to NYC in the summer, please make sure you drink plenty of water and have water on you at all times. New York is a very hot and humid city during the summer months. The great thing about the city is that there are plenty of water fountains where you can refill your water bottles. Generally these are in the park areas. It will save you money as well as reducing plastic bottle wastage.
  • Safety: generally New York is a very safe city, especially Manhattan. As it is a 24hr city, this actually makes it much safer to walk around at night as there are so many people about. Google do a New York safety map for all five boroughs though that can be useful when choosing whereabouts to stay.
  • American School Holidays: it’s worth noting that American school holidays run at slightly different times to ours, so it might be a good idea to check when they are depending on what you’d prefer for your holiday. Personally, as my child is an only child, it was great for us that the American children where on their school holidays  when we went, as my daughter had plenty of children to play with. Generally, we found American children to be very friendly and open, so my daughter came away with a new best friend at the end of each day. During the American summer holiday, the parks and other child-friendly places often have crowds of summer camp children. They usually all wear the same bright-coloured t-shirts, so you can’t miss them (we started referring to them simply as “the T-Shirts”)! And I have nothing, but total respect for the young leaders that look after these summer camp children. It’s definitely not a job I could do.

So, in short we had an absolutely fantastic time in New York with our young daughter. She whole heartedly loved this crazy city. She walked around wide-eyed and fed off the energy that the city provides. We created some very special memories in New York and I felt quite emotional leaving. So, thank you New York for such a wonderful and exceptional holiday. We’ll definitely be seeing you again.

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The Importance of Creativity for Children

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It is often thought that teaching children art, music and drama is not as important as teaching them Maths, Technology and Science. Creative subjects have been maligned and are seen as frivolous time wasters. They are seen as merely part of “playtime” and that the most important subjects to teach children are academic. What’s the point of teaching little Jacob art as he’ll hardly make a living as an artist, will he?

Truthfully, to think this is not altogether incorrect. The chances of someone making a decent living on an artist’s wage are slim. However, children should not be taught creative subjects with the idea that they will grow up to be the new Banksy, or the new Adele or the new Cumberbatch (best surname ever by the way). No, children need to be taught creative subjects as creativity is needed in any job that they will end up doing. Whether they are an accountant, a scientist, a teacher, a secretary, a shop assistant or a lawyer. They will be required to use their mind creatively.

One of my all time favourite heroes, educationalist Sir Ken Robinson’s (he’s definitely invited to my dream dinner party) definition of creativity is:

I define creativity as the process of having original ideas that have value. Creative work in any field often passes through typical phases. Sometimes what you end up with is not what you had in mind when you started. It’s a dynamic process that often involves making new connections, crossing disciplines and using metaphors and analogies.

He goes on to debunk some myths surrounding creativity:

There are various myths about creativity. One is that only special people are creative; another is that creativity is just about the arts; a third is that it’s all to do with uninhibited “self-expression”. None of these is true. On the contrary, everyone has creative capacities; creativity is possible in whatever you do, and it can require great discipline and many different skills.

Considering that the same areas of the brain that are used to create music, are also used during mathematical processing, you can see how encouraging creativity can benefit across the board. You can watch Sir Ken’s excellent TED talk on the subject here

So, why is it so important for children to be taught creativity at an early age. Can’t we just encourage adults to think creatively in their jobs?

There have been numerous studies that show children’s experiences early on in life can greatly influence the developing brain. Children are born with billions of neurons, but only a small portion are connected to each other. Throughout childhood the connections that are underused are cutback to make the brain more efficient. The connections that are used regularly become stronger. Therefore, the optimum time for people to develop skills are in the early years of childhood. As you may have often heard before, the early years develop the foundations of a person.

Creative play fosters cognitive and social development. Crucially, it also helps nurture problem solving skills. Critical thinking and social skills are vital for a person once they join the workforce.

Whilst academic subjects such as Maths and Science are important, creative subjects are as important. Without the nurturing of creativity, our society will stagnate and languish. We won’t see new inventions that will help enable people and create a more dynamic society. We won’t see new cures for diseases. We won’t find easier and more efficient ways of doing things, thus deterring a more economically sound society. Our progress will halt and everything our ancestors have done for us, will seemingly be futile. For society to be able to progress and evolve, new ideas need to be “created”, new and innovative ways of doing things need to be discovered and implemented. This progress with society is not possible without creativity.

