Wine With Your School Run?

Wine on The School Run?

A recent article in The Daily Telegraph talked about how mums on the school run are now so stressed that they are turning to a glass of wine rather than a cup of tea to calm down. I read this with some amusement, whilst I’ve not (yet) cracked open a bottle at 9.30am, I can completely relate to the level of stress that the school run causes.

I’m a mere novice, I’ve only been on the school run for 7 weeks since my eldest daughter started school in September. However during that time I’ve often felt like I was going to burst a blood vessel. Here’s 5 reasons why I dread the school run:

1) The Battle – My daughter hasn’t exactly taken to school like a duck to water. She reminds me every morning that she’d rather stay at home. When it’s almost time to leave the house, she tries every trick in the book to avoid going. She runs upstairs and hides, she takes her shoes and clothes off, she refuses to get off the toilet, she cries and she throws a strop. And all the time the clock is ticking…..

2)  Late – No matter how early I get up or how early we start the routine, the daily battle and drama in getting to school    means we are always running late. If I’m out the door and in the car at 8.20am I’m winning. If it’s just 10 minutes later we’ve had it.

3)  Heart Break – Every morning on the school run my heart breaks a little more as my daughter sobs her way into the class room. The “How Could You” look she gives me as I turn to leave just kills me and the emotional upset stays with me long into the afternoon.

4) The Toddler – In addition to the battle with my 4 year old, I have to drag my feisty 2 year old in and out of the car 4 times a day. To be fair, she’s normally very good at getting ready on time, but at the school end she refuses to get in the buggy. So I often find myself trying to stop her running out into the road whilst coaxing and cajoling my eldest daughter to “keep walking.” The afternoon pick up can be fine if the toddler has had a sleep. If she hasn’t, it soon becomes a tired, argumentative, emotional mess.

5) Parking – Just to be clear, I never envisaged or wanted to use the car on the school run. Our local school is less than a 10 minute walk away and we were shocked not to get a place there (but that’s another story). So whilst I don’t like it, I’m getting on with the driving, but I still find parking an issue, especially if we are late. In 7 weeks I’ve only had 1 nasty note left on my car about parking but after the emotional trauma of the morning, it was enough to tip me over the edge.

It’s easy to see how parents are more stressed on the school run, the emotional, organisational and logistical trauma is enough to get the blood pressure rising all before 9am. I’m hoping things will get easier for us as the weeks go on, in the meantime, give me a cuppa and a biscuit to calm down, I’ll save the wine for when the kids are in bed and I can enjoy a glass or three in peace!

Do you suffer from school run stress? Have you resorted to or thought about wine in the morning? I’d love to hear how everyone else is getting on.

 

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The List

Guilt and our Demanding Lives

 

Feeling Guilty
Feeling Guilty? You’re Not Alone

I’ve spoken to lots of friends recently who are all suffering with the same type of disease: guilt. It seems that the everyday demands seems to be a constant worry and source of guilt for many women in today’s world.

What are we Feeling Guilty About?

Everything and anything judging by the conversations I’ve been having. From not spending enough time with the extended family to not eating healthily or doing enough exercise. Becoming a parent makes the guilt sky-rocket. I quite often feel guilty about the effects of what I’m doing is having on my kids. Am I being too strict? Not strict enough? Not giving them enough attention? I’ve spoken to working mums who are feeling guilty about not spending enough time with their children and full-time mums that are worrying about not giving their children enough stimulation. I’ve even had conversations with some women who are feeling guilty about not spending enough time on the chores or work around the house.

My Personal Guilt List

At the moment my guilty worry list consists of the following:

  • Losing my patience with my eldest daughter on a daily basis in the battle to get her to go to school.
  • Juggling working from home with every spare scrap of time that I have, and worrying about the impact on my children.
  • Not seeing enough of all my friends.
  • Not visiting my nan enough.

Why?

So why are so many of us feeling guilty for so much of the time? I’m no expert but I think a lot of the problem is down to how busy we all are and how demanding our lives have become. It seems that everything is competing for our time and attention and we are being pulled apart by the strains. We are constantly trying to juggle work, children, relationships as well as the mundane chores and feel a huge sense of guilt if we can’t meet all of these things or give them all the dedicated time they deserve. Technology may well help ease some of the problems in our lives, but can ironically add to the guilt too. I often find that a “quick” check of my email on my phone whilst spending time with the kids sucks me into a whole host of nonsense on Facebook and it can be some time before I’m snapped back into reality and then immediately feel guilty about it.

