Father’s Day; Happiness & Sadness

Father’s day is a happy/sad day for me, as I’m sure it is for countless people. I thought I’d share my Father’s day feelings with you, even if to just reassure other people that they are not alone if their weekend will be tinged some form of sadness.

The role of a father is so important,  yet so overlooked by many of them; they make or break their children. I’m guessing there are thousands of broken hearts feeling extra tender this weekend in the UK, all for very individual reasons; your dad may have been taken away too soon, you may never have known your father, you may wish you’d never known him, it may conjure up painful memories, there may be bitterness, resentment,  and maybe even regret.  Whatever the reason for your heartache, know you’re not alone, and know there is always hope.

Father’s day for me was pretty average for my first sixteen years; a once a year celebration of someone who was my dad by blood, and it usually revolved around alcohol,  pretty normal to an abnormal me.

Once my parents parted ways it became a different story, a much harder occasion to get through. Up until 16 my mother had sorted the plans, the presents, the cards, but now it was up to me. How do you celebrate someone who has caused you so much unacknowledged hurt and brokenness? Not very easily is the answer.

By the time I was 21 the tiny fragments of a father-daughter relationship had been completely lost, and Father’s Day became a constant reminder of what I lacked and my constant feeling of not being good enough reigned. Memories would erupt into full volcanic swing, and the only solution was to act as though I had no heart,  noway could I deal with the emotions, I didn’t know how to, not in a healthy manner anyway. This went on year in, year out, and I thought it was a day destined to bring me sadness for the rest of my life,  but I was wrong.

In 2010 my little bundle of loveable rogueness entered our world, and my healing process was in full swing. Little did I know that Father’s Day would never be the same for me again, thankfully. My husband becoming a father was like watching a duck take to water; I may be biased but he is an amazing daddy. He totally revolutionised my concept of a father, he showed me how a father loves, protects, and sets an example to his children. He is patient, kind, never aggressive, creates beautiful memories, and sacrifices everything for his family. His children are not scared of him, they enjoy him being around, they do not tremble at the sound of his key in the door, they jump up and down with excitement.

My children have never seen their daddy hurt their momma, they see their daddy love and cherish their momma. My children don’t lock their bedroom doors before they sleep, they know they are safe. The darkness doesn’t scare my children, they know no harm will come to them. When they have bad dreams they run to their daddy, he isn’t their worst nightmare.

My husbands selfless fathering has taught me that I am not the reason for all I lacked growing up, and that I am enough. My mindset of what a dad is has forever been changed, and I now know I’m not the problem. This makes Father’s Day a happy day for me, obviously you cannot eradicate your past, but it no longer holds me bound in misery and self loathing. However, I cannot lie, it still has a tinge of sadness, I’m not sure if it’s for the father I lost along the way, or the father I would have loved to have, time will tell.

Whatever your reason for a heavy heart concerning your dad, please know you’re not alone, let’s support each other. Your story may be of terrible loss for a loving father, very different to my story, yet our hearts hurt all the same. Keep going, hope is very much alive.

How To Survive Grocery Shopping With Kids

Do you find grocery shopping with your children stressful? Are you looking for some top tips on ways to make it less stressful? Well you’ve come to the right place! For a complete stress-free grocery shop make sure you go ALONE, and if that’s not possible then do it all online!

I’m pretty sure I suffer from some type of memory loss regarding doing a grocery shop with my kids.

Often my husband or I will stay in the car,armed with plenty of sweets, with my 5yo & 6yo whilst the other one of us grabs the few items we need. Kids and grocery shopping are just never a good combination in my experience and why I didn’t remember this today I will never know.

We’d spent a few hours at the park the other morning, had lunch out, and even had icecream. Before heading home to play in the garden we needed to stop at the supermarket for a few things. Both children wanted to come in with me. I said yes. I said yes?! Had I forgotten the monsters they transform into once we enter supermarkets? Apparently so! Off we went, all four of us!

One didn’t want to walk, he didn’t want to sit in a trolley, he wanted Daddy to carry him. We got a trolley (a double seated trolley). We karate chopped one into the trolley, the other refused to sit in there, he wanted a separate trolley. I said no. I know, I know, bad momma, but this was meant to be a QUICK shopping trip. He now wanted to sit in the trolley with his brother. The seat had a mark on it. Meltdown approaching. Meltdown avoided. Mummy used her scarf as a seat cover, of course.