Sir Ken believes that the current education system is stifling children’s creativity due to more focus on academic subjects and the way subjects are taught. There are already studies that show a child’s creativity starts to decline once they enter schooling.

Nobody knows what the future of this planet and the human race holds. These are unpredictable times. We need all the creative thinking that we can get. Creativity is not to be sniffed at.

So in short, let your child do as many rubbish paintings as they like, let them build countless structures with Lego, let them role play, let them try out the violin and let them sing to their heart’s content. Children are the future and all that.

 

Candles with a Conscience

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Photo courtesy of SevenSevenSeventeen

Right at this moment, I have the most glorious smell wafting through the air near me. I’m burning a Hello Calm Moroccan Rose candle by SevenSevenSeventeen and the smell is devine. However, I’m not just here today to bang on about lovely smelly candles and nasal pleasure (which I do have a weakness for). These scented candles have a conscience, as £1 from every candle sold goes to the PANDAS charity. PANDAS is a charity that provides advice and support for people affected by pre/antenatal and post natal depression. PANDAS relies heavily on volunteers, so any support they receive is essential for their continuing service.

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Perinatal depression (depression that can occur either during pregnancy or in the first year following birth) affects 1 in 7 women and 1 in 10 men. That’s right, it’s not just women that it affects. Perinatal depression is different form the baby blues. It is more serious and is long term.

Symptoms include:

  • feeling tearful or low
  • lack of energy
  • extreme changes in appetite
  • feeling worthlessness, guilty or emotionally numb.
  • lack of or too much sleep
  • lack of interest in sex
  • difficulty concentrating
  • lack of interest in the baby

PANDAS provides a helpline, email support team and local support groups across the UK. They also have separate Facebook groups for both Mums and Dads. All volunteers that work with PANDAS have lived in experience of perinatal mental health illness.

SevenSevenSeventeen have joined up with PANDAS and have produced these lovely candles to help raise money for the cause. Their candles are made from natural ingredients (if that’s a concern of yours) and hand-poured in England. They’re an affordable luxury range of candles and with a starting price of £14, I’d agree this isn’t a bad price at all for these lovely candles that definitely have a luxury feel (most luxury candles are about £30+). They have seven different fragrances, each with a different purpose or “mantra”.

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The delivery of them was very quick and come in a nice box. The candle is in brown glass and comes with a screw on lid. They would make a lovely gift for someone or just as a treat for yourself.

Last week, it was Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week , which helps raise awareness of “the most common complication of childbirth”. The campaign encourages people to ask women who are pregnant/have just given birth, how they are feeling. Thus encouraging women and giving them a chance to open up and talk. In my previous post here, I talked about the importance of opening up and talking to someone (anyone) if you have PND.

SevenSevenSeventeen candles are a great way to support a fantastic cause at the same time as giving yourself a little treat. The link for their website it here.

PANDAS Helpline: 0843 28 98 401

PANDAS Email support: info@pandasfoundation.org.uk

***Since first writing this article, SevenSevenSeventeen have now also teamed up with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). CALM is a charity dedicated to preventing male suicide. £1 from every candle sold from SevenSevenSeventeen‘s men’s range brilliantly goes to CALM.

CALM Helpline: 0800 58 58 58 or click here to start a web chat with them***

DISCLAIMER: I have not been paid to write this article. I wrote this post to help promote a worthy cause and a great company.

Love Your Body

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As my friend looked down at her perfect little 5 year old daughter, she noticed she was squeezing her thighs. She looked up with concern in her eyes. “Mummy” she said “I’m worried that I’m going to get fat. I don’t want my thighs to get any bigger and I think my tummy is a bit fat too”. So just to remind you, when my friend’s daughter said this, she was 5 years old. 5.

My friend recalled the sick feeling she felt and how suddenly her heart started to beat hard. Whilst, this may have just been a flippant, passing comment, it filled her and me in turn, with dread and sadness. My three biggest fears I have for my daughter? Her safety, being bullied and eating disorders.

Why at 5 years old should a girl’s body shape be of concern to her? Why is she already thinking negatively about her body? And where has she got this attitude from?

