Laissez Faire or Neglect?

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An  interesting conversation came up over dinner on holiday in Norfolk last week.

The Good Old Days

My mother-in-law was telling us about her years growing up on a farm in Wales. It sounds idyllic. Lots of fresh air and running around the huge amount of land that the farm owned. She told us how she and her 2 brothers and 2 sisters were often left to their own devices during the summers to roam the land. This tradition continued with my husband, who used to stay at the farm during his school holidays. He and his older cousin would spend all day outside, only venturing into the farmhouse kitchen for food. My husband started to glaze over as he remembered happy times of building dens in the woods, playing in the fields and venturing down to the river.

“Was no one keeping an eye on you?” I wondered aloud.

The answer was a proud “No.”

Apparently the naughtiest thing they got up to involved trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

What If?

I must admit, it sounds fantastic, having free reign to run around and spend the entire day exactly as you like out in the sunshine. I’m sure it must be brilliant for a child’s imagination and has obviously given both my husband and my mother-in-law some wonderful memories, but I couldn’t help thinking throughout all of this reminiscing “What If.” What if they fell down a ditch and couldn’t get out? What if they fell into the fast flowing river and were carried off downstream? What if someone nasty was lurking in the woods? What if there was an accident?

A Question of Age?

I can remember being allowed to play up and down the street at a fairly young age and I know that my brother-in-law (a Norfolk boy) also went off with his brothers in the morning and wasn’t seen again until tea time.

All this got me thinking. Have things changed that much that we don’t now allow kids to play alone at all?  At 4 and 2, I appreciate that our girls are a lot younger than my husband ever was when he was left alone. I can’t yet even imagine leaving my kids to play out in the garden on their own in case “something” happens. But I don’t know if I would have the courage or conviction to allow my girls when they are older to run wild all day.

Over Protective or Over Scared?

Let’s face it, throughout history there has always been nasty odd people out there that want to hurt children. The fact is that with the likes of social media, mobile phones and instant news bulletin updates we are more aware of what happens now. More aware of what happens in a sensationalist way as the media cotton on to a “good story” and thrash out every little detail before our very eyes. I think this makes us more scared, more terrified of what might happen to our children to the extent that we hide them away and perhaps over protect them. Because of this, I think this type of laissez faire where kids disappear off for the entire day, isn’t seen very much any more.

When Does Laissez Faire Parenting Become Neglect?

I bet 30 odd years ago, none of the parents who left their children out all day (my mother-in-law included) would never have dreamed that they were being neglectful. But just a few years ago, a mother lost custody of her children after a judge heard that her children were left to their own devices for up to 3 hours whilst she did her own thing.

What would happen today I wonder if a couple of kids aged 12 were left to wander the acres of land in a farm and ‘something’ happened to them? Would their parents be charged with neglect? Perhaps laissez faire is only deemed neglectful if kids are left to their own devices in front of TV, iPads and X-Box games?  Perhaps it’s not considered neglect if children are outside playing their own games and using their imagination?

Balance

I think there’s surely got to be a balance. Parents have got to let their kids be children, to explore and grow and run free with their imagination, but there has to be boundaries. Obviously older children, especially in groups will have more freedom than the young, but at this stage, I have no idea when that tipping point should be. For now, I will continue to watch over my kids and worry about that later.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Would you consider letting your children run free all day?  Are you parents to older kids and let them do this?

 

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Norfolk Family Holiday for 10

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Last year was terrible, we lost my father-in-law to cancer in July and at the end of the year, my mother-in-law decided that we needed something to look forward to, and so booked and paid for 10 of us including my husband’s two sisters and niece and nephew to go away over Easter.

Barn Accommodation and Pool

We had high hopes about the accommodation – Great Barn Farm in west Norfolk after seeing the pictures on the website, but as soon as we arrived, we knew that it had exceeded expectations;  the place was amazing.  As a working farm, some of the out-buildings had been converted into self catering accommodation. We stayed in The Cattle Sheds which was the biggest. A huge open plan lounge and diner which managed to easily fit all 10 of us and an extra 5 guests on Easter Sunday round the huge dining table.

The decor was very  effective mixing the old barn building with new simple interiors. The bedrooms were spacious and comfortable, but best of all there was an indoor pool, jacuzzi and steam room which we shared with the other guests who we rarely saw meaning most of the time we had the whole place to ourselves. We had trouble keeping the 4 kids out of the pool for the entire week!