How to Lose The Guilt

I read an article the other day that said we all need to treat ourselves more kindly and stop being so hard on ourselves; we are all doing the best that we can to get by. If we could only talk to ourselves like we would a friend who was asking for help we would be better off.  We need to acknowledge that we are not perfect and we can’t always give our all to everyone all of the time. We need to give ourselves a break, it’s a tough enough trying to get on in this world without dragging ourselves down!

Do you agree? I’d love to hear what you think about guilt.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The List

Down On The Farm

Down On The Farm

After a week of everyone in our household being ill, a few days away over the half term break is just what we all needed. We went to stay with my husband’s aunt and uncle on a farm in south Wales. There was no phone signal as we drove through the village and I wondered how we would cope over the next few days with no contact with the outside world.

Food

We arrived at lunch time and Frances was busy making lunch. Not sandwiches or a salad, but a full on pie dinner followed by ice cream. We soon realised that food dominates heavily and over the course of the following days we were constantly being fed from cooked breakfasts in the morning, huge 3 course dinners for lunch, freshly baked cakes mid- afternoon then later on supper of pizza or cheese and biscuits. Cooking is more than just a way of being the perfect hostess, food is fuel and the work on farm is physical. At 73, Ken is still getting up at 6am and going straight out to do work on the farm. I can’t see him ever retiring, farming is simply a way of life.

Nostalgic

After our first heavy lunch, we set out to walk off our food. The kids were delighted that Meg, the 3 legged dog would be joining us. We walked through fields of cows and sheep down to the river. The beautiful views seemed to stretch on and on, Frances told us that they own almost 200 acres and it was breath-taking to look out over the valleys and fields and think about how little this place had changed over the last few hundred years.

My husband got quite nostalgic as he remembered long summer days playing with his cousins out in the woods and fields all days, only ever coming back to the farm to be fed. We did a huge circular walk which little legs Eva coped well with, and ended up by a lovely looking old house where my mother-in-law was born and grew up. It felt weird looking at this house to think that this is where the family all hailed from. The kids couldn’t quite believe that this was where Grandma lived when she was a little girl.

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The house where Grandma lived.

Male-Dominated

The next day the kids got a ride on the tractor and quad bike with Uncle Ken which they absolutely loved. Ken was going to the cattle market in the nearby village and we decided that we’d go with him. It was fascinating to watch the auctioneers sell the livestock even if we had no idea what was being said. I noticed there was hardly any women at the market and it brought it home to me that there is a really strong culture in the farming world in which men still dominate. Other than technology, not much has changed over the years. It seems to me to be a very lonely and insular way of life, you eat, sleep and work all in the same place and may not see much of other people. But one other hand, as I saw at the cattle market, there is a huge sense of community. The farmers all know and look out for each other and they have known each other for years; there was plenty of stories going around about the fun and antics they got up to whilst growing up.

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Stepping Back in Time

We only stayed on the farm for 2 nights but it really felt like a proper break. No texts or constant checking of the mobile phone felt like we were stepping back in time. It meant we only had to concentrate on the conversation, views and farm way of life and I loved it.

In Sickness and In Sickness……

In Sickness and In Sickness

We are all in recovery. This past week every member of our household has fallen ill. It started with Alice, she picked up one of the hundreds of germs doing the rounds at school and it rapidly turned into Tonsillitis. Our plans last Saturday for a much needed catch up with friends in Ealing was cancelled and the next day I woke up barely able to swallow. The doctor confirmed that I also had tonsillitis despite the fact that my tonsils had been removed 20 years ago. My youngest daughter came down with a virus and upset stomach and my husband had the worst of it all….a cold.

I always know when I’m ill when I can’t drink my beloved cups of tea or read a book. The days have blurred into one with most waking moments spent in front of children’s TV. It will never be too soon before I have to watch another episode of Mickey Mouse Club House or the ridiculous Grandpa in My Pocket. And because we have all been stuck indoors with severe cabin fever, quarantined from seeing any friends or visitors, the arguments and bickering started to escalate. Not just the kids but between the husband and I too.

Depressed

That’s the horrible thing about feeling ill, you start to get really down with it as well. Everything feels like a huge effort and you think that it will last forever. This past week I’ve been thinking constantly about all the things I should be doing whether it be working on my freelance business, writing a blog post or simply doing chores around the house, but I just didn’t have the energy to face any of it.