In 2011, a report showed that out of 2,000 children treated for eating disorders, 98 were aged between 5-7 years (99 were aged between 8-9 years, 400 aged between 10-12 years and 1,500 aged between 13-15 years). There is as could be predicted, a larger number of girls affected than boys. Nine times as many girls were admitted than boys. The increase of children admitted to hospital with eating disorders from 2003 to 2013 was 172%. More than 90% of them were young girls. This isn’t reflective of what is truly going on as most people with eating disorders are treated in outpatient or private clinics and of course, some people aren’t treated at all. Therefore, the number of children with eating disorders is greater than what we see in reports.

So, this begs the question, what has caused this and what can we do about the disturbing increase of eating disorders in young women and children?

This article in the Guardian, suggests it is children’s exposure to the body images of celebrities. Dr Colin Michie, the chairman of the nutrition committee at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, blamed the constant availability of these images to children has increased eating disorders in them.

Social media can also be blamed. Young people are frequently posting images of themselves on social media for people to “like”. This constant need for the approval of their physical self can create an obsession with their body image, that in some cases could lead to eating disorders.

In 2015, the BBC reported that there was a sharp increase of schoolgirls at risk of emotional problems (where as boys’ risk remained stable). The Scientists behind the study reported that one of the reasons behind this is “a drive to achieve unrealistic body images perpetuated by social media and an increasing sexualisation of young women.” 

The only positive aspect to the increase in cases reported is that maybe either more people are seeking help for their disorder or doctors are quicker or better at diagnosing it.

As a child, I never thought about my body shape. I was never concerned with the size of my stomach or shape of my legs. As a teenager, whilst I was obviously more conscious of my body and it’s never-ending changes (and now in my 40s, it’s still changing!), I never gave much thought to my body shape and certainly nothing ever came between me and my love for food (and here I am 20 odd years later and still food is seemingly my top priority. After my daughter of course. Maybe).

So, what was the key factor in my attitude towards my own body as child and teenager? The obvious answer could be, as mentioned above, that there was no social media in my youth and less obsession with celebrities’ bodies. Whilst there was some discourse surrounding famous women’s bodies, it was never at the disturbing levels we see today. I don’t ever remember articles in my Mum’s magazines shaming women about their bodies.

However, I firmly believe the main reason I had a healthy body image was because of my own Mother. I don’t ever remember her complaining about her body or putting herself down. The word “diet’ was never uttered by her. I only remember her once mentioning wanting to exercise more. Also, she never compared her body to other women’s bodies or even complimented other women’s bodies. In fact, once on holiday I remember my brother and I teasing my Mum about her ‘spare tyre’ and my Mum just shrugging and laughing it off. I know, we sounded like such lovely & charming children. The point is my Mum was so outwardly comfortable in her own skin and at ease with her body shape, we could crack these kind of jokes around her. It’s worth noting that my Mother equally encouraged me to clear my dinner plate as much as my brother was and I was congratulated when I did so.

Also, I  remember my Mum telling me that she loved her stretch marks on her stomach as they were a reminder of her children and what her marvellous had body achieved.

This is a solid point. Women’s bodies should be celebrated and not shamed. Why are people more willing to do the latter than the former? Whether it’s with regards to other people’s bodies or their own? Why don’t we hear of more New Year’s resolutions about accepting and loving our bodies rather than depriving or punishing them?

From reading and researching various articles on eating disorders in young children and through my own personal experiences, I’ve compiled a list of possible ways to prevent eating disorders in young children.

1. Avoid talking about your own weight and dieting.  As mentioned above. It’s a non-brainer. What we vocalise in the home has a huge impact on young ears. Also, when we treat ourselves to a slice of cake, can we stop saying “ooh I know it’s naughty”. Cake is not naughty, it’s bloody delicious. Life is hard, eat the cake. Guilt free.

2. Don’t tease a girl about their body and/or weight. Up to 40% of girls are teased and this can double their risk of being overweight and causing eating disorders.

3. Have plenty of sit down family meals. This one is not always possible everyday, but it’s worth bearing in mind that as parents we are role models and our eating habits can influence our children’s. Personally, I fail doing this in the week, but Friday-Sunday, we always make this obligatory.