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Family Tribute

Knowing that the entire family, complete with my husband’s visiting three aunts would be together over the Easter Sunday, my mother-in-law took the opportunity to scatter my father-in-law’s ashes at a nearby beach. We chose Brancaster beach for its beauty, lovely coast-line and nearby golf club which seemed a fitting tribute. We took my father in-law’s beloved classic car – an MGC to the beach and despite the aftermath of storm Katie, the skies remained sunny and blue. My brother-in-law read a beautiful poem out about the sea. It was a little emotional, but lovely.

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Brancaster Beach

Horse Riding

My husband’s cousin and one of his aunts live in Norfolk and so we took the opportunity to visit them on our break. They own 3 ponies and so much to the excitement of all kids, they were allowed to sit on and walk round the paddock. It was the first time both of our girls had sat on and ridden a pony and they both loved it. I was surprised as Alice, our eldest, is scared of dogs, cats and flies but seemed completely at home with the ponies. We’ll definitely be visiting again this year!

Days Out

After a few days of doing family activities we had a couple of days left to explore. I’m not overly familiar with the north Norfolk coast but from what I saw, it seems beautiful:

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There’s a mini train which takes you from the car park down to the beach which the kids loved even if it was a bit pricey. The beach is beautiful and as the weather was warmer, the kids were in there element building sandcastles, collecting stones and shells and running around letting off steam.

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Wells-Next-The-Sea

Blakeney and Cley

Blakeney is a beautiful little quay with some quaint little shops. You can do trips out to visit seals or spend some time crabbing. If we were visiting without the kids it would have been great to walk the couple of miles round to the next beach (Cley). Instead, we wandered around soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine and then drove over to Cley. It’s a shingle beach but this didn’t matter to the kids who continued to collect stones and dodge the rather turbulent waves. There’s also a stunning windmill nearby which is now a luxury B&B, I quite fancy staying there sometime!

Food, Drink and Family Bonding

As with most holidays, we ate and drank a lot! Red wine, gin and tonics, ice creams and the inevitable Easter eggs all played a heavy part. I need to to focus on being a bit healthier now that we’re home! We had a few late nights up talking and one very funny drunken dancing night where my sister-in-laws and I even managed to get the aunts and mother-in-law up dancing.

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Next Year?

I feel like we’ve all had a good break as well as a fitting tribute to my father-in-law. We’ve had a good mix of family bonding, swimming at the pool and days out, but still feel like there’s a lot more to see of Norfolk. My mother-in-law has already said she wants to book the accommodation again for next year, so here’s hoping.

Have you been to Norfolk? Any tips or recommendations for our next trip?

 

 

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Vices – Why We all Need Them

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Back in the mid-1990s my vice of choice was Bacardi and Coke I used to drink a lot of it before going out clubbing with my friends. Then one night I got so sick on it that still to this day, I can’t bear the smell of Bacardi.

I’ve dabbled a bit with the vice of smoking over the years, I’m lucky in that I was never addicted, it was more a casual flirtation with Marlborough Lights which I pursued whenever I had a drink in hand.

After the Bacardi episode, I moved on to drinking white wine but I soon discovered that had its own issues; it used to make me emotional or worse, aggressive so I ditched that and began my love affair with red wine.

It has been my vice of choice ever since. I have been known on particularly stressful days to have a glass or two at the kids’ tea time, sometimes out of a mug if I’m feeling guilty about drinking in front of the children, I mostly manage to hold off until the kids are in bed before cracking open a bottle.

My 2 Main Vices

Red Wine

Tea is my daytime saviour I drink a lot and it helps to power me through especially as our daily wake up time now seems to be inexplicably set at 5.30am. I wish I drank coffee as it sounds so much more glamorous and I’m sure it’s a lot stronger!

So these two vices – red wine and strong tea I look upon as dear friends of mine. Without meaning to sound like an absolute nutter, I treasure them, they absolutely help me in coping on a regular basis to get through the stress and strains of the day. Anything from trying to placate a raging, foot-stamping 2 year old about why she can’t wear a sundress in February, to wrestling the 4 year old into the car to make her go to school, to chasing down a payment from a freelance client.

These 2 vices are so dear to me that I named my blog after them.

Other Mum Vices

I know other mums have vices which include regular massages, manicures, chocolate binges, cinema nights and frequent gorging on cakes.

