A List of the bad things which make an average mum

In the last blog I talked about what made me an above average mum. I hope you agreed with some of my tips but also that it made you think about what made you amazing as a mum! In this blog I’m going to list some of the things that change me from an amazing mum to an average mum and I promise that I haven’t just written the opposite of the last blog!

  1. I shout……a lot! If you have read any of my earlier blogs you will know that The Chimp Paradox changed my life. For a short time it did actually stop me shouting, but not for very long.
  2. I am always busy and…..shock horror…..it isn’t always doing things for the children! Is it wrong, when you’re a mum, to have a life that isn’t all about your children?
  3. I leave everything to the last minute, which is where a lot of point 1 comes in, and then expect everything to go smoothly.
  4. I have a short temper. This might be expected as I’m only 5 foot tall, and maybe I do have little woman syndrome, but I can really lose it. There are some things that are directly related to the children but there is also a large part of it where I just snap. This is also where one of the reasons why I’m amazing mum comes into it, I say sorry when I am wrong, you need to when you have a short temper!
  5. I expect the kids to be self sufficient, to a certain degree. When they are 15 and 13 there does come a point where they need to be able to do somethings for themselves. Am I wrong? Should I be getting their breakfast ready when they are teenagers? Where does it stop? Should I be getting their uniform ready on a morning?

That’s it! It’s all I can think of! What does that  say about me as a person? Maybe it’s because I’ve got over the hardest thing, i.e.the part when they are a little? Was I a worse parent then?

It’s strange to not be able to think of even things to make me a bad parent, normally I am really introspective about my faults and can easy list tons of them. I suppose if you try hard enough and believe that you put your children first, in the best way you can, then you are a good mum or can at least think you are.

So, just to even the score up I will list reasons why I believe the outside world (or female daily mail readers!) will think I am a bad mum and some of those might be the same as the 5 above:

  1. I work full time and I have since the children were born. I remember when I was pregnant with Kevin and, not long after he was born, mum said to me “you better be going back to work!”. This is fine because my mum is lovely but tact is not really her thing! The nicer way to say it (and what she actually meant) was “You studied really hard to have a career, don’t feel like you have to quit because you have a baby”.
  2. My friendships aren’t based around the children and the family. I have some friends which are parents of my children’s friends but that’s because I genuinely like them not because my entire life is built around the kids
  3. I am strict where discipline is concerned. I have smacked my children (please don’t get me arrested!) and I have even sworn at them am on a handful of occasions generally due to my short temper and my brush with depression and anxiety.
  4. I don’t cook. I have tried and when the kids were little I made all their food and froze it for the coming week. Every day they went to the child minder with their little tubs of frozen food ready for dinnertime (lunch if you’re not from Yorkshire!) but I don’t really cook proper meals.
  5. I enjoy time without the children. Mr Roberts and I have a rule when we go out that we don’t talk about the children. This is because we didn’t want to become one of those couples who, once the children have grown up, have nothing to talk about. I agree going out with my own friends too, I have a drink a dance and enjoy a child free evening.

But you know what? I’m not really bothered about whether the outside world thinks I’m a bad mum. You can’t please all the people all the time and the people who are close to me think I’m a good mum, or at least recognise that I’m doing my best! The only person I have to look at in the mirror is me and I have no worries about that because I see a person who is trying!

I’d really enjoy listening to your feedback on whether on my view of what makes a bad mum against what I think the public makes me a bad mum, but please don’t troll me!!

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Why I think I’m a better than average mum!

13th June to 19th June

I was in demand this week. One of the methods I use to build my business (Arbonne and The Financial Management Centre) is business networking. An awesome network I attend is 4Networking and I believe in the network so much that I am an area leader. I currently look after 2 groups in the Liverpool area but you also get the opportunity to visit other groups and stand in as Area Leader. As Area Leader you get a shout out in the script so it helps to build your profile and the profile of your business. This week I stood in as the Area Leader for the wonderful Rachael Chiverton and I got a great compliment from the Group Leader Rene Power. He told me that he had been looking forward to meeting me because I always look really glamorous on Facebook, like a movie star! He very quickly stated that he wasn’t hitting on me because he was happily married with 3 kids! Of course the regular readers will know that I look glamorous because of the amazing product which is Arbonne.

I missed Slimming World this week. I have absolutely no valid reason for missing it only that I hadn’t had a good week so I chickened out. Back on it next week!

