Tag Archives: teenagers

The teens have got this

Teenagers get a bad press. 

Have had since the dawn of time. 

Thugs , hooded louts who roam the streets terrorising us in their packs, off their faces on legal highs???

I don’t recognise those ones though . I’m the mum of 3 teenagers and I’m offended on their behalves by lazy stereotypes and negativity. Course there will be horrid teens ….but there are horrid people my age too but I don’t think I can be judged by their behaviours! I’m a single mum so pigeon holes rub me up the wrong way as it is but I certainly think our teenagers deserve much more credit.

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a wave of teen activism which is way more familiar to me as the kind of teenagers I know . The bravery of young women speaking out against sexual harassment as part of the #metoo movement. Reclaim the Night here in Manchester hugely driven by the Student Union. These I can identify with as the work of teenagers rather than those anti social grunters , succumbing to rickets due to lack of daylight and screen addiction (though even I had to admit to being at least on nodding terms with those guys too on occasion!)

On the wake of yet another school shooting in the US we have seen a group of people rise. To take on the NRA and the gun entitled of America. A group of people so very passionate about protecting kids in school. A group not wanting to fight gun crime with more guns but less.

This group are not the parents of children fighting to keep them safe , not the grandparents saying enough is enough , too many children have gone to school never to come home. This group , being loud , being vocal , being heard are the kids themselves . The ones who have seen their friends gunned down ,who have been wounded themselves.

Emma Gonzalez has become the face of these people. An intelligent , articulate,passionate  young woman  . Watching her speech gave me hope ,it’s here if you missed it.

This woman is taking on a president who wants to arm teachers , she’s taking on a mindset that puts the right to own a gun over the right for people not to be shot. The movement “We call BS” is formed and these young people want to be heard.

They’re belittled of course , you can’t stop these shootings .You’ll never see gun control in the US , hush with the youthful optimism and just accept the status quo.

Thankfully they’re not listening .

Femi Oluwole is a UK activist , co founder of the ‘Our future , Our choice ‘ movement. An anti Brexit group passionate about the fact that young people voted heavily to remain , the thinking behind the campaign being that in the 20 , 30 years it’ll take to fully see Brexit , make our own laws ,secure trade deals that Brexit will no longer represent the will of the people.

I won’t get into the argument behind this or Brexit at all here . What does make me happy is young people sticking their head above the parapet and demanding to be listened to.

Teenagers are hushed often , told their views are invalid as they don’t know much. The young people in America standing up against the NRA have been mocked , have been accused of being actors in a bid to silence them . Femi Oluwole has been shouted down by middle aged presenters who are supposedly interviewing him. I just hear a big hush , a ‘sit down and shut up ‘ when young people articulate themselves.

The thing is though. You can’t silence young people in 2018. Our teenagers use social media like we do oxygen. They can mobilise an army of like minded individuals with one tweet. They can and they will make themselves heard and I for one want to listen. I want to hear their thoughts on their futures , I want passionate people involved in the shaping of our world. We , as older people , expect to be listened to simply because we’ve been on the planet longer. Though looking at it from a young person’s eyes we picked Trump , we voted Brexit based on a promise on a bus , we haven’t stood up and spoken out. No wonder they are frustrated.

I saw a tweet from Barack Obama in the wake of the Florida shooting which resonated with me 

Teens – we’ve got your backs .
You’ve got this.

My Facebook page is here

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Not Just the 3 of Us

A Thank You to the women who shaped me on International Women’s Day. …  

I’m so very lucky to have known many amazing women in my life. Ordinary women whose everyday life may not seem that extraordinary. Who may go through their lives not realising that they’ve impacted on another person. I dislike the thought of that. People have made a difference to me. I want them to know that, today more than any other surely has to be the time to say.

It started as a kid. Surrounded by strong women who made being a mum and keeping an organised house and working look effortless.

My mum, my grandma, aunties. Older cousins, my mum’s friends, my friends mums. Just these capable women who made life look easy. It’s only now as a mum and so called grown up that I can appreciate how much hard work and stress must have been going on behind the scenes to keep juggling all those balls.

You made us all believe it was possible for us too, I’m grateful for that.

To my teenage friends, the girls I grew up with. Some of those girls I don’t even know now but their influence has still shaped me somewhat.