Along with tea and red wine, my other vices are: writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing whether it’s scribbling the random musings as part of this blog, or writing for clients as part of my freelancing work. I love the creative process of getting things out of my head and on to paper. It can be very cathartic!

My only real other vice is spending a bit too much time on social media which I think everyone does.

Lincoln Vices

Guilt and Vices

Most vices carry a set amount of guilt don’t they?

Whilst I don’t have any problem with my tea drinking, I am aware that my love of red wine is a bit of a bad habit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s in check, but I don’t ever want it to become a complete crutch. I make a conscious effort to have a few nights off a week (which can be tough!)

My writing can at times cause me some level of guilt, mostly because outside of my few childfree hours during the day, I’m trying to snatch bits of time here and there whilst juggling the kids before doing more once they’re in bed. I regularly have guilty moments where I worry that I’ve just plonked the kids in front of the TV for an hour or so whilst I try and get scribbling.

But what I’m realising is that unless you have a hard core drug or drink vice, or a vice that is so out of control that it becomes all consuming, we really need to ease up on the guilt.

It’s OK to have vices. In fact, it’s positively necessary to have our vices in order to get through the day.

We are all doing our best. Whether we’re a stay-at-home mum battling with a feisty toddler, working mums that are juggling the demands of trying to fit everything into the day or a part-time mum like me who is trying to fit my working life in around the children.

I’m realising that letting the kids sit in front of the TV for an hour or so is not going to kill them, they have enough stimulation from me during the rest of the day. And more than that, if I’m happier at having snatched a bit of “me” time, then the kids are happier too.

Most of us seem to have worries or general anxieties about something in our life. Most of us are openly or secretly dealing with some kind of problem, some kind of pain, fear, or self-confidence crisis. Is it really so bad that we get through it by having a little bit of what makes us happy?

I don’t think so.

Unless it’s Bacardi.

Do you have any vices? I’d love to hear what they are and if you have any intention of giving them up!

Vices Bacardi

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What’s The Point? Losing My Mojo

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I’m having a low week. I’ve had a few things that have brought me down a bit and as a result, I know seem to be finding the other things; the things I normally do without question, a bit of an effort. Because I’m feeling low, I can’t be bothered to do anything. I’ve lost my Mo-Jo and I seem to keep asking myself “What’s the Point?” a fair bit this week.

  • Funeral. I knew that my Nan’s funeral on Tuesday would be tough. I was reading a tribute to her and so I was really nervous about it beforehand. I wanted to do a good job for her and for my family. I’d been so focused on getting through doing the speech that it wasn’t until it was all over, later on that day that the sadness of losing and missing my Nan really hit me. I’ve felt a bit weird since then.
  • Freelancing Work. My self-confidence has taken a bit of a knock with my freelancing work these last couple of weeks. I’ve had a few different issues going on that has set me back. I seem to have put in a lot of work and effort for several different prospective clients recently, and it all appears to have been for nothing. I know that this is part of what being a freelancer is all about, and perhaps normally I’d take it all in my stride, but I’ve struggled with it this week and really questioned whether I should bother to keep going with it at all.
  • Blogging. I mostly really enjoy blogging. I like the process of writing and sharing it with others. I enjoy meeting other bloggers and reading other people’s blogs. But sometimes, like this week, I’ve really started to wonder “What’s the Point?” My stats are staying relatively flat, and I’m not really sure where I’m going with it in the long term. Should I even bother to keep going with it all? Blogging takes a lot of time and effort and I’ve found it hard to keep the momentum going this week. I’ve really been questioning whether it’s all worth it this week.
  • Mum. My mum’s got to go through some horrible tests at the hospital at the end of this week and I suppose no matter how much she tells me not to worry, I do!

 

I’m reading this back and realise that I sound like an incredibly miserable, grumpy old cow. I promise, I’m not normally wallowing quite so much in my own issues!

I realise that there are definitely far worse problems out there than these, but I think sometimes when one issue gets you down, any other little problem that you might normally deal with, suddenly seems to magnify so that you think you can’t handle it. All of a sudden, it becomes harder to buck yourself up and keep going.

I seem to have asked myself “What’s The Point?” many times this week.  But I’m not going to do anything drastic, I’m going to have to accept that this week is a bit of write off and I’ll make a huge effort to get back on track next week.

Does anyone else have weeks like this? Any suggestions to help get you through would be gratefully received!