4. Explain that images of women in media are unrealistic. We should protect our children from society’s emphasis on body shape and weight. I adore the women on social media who portray their bodies realistically. The model Charli Howard who is the founder of the All Woman Project is a fantastic role model for young women. She describes herself as a body positive activist and her Instagram account features numerous realistic and untouched photos of her showing off her lumps, bumps and cellulite. She actively encourages women to learn to love all of their ‘squishy bits’ and how normal the imperfect body is. She openly talks about the misery that starving her body to be a size 6 brought her in the past and her All Woman Project works with schools running events and workshops for young girls. Another great role model for younger girls is the radio DJ Lilah Parson, who has a refreshing and healthy attitude towards her body and food. When asked recently if she was content with her body, she answered “Yes, I’m very content. I know what clothes work for my body and I’m happy and healthy. We don’t all have to look like Victoria’s Secret models. We put far too much pressure on ourselves” When she was asked what she liked about her body, she was easily able to list a few things. When she was asked to list what she didn’t like, she just answered that she tries not to be negative about her body. How wonderful to hear a young woman talk confidently about her body and with absolutely no shame. This is how it should be. In fact, women like Charli and Lilah aren’t just role models for young women, they’re role models for all women.

5. Never mention if you think a celebrity or person has a good body. This can encourage a child or young woman to compare their body with the so-called ideal body shape and it also compounds the idea that a woman’s body shape or weight is imperative to their self worth.

Recently, a documentary film has been made about women’s body called Embrace (more information about this film can be found here). This is the word I have always used in association with becoming happy with one’s body. We should all embrace our bodies for what they are. Whatever their shape, size, colour, abilities or disabilities are.

For all of us to try and achieve the homogenised “ideal” body shape is utterly ridiculous, a waste of time and energy and downright dangerous.

I know too many women that have suffered from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. I guarantee that if a woman hasn’t suffered from an eating disorder they will know more than one woman that has. And now, we are witnessing an increase in eating disorders in children, this madness, this attitude towards are own bodies HAS to stop.

Love your body, it’s the only one you’ll ever get. Love your bumps, your lumps, its imperfections. Embrace your body, not just for yourself, but for our all the little girls who will grow up to be beautiful women, whatever their shape.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Charli Howard:

“This can be the year that you choose to kick old habits; this can be the year you embrace your true shape, stop giving a shit about dieting and calories and choose to be happy. Eat what you want, love your squishy bits, step away from the scales (and bad boys) and don’t let anyone or anything make you feel you’re less than perfect. I’m off to cook a hearty roast dinner with my family because I don’t give a fuck about my weight anymore and neither should you bad bitches”.

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Image courtesy of the All Woman Project

 

 

 

F**KING SCOOTERS.

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Before we get into this, let me just clarify a few things.

I am a parent.

My child has a scooter.

My child loves scootering.

I let her scooter frequently.

This is not an altogether anti-scooter piece.

HOWEVER.

I fucking HATE scooters.

In particular when scooters are allowed on busy pavements or on the school-run. Stay with me parents-who-let-their-children-scoot-on-the-school-run. I have no beef with it if they have to walk a long way and scootering is the only way some parents can get their little darling to go the distance. It’s especially fine, if they’re considerate enough to make said child/children get off their scooters once they get near the busy pavements by the school gate. I’m totally here for considerate scootering. However, it is not fine when children on scooters are weaving between hordes of people at potentially 25mph on the pavement. It is also not fine when children are so far ahead of their parents on scooters, the parents can’t really see if they’re knocking into people.

Here is the Oxford dictionary definition of the word pavement: A raised paved or asphalted path for pedestrians at the side of a road.

Here is the Oxford dictionary definition of the word pedestrian: A person walking.

Now I’m not about to suggest that children should be scootering in the road.

(Or am I?)

No…maybe…NO, I’m definitely not, BUT if a child knocks into me at speed whilst I’m WALKING on the PAVEMENT one more time, then well, I’ll probably just mumble under my breath or say something passive aggressive, but you get my point.

There is also, the danger aspect. I have seen children speed into roads on their scooters without really looking or if they have been taught to stop and wait for Mummy before crossing (kudos for this at least) then they stop so suddenly that if you’re unlucky enough to be behind them, you almost fall over them.

Also (nope I ain’t finished yet), if one lets one’s child scooter everywhere a) have they got one leg weaker than the other? b) if they’re not regularly walking to places on their own two feet, is this not detrimental to the development of both their muscles and mental approach to walking?