The lack of fresh air, different surroundings and interaction with other people all made me feel incredibly low. Annoyingly, this together with the constant lying around on the sofa only amplifies the little voice that you normally quash when you’re feeling stronger and more confident. You know those self-depreciating little questions like “What am I doing with my life?” “Should I even bother trying to continue freelancing?” and “I really should be trying to do something fun or educational with the kids rather than just watching another episode of Grandpa in My Pocket.” ETC. ETC.

I was annoyed to have to cancel a girls’ night out and miss out on some meetings at Alice’s school. But mostly this week I was sad to miss out on her first ever parents’ evening. I’d really been looking forward to this not only to find out how Alice is progressing, but also to satisfy my constant curiosity to find out just what goes on at school every day!

 The Simple Pleasures

Just when I thought Alice would never gain any colour in her face or that I would ever feel like eating food again, the antibiotics suddenly started to kick in and little by little I began to feel human and I noticed some slight improvements with everyone else too. Yesterday was our first time out of the house in 8 days. We went to the park, fed the ducks and stopped at a café for tea. It’s funny how something so basic can seem so significant. I felt strange and a little wobbly at first to be outside again, but the simple pleasures of being in the fresh air on a mild autumn day watching the kids play and seeing the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees all made me smile and think of the positives in life. Illnesses and negative thoughts are now banished. I’m on the mend and on the up!

Hope you keep well and avoid the germs out there!

When Hero-Worship Turns Sinister

Hero-Worship
Can hero-worship ever be healthy?

We all have people in the public eye that we admire and damn it, perhaps even want to BE. Over the years the objects of my admiration have ranged from Wonder Woman to Kate Bush to more recently authors Maggie O’Farrell and Kate Atkinson. But what happens when the object of our admiration turns into something a bit darker? Something verging on obsession?

Other Freelancers

As a freelance copywriter, I turned to Twitter about a year ago to find some other like-minded people. It has been good to find so many women in similar situations that are mums like me trying to juggle parenting with work. I was immediately entranced by one of these ladies. She had a range of high profile clients, an inspiring and well-written blog and in short seemed to be successful at everything she turned her hand to. I started following her on all forms of social media and got a unique insight into her life. I thought about her a lot. I was happy for her success and ever so slightly envious. I wanted what she had and, yes, I suppose at times, I even wanted to be her.

I asked her some questions about her business and was delighted when she replied. It wasn’t quite like receiving a reply from Kate Bush, but it wasn’t too far from it. When I found myself commenting on a post that she’d shared about her lunch, I realised that things had gone a bit too far. I was turning into a stalker and I needed to get my own life back. I unfollowed her on a few social media streams and took a step back.

I still keep an eye on her and what she’s up to (a new book deal beckons!) but my hero-worship is more in check now.

Not So Bad Being Me

I’ve learnt that no matter what you do in terms of work or personal life, there will always be people who are better. Whilst it’s healthy to have ambition and aspire to them, it’s important to not lose focus on who you are and what you are doing. We are all unique and we need to do whatever it is we do in our own individual style.

Whilst I know it’s natural to assume that the grass is always greener, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing a job I love that fits in very well around my family life and it’s growing. Maybe one day I’ll get to the giddy heights of similar successes to my girl crush, but in the meantime, it’s not so bad being me. Any success I have now will be all the sweeter for doing it my way.

I’d love to know if you admire or hero-worship anybody and if it’s a healthy admiration or bordering on obsession?

THAT Beach Body Advertising Campaign Hits New York

Beach Ready

Many of you will have seen the uproar in the press about this controversial advertising campaign by Protein World promoting a dietary supplement, asking if Women are “Beach Body Ready.”

My first reaction on seeing this poster on the London Underground a few weeks ago was one of incredulity. As a marketer and woman I find this kind of advertising offensive, ridiculous and just plain lazy. I naively believed that advertising which focuses on women having perfect, glamorous bodies was a thing of the distant past.

The reaction in London was instant: hundreds of thousands of people protested on Twitter. Over 70,000 people signed a petition to get the posters removed which eventually proved successful but not before many of them were vandalised with alternative messages such as “Stop Guilt Tripping Women!” “Love Your Body” and “F*ck Off”.

