Tag Archives: parenting teens

Fab First born…as you turn 17

Dear J,
So you’re turning 17 and I’m not going to whinge at all that you are getting older. Simply because next year means you’ll be…oh I can’t even go there.

I think and hope you know I’m your biggest fan. So here’s 17 ways you rock at 17.

1) You’re meme king!

I like you send me funny meme’s throughout the day. Makes me feel like I’m oe of the cool kids ,even though I know I’m not.

2) You’re my Doctor Who buddy

The others may question why we watch certain episodes over and over. Not you , even better you can choose the perfect episode to suit the mood!

3) You rock dad jokes

Honestly,they are BAD!! That you find them hilarious though is endearing in itself so we’ll forgive you!

4) Our Sporting Bucket list!

I know I know….you’ve done Wembley with Hull City…hey J tell us that story again in case we missed it the first 678 times??

We’ve a few left though eh? Wimbledon, London Marathon , more Olympics??wait for me!!

5) You’ve lovely manners

Everyone comments on it ….

Actually I’m taking that one , brought up right you see!

6) You’re the best big brother ever

I know you think the dream would be to be an only child,but that’d have been such a waste. You’re great to them all (even S though she drives you nuts!)  You’re a fab role model – though you know that has to be kept up forever now right? Like me and Auntie La? No going off the rails!

7) Additionally you are small girl whisperer

No-one can talk her down from a tantrum like you. Teach me your ways….

8) When you love , you love hard

Harry Potter , snooker, The National Train Museum. Some may say obsessive. I say passionate.

9) You’re interested in the world around you

Not just physically around you either. You’ve an interest and compassion for suffering and people going through hardship and turmoil even if they’re on the other side of the world. Even if you don’t know them. You’ve empathy , a character trait many others could benefit from.

10) You’re a food weirdo (like me)

I still don’t get the lasagne thing. You love bolognaise ,yet won’t touch lasagne even without cheese sauce…which just makes it bolognaise in a different shape surely! Not that I can talk!

11) Your kids TV nostalgia is mine too!

Whatever DID happen to Milo ,Jake ,Bella and Fizz eh? 

Did the Rubberdubba’s EVER get a peaceful bath?

What the hell was The Shiny Show all about??

And yes ,the guy from Raven scared the life out of me too!

12) You’re easy bribed

Entertain small girl , go to the shops , most jobs are do able for the fee of a packet of fizzy fangs!!!

13) Watching you round others makes me proud

You’re chatty and friendly and warm and can usually find common ground with most people. This could turn out to be your most valuable life skill! I like how warm and caring you are with your friends and how you seem to just be a natural with people! I wasn’t when I was your age and really aren’t that much better now.

14) Your opinions give me hope

You’re open-minded , you’re tolerant and you actively want to change things for the better. As do your friends. When the world is an unstable as it is knowing you all are active in your plans to make a difference well it makes me despair that bit less.

15) You don’t think you’re too old or cool to play showtune karaoke with us.


FYI You will NEVER be too old or cool to play showtune karaoke!

16) You’re thoughtful

You have small girl and I’s PJs on the radiator after a rainy school run. You pick out movies or documentaries you think I might like. You take your brother to football matches if his mates arent going. It’s nice to see!

17) You make parenting easy.

Other than that wretched colic at the start ,which drove the pair of us into thinking I wasn’t cut out for this job. You’ve made being a mum pretty painless.

No drama , no trouble,no horrid teenagey strops or awful behaviour (don’t worry I know you’ve still a few teen years left yet and could turn at any minute, I’m not complacent I promise)

I say this often but that’s because it’s true. Being your mum is an absolute delight. I’ve no idea where it all went right with my haphazard parenting style and you being my guinea pig in the world of mum- hood,but it seems to have and I could not be prouder to have you call me mum.
PS….You sure you’re insistent on going AWAY to uni??? …

Love mum xxx 

Rhyming with Wine


The evolution of the Summer Holidays…

I’m noticing a marked change these summer holidays. I’ve barely seen the teens so far. They’ve all developed these weird social life things (must look at getting myself one of those) It’s gotten me to thinking about how the summer holidays have changed.

