I am delighted to interview Sarah today. She is a woman who juggles work, teaching, parenting, travel and blogging with aplomb. She shares a powerful story of a mum coming to terms with her son’s type 1 diabetes.

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Sarah

What is the striking story you have to share?

This is so hard as I don’t see myself as striking. I think it has to be supporting our family through Jack’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. It of course came out of the blue and rocked our world. We stayed strong and fought it together.

What were the joys that this experience brought your way?

Seeing Jack bloom and cope in a positive way. He made me feel so proud. His diagnosis did not tear our family apart and actually it made us so much stronger. Diabetes is part of our life and we have turned it into a positive, as it is part of Jack and who he is. I have also shared tips on Diabetes UK to help other families.

What challenges did this situation bring your way?

Making sure we all understood the implications of diabetes even Joe who was 6 at the time. Then making sure friends around us understood. I had to distance ourselves from one friend as she kept giving her son treats in front of Jack, and whilst you can’t penalize other children I though she may have shown a bit of sensitivity around the situation at least at first.

How do you ensure you get time to yourself and what do you do with that time?

Lately it has all been about blogging. I have started a little blog section with the lovely Karen from Mini Travellers as we are hunting down Me Time activities aimed at the busy Mum.

Have you ever rediscovered or reinvented yourself? How?

I think when I became a parent. We didn’t plan for a family until we had been together for nearly 10 years. We were so used to doing what we wanted when we wanted. I had to learn to be more chilled, less clean obsessed and get used to being less selfish.

Describe at least one physical feature you have that you consider to be beautiful

My eyes. I hope I look happy all the time. People who smile make me feel happy and comfortable. I hope I do this too.

What makes you stand out?

I think the fact that I appear so very confident, when if fact it is all an act. I just push myself but feel like jelly inside. That is the honest truth.

Is it important to you to support other mums?

100% as if we don’t support each other we have no chance do we?

Which mum inspires you?

All Mums inspire me! We cope with so much on a day to day basis. All that multi tasking, selflessness, juggling so many hats at one time is so hard some days. We never pat ourselves on the back. Why? Because it is what we expect of ourselves. Us Mums are a very special community.

What would you like the Government to do to improve the lives of mums?

I would like to see all Mums get more access to education. There are so many Mums that don’t get access to education because of adult learner fees. It is a shame. Unless you fall into a certain bracket you are excluded because of funding and forced to pay extortionate fees.

You can find Sarah on her blog at Extraordinary Chaos

It takes a lot for the women I feature to share their stories so openly so please do hit one or more of the sharing is caring buttons below.

Last week, I blogged about how I was walking back to happiness. I am struck by the irony that on Monday I fell on a slippery slope (Kate on very thin ice) and twisted my ankle badly. We were a mile away from the car so there was no real choice except to hobble back crying, screaming and moaning all the way. It reminded me a little of childbirth as despite being the quiet time in moments of crisis and excitement, I am known for being vocal.

family camp

I had such plans for this week but they do say God laughs when we make such things and it seems she may have a point.

Anyway, as we know there is always some light at the end of the tubular bandage so here goes …

1. I will get better. Recent news stories remind us to be very grateful for our health and wellbeing. It can be taken away in an instant and in far worse ways that a sprained ankle.

2. My enforced rest has shown just what the children are quite capable of doing for themselves. Valuable lesson learned right there.

3. My husband and children clearly hated seeing me suffering and offered help in various ways. My teenager brought me a chocolate orange to cheer me up. I just had 4 slices and let him have the rest which may well have being his plan from the start but it was still a lovely gesture.

4. I have finally managed to try some outfits on for BritMums Live today. I am not decided yet but am narrowing things down a bit.

5. I got a book on home education. Sometimes I feel I need my hand holding a bit in this adventure of ours.

6. I have eaten really well this week. The weighing scales are jumping around insanely so I am just going to carry on eating for health and taking my measurements until they fix themselves or wake up to the new me.

7. I have had my spotty nurse to give me amazing cuddles.

8. I am going camping this weekend. I must be mad in my current state but I want the family to have some fun so I cam camping our way back to happiness. Let’s see how that turns out.

Time is running out to join in the BritMums Live linky not to mention grabbing your ticket for the social media and blogging event of the year.