New York

Now, just this week, the same poster campaign has arrived in New York. The brand’s marketing executive has proclaimed:

“It’s a big middle finger to everybody who bothered to sign that stupid petition in the UK.”

This reaction just absolutely amazes me. The comment tops off a murky campaign, selling in my opinion a dodgy product, with staff reacting bizarrely.

Reversing the Trend for Real Women

With recent advertising campaigns by the likes of Dove beauty and clothing company Simply Be, it felt like we were making great strides in being able to celebrate that we are all unique, we all have imperfect bodies but who cares!  So that’s why the advertising campaign by Protein World feels like a complete reverse in this trend and is so thoroughly depressing.

Real women are not stick thin with huge boobs. Real women have cellulite, wobbly tummies, stretch marks and flabby bottoms. Our bodies, including all of our imperfections tell a story about who we are and where we’ve come from, whether they are stretch marks from pregnancy, scars from an operation, birthmarks we are born with or meaningful tattoos. Real women have not been air brushed to an inch of their life and are being plastered all over London and New York as a form of something that we should aspire to. Why should we be made to feel that this is our main aim in life?

Who Doesn’t Feel Bikini Nervous?

Most women feel nervous about going on a beach holiday in the equivalent of what is really just bra and knickers. When else do we ever get so near naked in front of so many other people? Just 2 months ago, I went abroad with my family and remember having the same nervous thought of stripping off most of my clothing in full view of the beach to show bits of my pale, nowhere near “Beach Body Ready” body.

This poster campaign is irresponsible because it is tapping into those niggling insecurities that all of us have. The difference is that I would never look at using a “supplement” to replace a meal, but a 16 year old girl who is far less confident about her body might. How many women would this advertising campaign affect negatively? Many may have seen these posters and felt despondent about their own bodies but how many would have felt driven to do something drastic like stop eating?

As a mum to two small girls, I’m grateful that they are still young enough to not be affected by this campaign, or to have seen the uproar on social media. But if I was a mum to teenagers, I’d be worried, fuming and also signing that petition.

No Such Thing as Bad PR?

Protein World has garnered so much coverage albeit mostly negative publicity that I have wondered if all of this controversy has been deliberately set up. There’s no such thing as bad publicity – right? But I’m not so sure that I’d want my business to be surrounded by such bad feeling or bad opinion about its product.

Something seems so inherently wrong when a company can manage to piss off so many of its key target audience and then strike fear and anxiety as a way of making a sale from the rest of its target market.

The reaction of the marketing executive about the London campaign was bad enough, but apparently the CEO  has devoted much of his time and energy into retweeting his supposed supporters with tweets such as “I don’t care if he believes what he says, pissing so many feminists off at one go is brilliant.”  How nice.

What Next?

The world will be watching for New York’s reaction. I only hope they are as loud, outspoken and so united in their vehement disapproval as London. Maybe only then will Protein World and their delightful staff realise that they may just have to change their approach.

Do you think this is all a storm over nothing? Believe it’s a huge PR stunt or do agree that it was right to have this advertising campaign banned from the London Underground? I’d love to know your views, please leave a comment below.

Busy Busy Bee

Busy Bees in Work and Social Life

I’ve just looked at my calendar today and realised that I don’t have a free weekend spare now until the middle of August! How can it be possible that I have something booked in every weekend for practically a quarter of the year? It feels ridiculous, but yet somehow fairly easy to achieve when you consider there’s always friends and family to see, holidays, kids’ parties and two milestone birthdays in the next few months ahead of us.

I know some people like having a busy social life, but I’m not a fan of always having something planned and my husband absolutely hates it; you begin to almost feel like you’re constrained by the diary and can’t do anything spontaneous.

Never Enough Time

Many of us are now busier than ever. Busy juggling work, children, the daily commute, school pick-ups and drop offs not to mention the inane household chores, time really does become the most precious of commodities. Yes, it’s important to stay in touch with friends and catch up with the family, but I really do believe that sometimes it’s just as important to stop, take stock and breathe. Time to just chill out, think and do whatever it is that YOU want to do.

Too many of us are concerned about trying to please other people or minimise offending others, so we rush around chaotically trying to do everything to please other people, to fit everything in and often neglect ourselves.