As a kid summer holidays are the Best.Thing.Ever!!!!!They last forever and you just get to hang out with your friends all day.

Going back to school was always weird though wasn’t it? Did anyone else used to get really nervous first day back to school because you’d not seen a lot of your class mates in so long??

As an adult pre kids , school hols? Whatevs ! Has no impact on my carefree life. I’m just going about my business going to work and such like. Spending my glorious days off mooching around the shops spending money on myself …. except what the hell??? Why are all the shops full of kids?? The little buggers are everywhere running feral round the shops touching everything. They’ve invaded Costa too?? With their sticky fingers and their snotty noses.When I have kids they’re going to be always perfectly turned out and impeccably behaved…. bloody school holidays!

With pre school children well summer holidays matter not one jot. 

Every single day is basically dealing with other people’s bodily fluids on no sleep. Days , weeks , months merge into one long  sleep deprived hallucination. The only reason you know it’s school holidays time is because you can’t go to soft play for a sit down and a crap cup of tea. It’s full of boisterous ‘big kids’ running around like total maniacs!

When you have primary school aged children the holidays are hard work.

Really , really hard work.

Small people expect to be entertained constantly. 

You use up all your good ideas the first week. You’ve done ,cinema , trampolines, fairs ,bowling already. You have to rely on your free stuff for week 2 . The park ,free museums and movie days. You very soon discover there’s no such thing as a free activity where kids are concerned. The park involves ice creams and that bloody bouncy castle ,museums mean souvenirs and even the brilliant movie day plan means snacks aplenty.

By the end of the holidays you are a shell of your former self. Your brain is frazzled by thinking of fun activities. You can see on social media that everyone else went to much more exciting places than the park to chuck stale bread to ducks . Yes you know you’re meant to feed them peas now Ms Concerned of Facebook. Thanks.

Then come the teen years. 

Where we are now.

I kid ye not my eldest texted me a list of dates he and his brother were available for ‘family stuff’ . What with holidays with grandparents , their dad getting married and the very important football fixtures it seems I have a few days beginning of September.
I mean on days when small girl is at daddy’s and it’s just the teens and I the lie ins are awesome! I mean I don’t actually sleep in ,the internal mum alarm clock sees to that. I can though lay on my bed and read undisturbed for an hour. Living the dream right? No one bugs me to go to the park or do painting or play trains anymore. They entertain themselves quite happily.

The downside of course being they’re not really into mums craft ideas or going out skipping. Activities tend to actually cost and contemplating selling a kidney to pay for a theme park become the norm.

I kinda miss them too ( don’t hate me I know some of you would walk over broken glass for an hours peace in the hols)

So yes summer holidays change , not necessarily for the worse or even the better ,just different.

It’ll change again next summer , we’ll be gearing up for the eldest going away to university…..but let’s not talk about that just yet… I’m not ready!!!

Naptime Natter


The Power of Women

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My eldest daughter of all four children is the one I worry about the most.

 

I know you can’t and certainly shouldn’t compare children. They’re all individuals. I know this. I can’t be the only parent who sometimes wonders how if you’ve parented all your children in the same way how come the end result is so different?

 

I’ve always admitted that my parenting style is one of  making it up as I go along  , it seems to work the majority of the time though.

 

Before eldest girl came my two sons.

 

They do fantastically academically , impeccably well behaved ( in school at any rate I’m not raising Topsy and Tim here!) they’re driven and motivated and *touch wood * at almost 17 and 15 they’ve never caused me too much bother or worry.

 

Eldest girl is a whole different kettle of fish. I learnt this when she was a baby. She has always been fiercely independent, very head strong and to be brutally frank , a bit of a pain in the arse . I wrote here why I don’t think that is particularly a bad thing.

 

I’ve asked her permission to write this as I really don’t want this to seem as though I am blogging about my child in a negative way. This isn’t negative. I did always want my blog to be a honest place though and it may seem I am always talking about how great it is to be a parent of teens ( and it really , really is in my experience so far ) There are challenges though.