 

 

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A Tribute to My Nan on International Women’s Day

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Last week my lovely Nan died. She would have been 92 this month and whilst we are all sad that she is gone, for the last year she was increasingly frail and had had enough of life. I take some comfort that she is now at peace.

As part of the funeral arrangements for next week, I am collecting a few anecdotes from my dad and aunties to read out which will pay homage to her strong sense of character. I thought it suddenly fitting that I pay tribute to my Nan as part of International Women’s Day which celebrates the many achievements of women throughout the world.

Nan was tough. She was determined, stoical, and sometimes fiery. She was formidable, ambitious, brave and loved to laugh. Her strong personality can be seen in just a few of these anecdotes that have been passed on to me:

  • The Time She Rescued My Grandad From The Sea

My dad can remember the family going to Walton-on-The-Naze for the day. My grandad went swimming in the sea and got cramp. He got into difficulty and couldn’t make it back to the shore. My Nan ran out to rescue him fully clothed. They both thankfully made it back but ended up having a row in full view of the beach because my Nan’s watch had stopped working from where it had got wet!

  • The Time She Rescued my Aunt From The Toilet

When my young aunt got locked in the toilet, rather than call the Fire Brigade, get help from a neighbour or use a ladder to climb in the window from the back garden, she proceeded to launch her own rescue mission by climbing out of an adjacent window, scaling the window ledge and climbing into the toilet window to reach her daughter.

  • Surviving The Blitz

Nan grew up in Bethnal Green, East London and was there throughout the war. She survived the Blitz but only just; she was blown off her feet by a bomb blast in her street which thankfully didn’t hurt her too badly or destroy her home.

 

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Nan had 4 children and somehow managed to balance being a mum with waitressing in silver service restaurants and later as an auxiliary nurse. She had a very strong work ethic and always wanted us all to work hard. I remember her always telling me and my sisters to “get our names down at Tesco.”

She had a wonderful outlook on life. Despite arguing and never reconciling with her mum  living through the War, nursing her husband and losing one of her daughter’s to cancer she always proclaimed to have had a good life. She never complained and always told us how there were always people worse off than her. I’m hoping this is something that I can remember when things don’t always go my way in life.

International Women’s Day is about celebrating those women who have achieved something. Whilst she’s not famous, she did achieve a lot. I’d like to recognise my Nan for her amazing strength in character, for overcoming adversity and family trauma, working hard and still managing to laugh through it all.

We will miss her, but her spirit and personality will never be forgotten through the stories and anecdotes that will be passed down through the generations. She lives on in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We notice certain qualities and certain traits in all of us.

I hope that I can be as strong as she was for just a short time next week at her funeral and I hope that I can do justice to her character and her memory.

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6 Reasons To Love Paris (& 3 to Not)

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The Husband and I have just got back from Paris, we all survived. We didn’t die and leave the kids orphans. Everyone coped at home although typically our youngest was sick all of the first night, throwing up in every single bed. We were oblivious, enjoying 3 nights; our longest break away from the kids ever, having a fantastic time!

It felt brilliant to have some real time away from the kids. To talk and walk at an adult pace and spend time together being someone other than “Mummy” for just 3 days. It also really made me appreciate the kids more coming home after a break.

Here’s why I love Paris:

1) Café Culture

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No matter that it was absolutely freezing cold, the Parisians insist on sitting outside, cosy beneath heaters to drink their coffee or wine and watch the world go by. I lost count of the number of pit stops we had over our weekend, but they were always a welcome break from trekking miles across the city. I love the fact that people in Paris seem to have time or MAKE time to stop and talk. I’ve done a lot of people watching this weekend and I can confirm that the Parisians spend hours and hours over lunch and dinner. They take their time to eat, drink and talk with their friends and family.

2) Language

Ahhh! There’s something so special about the French language, it’s so soft. I absolutely adore listening to French people gabbling away. I also enjoy TRYING to speak it. I’m nowhere near fluent, and I can just about get by, but I think the French really appreciate you having a go. The husband and I haven’t been to France for 3 years, but it’s amazing how, when surrounded by people speaking the language, words and phrases come back to you. Strange, odd words came back to us when we needed them like “hats” and “gloves”. I know my French leaves a lot to be desired, but I enjoyed trying to speak it and it felt a real shame when we got home thinking that we wouldn’t be speaking it again for a long time.

