School Run Positivity

Has anyone ever tried positive thinking in coping with the school run? I’m giving it a go today and the rest of the week as it’s the first week back at school.

I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run.

Let’s see if it works or if I return to my soliloquy in B flat on my hatred of the school run.

*breathe in sharply* I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love the school run. I love he school run. I love the school run. I love the ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

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Overcoming School Run Trauma

Have I mentioned previously that I hate, with a capital H, the school run? Well I do! I really HATE the pressure it puts on me to get to the school gate at a certain time. The pressure to get to school on time so I’m not late for work. I hate that it turns me into the Wicked Witch of the West as I try to get my children to be compliant first thing in the morning.

As the new school year is upon us, I thought it would be good for me to revisit some of tips that have helped me alleviate the school run trauma.

  1. Iron and lay Out everything the night before – laptop, snacks, clothes, shoes and even underwear. The number of times that I have regretted leaving it till the morning is unforgivable. It’s a favour to myself and my kids to ensure we are prepared the night before.
  2. Wake up and have my shower before my children. If I am ready before them, I feel better prepared to handle their impending slowness in the morning.
  3. Eat breakfast. It puts my brain in gear and gives me fuel for the day.
  4. As they are old enough, let them make their own breakfast. If yours don’t know how to, teach them to make something simple!
  5. Give the children breakfast that can be eaten in the car or on the bus. 🙂 Anything that can be easily packed and taken along with us if we happen to be running late.
  6. As soon as they are home from school, give them a light snack and then do homework first before anything else.
  7. On evenings that they have after school activities, make sure dinner is prepped beforehand and simple.
  8. Don’t forget to check their school bags for notes and homework.
  9. Eat dinner early.
  10. Get them to bed early (not a guarantee that they’ll sleep) and remember to wake them up at the same time everyday so their body clock gets used to the routine.
  11. If you have young kids that share a room, remember to split them up at bedtime otherwise they’ll stay up talking till 11pm.
  12. Go to bed early. No late nights. Makes me cranky in the morning.

      This Girl Can 

      This is my daughter. She is seven years old and in five weeks, she will be eight.

      I have always joked that she came to earth with a princess syndrome but part of that is knowing what she wants and not stopping till she gets it.

      She is confident and, above all else, brave. She keeps stretching herself to do everything her older brother can. There are no barriers for her. Her only competition is her nine year old brother. I have tried and failed miserably at explaining that at this age, there will always be things he can do better than her. This means absolutely nothing to her. She keeps pushing and pushing herself.

      My constant struggle, particularly as she is my last born, is to keep her safe and curb her risk taking. I am trying with all my might not to let my protectiveness restrict her or inadvertently send the message that girls shouldn’t be doing this or that. It’s a daily struggle to allow her to be herself.

      Today, she wants to be an astronaut, fashion designer, scientist, prime minister, doctor and athlete. All are within her grasp so watch out world!

      Happy Father’s Day

      On Friday, I attended sports day at my children’s school and I was struck by the number of fathers who were in attendance.  Some had clearly taken time off work and others took a half day rushing in half way thorugh.

      I observed as one dad walked in slightly late and made the effort to make eye contact with his children and wave so they knew he was there. I watched as alpha males around the field were screaming their child’s name with the gusto of olympic porportions. I think those dads were visualising themselves there actually. 😀😀😀😀 And then there were those whose children weren’t as athletic yet screaming their names like the champions they were and cheering them on to finish the race.  And the father who was busy taking prized pictures, capturing every moment.  And the ones who kissed their sons or daughters at the end with proud beaming smiles.

      We often hear about the fathers who don’t do their share. And the ones who abandon their children. The ones who treat parenting as the responsibility of women and grace their families with their occasional presence.  The media is ever ready to share countless stories about these men and the inequality amongst men and women in the home.

      Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of inequality but there are more dads who are sharing in parenting than ever. They are the ones you see at the school run.  Taking time off for school trips.  Taking charge of dinner, even if it’s bought. Taking their kids to the park on their own.  Or in the supermarket doing the shopping. Or at the doctor’s when a child is sick. They do not think that parenting is the preserve of their wives or partners.  They contribute.  Dads who are fully engaged in the lives of their children; who want to be there and not coerced. Who do not measure themselves by the ability to provide but being a positive role model for their children. Who enjoy the company of their children. Thank God for those dads. 

      Today I celebrate those dads.  The world needs more of you.

      Happy Father’s Day!

      Accidental Parenting

      As a parent, there are some things that you pick up in a parenting book; others from the experience of others but I think there are a lot of things about parenting that we stumble upon and repeat in the hope that it will work again and again and again.

      I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that successful people are readers. And I encourage, OK force, my children to read. To be fair, both of them love reading and have done so ever since they were little but as they grow up and discover other delights such as T.V, football, Nintendo and iPad; reading has taken a back-seat, particularly for my son and I don’t like that.

      My daughter is seven and she’s coming into her own as a reader, quite a voracious one too. However, my son used to read a lot more than her, naturally, as he is two years older but now he limits it to what he reads at school. We have had to force him to read by cutting out play time.  Part of it is probably to do with varying the books to subjects he is interested in, which at the moment is football, football and did I mention football?  The other part appears to be simply laziness – I don’t know what else it could be. I have tried unsuccessfully to get him to willingly love reading again- you know pick up a book voluntarily and get lost in the pages sort of reading.

      So three weeks ago, I came up with an idea. I set a target. I said, “you must both read at least 10 books a month but I know you can do 20, considering you don’t have jobs or adult responsibilities”. Well not in those exacts words but the sentiment was glaringly present. They seemed to take it on board after the initial shock. I saw a change but nothing too special. Yes! I’m a tiger-mum. Sue me! After a few days, it was obvious the plan had failed miserably.