I have veritably seen a parent park their car, get their child out of the car, pass the child a scooter and let the child scoot no more than 20 steps to the entrance of a building. Is it an actuality that the child couldn’t have coped walking those few steps to the entrance of the building? This was also on a busy street plus the child fell off the scooter in front of me and almost knocked me over (relax, the child was fine, but that isn’t important right now).

Worst of all, are the (albeit minority of) parents who allow their children to freely scoot through the school gates and around the school playground with no regards to anyone else. It’s the attitude being perpetuated that WALKING PEDESTRIANS had better move out of the way as a child on a scooter is coming through. For me, a busy school playground is not the place to do this. It’s crowded, lots of people are walking in all different directions, toddlers are toddling about and playgrounds contain adults and children alike with different mobility issues.

Arguments I’ve heard in favour of letting your child scoot everywhere include:

“It’s healthy exercise”. Yes it is, but do you know what else is healthy exercise for your kids? FUCKING WALKING.

“It’s fun”. Correct, but do you know what else is fun? Space hoppers. Shall we let out children space-hop into school too?

“It’s helps get them to school on time”. Tough one. I don’t know, maybe…try…GETTING UP 5 MINUTES EARLIER.

Other reasons to hate scooters; I hate the way they swing round and whack you in the shins when you try to pick them up.

Also, thank God I don’t live in London anymore as some actual grown up actual adulting adults are choosing scooters as a form of transport to get to work on. I mean ACTUAL adult human beings. Scootering. To work. KILL THEM WITH FIRE.

There’s a time and a place for scooters and it’s not on busy streets, it’s not in school playgrounds and it’s not on the way to bloody work (you gigantic, inconsiderate adult-babies). People walking on the pavement should always have priority.

Right, now I’ve clearly turned into Mary Whitehouse, I’m off to complain to the council about people parking badly (I’m not even vaguely joking, readers).

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See I’m not all bad, I even let my own child scooter sometimes. (NB: This is an old picture, she’s about 900yrs old now).

 

Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business

Why is it that when it comes to women and their reproductivity, all sensitivity seems to get thrown out of the window. People want answers and the ability to ‘mind one’s own business’ is completely forgotten or seen as not necessary to apply in this situation.

Hands up, how many of you have been probed at some point in your life about what your reproductive intentions are? How many of the following questions sound all too familiar:

“When will we hear the patter of tiny feet?”

“Don’t you want children?”

“Are you going to have any more children?”

“Why didn’t you have any more children?”

Or who’s heard shockingly brazen statements uttered such as “You better hurry up, you’re not getting any younger you know”.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, quite a few of you. Even though she’s worth millions and is gorgeous, I can’t help, but feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston and the constant interrogation she has had to endure surrounding when/if she is going to get pregnant. She is now 47 years old and she still has to put up with speculation regarding whether she has finally got knocked up or not.

Aniston told People magazine in 2014 “I just find it to be energy that is unnecessary and not really fair for those who may or may not [have children]. Who knows what the reason is, why people aren’t having kids. There’s a lot of reasons that could be, and maybe it’s something that no one wants to discuss”.

Yet so many people don’t seem to get this.

I’m going to talk about my own personal experiences of this now, just to offer a background and an explanation as to why probing women about their procreative intentions might not be a good idea.

My family is a single child family. Once at a toddler group, a stranger who I had just met asked if I “just had the one child?”. When I informed her that I did indeed just have the one child, the response was met with giggles. She then immediately asked if I intended to have any more at some point. Having been asked this question on numerous occasions before where I have felt the need to justify or explain my response, I decided just to simply reply with “Nah”. Again, my response was met with even more mirth and further probing as to whether one child was enough for me and a statement that I clearly couldn’t cope with another child. All of this was said with much amusement regarding my situation of having just the one child. I didn’t correct her nor did I laugh along with her, I just changed the subject.

Except, as you may have guessed the truth wasn’t that one was enough for me and that I couldn’t bear to have another child. It was just easier to let her think this than explain myself. It also would have upset me to try to explain. This woman was a stranger and I was in a public building surrounded by many other strangers and associates and didn’t fancy bawling my eyes out for all to see, but mainly (in the most British way possible), I didn’t want this woman to feel awkward. I was more concerned with upsetting her than my own inner turmoil I had to cope with every time my child’s lack of siblings was discussed.