3) Close By

My husband is not a fan of flying and so this is the reason we’ve been to Paris 4 times together. Getting the Eurostar is such a pleasant and relaxing way to travel. It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get from London to Paris. Strange to think it could take me that time to get to Manchester and yet the difference in culture is immense. Strange also to think that it took us nearly the same amount of time to get home from London to Essex on a Sunday with the rail replacement bus service!

4) Fantastic Food and Drink

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The French love taking their time over their food and I can understand why, it’s amazing! For breakfast, lunch and dinner all of our meals were outstanding. On our last night, we stumbled across an old authentic French restaurant that hasn’t really changed since it was first opened in 1845 (photo above). They prided themselves on this and so the toilet was the old fashioned type (hole in the ground job), they didn’t accept credit or debit cards (the husband had to run out for cash) and the décor was pretty simple (red and white check table cloths). We were the only customers that weren’t French. The food was unpretentious and fantastic.

I love red wine but I tend to drink Riojca or Malbec, I’ve never really drink much French wine. But when in Paris, I drank Bordeaux and it was very good. Perhaps the French wine I’ve previously had was the cheaper stuff?!

5) Love

I’m not sure whether it’s down to all that red wine, lots of good food or just because they’re a happy bunch, but the Parisians all seemed to be in love. Most of the couples I saw whether on their own or with kids were constantly draped all over each other. I guess it’s infectious because it made The Husband and I feel a little bit romantic.

6) Artists

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Paris always has and still does seem to attract the real artist types. From painters, writers, musicians and dancers, there still seems to be this attraction to the arts which adds to the romance of the city.

Here’s a Few Minor Qualms about What I Dislike About Paris:

 1) Smoking

It’s really noticeable coming from the UK where not many people smoke now. In Paris everyone is at it. Young and old and I think this is why so many people sit outside so that they can chuff away. I used to smoke socially when I was younger but the thought of it now makes me feel sick. I was a bit annoyed with The Husband who caved in on the last day and bought a packet of cigarettes to join in.

2) Expensive

We’ve known this since our first time in Paris that it’s very expensive. A beer can cost the equivalent of £16. We naively said “yes” when asked if we wanted water with our breakfast one morning and was charged 11 Euros (about £8.50) for the priviledge! I’d love to have stayed longer in Paris, but I think we would have to re-mortgage the house.

3) No Tea

Again, this is another fact that I’m well aware of in France. They are NOT tea drinkers. As a complete addict, I found it hard, especially in the mornings not to have a cuppa to get me going. Despite asking for “The au lait” I always managed to get an odd assortment of herbal tea or hot milk or both. I guess Parisians love coffee and this is one thing we have to differ on.

On balance, I think the good definitely outweighs the bad. I love red wine, the café culture, the food and the language. I think I could have been born a Parisian.

“Could we live here?” I asked the husband. “Could we move here?”

“Not at these prices,” he grumbled.

Ultimately, I love Paris and I’m sure we’ll be back again.

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Paris And an Irrational Fear of Dying

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Tomorrow The Husband and I are off to Paris for 4 days! Alone. With NO CHILDREN!  I can barely write these words without getting giddy with excitement and feeling my heart beat faster with panic.

This trip is a big deal for us. It’s to belatedly celebrate our 40ths. There were no celebrations at all back in the summer because my father-in-law sadly died mid July, the week before my birthday.

Last year was extremely tough on all of us. It was a horrible year and we somehow muddled through.

So I know we deserve this trip. We deserve a break. We deserve some time away on our own.

But, I’m anxious. I feel worried about leaving the girls for 4 days and 3 nights. I’m anxious about all the lists and things I need to do before I go and get on that Eurostar and I’ve got a bizarre irrational fear about dying whilst we are away.

The Last Time We Went Away Alone

Whilst my husband and I go out a fair bit on our own with friends, we don’t seem to go away or even out alone together as a couple very often.

The last time we had an overnight trip without kids was for a friend’s wedding in Ireland two years ago.

Eva, our youngest was 10 months old and she was at that clingy stage where she wanted me constantly. I couldn’t even go to the toilet without her crying. So when we walked out of my in-laws house to go to the airport and I could hear her screaming, it almost broke my resolve. I was really upset, wondering if we’d done the right thing. This lasted until I was sat in the airport bar with a Gin and Tonic in hand and then I finally began to relax and forget about what was going on at home.