We entered the supermarket.

One no longer wants to be in the trolley, it’s uncomfortable and hurting his “winkle”. He walks, and is told to hold my hand. The other wants to walk, he is not allowed out. His ‘runner’ reputation goes before him and he cannot be trusted. I put my scarf back on because it was longer needed to be used as a somebody-elses-crap-coverer. The trolley sitter looks at the mark on the empty seat next to him and starts dramatically gagging. Mommas scarf returns to the seat. He then asks to be carried, as opposed to sitting in a trolley being pushed around like royalty.

The walker picks up a butternut squash and shouts “What’s this mummy?” I see a lady give me the once over. I feel paranoid that she now thinks  I don’t feed my children vegetables so I say “It’s a butternut squash, you’ve tried it before!” I lied. I outright lied for the benefit of a nosey stranger. Idiot. I am an idiot. He now wants the butternut squash.

The trolley sitter asks to be carried.

The other asks if we are finished yet.

My husband and I have a conversation about dinner, my youngest takes this as an open invite to shout his preference; pizza. “Pizza pizza pizza!” he bellows over and over again. I told him he wasn’t having pizza for tea this evening because he had it four days ago for dinner. He continues. My blood pressure rises. We walk by the pizza without stopping.

The walker now wants to sit in the trolley, the actual trolley, not the seat part, but it’s full of shopping. He was not impressed. He decides he now wants to stand by the hot chicken counter because “It’s warm!” The counter is empty, we feel awkward but he appears in his element.

Bread, bread, bread. Never choose bread when your children are there. Such a simple item to get, yet my brain had decided to malfunction. “Pizza pizza pizza!” yelled the 5yo as the 6yo took a big birthday cake off the shelf and sat with it cross-legged on the floor to inspect it. I asked him to put it back, instead he heard me ask him to tip it up onto it’s side for a closer look. I put it back on the shelf for him. I didn’t put it back where he got it from. He had to put it in it’s rightful place.

Bread, back to the bread.

The trolley asks to be carried.

We’ve now been in the shop for 15 minutes. Our 5 minute trip had tripled in time. Right, momma on a mission.

The 6yo wants to buy a pack of icing because it has pretty cookies on the front, he won’t believe me that the cookies are not in the packet too. We compromise on sweets instead. He wants jaw-breaking type sweets, I make a few (sensible) suggestions, he suggests 3 more jaw-breaking types before settling for mommas suggestions.

The 5yo asks to be carried. Again. I say asked but really I mean squawks like a bird that’s been hit by a very large truck!

My shopping list in my brain has disintegrated. My husband couldn’t think straight either.

The 6yo decides to spin round in circles instead of walking. I felt like my brain was doing the same.

Cheese next. Oh and milk. Oh crap, we forgot the bread.

We pass the lotto stand. Both scream for the pen on a chain. I internally scream and dream of winning said lotto. I’d hire a nanny for sure 🤣. The eldest gives off a high pitched scream and I decide I’m gonna do the lotto online when I’m alone or maybe I’ll go the whole hog and play roulette. Wow, imagine that? Me, a share bag of doritos, a wine and me looking through reviews of betting and gaming sites to increase my chances of never having to shop with kids again!

The 5yo squawks. And squawks. And squawks some more.

The 6yo can’t walk anymore.

Let’s go. Screw the rest of the food. Who needs groceries anyway? Not us! Not ever again! Quick dash to the cashier, and lets get out. Out, out out!

Annnnnnnnnnnd we’re home.

I think going grocery shopping with children can be likened to some kind of traumatic life event. My husband and I walk into a supermarket with two children, and we leave with two gremlins and high blood pressure.

I love my kids, but not enough to take them grocery shopping with me in the near future! (Joke)

Oh, and the 5yo had pizza for dinner! 😉

 

Getting Rid Of Crap People In Your Life

No matter what walk of life we’ve come from we all have one thing in common and that’s people. We all have people in our lives; colleagues, kids, partners, husbands, wives, family members, acquaintances, friends. The list is endless. But some of these relationships are relentless in the impact they have on our lives. And let’s face it some people are just crappy human beings. So why do we put up with it? I literally have no idea!

I’v spent more of my life wanting to please others and begging people to love me than I have not. I look back now and think NEVER AGAIN! But in the midst of all these relationships and encounters I was blinded by their deafening roars. I believed I was not worth loving. I believed I was not good enough. I believed the world would be better without me.