My teenage friends are the girls almost solely responsible for the fact that as a teenager I did have a healthy amount of self esteem and confidence in myself. I got such positivity from those girls and as we found our way around boys and exams and nights out (there were some brilliant nights out and thanks Al for keeping the unsuitable boys away)
My dad died when I was just 15.You all called up and checked on me. I have a 15 and 16 year old myself now and that you girls had it in you to be so supportive so young is something again I can appreciate even more now than I did then. We were only young-bloody hell life had barely even begun to throw the kind of crap at us that the next couple decades would but your empathy was amazing.

Years later when my mum died, you were all there again. I felt looked after and cared about and loved and at that time that was exactly what I needed. You took my sister under your wings like she was your own. I’ve probably never really told you all how you made the most shitty of times less so with your friendship.

Thank you

I’m the worst at keeping in touch and I am sorry. I’ve got to be able to rectify that now the kids are getting older and I have that weird thing of spare time back!

Let’s crack open the taboo and lemonade, grab a bottle of Metz (how nice was that stuff?) and relive our youth!

To the friends I made when I moved across here. The one woman in particular who took me and made me feel less alone, who introduced me to her own friends knowing I didn’t know a soul. That kind of compassion has never been forgotten and I honestly think without your kindness and friendship there were times I’d have been tempted to run straight back. Again I’m so bad at keeping in touch and I’ve no excuse. Just know you kept a fragile woman semi sane. Thank you Janette you made such a difference.

To the bloggers who inspire and amaze me daily, thank you for sharing your stories. In this crazy whirlwind that is life to feel like there are other women going through the same old crap as you is a powerful thing.

To my mum friends – the Playground crew, the schoolyard mafia.

You rock.

You’ve all so much going on in your own lives and it’s kinda inspirational how you keep going day after day with a shed load of shit going on at the same time. I’ve never had school mum friends before, in all these years, what with my social anxiety and the fact I’m generally just not keen on many people when it comes down to it. In you guys though I feel like I’ve found my tribe (and my PA’s – organised Kelly is on her way-you just wait! )

Obviously then there’s my main woman. My best friend, fave adult human and sister who enhances my life immeasurably just by being around. You’re funny and kind and brave and I hope to be a little more like you when I grow up!

Women. You’re the best!
Thank you for being in my life and I will work harder on keeping in touch.
All your amazing woman-ness (Yeah made up word I know) has played a part in shaping me into the  woman I am today.. . Yes. It’s all your faults!!!

The Curious Case of the Lesser Spotted Teenager.. 

There used to be a quite vocal, very present human being living in this house with us. Quite a charming chap he was. Fun to hang out with, he was especially talented in choosing movies and was very handy for sending out to the shops. 
However, one day, my 16 year old first born developed a social life and ever since he has become a rare sighting in our house. 
He has friends to hang out with, football matches to watch, girls have reared their head (boooo!) and there is always a better way for him to spend his time than chatting with needy mum here! 
Occasionally the lesser spotted teenager will allow us to socialise with him. After exams we were permitted to go out for pizza with his pals. We were all very honoured and I felt like I mustn’t be a TOTAL embarrassment if we were allowed  to chat and eat pizza with the teens. Also of course I was buying the pizza which may have had more to do with it. 
I’m fairly sure he still lives here and hasn’t in fact moved out. Though sightings of him in his natural habitat are rare we often spot signs of life! They usually come in the form of bread, butter and sandwich fillings left out on the side, plates and mugs found by beds. Sometimes if you are up very early you can hear the call of the teen. It sounds very much like “mum where is my?..” it’s often followed up by the sound of milk being splashed on the worktop and cereal being crunched before the slam of the door is heard on his way out to college. 
Thankfully, on the occasions that the male, teenage human decides to spend time with his family it’s a very pleasant experience. Food, TV and chatter is shared. Sibling bickering is at a minimum and I certainly am happy to have a few good quality hours with him before he’s back out with his friends! 
I expect over the next couple of years his siblings will follow suit and this house will become a quieter, stranger place. Thank goodness for small girl. . She’s going to have to be around to keep needy mum company for a long while yet! ! 

Guest post: Why I loved my teenage years

I asked the funniest person I know to write me a guest post for my blog. So here’s my sister’s take on the teenage years.

I know some people refer to their teens years as traumatic and awkward and really quite hard.

Not me though.

I had the time of my life.

Here’s why I LOVED being a teen.