Things I’m Looking Forward to on This Trip:

  • Having a proper rest and a lie in until after 7am. I can’t remember the last time this happened.
  • Experiencing some quality time with The Husband. He’s been working late a lot and we barely scrap a quick conversation together before going to bed.
  • Seeing Paris again. We love the city, have been a few times and got engaged there 7 ago.
  • Enjoying some fantastic food and red wine!
  • Have I mentioned a lie in until after 7am?

Things I’m Anxious About:

  • Our 4 year old will be fine, but Eva aged 2 is a diva and can really play us up. I’m hoping that she won’t give her grandparents and auntie too much of a rough deal, because she can really be exhausting!
  • Remembering to write everything down for the routine for Nanny, Grandad, Auntie and Grandma who are between them looking after the kids over the 4 days. This mainly relates to the school and pre-school run. But what is it about mums and lists? I realise that the grandparents probably won’t even bother to read most of my ramblings, but I feel better for writing routines, favourite foods and other essential instructions down on paper, JUST IN CASE.
  • Just that small matter of my husband and I dying whilst we are in Paris and leaving the girls to be orphans. Is this a normal thing as a parent? Or is it just me? I’m not sure why, but when we went to Ireland, I had a huge irrational fear about dying and leaving the girls alone. I was convinced that the plane would come down over the Irish Sea. I even left a hand written will on the kitchen table with instructions about who was to look after our children.

I know that just as with Ireland two years ago, everything this time will be fine. I know that whilst we will miss the girls, we will have a fantastic time in an amazing city. And I know that once I’ve got a glass of something on the Eurostar I will relax and forget all about the lists and routines of back home.

I look forward to posting all about it next week! x

Super Busy MUm

 

 

7 Gadgets My Mum Never Had

Over a recent discussion with the 4 year old about radiators, my daughter was amazed to learn that not everyone has heating including her very own Nan who lived without it when she was a girl.

She was so incredulous, it got me thinking about some of the other gadgets that my mum never had, which my daughters (and I!) now take for granted.

1) No Central Heating

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Our central heating comes on at 6am and if I’m forced to get up for one of the kids before this time, I’m cold and grumpy.

I can always remember my mum telling me about how she used to get ready for school underneath the bedcovers in her freezing bedroom, with ice on the inside of the windows.

Apparently, there would be one main coal fire in the main living room which my Nan would have to get up early to light and a small electric fire in the “best” room which was used only when there were visitors. My mum had to re-light the fire when she got home from school.

2) No Fridge or Freezer

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It’s another gadget that we all take for granted right? I can’t imagine not having a fridge, and my husband would never tolerate warm beer. According to my mum they used to put milk in a bucket of cold water in the summer to stop it going off!

I’m guessing that there were daily trips to the shop as nothing stayed fresh for very long (unless it was freezing cold outside).

If I’m stuck for the kids’ tea, there is always something lurking in the depths of the freezer. Hopefully a portion of Spag Bol, but often a pizza or fish fingers and chips. I don’t know how my mum coped with sorting out our dinners daily before my parents bought their first freezer in 1978.

3) No TV

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My parents didn’t have a television until the 1960s when they were about 11. Then of course pictures were all in black and white and there was only a couple of channels to choose from.

We have 3 in our house now, which feels a bit greedy. I can remember the launch of Channel 4 and 5 which seems laughable to the selection of channels that my kids now have access to. Along with being able to connect to YouTube which is vital so that the toddler does not have to suffer the upset of sitting through adverts.

Yes it’s a luxury but more than anything what I’d love to know is how were children back in the ’60s entertained and kept quiet without resorting to the likes of Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly?

4) No Phone

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If I go out and forget to take my mobile phone, I feel lost and cut off from the world. How will people contact me? How will I see my emails? How will I see who’s done what on Facebook?

So it seems completely alien to not have a mobile let alone a landline phone. My mum says her family had a party line; a shared phone line with next door. If the neighbours were using it, my mum’s family couldn’t.

 

5) No Washing Machine and Tumble Dryer

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I do at least one load of washing a day. It is like painting the Forth Bridge; NEVER ENDING. With a toddler and a 4 year old in the house (plus a muddy golfing husband) there is always something that needs washing.

So HOW did our parents and grandparents cope without a washing machine? Did everyone sit around wearing a protective apron I wonder?

Mum says that my Nan did the washing ONCE A WEEK in the kitchen sink and apparently it was a “stressful day.” Errrr….Yes!  And if she wasn’t at school it would be my mum’s job to turn the handle of the mangle to squeeze out the water.

