18 September 2014

MADS: The Rivals

My goodness, is it really September already? The kids have gone back to school, the first leaves are falling from the trees and not only that......the MAD Blog Awards are a mere 36 hours away!

I'm not sure if I'm in denial or a state of shock but even after 4 months (that's how long ago the finalists were announced) I am still regularly reading that list, checking that I didn't dream it all. But there it is, in black and white, nestled amongst so many fabulous blogs - proper ones, written by people who can craft a stonking good post that I actually choose to read on a regular basis - 3 Children and It. 

If you're not familiar with who I'm up against in the School Days category, you should be. Seriously, these blogs are absolutely worth a read and once you've checked them out, you will understand why I am constantly questioning my right to be there....

Adventures of an Unfit Mother. This lady has been a finalist for the last 3 years and actually took the crown in 2011 and 2012. I discovered her blog a long time ago and have shared it on my Friday Favourites a number of times because I just love it. Her personality oozes out of every post and I can't wait to meet her. I already know she's my kind of gal and I think she might be yours too - go and check her outtt! 

Mum of Three WorldSarah is my original blogging buddy, someone I was instantly drawn to, mainly because she has three children of very similar ages to mine. But over the last 2 years, I've realised we have so much more in common - the way we parent, both married to someone who owns a business and we are total grammar bores. The fact that she's an avid runner, can't cook and only ever wears Superdry clothing is inconsequential - I'm sharing a room with her at the awards so I had better stop there! Suffice to say, if you like my blog, I know you will enjoy hers.

Actually Mummy. Helen is a blogging veteran (as in professional, not old!). For the most part, Actually Mummy is written as the diary of her 9 year old daughter - 'the loquacious school girl'. It's a genius read and incredibly well crafted. Having followed their antics for the last 2 years, I now feel as though I know (and like) Helen's children - the sign of a great blog in my opinion. Did I forget to mention that she was a MADs winner in 2012?! She is also an all-round good egg who is a great encourager and there to help whenever she can.

But Why Mummy Why. As last year's winner of the School Days category, I've left this fabulous lady until last. Morgana's children are a little younger than the rest of ours but her sentiments are similar - laugh at yourself, publish loads of incriminating photos and above all else, share life in all its (gory) fullness. If that isn't enough to whet your appetite, Morgana is co-founder of 'The Bad Mums Club'!

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You see....they're all fabulous in their own right and I for one am extremely proud to have my name squeezed in amongst them. Despite my unbelief, some of you must have voted for me and for that, I will be forever grateful - grassing up the kids and ridiculing oneself publicly, is clearly where it's at!

So, enough of the self-doubt and on with the party!  Follow me on Instagram and I'm pretty sure you'll get a good flavour of the evening. I'm told that Dr Ranj is hosting again - what better excuse do you need?! 

PS This is the kind of thing my kids get up to in my absence; let's just hope they're still alive on my return!

A somewhat tenuous link today but I am hugely proud to be a finalist in the MAD Blog Awards and appreciate every one of your votes. Our 'Loud n Proud' host today is Julie from Mama Owl. Pop over and link up your achievements/proud moments. 

Mama Owl

16 September 2014

Why I Will Always Be a Helicopter Parent (Life Rule No. 3)

helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter) is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead. (Wikipedia)

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When I first began the intrepid adventure of 'life as a school-gate mum', I remember over-hearing a conversation which made a lasting impression on me.

One particular mum (a few years ahead in the game than me) was sharing her sudden realisation that no one in the world would ever fight for her child, quite like she would. The detail is hazy but in essence, if it wasn't for this mother's persistence, no one would have discovered the extent to which her daughter was being bullied.

That was almost a decade ago and I've never forgotten the sentiment. So much so that this mother's story is the reason behind my third 'Life Rule'.....

I will always fight my child's corner. 

This particular parenting stance isn't very popular these days. Being labelled a 'helicopter parent' and ridiculed for swooping in and 'rescuing' when the going gets tough is common place. 

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I'm not a soft touch. In fact my first 'Life Rule' pays testament to that: 'Never do anything for your child that they can do for themselves'. But I'm not talking about running up to the school with a forgotten PE kit or making my 12 year old's bed when she's perfectly capable of doing it herself, I'm talking about fighting my child's corner when instinct beckons.

Just last week, The Boy returned home from school muttering something about his new teacher. Being a typical boy, he doesn't usually offer much information about what goes on between the hours of 9-3, so I paid close attention. He proceeded to explain that his teacher had told him off three times over the last two days, for things he hadn't done. 

Now I know as well as the next parent, that things can be misconstrued and that any child who thinks they are in danger of getting into trouble will deny all kinds of things. But I figured that he didn't have to tell me what had happened as she had already (rightly or wrongly) punished him. And it bothered me. It bothered me a lot. The Boy isn't usually in trouble and it would be very uncharacteristic of him to be persistently disruptive in class. 

I considered going to speak to his new teacher, to find out her take on things but I quickly started to question my motives....to question what the school would think...to question whether I would be labelled the 'over-protective parent' and whether in fact my son could be glossing over the truth. Then I remembered the conversation above, the promise I had made all those years ago to fight for my child against all the odds. 

So it seemed only fair to give his teacher the opportunity to give her side of the story and I think my son deserved a hearing too. Of course it's not all that clear exactly what happened - it never is - but I felt better for instigating the conversation and she was receptive and seemingly 'happy' to speak to me. 

Whether I have done my reputation (or his) some damage, is still in question. But I feel very strongly that as parents, we should be more confident in following our instincts. We should never feel intimidated, or allow ourselves to be ridiculed by a label. It's for this reason that I will continue to investigate and will always fight my child's corner when the need arises - no one else is going to.

What do you think of the term 'helicopter parent'?  Do you live in fear of being labelled or are you more than happy to speak up when necessary? I would love to hear your views....

13 September 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 week 37

I'm going to apologise now....this week's photos are boring. Fact. This week we've concentrated on getting back into the groove school-wise and the early mornings have taken their toll on all of us....so much so that I kept forgetting to take photos! And there's no Reggie - second fail.

There's a distinct absence of The Tween in this week's collage too, partly because she's been away on a team-building trip with the school this weekend but mostly because she's discovered Skype. Just before the new term started, The Tween and The Teenager inherited our old iPhones and a whole new world has opened up! The Tween in particular, has embraced the new technological age, spending every waking moment hooked up to one of her comrades....the same ones she has spent the entire day with at school. Baffling.

10 September 2014

The Sky

This year we went on holiday to a place I haven't been to for 11 years. Despite this lapse in time, it's very familiar to me; growing up, it was our favourite family holiday destination. If you follow me on social media, you will probably be pretty well acquainted with the place yourself, by now!

Tiree is one of the Hebridean islands, located off the west coast of Scotland. If your children are a similar age to mine, then think Balamory but on a much smaller scale. Tiree boasts one school, one shop, two churches, a restaurant and a cafe (only open in the summer months).

9 September 2014

Life Rule Number 2

My kids are liars. Harsh but true. As soon as they could talk, their instinct was to lie. Sometimes big, fat, juicy ones. Sometimes small, seemingly insignificant white ones. But lies nonetheless. Is it just my children who have a habit of flirting with the truth?

I've often wondered why they do it. Why do they not feel comfortable speaking the truth or owning up when they're in the wrong? I've tried punishing the bad deed.....offering rewards for honesty....throwing in threats if no one comes clean (on one occasion this lasted an entire day when no one would admit to being the master graffiti artist on the parquet floor!). But so far, nothing seems to shift this natural instinct to lie.