I was Billy Big Bollocks
I thought I knew it all. I had the world in the palm of my hand. I had an answer for everything and I was always right.
School was a laugh, we were the cool kids. We’d listen to hardcore dance music that consisted of the same sentence on repeat because We Were Cool.
We were the cool kids, yeah we twagged off school.. we weren’t scared – well actually except that time we were snuck up on by the headmistress who caught us at it. Then we kinda peed our pants and I left my mate to shed the tears and mumble something about a family ‘lossage’ except that time..

We didn’t have to conform to socially acceptable behaviour
School was all about the laughs. The game of choice was leaving various items on each others chairs. Anything from nails to prawns and whatever you can think of in-between was fair game. It cracked me right up.
White lies were fine too. So we’d all tell our parents we were sleeping out at each others and sneak off to camp out in a field!! We were memory making!
We’d not get away with now deciding to have a pamper night and cutting a pals hair only for her to be so angry at the result that she launched a cold hearted revenge cut!! These days we’d have to be all mature and take it on the chin.

The Clothes
Some may say the way I dressed back then was not good. My outfit of choice was my Umbro jogging bottoms tucked into my Adidas socks. Hair scraped back into a ponytail so tight it hurt to blink, earrings bigger than hula hoops! Style. You can’t buy it.

My sister was an alien species
She’d be sat, as a much older than me teen, good as gold sat reading her book. That was how she got her weekend kicks – down the library. Me? I was clubbing together with my friend to get a bottle of pulse cider. 56p each. What a bargain!

Love was serious
We all had week long relationships then got over the traumatic break up by listening to Late Night Love.. Heartbroken.
I once had a boyfriend who threw himself on a grass verge by the road when we finished, saying he didn’t care if a car hit him as he was so devastated it was over. I don’t want to embarrass anyone by mentioning names as he is a FB friend and actually if he was THAT heartbroken he should read this and remember it was him!

Smartphones were non existent
We had no social media or texting. If you were very cool you might have a pager.
When meeting up you just had to arrange a time and place whilst you were last together and just stick to it. Which we did.
Same goes for going home, our parents would give us a time to be home and there we’d be. The occasions we were ten minutes late though-the excuses were out of this world.
Landlines were our entertainment. The joy of calling sex lines only matched with memorising local phone box numbers and calling them up for a chat. Can I please take this opportunity to apologise to all the Christmas families in the phone book we called asking to speak to Father.

Teen years were fun. I’d love to go back for just one night. I certainly don’t envy teens these days with all the pressure they’re under and social media being so massive. If our awesome friendship group had been teens in 2016 we’d all have been too busy texting and updating social media to actually chat and have fun and bond.
That would have been a big shame.

Soooo who’s up for faking where we are sleeping tonight, buying pulse and camping out on field??

My Facebook page is just here if you care to like it. I’m going to talk lil sis into doing me a post every Friday

Things I should’ve gotten out of my system as a teen

I was a dull teenager. I didn’t really do that much. I didn’t hang out on street corners with dodgy boys drinking white cider, I left that to my sister (sorry Lou!)

Now I’m in my 30’s I’m really way too old to pull off all the teenage nonsense and there are some things I wish I’d done back then that I do feel like I’ve maybe missed out on! Can I tell you about some of them?

Experimented with clothes
I’m no style icon. We all know that. I still dress like Rachel Green stuck in a tartan skirt/jumper combo best left in the 90’s. I wish I’d have been a bit  braver when I was younger, not cared what people thought and developed my own style. I recently saw Me Before You. Other than the incessant weeping, the other thing I got from the film was the biggest sense of clothes envy ever. I loved Lou’s wardrobe in the movie. In fact I’m going to buy myself a pair of bumble bee tights, balls to it!!

Broken the rules
I was a bit of a goody two shoes, bloody love that phrase! as a kid (ask my siblings). I didn’t like getting into trouble. I liked being the good one. I never really crossed any lines or tested any boundaries. The most rebellious thing I ever did was to take my library books back late. Only kidding of course, I’d never take my library books back overdue, what kind of monster do you think I am?! It’s really too late to start with all the rule breaking now I’m a woman in her 30’s with 4 children in tow! I can’t but help feeling I missed out on the fun whilst I were down at the library. Maybe I can be a nightmarish old lady, get it out of my system.

