Caption this photograph for me please on Saturday Caption Day.
Love from the Striking Mum x
Originally posted 2011-09-03 11:15:50.
What are 10 ways to be a happy mum? Not every mum is happy all of the time or even most of the time.
I love my children but there are times when I have struggled so as I hit the teen and tween years, I am going to share some of my lessons on what has helped me be happier as a mum.
1. Have confidence in yourself and your ability to be a mum. People have done it for years so why should you be the one who messes it up? Believe you are a great mum and see what happens.
2. Look at your own individual circumstances. Some mums have a massive support network of family, friends and colleagues. A lot don’t and then try to measure up to those that do. How can you realistically have hot date nights, a fabulous career and look glamorous if you are the one who is always holding the baby?
3. Accept from day one that some people will judge you adversely. I was told I was an inadequate mum when I returned to work when my first son was 6 weeks old. If I was, I also earned money for the family, kept my sanity and gave my parents precious and as it turned our limited time with their first grandson.
4. Try to carve out time for yourself and your own interests. It is a challenge but even if you just insist on having 10 minutes to yourself a day, it can remind you who you are and what you like.
5. State very clearly and in writing if necessary what you need people to do to help you. Do you need your parents to show you how to do DIY or housework more effectively? Would you be happier if your partner took the baby to soft play once a week to give you a rest? Whatever works for you, let them know!
6. Be aware that if you feel sad or fed up with a life a lot of the time, you may be experiencing depression. Take it from one who tried, you cannot get through this without help. Get to the GP (and write down that is what you need for your family or friends if you can’t face going) and access medication or talking therapies. PLEASE!
7. Remember your children will love you anyway. That fact should not be abused but they will celebrate the mum and person you are not some media fantasty mum. Make sure they know who you are because not to put too fine a point on it they will probably give your eulogy one day. It would be good for them to have something to say.
8. If housework is overwhelming, work out a system that ensures the house at least habitable. For me, I started by doing housework in short spurts during telly advert breaks. That was all I could handle at the time but if made me feel more in control and I built on that over time. Just give me a day before you announce your visit!
9. Take every media image of motherhood, research study,parenting book and webiste with a huge pinch of salt. They are tastier that way and for goodness sake laugh at some of them. Always look at who is behind the research or whatever and what is in it for them.
10. Accept that just as you are an individual so are your children. They will develop at their own rate and have their own talents, skills and interests which may not match yours. Celebrate the people they are and make some amazing memories together.
If you think I talk sense let me know and if you don’t forgive this old wife for having her own tale!
Becoming a grandma is an important milestone. I interviewed Nickie who became a grandmother aged 36. Nickie was one of the first bloggers to be kind to me when I started my blogging journey telling me that content matters so very much. It seems fitting to see her featured on my blog at last with her views on life and parenthood.
What is the striking story you have to share?
I was a teenage mum giving birth to my daughter at the age of 18 and then she became a teenage mum at the age of 17 which, if we count on our fingers, meant that I was becoming a grandma at the age of 36.
What were the joys that this experience brought your way?
My daughter had cancer as a baby so we were never sure if she could have children after receiving intensive chemotherapy for 6 months. In one respect, her having a baby and me becoming a grandma was nothing short of a miracle.
What challenges did this situation bring your way?
Stereotypical opinions! I wished that my daughter would have had the opportunity to forge a career rather than become a young mum. Dealing with the emotions across the family (and extended family) that come with the stigma of teenage pregnancy including wanting to tell our story so that it could be shown that you *can* get through this even though it’s an emotional journey but STILL being met with preconceived opinions.
How do you ensure you get time to yourself and what do you do with that time?
I have had a myriad of hobbies which include blogging and vlogging, crafts and studying for a degree with the Open University but my new love is running. It’s totally changed who I am as a person and how I give back to the community who helped me find this new passion.
Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself? How?
My life is a continuous path of self-discovery. Each step is part of that journey. I woudn’t be who I am now without my past and I won’t be the person I’m going to be without what is happening now.
Describe at least one physical feature you have that you consider to be beautiful
My eyes. I love their shape and the colour.
What makes you stand out?
I’m not afraid to share my opinion, I’m a very loyal friend. I’m a very determined person who isn’t afraid to fail because it creates a learning experience.
Is it important to you to support other mums?
Absolutely. I’ve been through so much in my life as a mum that there’s always some advice I can give. I can also learn from others too if they are prepared to share.
Which mum inspires you?
My own. She died at the age of 55 after suffering for 45 years with Bronchiecstasis (wrongly diagnosed as TB when she was a child). She managed to keep a house, a family, a small part-time job, deal with the divorce of her and my dad (the only man she’d ever been with) and still had time for everyone else. I didn’t appreciate her enough and regret that every single day.
What would you like the next Government to do to improve the lives of mums?
I don’t necessarily think the Government needs to specifically target mums but look at family life as a whole – maternity/paternity leave, childcare costs, working hours (making it easier for the employer as well as the mother/father) and also to fully support non-traditional family units as an equality.