Scarlett is dancing in a Festival of Dance next week and I very nearly missed buying the tickets! I don’t know if should just write a blog about how to be a completely rubbish mum! Do you know what though? I don’t actually think I am a rubbish mum, I think I’m quite a good mum. I’m not perfect and I have my ups and downs (mostly related to the medication I am on) but I bloody try hard. Here are some of the reasons I think I am a good mum.

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  1. I try my best. Isn’t that all you can do? When you have kids you don’t get an manual with it. All you can do is muddle your way through and keep your fingers crossed that it all turns out right in the end.
  2. I try to see things from the kids’ point of view. Kevin getting a bit aggressive..well he is growing up and trying to figure out who’s the man of the house. Scarlet…is moody and weepy…well she does have female hormones raging through her body. It can be hard being a teenager
  3. I try to be funny, well witty anyway. Just because you are a mum doesn’t mean you can’t have a joke with your kids. I have always tried to have fun with my kids no matter how old they are. The wittiness is different now they are teenagers but you can still have a joke with them.
  4. I make an effort to get on with their friends but I don’t try to be part of the gang. Mums and dads aren’t cool, even if you are cool to your friends you will never be cool to your children. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to their friends but don’t try to be one of them.
  5. Know when to give them some distance. When Scarlet and I go shopping we normally go in the shop together, browse separately, then meet up before we get to the till. Which teenager in the world needs mum watching over them when they are picking clothes?
  6. Admit when you are wrong. I have done this since the kids have been little. There have been occasions when I’ve lost my temper and I have even hit them. If this is due to a lose of temper then I apologise after. I think it’s important that kids learn that parents can even be wrong.
  7. Appreciate their opinion. I can get seriously annoyed when they can’t see both sides of an argument but Mr Roberts thinks that’s their age. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ask their opinion, particularly Scarlet with clothes. If they know more than you about something then why not let them know?
  8. Tell them you love them every day, at least once if not twice. My kids are now teenagers and Kevin is nearly 16 but I kiss him every morning and every night. I tell him, and Scarlet, every day that I love them. I wish them a good day at school on a morning and ask if they have had a good day on an evening. Even if they have been told off or punished they still get told that I love them, but maybe not straight after!
  9. Allow them to grow up without making them group up. This is the hardest thing to do. I want to know where they are every minute of the day but this won’t do them any good. I want to make all their decisions so that I think they have made the right one but this won’t do them any good.
  10. Keep every door open because it allows for better negotiation. Recently Scarlet and I went shopping for a new outfit for a party. She picked up a really short pair of shorts and cropped t-shirt. I asked what shoes she would be wearing (her favourite are peep toes) with her thick black tights, she replied that she was going bare legged. Instead of going all “Oh no your not!” I simply said “hmm, legs or tummy, not sure about both”. Now instead of kicking off in the shop she just asked me to help her pick a different outfit…..remember she’s 13!

Just to be clear, these 10 points do not make me the best mum in the world. Maybe if I’m feeling brave next time I’ll post 10 points which make me a bad mum, just to even the score up!

madladycolored

 

Never stop fighting!

13th June to 15th June

I have a confession to make! I haven’t been keeping on top of my blog postings, but in the last couple of days (which was not in this date range!) I have had several people ask what is happening with the blog so it would seem that there is some interest in what I have to say, what a thrill that is, plus compliments on my style of writing.

So, here we are and I am trying go backwards and remember what has happened over a month ago….wish me luck!

The battle continues where academies are concerned. There are so many things that people don’t understand about the whole academy arena and the ofsted ratings. Now I don’t know a lot about academies but I think I know more than a lot of people, here are just a few things that I have learnt along the way:

  1. Local Education Authorities will not intervene in academies unless a child is in danger. Don’t quote me but I think it has to be physical danger cos they certainly weren’t interested when I called them about the mental distress of my daughter.
  2. An outstanding Ofsted report certainly isn’t what you think it is. So, for example did you know that if a school doesn’t have a Sports Hall it will never be outstanding? I don’t want to tar everyone with the same brush as me but I didn’t look at any Ofsted reports when I picked the school for my children I simply believed that it was outstanding so it must have been the best.
  3. Outstanding schools are only inspected every 7 years. This is one of the most shocking things I have heard. In my humble opinion 7 years is a very long time in the live of a school. The only way a school can get Ofsted inspected in the mean time is if parents can get one triggered.
  4. If you have an issue with an academy the only option you have is to follow the internal complaints procedure of the academy. If you aren’t then happy with the outcome you have the option to go to a stage 2 complaint but remember that the investigation into the complaint is often carried out by a fellow teacher.
  5. Academies are funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and they are, in theory, the final point where you can file a complaint about how your academy is performing. Except…they are only interested in whether the complaints procedure has been followed.
  6. Academies can employ teachers who aren’t qualified even one’s that haven’t been to university and are teaching technical subjects like maths etc. Academies are only judged on the results they achieve and they’re Ofsted report (which remember is only carried out every 7 years). To put this in context a school could have an outstanding Ofsted report, then employ a whole load of unqualified teachers and, unless there is a staggering change in the result, the school could continue that way for at least 7 years

That’s enough for now. If you want to know more about academies then just add a comment and I will get back to you. Of course if you think I am totally wrong and academies are brilliant then it would be great to hear that too!