 

Eldest girl has struggled with school this past year. She doesn’t seem to settle into it well. She’ll get into trouble for talking and rolling her eyes when a teacher tells her to hush. I’ll get emails about how she’s answered teachers back. I get irritable and annoyed with her when I hear this . I’d not stand for that kind of horrible bad manners at home, that she will display it to other people , well I really hate that.

 

I think I should take a bit of responsibility though. After all am I not the one who tells her to never let injustice pass her by? Who acknowledges that as a female my daughter will always have to shout louder to be heard, that she’ll have to fight to be allowed to take up space. If I then punish her for doing what she sees as standing up for herself, well I’m probably giving out mixed messages.

 

I wrote here about trying to teach her about picking her battles and that’s something we still need to work on.

 

I do worry she has little focus , that she has no real plans for the future , she’s 14 I don’t expect her to have her life mapped out I just think having something to aim for is healthy.

 

 

Last week we had a breakthrough.

 

My daughter is one of only 4 girls who have chosen to do computing as a GCSE next year. These girls were invited to go to a local company (CDL in Stockport) for the day. To have a look around, to chat to people who work there and to learn a bit more about a career in I.T ( oh my is it even still called I.T ? I am sooo old)

 

 

My daughter came home from this day inspired! Truly! She couldn’t shut up about her day and the people she’d met. She’d put together a plan and researched what GCSE grades she’d need and what her options were after school to pursue this career that has spoken to her so loudly.

 

The thing with my eldest daughter is that she, at 14 , has been coming up against inequality and sexism already for a very , very long time. From the boys who wouldn’t pass to her as a girl in the primary school football team. From teachers who have had her help others struggling with work when she’s finished early when the boys are given extension work. From certain family and ‘friends’ who pass comment about why can’t she dress like a proper girl. She is very much a hoody and trackies kind of girl and I really am quite jealous because she rocks it. I would look a fool. From the horrible words such as difficult and feisty and bossy that are never applied to her male counterparts exhibiting the same behaviour.

 

Yet last week she went to a company where they didn’t just tolerate females in a male dominated environment but they embraced it, they actively encouraged it . I think that could have been the first time (other than mum who obviously doesn’t count ) that she’d been told how valuable she was as a young woman. That her contribution to the world was welcomed, that there is a space for female voices where you don’t have to shout to be heard.

 

I’ve always said that I think the key to channelling my daughter’s spirit and passion is to surround her by inspirational , empowering women who can help her with learning how to choose battles and channel the kind of drive that makes me think of all my children she could no doubt change the world.

 

Last week she got a taste of that and I’m so grateful to CDL for sparking something in my daughter that has left her motivated and excited for the future.

 

 

Now ..just need to work on the eye rolling…..

 

 

 

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JakiJellz

The Pramshed

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We ❤ Wimbledon – but it turns us a bit nuts!!

We really look forward to Wimbledon in this house , a lot. Well the two boys and I do anyway. I think the girls just like that it signals close to school hols time and I put on snacks for big matches. 

There’s also , for me , the added bonus of Andy Murray. 

Now anyone who has ever followed me on social media or in fact ever spoken to me is probably a tiny bit aware of my utter adoration for the guy. The crush is all encompassing. So that adds to the excitement! 

So we do love Wimbledon,but here’s how it turns us into total oddballs!!

We get delusions of grandeur

We talk about going to Wimbledon ‘one day’. Probably to the final. In the royal box no doubt, hanging with the young royals. Maybe I’ll be married to Harry by then – he probably has a thing for fellow redheads ,older women and commoners ….see what I mean? Delusional!

Realistically we’d likely only get to go to Pauper’s Sunday or whatever they call it.

The cost of men’s final tickets for all 5 of us plus strawberries and cream and my Pimms bar bill,well I’d have to sell a kidney!

We think we rock at tennis

Our nice weather activity,as a family,is going off to play tennis on the local tennis courts. Now with 3 teenagers ANYTHING that everyone agrees to do without a fuss , especially outside I have to take as a win and encourage wholeheartedly.