If the weather was too wet to hang out the washing on the line, it would dry on a clothes horse in front of the fire.

We only got our tumble dryer 3 years ago and already I can’t imagine going back to hanging our clothes up around every room in the house to dry.

6) No Shower

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Like most other people, I have a shower on a daily basis. It wakes me up in the morning and I can’t really function until I’m showered and dressed.

So how bizarre that my mum only ever had a bath and hair wash once a week! When she was little, if the bathroom was too cold the bath was put in front of the fire. Her hair would be washed over the kitchen sink on Sundays after the traditional roast dinner.

I just hope for my mum’s sake that the kitchen sink was scrubbed out of all the left over carrots, meat and peas first.

7) No Car

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According to my mum there was only one family in her street who ever had a car, it was so alien that all the kids used to just stare at it.

What about going to work? Getting to the station? Getting to the Supermarket? Doing the dreaded school run?

I guess everything was much more local then. Everyone worked locally, everyone shopped down the road and everyone went to their local school. (Don’t Start Me on This!)

 Time Savers

I could go on with this list, but we may be here for some time. I can still remember my parents buying our first microwave and now I use it several times a day (when the toddler wants her warm milk, she must have it that instant).

And when you think about it, most of these gadgets that our parents never had and we now rely on are all vital in that they save us the most precious commodity of all: TIME. We are so busy with work and other things now that we could never find time to go to the shops every day to make a fresh meal every evening or spend a whole day washing a week’s worth of clothes.

What Will Our Kids Not Believe About Us?

Gadgets, Ipad, Mobile Phone

As strange as the lack of shower and washing machine are to us now, it makes me wonder what our kids will find bizarre when they’re older about the things that we never had. Will they find it unbelievable that we grew up without an IPad, laptop, DVD player and computer?

I guess you never miss what you don’t have, but it’s amazing how quickly you get used to gadgets that you can then never do without. I could never be without my mobile phone or laptop or tumble dryer now.

This has been an interesting exercise and one that I’ve enjoyed talking to my mum about. If nothing else, it really makes me appreciate that the next time I’m dealing with a mammoth meltdown from the toddler or I’m not sure how I’m going to juggle work with the kids, I can at least still wash myself and my hair in the shower instead of in the kitchen sink!

Thanks Mum!

Any other gadgets that I’ve missed? Any that you can remember not having as a child that you couldn’t be without now? I’d love to hear from you. x

 

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My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
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My Petit Canard

7 Reasons Why Running Could Be For Me

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Last month I wrote a post about how I’d started running. The first few runs were horrendous. I had no idea what I was doing.

Well it’s been 6 weeks to the day since I’ve started. Despite one set back with a knee injury, I’ve been running at least once a week. I can still say with absolute conviction that it terrifies me and I still have to build myself up to getting out the front door.

BUT something has happened. I’m not enjoying it yet, but I can feel my body getting used to it, or perhaps resigned to it. I can run further than I did on week one without having to stop and walk.

Thinking about it some more, here’s why running could be the thing for me:

1. It’s Free. There’s no expensive payments to a class that I end up not going to or even more expensive payments to a gym that I see even less. There’s no expensive equipment needed. All that’s required is some trainers (I found mine at the back of my cupboard from when I last joined the gym in 2010) and some suitable clothes. My running gear was bought for me as a Christmas present, but you could just as easily run in joggers or leggings.

2. Time to Myself. I love my kids, but they are hard work and so any break that I get from them is something of a treat. Even if it is to run round the block. For half an hour, I can savour time on my own usually thinking through everything going on in my head enjoying the peace of the countryside without having to referee any arguments about which colour fork each daughter is having for their tea.

3. It Fits in Flexibly. For ages I was looking for a yoga class that suited my daily routine. But every class I could find was either mid-morning or 9 o’clock at night. Now I can run whenever I want. Normally this means running at the weekend when the husband can have the kids, but if I get a quiet week with work, I can run whilst the kids are at school / pre-school.

4. I Can Go at My Own Pace. Yes, even if it means walking. I’ve always felt a bit intimidated by gyms and even the thought of joining a class is bit of a worry as I’d probably be the dunce of the group. Running means I can go at my own pace and I don’t have to worry about holding anyone else back.