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Taking Parenting seriously

10th June to 12th June

So, a little down fact about me is that I am anti-academy. Both my children are currently attending a local academy which is part of a Multi-Academy Trust. At the moment I am part of a private Facebook group which was set up to allow parents a voice regarding any issues they may have about the academy in question. Only parents are allowed to join to ensure the privacy of it’s members and allow freedom of speech. This group has had posts leaked to the Executive Principal of the Multi-Academy Trust and he is now threatening legal action. We are just in the process of setting up a Go Fund Me page where any donations can be made to help us fight our cause. The issues we are facing are  much deeper than the article indicates but I’ll keep you posted without trying to get into more trouble!

Although I have to be careful about what I post about the above issues it was thrilling to get into the press because, having shared all the documentation with the journalist concerned (Warwick Mansell), it was a real boost to the campaign for someone other than parents and WhistleblowersUK to listen to us. Now, as many people may have heard, being in the press is a double edged sword and we had to be very careful to ensure that the story wasn’t diluted or reported in a way we weren’t happy with. It is also really, really time consuming!

The campaign also takes  up a massive amount of time in itself. Over the course of the 3 days covered by this blog we have:

  • Had a meeting with our local MP. The MP was about as much use as a chocolate teapot! All they wanted to focus on was the legal issue that was in the paper where as the group has many more issues to focus on. It didn’t end well when we were accussed of wanting a quote for the press when it had taken us since September to get anyone to listen and then once it was in the press we had a response to our request for a meeting with them less than 12 hours after the article came out.
  • Met with 2 ex parents to discuss their issues and get signed statements from them
  • Had a meeting of the group to discuss next steps

The above points might not have seemed very much but I am also running a business, have a full time job, trying to set up my Arbonne business and am married with 2 children. Thank goodness for a supportive husband and a great team running the business!

What happened in the rest of the 3 days then! Well I finally went back to Slimming World to find out that I had put 3lbs back on. Not suprising given that since I feel off the sweetie wagon I haven’t stopped eating chocolate and bad stuff. But still you’ve got to be in it to win it and I certainly won’t lose any weight if I aren’t at least attending the meetings.

So, after going to Slimming World and meeting with an MP I met my parents and the children at the swimming baths (showing my age saying that!). Mum and dad had offered to take them swimming as Kevin needs to keep up on his exercise and Scarlett just likes to exercise. Kevin decide it would be funny to splash me whilst I was watching (good job I hadn’t straightened my hair!). After everyone had got dressed we all sat and had a coffee in the little cafe and had a catch up about events of the weekend.

After I had taken Kevin home, 3 hours away from the computer is far too long for him, Scarlett and I hit the shops to ensure that she had everything she needs for an upcoming performance and for school. This is how contrary Scarlett is…..we went shopping for a new leotard and tights for the dance performance then swiftly went to a sports shop to buy a pair of rugby boots! We also realised that the sports shop and another of our favourite shops had a sale on so we made a few other purchase as well! In order to diminish our guilt we bought stuff for Kevin and Mr Roberts too.

Scarlett also had a bit of a melt down on Saturday evening. Mr Roberts was telling stories about when Kevin was a baby and she got upset when he told more stories about Kevin than her. The problem is that when Scarlett was a baby she didn’t want anything to do with her dad where as Kevin spent every waking moment with his dad. It was strange to watch her because I could see her getting herself more and more upset. Until eventually she got to the point that nobody loved her. It was resolved when we spent some time cuddling in bed and sharing stories.

Let’s finish on something funny. A friend had set up a Facebook Messenger group for her birthday and someone posted that there was a sale in the stores we were talking about above. I posted “it’s a code red…..we need to get there” it turns out that the stores are closing because the rents have doubled. My friend posted “don’t get Nichole on the case it’ll end up in the press!”….cheeky monkey my friends are! Here’s a lesson for everyone….never stop smiling and always see the funny side of life!

Next time…Scarlett feels better and it’s time for meltdown week!