The thing is we are enthusiastic but we’ve no skills. In fact that line could apply to most sports undertaken by the boys and I. We try our best at sporting activities,our heart is truly in it but we’ve limited skills. The girls are the sporty ones in our house.

So as you can imagine our tennis matches are very stop start. Rallys of more than 3 are huge achievements and hitting the ball on a first serve makes us believe we are up for Sports Personality of the Year.

Mum dresses even weirder

We all know my dress sense is one entitled “have you not bought clothes since 1998?” I can’t help it , I’ll never be cool and trendy. I’m ok with that. Tennis season though I step it up a notch. I LOVE tennis dresses! They’re so cute and so summery and probably 18 years ago pre-children they maybe suited me. Now? Not so much. Stretchy material is no great look for a woman in her mid 30’s (yes 37 is mid ,hush!) with 4 kids!

I also have a white pleated tennis skirt my sister gave me years back that I wear to play in. I mean business, I look a fool but who cares?? Possibly the kids but who’s asking them?!!

Tennis snacks become a thing

Football snacks are a big deal in this house. On a big game day all the big guns are brought out : Nachos , pizza , wings.

I tried dragging the same snacks out for the big Wimbledon matches but the kids though maybe tennis snacks should be a bit more refined (we are big on themed dinners in our house- I made a rod for my own back years ago with that one!)

So refined snackery it is! Tennis snacks became sandwiches minus crusts and cake . Basically afternoon tea accompanied by fake (obviously alcohol free) Pimms.

I contemplate tennis lessons

Ultimate female mid life crisis cliché isn’t it? The stuff of dodgy Mills and Boons stories…. frustrated woman takes tennis lessons and is seduced by hot young tennis instructor!! Ooo actually maybe I’m being too hasty in ruling it out.

The reason I don’t go through with my tennis lessons notions though is for a whole other reason. It’s because I cannot stand being rubbish at something. I get frustrated at not being able to pick up a skill instantly and I’m an awful bad loser.

It’d be McEnroe esque carnage!!!

So roll on summer.

We love Wimbledon.

I love my quirky family.

Come on Andy Murray *swoons*



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Out of my hands 

Back when we left the abusive relationship all those years ago.

Back when my now taller than me teenagers were still little tiny things. 

Back when my now college boy was still in infant school. 

Back when my articulate chatterbox 2nd born still couldn’t talk properly (damn you speech therapy it was THE cutest) 

Back when I thought baby no. 3 treating brother baiting as if it were an Olympic sport was a phase she’d grow out of (poor deluded me) 

Back then. 
I had one priority – to keep them safe. 

It was hard at times. I was still so damaged from the abuse, I wasn’t strong mentally but still that fundamental aim remained. 

Keep them safe. 

I often felt like I was fighting the whole entire world and noone would listen to me and help me. For years through the family court nightmare with social services dragged into our lives by him every concern I had was met with ‘he’s their father, he has a right to see them’ 

I had to stand firm and unwavering at a time when I’ve never felt so fragile, but I could do it for them- to keep them safe. 
The children have seen their dad intermittently. They go to their paternal grandparents every fortnight and though he rarely took up the opportunity I was clear he was welcome to visit them there.  I didn’t want to be keeping my children from their father. Don’t get me wrong it suited me when he didn’t bother, I’m not claiming to be a saint here. 

Now though, at almost 17,15 and 14 it’s no longer my call. It’s no longer my decision but theirs. It’s out of my hands. 
This weekend they’re going to stay at his house for the weekend for the very first time. I’m really not dealing with it very well. 
The thing is it’s no longer about their safety. They want to go and stay and I can’t stand in their way. They really like his girlfriend and I actually think she could be the draw of why they want to go. 