      Then last week, I thought of introducing a little sweetener. Pit brother against sister and introduce a COMPETITION! Muahahahahahahaha. It was ingenious!  I simply said, “at the end of the month, the person who has read the most books will win a prize”.

      I always knew my son was competitive. I mean at the age of three he would race you to the door and cry if you got there first. My daughter has been a revelation. She has read eight books in ten days whilst he has read nine books. Although there is some strategic planning there cos some of the books are pretty thing. But the point is they are reading, albeit for a prize. And they seem to be enjoying the process too.

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      Funny, they have been bugging me to get a reward chart for months but my aversion to them made me ignore the suggestion. In hindsight, I see now that they are motivated by rewards. God help me.

      Now I’ve got to decide what the prize will be. Eek!

       

      School Run Fail

      So we’ve had two days of school and already I’ve been unaware of an Easter journal assignment due on the first day back; we’ve left ‘our’ sports kit at home but we managed to take ‘our’  sports shoes with us so that’s alright then (I use we but it wasn’t me really); and I (this was all me) forgot to replace lost swimming trunks so for today’s lesson my son might have to go skinny dipping.

      So yep! It’s all going well. Make me feel better by sharing any stories of commiseration.

      The Kindness of Another Stranger

      As I was leaving for the school run yesterday, I realised I had no change for parking. So I asked my daughter to raid her piggy bank (she was poorly so staying home) and she willingly gave me fifty pence.

      I like to get there fifteen minutes early because due to loads of road works in the area, there is limited parking. As I approached the school, I found a spot round the corner. About 600 yards away from the school. I should have been happy but ever-optimistic me was not satisfied.  Perhaps there could be a space right in front of the school. I looked round and saw that there were at least three parking spaces where I was. I took a calculated risk and
      decided to go for it. As I left, I saw a parking warden approaching and drove off.

      Just as I had hoped, there was one parking spot opposite the school gate but it looked a bit small. As I drove past, I realised that I could fit in it so I quickly did a U-turn before someone else usurped my prized spot. Driving towards it, I noticed a taxi driver ahead of me and in my way. I had seen him parked behind me at the spot round the corner. I assumed he was avoiding the parking warden and I waited for him to pass so I could park. He slowed down (which was odd) and remained in my way which was now looking even odder. As he drove near me he gestured for me to wind down my window. As I did, he offered me his parking ticket which was for another fifty minutes. I was gobsmacked. He must have assumed I was avoiding the parking warden too. I could only mutter, “that’s really kind of you” and offered my thanks. I kept staring at the ticket like it was a million dollar note. I felt like I just won the lottery.

      275H.jpg

      It only saved me 50p but I just felt …. perhaps after the disillusionment of the bombings in Brussels, I just felt like humans still have a great capacity to be kind.

      Would love to hear any stories about the kindness of strangers you may have.

       

      RWW

      The Kindness of a Stranger

      I’ve been feeling really low and finding parenting quite challenging. There are many obvious reasons that I won’t bore you with but the reality is that my children are growing and I am being challenged to grow along with them.

      I realise now that I can’t parent the same way in perpetuity. I have got to evolve as a parent as my children grow. So I’ve been thinking about what this means for me and them. And if you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that involves a lot of talking it out with them as well.
      😊😊😊

      I attended my son’s Easter Parade performance and as he’d done so well and since I didn’t have to return to work, I treated them to tea at Costa – on the proviso that they finished their homework there. So over hot chocolate, caffe latte for moi, sandwiches and marshmallow chocolate squares; we just sat there with no agenda. Eating, drinking and talking.
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      As we got up to leave, a gentleman seating a couple of tables away from us come up to me to say. “I just wanted to say I’ve been watching your children and they are so well behaved. Well done”. I tell you I could have cried. I almost did, I certainly did internally.
      😢😢😢😢😢😢

      It didn’t fix any of the issues we are having but it felt good to hear that.

      So my take home from this week is that life is full of twists and turns. So I will now take on the form of a chameleon. 😂😂😂😂😂

      When it comes to parenting, rigidity doesn’t work; you only create more stress for yourself. After all there isn’t a one size fit all rule. The personalities and peculiarities of our children determine how we raise them not want someone else is doing with their children.

      I recall a previous boss asking me how I was finding my new role as a manager. And my response was ‘it would be perfect if there were no people involved.’ Similarly, I would be a perfect parent if I had robots for children.
      image

      I would simply program them to do as I say; not talk back; pick up after themselves; definitely no tantrums and most definitely no mess.

      My kids have challenged me this week and I’m grateful for a teachable spirit – at least for this week I do. They are actually helping me out with parenting. I’m doing a lot of listening. Sometimes it is unspoken, but it is there. Rigidity doesn’t help to uncover it. We really all should be more like the chameleon and adapt to change.

      Nonetheless, I’m ever so grateful to that man who walked to me at Costa in Tesco on Newmarket Road. Thank you for doing what you didn’t have to. Thank you for being the hands and feet of God. Thank you for simply being kind.

      Happy Mother’s Day

      I chose this dress for my daughter.
      image

      She hates it.  I think it’s lovely. She wore it grudgingly. “That’s fine” I said. “When I was your age, my mother put me in dresses that had lace, net and sequins that scratched the living daylights out of my skin. I still have nightmares. This is an improvement on that. And you will do the same to your daughter if God wills. And she will do the same to her daughter.”

      For this is one of the perks of motherhood. To torture our children with clothes they despise. 😆😆😆😆😆

      Happy Mother’s Day