Work

It’s not just family and social life that this all applies too, but work too. I know people who always seem to be absolutely manic. As a freelancer, I’m fortunate enough right now to be busy but not swamped, but I know other freelancers who are fraught, trying to juggle their life around work because they don’t want to turn projects down. Like our social lives, it’s just as important to take stock and look at the situation. I wrote recently about how I’ve just gained the confidence to turn work down that I don’t think is of value either financially or in terms of the type of work I want to focus on. Whatever the nature of your work, whether it’s full time, part time or freelancing, I think it’s always really worthwhile to stop every now and then and look at what we’re doing. Are there some projects or some bits of work that can be delegated to someone else or delayed or abandoned all together? All too often we run around like headless chickens being busy that sometimes a bit of time out to re-assess can really help us get back on track and be more productive.

Be a Little Selfish

It’s important to every now and then, be a little bit selfish. Think about what you want to do. That and learn to say no to people more often. The other thing that I need to do more often is to plan free weekends into the diary. Free from making commitments, free from seeing other people and free to do what we as a family want to do. I used to work with a girl who every couple of months would plan with her husband to have a weekend spent “pulling up the drawbridge”, they wouldn’t go out and no one else would come in, and they would spend that weekend how they pleased together.

We’re all busy, but I hope this post at least makes you stop and think awhile. As John Lennon said “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Are you a busy bee?  Do you like having lots to do and being on the go? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Family Holiday, Memory Maker

Family Holiday

This time tomorrow I will be off on a flight to Lanzarote! I can’t wait for a bit of sunshine and a break from the usual routine. This holiday is unusual because there will be 14 of us. Yes you did read that right – 14! My mum and dad are very kindly treating my 2 sisters and I plus all of our respective families to a week in the sun.

People’s reactions to the trip tend to fall into one of two categories: laughter or horror. Many can’t understand why on earth I’d travel abroad with my entire immediate family complete with 6 small children aged 5 or under. Yes, I guess there is a potential for arguments and yes, I hope we can all have a fabulous time and manage to return back to the UK still talking.

Of course with so many children mostly of toddler age, it is hardly going to be a quiet affair. There will probably be at least 1 child having a meltdown about something at any one given time.

So Why?

So why on earth are we doing this? Other than the sunshine, I truly believe this holiday will be a real memory maker for my 3 year old daughter. For one thing she’s never been on an aeroplane before. I can’t wait to see how she’s going to react to being up in the air. Secondly she absolutely adores her 4 cousins, 2 of whom are older or younger than her by just a few weeks. These 3 girls always get on well together but they’ve never been with each other for longer than a morning or afternoon. So to be spending a full week in each other’s company is going to be really exciting for them. No doubt they’ll be the odd spat, but I really believe that this holiday will cement an already beautiful friendship. At 3, I’m hoping that this holiday will be a strong memory that my eldest daughter will treasure forever.

My 21 month old daughter will probably not remember this trip, but she will undoubtedly love spending time with all of her favourite people. If the weather is kind, our water baby will also love the outdoor pool that we have at our villa.

I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with the kids but also the adults too. It will be great to catch up properly with my sisters, their husbands, my parents and my own husband too! Sometimes everyday life churns on so quickly that you don’t get the real chance to sit, take stock, relax and talk properly.

I’ll report back in a week or so and let you know all about our family holiday.

Never Knowingly Undersold

Don't undervalue yourself as a freelancer

About a week ago, I lost out on a fair sized freelancing job because I undersold myself.  I was talking to a prospective client on the phone and when the subject of my costs came up, I gave an approximate figure. There was a silence from the other end. This I’ve come to learn is the first rule of valuing yourself: Hold firm! Don’t fill the silence! But as the seconds ticked on, I felt the need to impress and show my efficiency so I uttered the fateful words “Of course, I may even be able to do the work in less time and therefore my price would be X.”

Stupidly, I’d gone lower when the client was in fact expecting a higher price! The client in this case was fortunately completely honest and told me the price he would usually look to pay. It’s perhaps no coincidence that I didn’t win that work. By undervaluing myself I probably didn’t install much confidence that I could do the job to a decent standard. Luckily for me, he has taken me on for another project.

Turning Work Down

On a similar note, I was recently offered two regular freelancing jobs. Both blog writing for two very different clients. I thought long and hard about them before turning them both down. Why? Because it would have been a fair amount of work, commitment and in one of the cases – research into a subject matter that I didn’t know about, for not very much pay. If it was a one off job, I probably would have done it, but I didn’t want to be tied into work that takes up a lot of time for when other projects hopefully start to come in.