It’s not that I believe them to be in physical danger – believe me if I thought that was even a possibility they’d be going nowhere.  
The discomfort I’m feeling is for selfish reasons.  The thought of them being there has triggered all the old feelings. Mentally I’m transported back to when I first came here – fragile and vulnerable and just feels bloody horrid. 
When we first came here my anxiety manifested itself as a ridiculous phobia of fainting in public. My physical anxiety symptoms feel very much like that second before you faint. Erratic breathing, throat tightening, light headedness and back then I was new to the anxiety game and didn’t realise that’s what it was. It used to happen daily back then but it’s not happened that badly in a good 7 years. Then yesterday it happened again. I know it’s because of this weekend and I just can’t stand to feel this way. It feels as if all my strength and mental stability has been whisked away and I’m back to that shaken girl of old. 

I know it’s only temporary though. I know when they arrive home Sunday after a lovely weekend all will be back right with my world. I do know that so I’m going to try to take a positive from this. I’m going to use it to acknowledge to myself how far I have come, how I am a totally different stronger woman now. 

I did what I set out to do. I took my children out of an unhealthy environment and I kept them safe. 
I have 3 down, happy, level headed (most of the time) teenagers and I have to allow them the space to make a relationship with their father if they choose to. 
I kept them safe. 
I just was unprepared for the time to come when it was out of my hands.  

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The identity crisis bucket list! 

Earlier in the month I wrote about how now the children are getting older and a little less dependent I’m feeling about wobbly and unsettled about who I am as a woman, not just a mum. That particular self indulgent post is just here.

How do you find out who you are though? I’m a bit short on babysitters, time and cash to go off on some retreat of self discovery in the Himalayas for 6 months.

I thought a good place to start was think about things I like doing. The important word being I,rather than ‘we’. I know what we like doing as a family. I’ve spent the vast majority of the past 17 years finding things ‘we’ like doing and I really, really hope there are years and years of that to come.

I am lucky though in that I do generally  get a weekend a month to myself when my elder kids are with grandma and small girl is with daddy. I’ve even almost a fortnight in the summer holidays – that’s too long though I’ll be moaning about missing the kids by day 3. I’ve gotten better at utilising my child free time I did spend years just sitting home whinging about being lonely. I just need to keep doing that, maximising my free time . Try and find that woman that’s tucked away in here, rediscover the passions and interests that don’t lie solely on keeping these gorgeous human beings of mine alive and well.
I did what I always do.

Made a list.

It’s nothing earth shattering or awe inspiring but just a gentle start of remembering or discovering what makes me tick when the kids aren’t around.
Can I share them?

Go camping – on my own 

I’m a fan of doing stuff alone. I’m the advocate of the solo date, I enjoy my own company. I’m quite lucky where I live too with the Peak District almost on the doorstep so one weekend when I’m heartlessly abandoned by my children I’m just going to go walking up there. Look at beautiful scenery and collect my thoughts to the picturesque backdrop.

Go to Edinburgh fringe festival 

I’ve always wanted to do this. Wall to wall theatre and art. The children are away for over a week during the summer and I’m going to have myself a little holiday and head Northwards for some culture!

Exercise 

Stay with me here I’m not going to go all gym bunny on you. I loathe the thought of running and swimming so much so it actually puts me off doing it. This is really silly because when I do go for a proper run I do enjoy it. Working up a bit of a sweat with just my cringe worthy play list for company always makes me feel really good. Running is great for keeping my anxiety at bay too. So I’m going to stop being a lazy arse and get out there.

Write the book (or at least try) 

Everyone has a book I them don’t they say?  Mine is just struggling a bit with the getting out part. Do you know why? Because I feel daft. I worry that people would think “bloody hell we have to put up with her shockingly shite writing with her blog – who does she think she is writing a book?”

It could be true. I could invest time and effort only to produce the world’s worst book, but even if this were to be the case well it’d not have hurt anyone would it?

Let’s crack on with that.

Visit new places 

I read a short story by Jenny Colgan once called Paris For One. A woman gets stood up by her boyfriend and ends up visiting Paris alone. I’ve wanted to follow suit ever since.  I spent my younger years child rearing so have never really seen anywhere I’d have liked to yet. I might not manage Paris but I could start off with some UK cities surely?

So that’s my list so far.

I’ll bore you to death with tales of my adventures ticking them off but I feel so much happier just having written them down. I’ve showed them to you guys too so that means  I HAVE to do them right?
So here’s to making the most of child free weekends instead of moaning about abandonment.
After all the children certainly aren’t pining for me when they’re having fun at  grandma’s or having adventures with daddy!