I like to reflect on my reasons to be cheerful every week. Today I am a happy mum.
You find me sitting in the lounge with sun streaming through the window and blossom appearing on the tree outside. Like my late Mum, I love Spring with its sense of hope and new life.
Last Friday, we made the long trip to Yorkshire to stay with family in a gorgeous coach house surrounded by stunning scenery. The house used to be my parents’ home so I feel close to them there.
My brother looked after us well. It is such a treat as a Mum to sit back and let someone else take the strain of cooking and tidying for a change. I know Him Indoors does more than most on those scores but I think in most households it is still the mum who does the majority.
We took the children to our old town so that our teenage son could meet up with an old friend for a few hours. The rest of us had a lovely pub lunch.
The following day we went first to the North Yorkshire Railway at Grosmont and then moved on to Whitby. The day seemed one of our sunniest ever on all fronts.
My youngest son asked for a trip to Bridlington on our final full day. We had such fun particularly with the fairground rides.
There was time to chat with my brother and long lie-ins in peaceful surroundings.
We have returned refreshed and ready to take on whatever life has in store for us next.
Something tells me it is going to be a very exciting year ahead.
Are you a happy mum today?
How do you fancy winning some Vileda cleaning products?
With the children going back to school, now is the perfect time to do a big push on the housework front. That can only be easier if you win cleaning products.
I have tried to keep up with the housework over the school holidays. I have even tried to get the children involved but they prove very reluctant. It can be difficult to juggle everything that needs to be done over the school holidays. As soon as the new term starts, I am going to do a major cleaning and tidying blitz.
To celebrate the launch of their campaign, ‘Floor Miles’, I’ve teamed up with Vileda, the UK’s leading household cleaning brand. Vileda is offering one lucky reader the chance to win £25 worth of cleaning goodies to get their homes ship shape this summer. Perfect for busy homes, Vileda products are designed to last miles longer and make your cleaning miles easier! You can enter via to win the cleaning products pictured via the Rafflecopter below.
For more competitions and to find out how to collect Vileda ‘Floor Miles’ and be in with a chance of winning a family eco-holiday, head to the Vileda UK Facebook page.
If you love competitions, check out UK Prizefinder
With love from the Striking Mum x
For this week’s Groovy Mums post, I am delighted to announce that I am teaming up with the rather wonderful Pippa from Story of Mum for a Twitter chat on Wednesday 12th March from 8.30 to 10pm.
I want to see you there if you identify with Groovy Mums at all or have any intention of moving your life forwards positively.
We will be using the #somum and #groovymums hashtags during the party so do keep an eye out for them.
We have a very exciting theme of Mum Trumps – it’s the ultimate Twitter party game for mums.
We will be talking about special abilities, skills and also the things we find a little daunting.
So join us for the Twitter Mums Trumps party. You really can’t top that!
As for me, I am adapting to life without the husband on the scene for a little while. I intend to use the time I would spend with him to look really hard at what needs to change in my life and then taking baby steps towards a fresh start.
I was delighted to see several Groovy Mums attempting poetry last week. Such talent and a willingness to have a go!
For the uninitiated, here is an explanation of Groovy Mums and what you can get out of it.
If you are moving ahead positively and proactively in your life in ways tiny or huge, please do blog about it and link up below.
Reflections on the poem don’t quite and what this means to me.
I first came across the “Don’t Quit” poem when I was at college. I put a post of it over my fireplace in my room.
What traumas I was facing at the time I do not recall. Probably something as minor as fancying someone who did not fancy me. I am an expert in shallow sometimes.
The poem came back to my mind this week. Since my husband was made redundant, I have worked on blind faith. As that has not worked so far, I think we probably need a new strategy. I am not sure what that plan will be and hope Christmas will give us time to work it out.
Funds are certainly low and debts are just starting to show up. Perhaps applying hundreds and hundreds of pounds to attending interviews was the wrong way to go but it seemed sensible at the time. It is interesting to note how the poem acknowledges rest as something that may well be worth doing. Like a jigsaw puzzle where you struggle to fit the right piece and then return with fresh eyes and place it immediately, after Christmas we might return to this battle refreshed.
The pace to success seems incredibly slow. It is disheartening and yet one letter or phone call could change all that. I recognise the faint and faltering man as my husband gets more down-hearted and tired. We have to stick it out. We have children – they need to be looked after. So we carry on.
I think of how lonely I was and how I felt so useless not that many years ago. Along came blogging and magical experiences. I now have imaginary friends who actually exist. I did not see what a lovely journey this would be – lovely competition wins, exciting things to review, trips at home and overseas and a sense of belonging and acceptance.
2014 may mean I have to take on new challenges and make more use of the skills I have.
We may both be nearer than we think to being OK.
One thing is for sure with your amazing support I will not quit!
With love from the Striking Mum
Handcrafted with by Stacey Corrin.