In the last few years I’ve realised a lot of this was because of my untreated depression and anxiety BUT these shitty people, who by the law of DNA should have treated me better, much better, should have stepped up their game. But you can’t change people. As agonising as that is. It’s taken me a good thirty plus years to understand this.

Life is far too precious to waste it by letting toxic people ruin it and take away your happiness. Don’t let them. I know it’s not that simple but it really is that simple.

I had one major toxicity in my life. He hurt me over and over and over. Sometimes he had verbal remorse once or twice over 21 years. But nothing says sorry like changed actions, and nothing ever changed. He almost ruined my life. Almost. But he didn’t. He hasn’t. And now he’s a distant memory. A memory that will no doubt always come to haunt me but it’s something I have to bear. Because he will NOT ever ruin anything else for me. After 21 years I cut him from my life. It was an horrific time. It was hard. He made it harder. I let go of him and snatched back my worth. I realised it was not me who was the problem. I made a promise to myself that from now on I was in charge of my life.

It was THE BEST decision I’ve ever made. It was the start of freedom.

I lost a lot of people when I cut loose from this burden BUT it was still worth all I lost. The whatifs nearly stopped me but I couldn’t live in the toxic cloud of darkness anymore.

The last 34 years has taught me to accept all or accept nothing. There’s no fence for me. This had led other people to leave our lives too, but it’s been a mighty good riddance. I will never let people make me question my worth. Never. They have no right. And I most certainly will never let my children wonder about their worth. They are loved outloud. I’m fiercely passionate about that. I don’t want them to spend their adult life recovering from their childhood like I’ve had to.

I’m a big believer in second chances, but not third chances. My door will shut. Yours should too. Your happiness and peace should be your priority. You matter! You’re worthwhile. Don’t settle for a life of pleasing others or keeping the peace only for your own peace to be destroyed.

It’s never too late to change the direction of your life.

 

 

Are Your Kids Hard Work?

Kids are hard work, and anybody who thinks other wise either doesn’t have kids or is riding a unicorn in the land of delusion.

I love my kids more than anything in this world, but jeez do I long for bedtime some nights, a lot of nights. And do I feel guilty saying that? Hell no! They drain me of every bit of sanity and strength I have. And I know I a not alone. But this doesn’t mean I dislike being a parent. I love it. My kids saved my life.

Bing a parent is the most amazing yet most draining job in the world. Even when your kids are being well behaved it’s one task after anther. It’s endless. It’s relentless. This doesn’t mean I don’t like being a parent, because I do, not all the time, but I do, sometimes. Ha. Jokingggggg.

I often think back to my pre-kid days and get annoyed that I didn’t sleep more! Or enjoy the quiet more! Or enjoy restaurants more! Or enjoy peeing alone – how did this become a luxury? The luxury of being alone to pee has long gone in this house, and I doubt it will return for at least another 10 years! When I pee it obviously sets off some sensor in my kids who need things immediately, things so important thy cannot wait for me to get out the bathroom i.e. a snack. And if I had a dollar for every time I was asked for the stapler to clip together the nine millionth 2-page comic that day I’d be hiring a fulltime nanny. Joke. A fulltime cleaner to be precise. No joke.

I hate meal planning too, with two kids with different tastes and a gluten-free husband it takes so long to meal plan. But, you cant please everyone, and at meal times you can’t please anyone! It’s better to just accept this and serve what you want anyway! Don’t get me wrong we have quite a few pleasant meal times, and by pleasant I mean burps are reduced to 3 or 4, nobody picks their nose and eats it, no drinks are spilt, and nobody kicks each other sneakily under the table. I don’t allow technology at the dinner table, but on the rare occasion when I legit need silence before my head literally combusts I tell the kids to get their tabs to watch a cartoon on Sky TV. You gotta do what you gotta do. And do I feel guilty? Nope. Why? Because it’s hard work being a parent and sometimes we just need 10 minutes of uninterrupted peace without people pinching each other or moaning their brother looked at them or showed the other one their chewed up gross food.

Kids take anything simple and make it a chore. Wow, I sound a bit harsh, but if you’re a parent you know the heart I mean it from. I hope.