 

 

 

Like my Facebook blog page to follow my adventures


 

 

The one where…. My child ruins Friends for me 

One thing I love about the teens getting older is being able to introduce them to TV shows and movies and books that I used to love when I was their ages. It’s so nice now they’re older to make the tv snacks, get on the sofa and watch something together.

Some of my shows and movies are more successful than others. Dawson’s Creek was ridiculed and heckled throughout, much to my dismay.

Friends though. Friends was welcomed with open arms. We went through every series. We began recording the actual programmes we would have ordinarily watched on tv as they just wanted to watch ‘one more episode’ of Friends.

I was smug.

Told you it was good eh?

“Hey! How you doing? ” became the eldests greeting as he got in of an evening. .. to his brother! To himself even! Inappropriate yet really quite funny.

” I’m FINE! “a la Ross when Rachel and Joey are together became code for anything that was clearly anything but.

Smelly cat was sung out loud.

” could I BE wearing anymore clothes ” became the answer to my insistence they wrap up warm to go to the football.

All was good.

I was cool mum.

I am the best.

Then it happened.

We’re rewatching some Friends more recently (yes they loved it THAT much) we’re at a later series, close to the end and my 15yo youngest son spoils it all.

Youngest son : Mum I’m surprised you wanted Ross and Rachel to end up together.

Me: Why? You know I’m a sucker for a love story!

Youngest son : love? Is it though? That whole relationship is just toxic. Ross is too  controlling.

I am stunned into silence at this point.

That’s OK though because he’s going to elaborate.. .

Elaborate he does. .

How unsupportive Ross is when Rachel lands her dream job.

The suffocating manner in which  he behaves about Mark. Becoming a stalky control freak creepfest.

How he never takes responsibility for cheating, using the “we were on a break” excuse.

I couldn’t disagree with any of it.

I mean Ross was never my favourite – he’s a sexist idiot. Remember the fuss he made about Ben playing with a doll? How he mocked and sacked the male nanny? ?

So the lesson learned here is this-beware of sharing your old favourites with your children, they they might just spoil it.


Not Just The 3 Of Us

 
Sha    The Tale of Mummyhood

A guest post from my First born

This is a guest post from my fab first born. I’ve been nagging  the kids to write for me for ages …. Parenting lesson there : nagging works.

 I’ve left it totally untouched despite itching to edit. .. Oh so I’m a pushy mother – old news! 




 
Whilst walking down the street, people cross the road in order to avoid me. They give me dodgy looks, tell their young children to avoid groups of us, we are of course, after all, extremely dangerous, each and every one of us. But which group of people am I being stereotyped and discriminated against for being a part of? I’m the worst of them all, I’m a dreaded TEENAGE

Hoodies up, we aren’t allowed to be warm you see, looking at our phones, heaven forbid the possibility that we’re keeping in contact with people, haven’t seen our parents in weeks, probably slipping each other drugs on the sly, we are really very intimidating.




I bet every single one of you has done it at one point, maybe it’s dark, you’re in an unfamiliar place, maybe walking home from a party and you see one of us, or maybe even worse, maybe we’re travelling in packs at this point, stalking the streets for pray and stabbing them with dirty needles.




What do you do? You turn the corner, you cross the road, anything to avoid having to have a confrontation with the rabble heading towards you.




How would you feel if someone close to you acted like that towards a black person? Surely you would be rightfully horrified, for all sensible people know you can’t judge someone by their appearance.




Maybe you don’t think I’m telling the truth, maybe I’m just being overdramatic, but is it a coincidence that security guards watch us like hawks, especially if we have one of those cursed hoodies on, possibly worse, if you’re really unlucky we might have had the cheek to put our hood up! (the horror!) There is no coincidence in the fact that mothers tell younger children to “come home if there are teenagers around” on their local park, I was told the same myself.