It’s all about getting the balance right and this is yet another tricky element of the freelancing world; weighing up whether you can afford to take on the work or afford to turn it down. There’s a risk of not knowing what’s around the next corner, but I believe you’ve got to give yourself a certain value. You’ve got to place a value on yourself and your time.

A Life Lesson

Surely the principle of valuing yourself isn’t just a rule for freelancing, but life in general too? Whether you’re thinking about finding a new full-time job, or even when meeting a new friend, a new partner or buying a new house. The notion still applies even if we aren’t fully aware of it. How much do we want this? How much time and effort are we prepared to put in with it? What will you get from it in the long term? How much do you value yourself?

The Moral of The Story

There are several lessons and I’m still getting to grips with them:

  • Know your self-worth. In terms of freelancing this means having a clear understanding in your head of your rate of pay. Whether it’s an hourly, daily or project rate.
  • There is probably more to a project than meets the eye. A brief chat with a client on the phone will only convey so much. Once you get going with a task there is likely to be more work to do such as research, admin and meetings. You need to think about these extra tasks before committing yourself and a price to a client.
  •  Think about the long term and what you want. A regular freelancing gig may initially seem great, but if it’s not paying well it may later become a burden and a cross to bear.

What do you think? Freelancers do you agree with me? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!

A Dedication to All Mums for Mother’s Day

Mother's Day     Being a mum is hard work. Whether you’re a brand new mum who is still finding her feet with the joys of sleep deprivation, a worn out mum who is dealing with a feisty toddler or a mum worrying about her grown up children.

Whatever the situation and however old your children are, there always seems something to worry about. Worry about whether your kids are OK and worry about whether you’re doing the right thing too. It’s exhausting!

In honour of Mother’s Day, I dedicate this post to you, lovely mums. I know so many different mums who are all facing different situations and all facing a battle of some sort. I’ve identified 6 types of mum and I know at least 2 mums from each group. Read on to see if you can recognise yourself in here, because this is especially for you:

The New Mum: Possibly a first time mum or a new mum who is also struggling to cope with entertaining an older sibling. The lack of sleep is a shock to the system as are the demands of feeding and trying to figure out general routines. Mums who have their second or subsequent new baby face a shock because they’re trying to figure out how on earth they can satisfy the demands of a screaming baby, but placate their feisty toddler too – tricky!

The Full Time Working Mum: I know several full time working mums who are all getting up at the crack of dawn to drop their kids off at nursery before doing an often long commute to get into the office. They must feel like they’ve done a day’s work before sitting at their desk. And then running for the train on the way home, praying for no delays in order to pick up their kids and start the bedtime routine. They have my greatest respect, I really don’t know how they do it.

The Incomplete Mum: These mums have lost a child too soon. They will never be the same again. Despite getting up and putting on a brave face every day, a piece of them is missing. I can’t even begin to imagine how they must feel, they are true heroes.

The Juggling Work & Juggling Kids Mum: Whether they are working part time, freelancing or working from home, these mums struggle to fit in work and kids. They’re cramming every spare child free moment with trying to sort out work. Whilst the kids are in child care they are working, when the kids are in front of the TV they are answering emails. All too often they feel like they aren’t doing anything to the best of their ability; work and parenting feels like half measures and they often wish they could do both a bit better.

The Stay at Home Mum:  Teacher, carer, entertainer, nurse; the list goes on for the role of the full time mum. Some days can be rewarding, fun and memorable. The bad days can be exhausting, mind-numbing, out of control and damn right horrible. Dealing with tantrums, sickness, general bad behaviour and not talking to another adult for 12 hours can be excruciating. I know plenty of mums who on occasion have cried, screamed and felt like walking out and never coming back.

The Empty Nest Mum: Having devoted most of their life to their children, these mums are suddenly facing having more time on their hands. Whether the kids are all now at school, university or left home, these mums may feel at a bit of a loss … or they might be dancing round the kitchen looking forward to their new-found freedom. Either way, it’s a sudden lifestyle change that can be as daunting as it might be exhilarating. After so many years, what to do next?

Whatever type of mum you are, it can be tough. Everyone’s struggling with every day issues and problems that can be very small and minor or huge and life changing.

Whatever your situation, I hope you all manage to take a bit of time to relax and enjoy Mother’s Day, because you all deserve it, you’re doing a wonderful job!  Xx