I also have a love/hate relationship with things such as our trampoline. My boys love it. It’s the best purchase we made, but also the bane of my life. They enjoy going on there together – for 2 seconds, and then it turns into a death match with wailing, screaming, shouting, tears, and it drives me bloody insane! And no doubt our neighbours too. I am an only child so all this sibling arguing and fighting is alien to me. Anybody else have kids that argue on the trampoline or just mine?

We have sibling arguments over anything in this house. They would argue over a turd. I kid you not! We have the top bunk sleeper dribbling onto the bottom bunk sleeper, we have snot being wiped on each other, elbowing, kicking, punching, arguing over who left the Lego out, arguing over who used a flannel, fighting over the colour of a pen despite them both having black ink in, arguments over who is opening the front door, arguments over the seat they sit in at dinnertime, arguments over who has 1mm more apple juice in their cup etc, the list is endless. My kids would argue over arguing. It drives me crazy!

Parenting is not easy. Not at all. So on the hard days remember we are all in this together, and the people who look like they have it all figured out and the perfect little family are just better at covering up their shiz than other people.

It’s hard. And it’s ok to say it’s hard. It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you real. And real is the very thing this world needs.

 

How To Cook With Young Kids Without Losing Your Mind

On television shows, cooking with children always looks relaxing and adorable. In reality, I know too many moms who find letting their kids into the kitchen to cook an excruciating ordeal. However, it’s all about your expectations. With the easy tips below, you can manage your expectations and actually find this task enjoyable.

Why Bake With The Kids?
If you’re feeling discouraged before you even start, you may be wondering if you should even bother with this messy endeavor. Some reasons include:

  • Creating a bonding experience – If you’re able to make it fun for yourself, it is a great way to bond with your kids. For more ideas on how to creatively spend time with your children, take a look at Mommy Authority. Read expert advice from all different kinds of moms to enrich your own parenting.
  • Making Dinner – Making dinner which no one wants to eat is so draining. Having kids invest in their own dinner makes it less likely that they’ll refuse to eat.
  • Teaches Independence – Every parent I know straddles the balance between keep their kids safe and raising free range kids. Teaching them cooking skills while you are supervising is a great way to make kids feel independent while still keeping a close eye on them.

3 Tips To Get Cooking Today
1. Get Cleaning Help
The number one reason people don’t like to cook with their kids is the unbelievable mess they generate. Somehow flour gets spilled all over the kitchen floor, the toddler finds the bag of chocolate chips and you find yourself slipping on oil and wondering why on earth you decided to do this.

An easy tip is to schedule cooking time with the little terrors a day before you bring in cleaning help. Every time eggs crack all over the floor and you have a shower of cocoa powder, you can smile serenely knowing that someone else will be taking care of cleaning it all up.

2. Use Shortcuts To Save Time
While it’s so much fun for kids to measure out each ingredient and crack a thousand eggs, sometimes it’s just not practical. If you’re pressed for time, find a cooking project that you can do in a short amount of time. Some examples include:

  • Pizza toppings – Instead of having the kids make the dough and roll it out, buy pre-made dough and give it to them already rolled out. All they need to do is add sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Yogurt parfaits – Normally, you can have kids make homemade granola and cut up fruit in order to layer with yogurt to make parfaits. To shorten this, use store-bought granola and pre-cut fruit.
  • Tuna wraps – Arrange a plate of wraps and one of tuna. Then set out bowls with different, thinly sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Let children personalize their own wraps for an easy dinner idea.

3. Make Food For Someone Else
Sometimes when doing a baking project, there is a tendency for kids to want to hoard it all and gobble up all 52 cookies they make. Baking is so much fun but if you want to keep it healthy, make a plan to give some away. You can bring it to an elderly neighbor, a friend or even a babysitter.

Thinking of others also gives the baking a higher purpose and can minimize squabbles between the kids as everyone is working towards to same goal of helping someone else.

Take Away
Time spent with children when they’re young may help your relationship with them as they get older. A study analyzed relationships between children and their parents and found that tensions increase as children get older. This means that while your children still want to spend time with you, take this opportunity to bond with them. Who knows? One day they may start cooking dinner for you!

Miss Normal & Moving

You know the drill, your three year old has a tantrum, he lashes out at you, you sit him out, several attempts are needed, and you count to ten whilst feeling the glares of people standing by or walking past. Their judgemental glances, and eye rolls burn deep into your heart, and you feel like the worst mummy ever, but they also burn into your little ball of rage you bury deep inside. This rage is fanned into flame by staring imbeciles who you want to fly kick across the park, or is this just me? Just kidding.