But when did it become acceptable to openly discriminate against a group of people in this manner? Even worse since when did such discrimination go unnoticed? Why should I feel pressured to not wear my hood up, to stay off my phone and not walk in groups, just to be seen as an ordinary human being and avoid such discrimination. When you talk to us you may be surprised to find out that we’re actually just people like you. Maybe we dress differently, maybe talk differently to you, but when did such minor barriers hold a cause for such a divide in society?




You know some of us have jobs, some of us play for sports teams, a couple of us even manage all of this, along with the stress and pressure of college, and the work load of that, I could go for pages and pages about the struggle of teenagers in this society we’ve built ourselves, but I’ll save you of that for now.




The one thing I hope you take away from this is to know that we notice. We notice your dodgy looks, your odd comments here and there. And as shocking as you may find this, it doesn’t make us feel too great about the older generations. It doesn’t make us feel particularly respected in the world we will soon be taking over. We were all teenagers once, so next time you send your young children to the park, don’t send them scared of the people they will one day become.

Who am I? 

*Did you just sing the Les Mis song there in your head when you read the title? I have been! *

ANYWAY… Before I even begin this blog post I really want to emphasise that I love my children with all I have. I am even loving motherhood right now, I haven’t always and I can admit that. Currently though I’m really enjoying this part of our parenting journey. 
Being a mum does define me and so it should. My eldest is almost 17.  I’ve been mum a long time. Being a mum has certainly shaped me in a whole different way than I would have been had I not had children. In fact I think being a mum has made me a better person than I would have been. 

So we’re clear on that yes? 

I’d never dismiss motherhood. 

I’m certainly in no way complaining at my life as a mum. 

I am incredibly grateful and so very lucky to have the family that I have. 

The thing is this. Behind the mum-who on earth am I as a woman? 

Before I had children I was only 19. I’d had grand plans to change the world. Nowhere in these plans was any ideas of getting married and having babies. In fact the one steadfast plan I did have was never wanting children. 

I’m so glad plans don’t always work out. Having children allowed me to discover parts of myself I never even knew existed. 

My children are getting older now. The elder 3 are teenagers, the little one is almost 9.

Well meaning people keep commenting how how now is MY time. Time to take back my life, that the children don’t need me as they once did. 

I have a few problems with this mindset. Mainly the children do need me still. Not with the intensity of younger years admittedly. Parenting teenagers is tricky though, you have to pick up on cues that mean ‘I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m worried’ because they can’t always articulate it. Much like newborns  and  their differing cries that usually only their parents can decipher. Call me needy but I’m not redundant just yet. 

The other bits though? Taking back my life? Well that’s a weird one, the little people are my life. 

It is true though that I do have more spare time these days. This first week of the Easter hols has highlighted the two sides of the coin on this. I had 5 whole child free days! I had a weekend away. I had the most glorious time just wandering about, sitting in pubs chatting undisturbed. Relaxed- none of the rushing around my everyday life has, lazy lie ins. I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more. 

When I got home to a empty house though I was at a bit of a loss. Did the house jobs I’d been putting off, cleaned, cooked. Then what? 

What do I do to make me happy and content? 

What is it I actually like to do? 

Who even am I when the children aren’t around? 

I have a bolognaise scenario that sums it up perfectly (keep with me not as nutty as it sounds) 

One thing I do like to do is take a book and go for dinner on my own. If ever I go to an Italian restaurant my initial feeling is to order bolognaise, because I love it. 

UNTRUE 

The kids love it, it bores me to tears. The kids love it so I cook it, I eat it and somehow I’ve become indoctrinated into believing I love it. 

I wonder how many other things fit the bolognaise mould. What other things do I think I like that is really no more than mum habit. 

I want to discover who I am as well as the woman with the overactive womb. I want to find out and nurture a bit the woman behind the mum. (bit tosspotty I know, I’m sorry) 
I’m quite excited by the prospect too. 
Needless to say I’ll bore you guys to death with my little adventure of self discovery.. . after all it’s highly likely when I discover this woman, she’ll be a bit of a knob! ! 


Here’s my Facebook page 

Bringing up Georgia

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Daughter , I talk much nonsense but please listen to me on this one thing….