Had a teenage crush
I never really got giddy over boys as a teen. Even when I did have a boyfriend I wasn’t over keen. I never scratched anyone’s name into my pencil case, never practised my signature with the object of my desires surname. None of it.Let me tell you it’s really quite unbecoming of a 39 year old woman to be smiling at her phone at a cute text like a loon!People must think I’m nuts!
Should definitely have gotten that out of my system before now. Now. Where’s my pencil case…

Gotten drunk and thrown up in my handbag
Now I’m not saying that I’ve never been crazy drunk. That would be a massive fib. I’ll not even claim I’m never had wine related vomiting incidents BUT I should definitely have done these as a 15 year old rather than a 39 year old.
A hangover at my age lasts at least 2 days and wipes out energy levels for near on a week. Kids and even the tiniest of hangovers as a combo is how I imagine Hell to be (probably with soft play as an added extra!) Really should’ve gotten hangovers out of the way when staying in bed with no one needing anything from me was an option.

So yes in hindsight there are things I should’ve gotten out of the way as a teen but being in your 30’s is pretty rock n roll too. I mean on a Saturday night when the kids are away,  come 7pm I’ll be in my pj’s, pizza on lap, merlot poured.Wild eh? !

Yeah I’ll leave the crazy to the teens, I’d not have been any good at it anyway!!

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Mother of Teenagers



Toddlers?? Teenagers ?? Same old same old!!

Once upon a time I was mum to 3 children under 3, or to be accurate 3 under 2 and a half (and I’m still here to tell the tale!) It was the hardest work I have EVER done , in any capacity. How we as parents manage to keep things ticking over whilst that exhausted , in hindsight , is nothing short of a minor miracle (I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Cbeebies and rusks for the part they played)….usually soothing me whilst the madness was taking place.

When people would sit next to us on the bus (only happened if there were literally no other seats , people avoided the wild eyed woman with a double buggy and a baby strapped to her that looked as though she’d not seen a hairbrush in weeks) When some one did sit by us though this was the most popular conversation.

Stranger: Are they all yours??

Me: Think so ,  I’ve lost count! ( too tired for small talk)

Stranger: How old?

Me: 3 , 18 months and 6 months.

Stranger: Well if you think it’s hard work now , just wait until they’re teenagers!!

I used to wonder how true this could be. I mean teenagers slept all the time, didn’t they???

Now we’re at the three teenager household time.With a 19,17 and 16 year old I’m discovering that the  teenage years are remarkably similar to the toddler times.

The Mess

With toddlers you attempt to teach to put one toy away before getting something else out , repeatedly  day after day with limited success. Same applies with the teenagers. They can bring  a cup out of their room (applauds) but why put it next to the sink rather than in it…you’ve gotten almost there..you can do that last little bit surely….same goes for dirty washing and the wash basket.

They ask questions I cannot answer

Used to be things like ‘ How many spiders are in the world?’ or ‘How many bricks do you need to build a house?’. It’s progressed slightly ‘ If you pushed a swing in space , what would happen?’ These days we can refer to the second parent in our house – Google!! The toddler days were reliant on how imaginative mummy was feeling!

They refuse to acknowledge tiredness

I remember one time I was around a childless friend , youngest boy was having one of those over tired toddler meltdowns. My friend asked what on earth was wrong with him. I replied that he was tired. “Why doesn’t he just go to sleep then?” asked my friend!

Good question!

If the boys don’t have enough sleep now  they will be grumpy and irritable all day. Should I suggest an early night though they will insist they are absolutely fine then continue to yawn and grouch till I inevitably end up sending them to bed.

They are obsessive

When they were little they loved Bob the Builder…so every time they sneakily introduced a new machine ( I have not forgiven you Snowed Under)the boys would stroke it as they went passed it in the toy shop , their eyes turning love heart shaped in adoration for a new vehicle, the one that would complete their collection. Until the next one came out of course (Sunflower Valley you did a right number on us).The focus of their love has changed and it’s now all Hull City or Doctor Who or that stupid bloody Football Manager game  when they love , they love hard!!!

They’re accidentally offensive

The cringey no filter of the toddler mouth was always dangerous in public

“Mummy that lady smells”

“Mummy that man is picking his nose”

“Why is that man so fat mummy?”

Thankfully we have learned to think before we speak though we still suffer the occasional slip up , invariably at my expense. “Mum I think that skirt isn’t your size , it’s too short”

I’m enjoying this stage in parenting though, as much as I occasionally crave the little , sleepy , milk-drunk faces (womb ache alert!!!) They are becoming quite good company!

AND everyone can wipe their own bottoms now!!! Result!!

The Mum Conundrum