Here is my little introduction.

me

• Kate Holmes

• Striking Mum formerly Kate on Thin Ice formerly Giggling at it all and formerly a blog we don’t talk about

• @kateonthinice

• 5 feet and five inches

• Brown hair with a little help from my hairdresser. Short and hopefully sassy too.

• Brown eyes behind purple glasses

•I have attended BritMums LIve as a speaker in 2013 and as a room facilitator for the last two years.

• I am attending both days

• Connecting with online friends old and new

• I have not decided what I am wearing yet. I am thinking dresses but was going to have a huge trying on session and then I twisted my ankle so am waiting to feel better before making my final selections.

•What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015?

Lots of learning. I hope to make more contacts this year. I also am very much looking forward to spending time at the Montcalm

These are some of my tips for getting the most out of the event.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Feel the fear if you any and talk to someone you don’t know. They probably feel more like you than you know.

Make sure you eat in between talking and drinking. There is lots of lovely food available.

Pick the sessions that will be of most use to you and your blog carefully.

Ask stupid questions – there are no stupid questions and speakers love to answer and someone else in the room will be wondering the same thing as you are.

Celebrities are human too – don’t shy away from them but also respect that they are people and not just autograph or selfie material.

Do it your way – if that means taking a break or grabbing yourself some quiet time, so be it.

Be prepared for generous goody bags.

Be yourself – that way if someone likes you, you know they really do and you can move on to a great friendship.

I am giving away a free ticket to BritMums Live 2015.

BritMums Live 2015

Be in it to win it!

You can find out all about this exciting event on the BritMums website.

I am guessing you already know about the event but in case you don’t, it is a brilliant coming together of bloggers, social media folks and brands. Think inspirational and celebrity speakers, useful and informative workshops, laughter, learning and lovely food and drink.

In 2012, BritMums Live was the highlight of my year. I was so nervous but I made new friends and one very special one indeed. I laughed and cried. I felt OK and to be honest with all the expectations that society puts on us women that can be a challenge sometimes. Sometimes we deserve some time just for us away from partners, children and other commitments.

In 2013, I returned and worked as a room monitor and on reception. It felt like a school reunion except one where everyone wishes everyone well. I had lost my father the year before and this event helped put me back together again.

In 2014, I was there again laughing, crying and partying with special online and now offline friends.

I decided that I would buy a ticket for BritMums Live 2015 and give it away.

So if you would like to go to BritMums Live and don’t have that golden ticket to this event, email me kateonthinice@gmail.com telling me why you would like it. Do not try to be clever – write from the heart in a way that suits you. Short or long emails welcome. All emails will be treated in confidence.

This is a gift rather than a competition so my decision will be final and based on the email that moves me most.

I will make my decision on 4th June so get your emails to me quickly.

And if you need any more convincing, I bottled a huge blogging event with BritMums in 2011 and regretted it so much. Feel the fear and do it anyway and all that jazz.

Please note this is a gift of a ticket only and you will need to make your own arrangements for childcare, accommodation and travel.

If you read this post, please do share and help me work a little magic for somebody.

Here is a suggested manifesto for mums.

I think mums matter and do not get valued or supported enough.

Recently, I interviewed a diverse range of mums who all had a striking story to tell. With the General Election coming up, I asked how the next Government could help mums. Listening to what they had to say makes me think this would make a good manifesto for mums.

mainfesto for mums

Manifesto for mums

Value mums

It is important to recognise the contribution that mums make to society whether through employment, business, parenting or voluntary and community work.

Employment

Government should work to make family-friendly working practices a reality and to support employers with this too. Creative use of home-working and ICT should be encouraged. It should also be remembered that isolation can be an issue for women working at home so offline support should be available too. Realities like children being ill from time to time should be acknowledged in the employment mix.

Business

Mums should be given support to establish their own businesses.

Childcare

There should be more affordable and accessible childcare.

Health

Investment should be made in perinatal mental health care and in crisis care for women experiencing post-natal depression.

Housing

Lower housing costs would enable families to function better.

Education

Education should be celebrated and encouraged in formal education settings and at home.

Equality

Rights should be given to non-traditional and traditional families.

Striking Mums values

Striking – stand out as the individual you are

Striking – take some well-deserved you time

Striking – you are beautiful inside and out whether you feel that way or not.

What would you see as the essential elements of a manifesto for mums?

Do you disagree with any of the points above?