Today my eldest daughter turns 14

 

She has a fight and a zeal and a drive that terrifies me and makes me envious of her in equal parts.

 

She is fierce and strongminded and passionate as well as kind and compassionate- all I ever wanted my daughters to be .

 

I’m proud and in awe of her absolutely , I just wish I could get her to listen to me on just one tiny piece of advice.

 

 

Dear S ,

 

I know that I give you ‘mums little life tips’ very often. Possibly too often , but the thing about being an old lady such as me is that you’ve made lots of mistakes and learnt lots of ways in which you could have improved a situation or avoided a mess and I just want to help you maybe navigate some of those pitfalls without having to actually go through them.

 

Mum messed up so you don’t have to!

 

So if you listen to nothing else , just maybe listen to this one :

(Disclaimer – the sex , drugs , boys and rock and roll stuff ALL still counts , you know the basics of mum lecturing. This is an added extra NOT a replacement for the big ones)

 

This is my one pearl of wisdom for you though :

Choose your battles.

That’s it . Simple eh?

 

I admire your spirit S I do. I wish I could be like you in so many ways . There is such a raw determination in you and I know that eventually it’ll serve you well. It will aid the success I am certain awaits you.

 

There are times though that holding your tongue , taking a breath and thinking is the wiser choice than opening your mouth. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking I’m giving out mixed signals here. Don’t I always tell you never to let injustice pass you by?  Never be a quiet bystander when you see something happening you know is inherently wrong .

 

I mean that too , honestly, don’t be the person who joins in with bullying. Don’t be the one who doesn’t challenge friends who use racist or sexist or homophobic language. Be the woman who builds other women up , not someone who gains enjoyment from pulling your fellow women down. Be a good human. Those there are the basics.

 

The bits that can be let go though , your brothers not bringing their pots out of their rooms or leaving the toilet seat up? You can leave those rows for me to have. Honestly I’m an old hand at this , don’t waste your precious energies on them. When you’re told off by your teacher but it wasn’t you talking. Don’t get into dialogue about it in front of the whole class , that won’t end well for you ! Hold your tongue and maybe talk to that teacher calmly afterwards. Don’t waste your clever comments under your breath on me when we’re disagreeing. All that gets you is your phone taken off you , you know this !

 

 

As a woman you will have big battles to fight.

You’ll likely have to fight to be heard.

Fight for your right to take up space.

Fight to be taken seriously as an intelligent woman.

Fight for your fellow women who don’t have their own voice.

 

 

These things are worth your fury and your rage and your fight. Unleashed and uninhibited. The full force of you S at an injustice , it doesn’t stand a chance.

 

Save yourself for the big things. Let me say here though I am in no way belittling your sense of what is big and what is insignificant. I can’t do that. Should I ever not take your concerns as seriously as you want , please do pull me up on it.Calmly . I hope I am never dismissive of your opinions but I know sometimes as a single mum of 4 children sometimes I’m not listening as intently as I should or I miss things and that must be frustrating. You know how we have our time just you and I every night though ? When small girl is in bed and the boys are playing the Stupid Football Game in their rooms. That’s my listening time , if I’ve annoyed or frustrated you by being distracted come to me then , let me know. Talk things through.

 

I have no doubt S that you have it in you to change the world. I’ve known it since you were a matter of months old. Changing the world takes energy though , lets ensure that we have enough in the bank . The boys smelly socks or an irritating person at school aren’t worth that precious spirit of yours.

 

Know this though, when you do have a battle to fight or an injustice to highlight. When you feel your voice needs to be heard and you need to stand up and be counted. When you’ve considered that actually this is a battle you’ve chosen needs fighting ,  I’ll be right there beside you, female solidarity at it’s finest. If that ends up being about the boys bathroom habits or you approaching school about the lack of girls sport  or if it’s you’re standing up for someone not being treated how they should or you needing to take on Theresa May ? Well if you’ve thought about it and find it worthy of your energy then S I am with you , without question.

 

Love Mum

xxxxx
 

Here’s my Facebook page 

Rhyming with Wine

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