Sometimes another mum will give you a little smile, as if to say ‘don’t worry we are all in this together’, but sometimes an annoying perfect mother will dish out a sentence that you want to fling right back at her. A sentence such as ‘I feel sorry for you!’. I’m all like ‘What? Who? Me?!” She feels sorry for me? Who on earth would even think that’s ok to even say? Sympathy because my child misbehaved and I’m lovingly disciplining him? No thanks.

Mums what are we doing?! Don’t feel sorry for one another, build one another up. What I actually need to hear mid discipline is “Keep going, you’re doing great, you obviously love your child!” Not patronising sympathy.

And while we are at it let’s address a few more people I run into mid tantrum, mid discipline.

Mrs White-skinny-jeans-burberryhandbag-inappropriatedailyfootwear-backcombedhair-wehaveananny, I do not appreciate your glares over the top of your Raybans. Your shiny lips do not make you a better mother. I discipline my children publicly out of love, and I want them to grow up as respectable human beings, not run around being spiteful and rude like your designer children. How about a friendly smile? Being a momma is hard enough.

Mr Iwanttodrinkmycoffeeinpeace, I hope one day you get to drink your coffee in peace and quiet without any ‘noisy’ children around. I will never apologise for my children being just that; children. I suggest the best place is either your own home or a library.

Mr & Mrs We-have-forgotten-what-children-are-like, you annoy me the most. Do not stand and gawp. Do not look me in the eye and show no emotion whatsoever, because unfortunately, or not, my brain will be too slow in stopping my mouth opening and my protective momma bear instinct will kick in. Go roll your eyes at a real problem.

Mr Shopkeeper, my children are only small, they like to explore. They do not understand the concept of ‘buy before you try’. They don’t mean to pick things up and carry them around just to put them back in the wrong aisle, they’re just inquisitive. I assume you don’t have toddlers, but if you do then go take a long hard look in the mirror, and take your pettiness elsewhere. Your shop is not Harrods. My munchkins are not grownups.

Mrs I-park-in-parentandchild-spaces-when-I-dont-have-children, you frustrate me, you make my blood boil. Parent and child spaces do what the label says. Us parents need the extra room to manoeuvre little rascals out of huge clumpy seats, and get out car seats, and the four hundred items us mommas have to carry to ensure a calmish shopping trip. I wish shops would put parent and child spaces at the back of the carpark, we would still use them, because believe it or not it’s not about the convenience of how near it is to the shop. Next time go find another space, a normal one, there’s hundreds.

Mrs Advicecentral, I don’t need or even want your advice mid-tantrum thank you. Believe it or not it’s taking all my energy and patience to not throw my child across the car park (joke!), so hearing you’re opinion will only further my agitation. I may smile politely, but carry on and watch me go full-on hulk. Keep your advice for the people you know.

Mrs I’d-Never-Uproot-My-Kids-Until-They’re-18 I do not need your advice or your judgement. I don’t want your opinion on the area we move to or the schools nearby. I don’t want your eyes upon my finances and whether you think it’s a good investment. All I care about is a smooth move with the right removal services; the kind that eradicate the stress, ones you can trust!

And then there’s Miss Normal, the lifesaver of the downcast momma. Miss Normal has her own little darlings, her hairs in a messy top knot, her face flushed, her shopping bags heavy, and her children are happy and loved. She gives a knowing nod, a smile, and strikes up a conversation about the tantrums she’s experienced that day. Miss Normal repairs your momma self esteem, she empathises, she knows! Miss Normal revitalises your patience, she encourages you to keep going, she saves the day. I like Miss Normal.

I want to be Miss Normal. She changes people’s lives. She helps people back up. She holds out her hand and pulls you back into reality. She helps unpack when you move without judging your belongings.

Be Miss Normal next time you come across a momma having a hard time.

Autism Is Not A Gift

Autism is not a gift.

I wish my child didn’t have ASD…

I’m tired of seeing people write about how they wouldn’t change their child because autism is part of them and a gift.

Well I call bs on that.
A gift?

Autism is not a gift.

But my child is gifted.

Agree or not autism IS a disability.

It is not always debilitating but it is not something people would put on a wish list.

But it’s also something I never spend time wishing away.