 

The Power of the Universe

6th June to 8th June

So, if you read the last blog you’ll know that I had a bit of a wobble last week with my confidence. I’ve also written a lot about the development books that I have been reading. I’m not very good at starting self-help books but I am even worse at finishing them! So, as I’ve been feeling a bit shaky I thought I would go back to the one that changed my live in the first place…The Chimp Paradox. I am not very good at reading (or listening to) self- help books but I am even worse at finishing them! I have slipped back into some bad habits of late, losing my sense of humour and getting wound up at some of the littlest things. It instantly made me start to feel better, if only because it reminded me that I have a human brain and a chimp brain and to decide which one should be in charge at which time.

One of the other books I have been listening was “The Secret” and also “Think and Grow Rich” both of which talk about how thinking about positive things help them come to you. Well bizarrely the section of The Chimp Paradox I started listening to was talking about being with your troop and how the chimp and the human handle being in groups of people. The chimp wants only to be with close friends and family who they know love and care about you, whereas the human is taught to be friends with everyone. Isn’t it bizarre that just when I needed to know why someone who I didn’t know very well could make me question myself I turned to that section of the book. Maybe what we put out into the universe can come back to us?

Arbonne finally had a flash sale! When they do one of these sales they have really good free gifts. This particular offer was a free RE9 Advanced for Men Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, a free RE9 Advanced for Men Eye Repair Cream and an Arbonne Gym bag. One of my contacts was ready to sign up as a Preferred Client so we put everyone’s orders together to ensure that she achieved the required level of sale and she got the free gift. Arbonne have also made some amazing changes to the Preferred Client offer which include free delivery and a free gift when you sign up…..on top of a discount of at least 20%!! If you aren’t sure if it’s for you then there is a 45-day money back guarantee on Preferred Client!!

I also met up with some old friends on Wednesday evening. We all used to work together until the end of June/July 2015 and, I have to confess, I did worry that we wouldn’t have much in common once we had all left work but I shouldn’t have worried. The conversation flowed as usual. I also gave out some Arbonne samples because some of them would be excellent consultants!!

Next time…..we cover the national press!

 

I’ve had a wobble!

3rd June to 5th June

So I had a bit of wobble over these 3 days. I think that most of my posts have been positive but I am a bit like a minstrel (or an M&M if you’re reading in America!). So, I’m hard on the outside but once the crispy coating cracks then I am can very easily melt.

A couple of posts ago I posted all of the various hairstyles that I have had over the last year. I don’t think there was any purpose to the post apart from to show that I love to mix things up a little bit. So, I went along to one of the many networking events I attend and was chatting with the lovely Jo Howarth (of The Happiness Club) and she was admiring the new hair colour whilst telling me about the shock of seeing me blonde when the lady we were chatting to, who is lovely by the way, said “haven’t you seen all the pictures that Nichole has posted of herself?”. I immediately started to doubt myself. Why did she say that? Do I post too many pictures of myself? Do I need to stop posting quite so much? Now, obviously, all this was going on in my head whilst I still half listened to the conversation and continued to smile. Looking back a couple of days later when I had stopped wobbling I realised that she meant nothing by it but at the time I was suddenly stuck with insecurity. Which leads me to 2 questions. (1) why does it matter so much to me what people think, especially those people I don’t know too well? and (2) why do we hear some things in a different way?

The day after that incident I woke up in such a negative mood it was unbelievable. Luckily for the general population it was an office day so only people close to me had to suffer through the mood. Lucky for the general population but not good for my lovely mum and long suffering best friend as they were also in the office so did have to deal with the fallout. The saving grace was that I knew I was in a bad mood so I warned them that…I am in such a bad mood I could argue with myself!” Now I don’t know about you but I always think it is better to warn people when you are in a bad mood. It doesn’t make you any easier to bear but at least people know that it isn’t them but is completely down to you. Anyway, mummy and BFF just took the mick (if you’re not from Yorkshire that means having a joke at my expense!) but they were wise enough to do it at a distance, i.e. through social media, posting comments such as “at least she’s smiling!”

Saturday was a better day although as is the norm in my life it was still a busy one! Scarlett was dancing at the weekend. It wasn’t a bad weekend for her as she came 4th in her classical ballet, her troupe came 2nd and she got 1st and 2nd in the classical duet (she has 2 duets with 2 different people!) so it was good for her. It did make me realise that I need to put some effort back into Scarlett’s dancing. 2 dances have fallen off for her as she has outgrown them but the real issue was when it came to do her classical solo and she couldn’t get her tutu over her bum! We managed to get it on but it did involve a lot of buttock clenching…..and not just for the fear that it would’t go on.