5. Feel Great. Once I’ve got back to the house, slumped into a chair, regained control of my breathing and had a drink of water, I do eventually feel good. It always feels like another mini win, another little achievement that I have actually completed another run. I’ve actually got off my arse and done some exercise. Also if I get out first thing in the day, it seems to set me up for the rest of the day; I feel like I can tackle anything.

6. Fresh Air. There’s something good about exercising out in the fresh air rather than being stuck inside a sweaty box of a room. A couple of weeks ago I was out running on a beautiful, bright, cold day. The sun was coming up over the fields and it looked stunning. At the moment, I am still running the same route, but the thought of being able to eventually change routes and see some different places inspires me to keep going.

7. Motivation to Run Quicker. It’s normally about half way through my route that I feel like death and want to stop. To keep going, I remind myself that the sooner I get back home the sooner it will all be over. I can’t yet make it the whole way without walking, but this is my aim.

I’ve never thought of myself as a runner, and I still don’t. It has always scared me and still does. But I’m getting some regular exercise and as these 7 reasons show why, it is a little bit rewarding.

I just need to stick with it and keep on running.

Here’s to the next 6 weeks and beyond!

You Baby Me Mummy

Mums In Pyjamas

slippers

In the news last week it was reported that a head teacher had written a letter home to parents to politely ask them to get dressed in the mornings rather than turn up at the school gate in pyjamas and slippers.

Whilst many parents supported the head teacher, there was an outcry from some parents who were annoyed at being told what to do and in protest turned up to the school gates in pyjamas and dressing gowns.

I read this in a state of disbelief. How had a letter escalated into such an argument about Pyjamas?

Less than a Minute

I normally like to sit on the fence about such news stories and try to see both sides of the story, but with this, I have to say I completely agree with the school! Is it really unreasonable to ask that parents turn up to school in some form of clothes? Even if you can’t be bothered to have a shower or put make up on, it takes less than a minute to pull on a pair of jeans and a jumper!

I’m not meaning to judge anybody and don’t get me wrong, I know that we are all busy trying to juggle and manage everything in the mornings. I have had several months of utter hell on the school run trying to get my eldest daughter to school last term. Which, when you throw a feisty toddler into the mix, can be incredibly stressful. But I still managed to get through this all whilst wearing some clothes.

Why I Don’t Agree

Here’s why I sympathise with the head teacher:

  1. Kids will want to do the same. If your kids think it’s ok to leave the house in pyjamas then they will want to do it too. Back in November if I had left the house wearing pyjamas on the school run, I would never have got my eldest daughter dressed into her uniform. She would have argued the point that why should she get out of her pyjamas when mummy was still wearing hers. And that’s kind of a fair point!
  2. Getting dressed sets you up for the day. I think it affects you mentally. If I were to stay in my pyjamas all day, I would mentally feel in a relaxed mode and never get anything done. I work from home and whilst I know that other people can do this in their dressing gowns, for me, I would never be properly in the zone if I was sitting around in my PJs all day!
  3. Setting an example. It shows a bad example to your child for years to come. OK there’s plenty of days when I’m tired, I can’t bear the thought of getting up and getting dressed, but we all have to do it. At some point our children will have to go for a job interview and go to work every single day of the week in clothes. It’s one thing to laze around on a Sunday in PJs, but in the normal working week, it gives children the wrong impression about what they are expected to do. We might not like going to work, they might not like going to school. But we have to do it.
  4. Plain Lazy? Call me harsh, but as I’ve mentioned, if time is short it just takes a few minutes to pull on yesterday’s jeans and top.

 

Since the Argument

What has shocked me more than the inability to get dressed is that the row has since escalated with some parents removing their children from class and others directing “vile abuse” to the head teacher. How incredibly sad and shocking. It’s sad that a head teacher is no longer able to make a polite request to parents without receiving a barrage of nasty abuse. It’s even more outrageous because the abuse was directed at the teacher in front of the children.

How unbelievably depressing for those children. How distressing must it be for those kids to be witness their parents screaming vile insults at their teacher? What sort of message does that send to those kids? Surely after seeing such behaviour, those children will not only think it’s OK to leave the house in nightclothes, but they will also believe it is fair to act violently with anyone that doesn’t agree with their views.

Whatever you think about the initial argument, there can be no denying that this is a step too far.

 

Would love to know what others think. Are you a mum on the school run in pyjamas? Do you agree or disagree?

 

You Baby Me Mummy

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