We are on this autism journey for life whether we like it or not.

But it will not define my son.

Just as depression or cancer or asthma or diabetes doesn’t define who you are.

Autism is nothing to be ashamed of.

Not ever.

But it also isn’t something I’d wish for.

It’s a complicated life living with ASD.

And one we’ve fully embraced for years even pre-diagnosis.

But boy would I eradicate it if I could.

Labels are razors. Change is gut wrenching. Habits are heart breaking. Anxiety is vile. Water is scary. Clothes are never right. Socks are chaos. Public toilets are septic tanks. Sensory overload is torture.

Are people glad their children suffer any of these things when they say that ASD is a gift?

I don’t think so. I think they’re scared and winging it like the rest of us.

My boy has ASD and he is autistic.

We love him beyond love.

I don’t see his ASD as him.

I see his struggles and we tackle them head on daily, sometimes hourly.

I don’t want him to say his ASD is a gift, instead I want him to see it as a challenge.

I want him to take pride in his bravery, his resilience, his achievements.

I want him to know he isn’t just his disability.

But I can’t let him think ASD is a gift.

It’s a pretty naff “gift”.

We’ll keep calling it a challenge because autism is not a gift.

Helping Children With Anxiety

Anxiety is such an overused term in todays world, but if you really suffer with anxiety issues then you know it’s no light hearted matter. In fact it’s horrendous and debilitating. This is why it is so important to help children with anxiety.

Different things affect different people, but during your life you’ll no doubt experience anxiety on some level. Circumstances can make us anxious, waiting for news can make us anxious, rollercoasters can make us anxious, the unknown can make us anxious, but these soon pass. Anxiety as a diagnosis does not pass. It can lie dormant for years, and then it can attack out of the blue. It can consume your every waking thought. It can lurk within the night sky. It can be anywhere, at anytime. The only certain thing about anxiety is that it’s uncertain.

I’ve suffered from anxiety for a few years now, which I take medication for, but it only takes the edge from it. Some days I don’t have many anxious thoughts, other days they suffocate me, even in my sleep. It’s not conscious worry, it’s a suffocating feeling. It makes your heart feel like it missed a beat. It feels like you can’t breathe in deep enough. It feels like the world’s in slow-motion. It feels like a million things. It gives you irrational thoughts. It turns paper cuts into septic wounds. It turns headaches in tumours. It turns a cough into a terminal illness. It turns people into vindictive evil doers. It turns school runs into catastrophic events. It puts an invisible force fields around front doors. It imagines the worst of each scenario and then replays them in your head. It remembers words you spoke five years ago over and over again. It makes you restless. It’s erratic, irrational, but it’s unstoppable. Sometimes you can grip it, and sometimes you can’t.

As an adult I have come to understand my anxiety, but it still scares the hell out of me sometimes. The lack of control over it is one of the worst parts for me. It may all be in my head, but my whole body reacts to it. And the same is true with children. My eldest suffers with anxiety, it’s alongside his ASD so they often intertwine. It breaks my heart seeing his anxiety arise and not being able to take it away from him. BUT I am determined to help him understand it and deal with it in the moment. It’s been a long learning process for me, so I’m going to impart all I’ve learnt to him at an early age. Even now I can see a huge difference in his response to things.

A good self esteem can help battle anxiety. I don’t have a good self esteem. I battle that everyday. So I’m determined to ensure my boys have a healthy concept of themselves, it’s so important.

We, my husband and I, do so many things at home to help our children have a healthy view of themselves. I think it’s fundamental in having a healthy childhood. I often leave little notes on their door telling them reasons we think they’re amazing, or a note under their pillows to remind them they’re loved. These are such simple things, but have a mighty impact upon their hearts and minds. We cuddle, we say I love you out loud, a lot. We have random ta parties just because, I print ‘I love you’ on their toast, I make them certificates and stickers. All these little thins let them know they,re thought of and cared for.

I try to teach them that they don’t need to aim for perfection. I always tell them they just have to try their best at things and that not everybody is amazing at everything, and that’s ok. I don’t put pressure on them academically, we try to make things fun. THEY are not a spelling test score, THEY are not a maths score. They are loved, and important despite scores.

We also made some strength jars last year – they worked amazing and still do today. I got them to write down things they like about themselves and things they are good at and then put them into a jar to keep on the shelf in our lounge. Their faces beam when they reread them and add to them. It’s a good self-esteem boost for them.