The truth is, my partner and now husband after many years of discussing, crying, sweeping it under the carpet, discussing some more and crying a lot more, came to the heart breaking decision not to have any more children and to stop at one. It was not an easy decision and it was made with a heavy heart. We wanted more than one child. We wanted our child to have a sibling. We wanted to be parents to children, not a child, but having more would not have been a wise decision for us.

Whilst I was pregnant with my quite frankly wonderful daughter (yes I am slightly biased, but what of it?), I suffered unbearable pelvic girdle pain that left me unable to walk and I had to be signed off from work for the majority of my pregnancy. After I gave birth, I seemed to be relatively pain free for the first two weeks, but then the pain came back. For the first year of my child’s life I was constantly in pain and could rarely leave the house, I was in fear every time I took a step that I wouldn’t be able to withstand the pain that it produced or that my leg would give way all together. Slowly, things got slightly better, but I still suffer a lot of pain and have developed arthritis in my ankles and knees and still have days where I am unable to leave the house. Getting my daughter to school and back is a daily battle and I am terrified at 40 years old, of what my life will be like in years to come and how immobile I might potentially be.

On top of this, pregnancy caused me to lose my hearing (a rare, but not altogether uncommon condition called Otosclerosis). I am very deaf in both ears and rely on hearing aids to get by. If I was to have another child, it is guaranteed that I would lose even more hearing. I don’t have much left as it is.

My mobility problems, the pain I’m constantly in and my hearing loss led us to come to the decision that having a second child would be extremely detrimental to my health and would greatly impair my abilities as a Mother. We made the decision not just for me, but for our existing child. My husband works away a lot and as southerners living up north, our families are over 200 miles away. I have to be able to look after my child as there is no one else that we can rely on to help us out. Even if we did move closer to family, the prospect of both my mobility and hearing further deteriorating is quite frankly depressing.

I don’t feel like the person I once was before my pregnancy. My hearing, leaves me struggling to join in with group conversations and I move slowly and as little as possible. I used to dance, sing, go running and for long walks, but these activities have been greatly hindered by my conditions. In fact, they’ve been made near impossible.  I can’t enjoy the things I once enjoyed.

So, when people laugh (whilst I understand, quite innocently) at the fact I only have one child, when people probe for reasons behind this decision, they have no idea of the heartbreak going on inside me.

This applies to every woman who only has one child or has no children. Nobody knows what is going on behind closed doors, so why possibly rock the boat? Different women will have different reasons. For many they have just not been able to conceive or they have suffered miscarriages. I cannot imagine the heartache this brings and then for someone to insensitively point out to them that they’re not getting any younger and need to hurry up is beyond inconsiderate and tactless. Some women have chosen not to have children/have more children because of their family situation, for health reasons, childcare issues, career situation or for financial reasons. Some women don’t have children because it’s just not for them or they have one child because they are just happy with that and have no desire to have more. This reason is the one people seem to be able to handle the least. However, as with all the previous reasons it is no one’s business, but the woman’s and her partner’s.  There seems to be a desire for society to know what is happening with women’s bodies and whether they’re putting a baby in it or not. It is nothing short of nosey.

I have had some interesting phrases thrown at me. Regularly my family is referred to as “your little family “. Whilst this may seem inoffensive to some, it can come across as belittling and a tad patronising. My family maybe smaller than yours, but is no less of a family.

At the end of yet another awkward conversation I had with someone demanding if I was to have any more children, she actually said the following sentence to me:

“Aaah, well at least you’ve had the experience of being a Mother”

It was as if having one child is just an experience, but having more is the real deal. Trust me, Motherhood feels very real to me when I’m up in the middle of the night soothing my child who is vomiting up blackberries and dying her bed covers and carpet a rather fetching gothic purple colour. It also feels real, when she comes home from school and for the umpteenth time tells me about how someone has upset her at school and I just want to run upstairs and cry for my beautiful child and instead, I have to keep it together and listen and advice and comfort. It also feels real when in a single month I have to pay her ballet fees, pay for a new pair of shoes and buy Birthday presents for the 4th Birthday party she’s been invited to in a month- FFS (this is when I’m very grateful I just have the one child to be fair). I am not merely “experiencing” being a Mother just because I have one child, I am very much living it. Whilst, I understand I won’t be experiencing dealing with squabbling siblings or two children being ill at the same time, I will be dealing with different aspects of Motherhood that you don’t have to deal with. For example, as my child doesn’t have a sibling to play with, I am the only person she has to play with at home. Sometimes being a parent to a single child feels like you have to be part-parent/part-sibling.