Lets finish on a funny story. On Friday I made an emergency dash into TK Maxx to buy a pair of flat shoes as I had been walking around on a pair of very high shoes for days and I had another 3 hours of standing to go and I just couldn’t bear to think about it…or that’s my excuse for spending money! So, one pair obviously wasn’t good enough, I had to buy 2! When I arrived at the office on Monday one of the pairs was still in the car (can’t be letting Mr Roberts know how much I had been spending!!). I had planned for this so I went to the office in my flip flops in order to change when I got to the office, arriving in flip flops is not a good look for an accountant! So, I arrived at the office, unpacked all the stuff I seem to lug around with me then went and got my shoes out of the car. Right foot fitted perfectly but the left was really tight….so tight that I could barely walk. Made it back to my chair and thought “I need to do something with this shoe!” took it off, looked inside and…..I had only left the bloody cardboard inside!!! The shoes were suddenly more comfortable!

Next time…in the press and steps to sort out my mood!

Another Bank Holiday….and we survived!

30th May to 2nd June

So our family day wasn’t actually on the Bank Holiday Monday because the weather forecast was better for the Sunday than the Monday. So, it’s a bit backwards is this blog because I completely forgot about the Bank Holiday! #badmother

The Saturday didn’t finish well. Kevin spent the afternoon feeling a bit dodgy which resulted in Kevin spending the evening sat on the sofa clutching a hot water bottle. The full effect really came into force later that night when I could hear the impact of his illness even though he was in the bathroom upstairs and I was in the lounge with the TV on! Lucky for Mr Roberts he was “working” in the garage when all this was going on. He calls it working but I call it playing….seeing as it is tinkering with cars! Anyway when I went into the garage to tell him that Kevin was ill, and that he needed to help me clean up, his face was an absolute picture of horror. Why is that mums are alwasy the ones who have to clean it up? Still, cleaning it all up cerainly gave me a lot of credit in the bank with Mr Roberts!

Anyway Kevin has always been a child who is sick when he gets poorly so any bug is going to manifest itself with vomit where Kevin is concened…..unfortunately for me, who always get the clean up job. Maybe I just look like a person who is good at cleaning up poo and vomit????? I remember when I was younger and we got a puppy. The first time the puppy had an accident in the house my sister very kindly offered to take rub her nose in it and take her outside whilst I cleaned the floor. I should have known then!!

Anywat, back to Saturday evening, Kevin slept in the spare room (he has a cabin bed and I wasn’t going to take any chances with him vomiting over the edge of the cabin bed and it hitting the laminated floor at high velocity! So off he meekly went to the spare room with his plastic bowl, bottle of water, tissues and hot water bottle. Then I was woken to the sound of liquid hitting the bowl. Is this a bit too graphic??? The moral is that they still need you no matter how big they are….and Kevin is so big that when I give him a clip round the head I have to stand on tip tops to get at him!

Kevin felt much better in the morning so off we went for our family day out. Amazing mummy and moaning daddy came with us (along with Max the dog) so we had a proper day out. I volunteered Kevin to go in Mr Roberts’ car so that if he was going to be sick he could jsut stick his head out of the side of the car….great way to spread the vomit load I thought! The day was glorious and Kevin managed to keep his vomitting down right until we got to eating lunch. Now Kevin and I are very similiar, much to his dismay, and if he is off his food then you know he is poorly. Well when he couldn’t eat his lunch and even the thought of getting a Mr Moo’s ice-cream couldn’t convince him to stay out then you know his poorly! Anyway it gave Mr Roberts a nice excuse to leave early and allowed Kevin to get back to his man cave. It also gave Scarlett the perfect chance to have mum all to herself, which is her ideal situation.

Both Scarlett and Kevin love their family and we are all very close, I even still get a kiss and a cuddle every morning and every night! But it’s far to say that as Kevin has got older he has become a little less family orientated but Scarlett has stayed just the same. So, whereas Kevin will happily stay in his bedroom Scarlett much prefers doing everything in the same room. So, whilst I am typing this blog she is happily laid on the sofa on her iPad. One thing Scarlett is not very good at is sharing family and she has her favourites, luckily I am still one of them, even though she is 13 and we still have our shouting moments! She will happily sit on a seperate chair to me on the sofa but if Kevin came and sat next to me for a cuddle she would want in on the act. This was difficult when she was younger but as she gets older I am just trying to get the balance right and not push her away too much.

I feel like I have completely prattled on today, just like I said I would several weeks ago!