I teach them the power of encouragement and we often play a little game where we have to tell each other one nice thing or pay each other a compliment. This helps them realise it feels good to be kind too.

Self esteem is so important in helping anxiety, it is a key component of being able to battle it head on.

When my seven year old is particularly anxious he licks his lips and chews his sleeves, so we have fidget toys on hand to help occupy his hands and channel his anxiety in a healthier way. These work time and time again. He also takes one to school. We have a bucket full of them. We have egg timers, liquid timers, lights, squishy toys, Jacobs ladders, rubix cubes, putty, marble mazes, exercise elastics, so any things, and they all help. We will often use this bucket of fidget and relaxation toys for five minutes before they go to sleep to help relax them and turn their little minds into sleep mode. Both of my children enjoy this bucket of toys, not just the one with anxiety, they’re a very good calming tool.

Reassurance is also a big key in helping your child learn to deal with anxiety. Anxiety gives you such irrational thoughts, and even though you know they’re irrational your mind still convinces you they’re real. It makes you feel like you’re being stupid, so it’s hard to verbalise them, but it’s so important to. Reassure them it’s ok, and if it worries them then it’s never silly. After years of reassurance my boy now tells us his worries more often than not and often without prompting. This enables you to work through them logically with them an give them a technique to try and bat away the anxious thoughts.

We also have a Worry Monster. It’s worked wonders! My boys can write down what’s bothering them and then pop it into the worry monsters mouth and zip it up. It’s like a way to vent and release I guess, and it also gives you a chance to read their worries and further help them.

When anxiety strikes it can conjure up so many emotions and even as an adult it’s confusing, so imagine how hard it is for children. We purchased little a keying fob of faces and emotions for our boy to look through and figure out which ones he felt. He loves this. It helps him ground his feelings and put a name to them, even if he is feeling a mixture of four at once.

If your child suffers with anxiety then I’d advise you to seek medical help and also talk to their school. You know your child better than anybody and anxiety is not something to take lightly, if dealt with properly it doesn’t have to be debilitating. Children are resilient creatures and with the right help they can get a handle on their anxiety. But the help doesn’t just start and end with professionals. There are so many things you can do at home to help them, like all the activities and items I’ve listed here in this post. There are also lots of books out their for children to better understand their anxiety. This helps lift the shame barrier too, and helps them to understand they’re not different, just facing a different challenge to some of their friends.

Anxiety is not nice, but it doesn’t have to define you.

The Spirited Wild Child

I have a very spirited child. He is unique and wild in every way. I love this about him, but it also drives me to the brink of insanity. He is fearless. I am not. It leads you to question your parenting skills and abilities time and time again. BUT I’ve come to realise we are not alone, not at all.

Do you have a spirited, wild child? Does any of the following sound familiar?…

The Spirited Child…

They break the boundaries and don’t look back.

They leap without looking and thrive on looking down.

They are drawn to chaos and feel peaceful when messiest.

They fervently listen but do the opposite to what’s expected.

They love adrenaline rushes despite the consequences it may lead to.

They drive you to the edge of insanity but then entice you back in with a well timed snuggle and cheeky smile.

They defy every notion you hold of a child and their behaviour, yet their individuality is what makes them so adorable.

They live for the moment and instant gratification is more desired than a promise of later luxury.

They see the ‘wet paint’ sign but have to check its truth.

They hear you say something is hot but they need first hand experience of the temperature just to clarify it in their own minds.

They hear the words ‘No more!’ but they have to do it one more time.

They understand patience but not how to practice it.

They understand bath foam is to clean yourself with but they eat it anyway.

They think with their body and not with their brains.

Their nature is strong willed, and stubborn, and fierce.

The future is in their hands, they do not fear.

They leave you exasperated, astounded, surprised, fearful, and often in despair.

They are the future. A strong, bold future.

Their ‘wild’ is their biggest strength.

Their ‘spiritedness’ is their super power.

Sound familiar? Buckle down momma. Sit tight Daddy. You’re in for one helluva ride.

Choose your battles, but never battle their spirit. They’re gonna need that spirit. The world out there is tough.

It’s gonna be hard. It already is hard. BUT their spirit is evolving, and time will do the taming.

Cling on.

You’re not a failure, you’re privileged to be raising up a world changer.