It’s comforting to know I’m not alone though. Interestingly, single child families are on the increase. The reasons are plenty as I mentioned above. It does seem to be becoming the norm. The average number of children per family is now 1.7[1] compared to the 2.4 that traditionally was the number of dependent children per household many years ago. Within my daughter’s class at school 7 of the 30 children are from single child families. This is almost a quarter of the children in her class, but that is considerably lower than the national percentage that is 47%. Almost half of families with dependent children in this country are single child families. As I reel off these statistics I think of friends who insist the number of children they have is the best number of children everyone should have. That’s great for them, but it is not for everyone.

When someone feels the need to probe a woman (or man, though I would argue women have to deal with this question more than men do) as to why they have only had one child or indeed if they are planning to have any, they should instead resist. Nobody knows what turmoil people are going through. Nobody knows the upset your innocent question will cause and to be honest, you really don’t need to know the answer. Your life will go on quite happily without knowing the answer. Whereas your question can upset someone for the rest of the day or becomes just another reminder that will stay with them forever of their difficult situation and that they’re not living up to society’s expectations (tsk). Women don’t want sympathy; they just want a bit of sensitivity.

Despite originally wanting more than one child, I am so happy with my family. I will always feel a bit sad and a little guilty that I didn’t provide my daughter with a sibling to bully –I mean- enjoy and that I didn’t provide my husband with any more children. That aside, we are a happy family. The three of us are a jolly team that make each other laugh and bestow each other with “family cuddles”. It is paramount that I am happy with what I have and I refuse to let myself be eaten up with the loss of the second child that I never had. If I was sad that I only had my daughter, that would be extremely unfair to her and would send out the wrong message to her.  The right and truthful message is that I am beyond happy with her and of course I realise that despite everything- I am lucky. I have more than what some people have. In the words of De La Soul circa 1989, three (for us) is indeed the magic number.

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[1] Office of National Statistics “Family Size” publication, published in 2012.

World Book Day Joy

World Book Day is upon us and yet again the streets are filled with tiny Harry Potters, Wallys and Alices. Terrifying. Every year many parents lovingly spend hours creating a beautiful costume for their children to wear. However, if you’d rather pay out money for a shiny new costume than spend the time and stress on attempting to cobble something together, then never fear, you can sit down with me. Yes, every year I say to myself “Fuck that” and click a button on the internet smugly, safe in the knowledge that I can spend my time with my child constructively doing things that I’m sure she appreciates much more.

So here are all the wonderful constructive things that I do with my time rather than putting together some sort of witch outfit made from a bit of black material for my child to wear.

  1. Tell my child to just hold on one minute as she begs for a drink whilst I chat irreverent shit to my best mate on Messenger.
  2. Peruse Boden for clothes that I’ll never afford.
  3. Stand in the kitchen for half an hour with all the cupboards, the fridge and the freezer doors open whilst wondering what the hell I can cook for tea tonight.
  4. Repeatedly march up and down the wine aisle with child in hand as I can’t decide if I’m in a Pinot or Sauvignon mood tonight.
  5. Tell my child to please hold on just one more second as I cyber stalk someone on Instagram.
  6. Search Netflix for something for my child to watch that doesn’t involve a bloody Swan Princess, so I can peacefully complete a Buzzfeed quiz on my phone.
  7. Wonder why RSI has kicked in yet again in the hand that’s holding my phone.
  8. Argue with my other half about why when I send him to the supermarket, he only ever comes back with half of the things on the list and he then tells me that the supermarket must not sell things like bread and orange juice.
  9. Check Rightmove for the tenth time that day, just in case a new house has come on the market. You snooze, you lose!
  10. Realise the outfit that I ordered for her is too big , so I have to spend time altering it anyway.*
  11. Write this blog.

So yes, be wise, be like me and spend an obscene amount of money on an outfit that your child will wear for one day and never again.

*Haha I’m joking. As IF I would ever pick up a needle and thread. I get HIM to do it.

P.S. I’m not against people creating outfits for their children. I personally just don’t have the talent, patience nor the inclination to create one i.e. I’m lazy.