I have always wanted a book on parenting. I know they exist but not in the form I would like. My perfect parenting book would say

On Friday 14th August 2006, you must wean your child.

On Wednesday 22nd April 2008, you can let your child walk to school on his/her own

If your child is not potty-trained by 2nd January 2000. you need to consult your GP.

Well you get the idea.

backtoschool

A couple of weeks ago I asked my 13 year old son if he needed anything in readiness for the back to school. Did his uniform still fit? It was bought relatively recently after we relocated. Was his bag still OK for him? And so on.

“Yes Mum”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes Mum”

Are you absolutely sure?

“Yes Mum”

Yesterday, I asked him to get his uniform out and ready. He did this with a bit of a grumble. I usually do this for him but am aware he is getting older and at some point presumably will leave home and need to know how to organise himself.

When his Dad returned from work, my son announced that he would have to go to the supermarket because his shirt and trousers did not fit. I insisted he showed up. He put them on in a strop and they fitted perfectly.

His Dad can no longer drop him off at school every day due to his commute to his new job. We gave our son a bus timetable. He has used the bus before sometimes but for some reason, seemed very unsure. So Him Indoors took my son out and showed him exactly where to catch the bus, where to get off and so on. He returned in a happier frame of mind.

His Dad taught him how to iron and he declared that is was actually quite good fun.

Today after two calls and one shake, he got up and ready. He looked so smart and grown up. I made him breakfast. I brushed his hair. I hugged him. I checked he was OK and had everything he needed.

He set off with me calling out for him to have a nice day and reminding him that I loved him. I could sense him saying “For goodness sake, Mother, go in. You are such an embarrassment”

He will be OK. Of course he will. And yet I love him and I still find it hard to let him go back to school sometimes.

If you do happen to see that book on parenting, let me know. The one with the specific dates. I would like to get this parenting thing right.

What are your thoughts and feelings as the children head back to school?

Today, I am wondering what is right when it comes to children playing out?

As a child, I was out and about climbing trees and playing with other local children. I tended to play with boys more than girls so there was a lot of cowboys but I could always come up with a female character to convince them to let me join in.

I remember the building site at the back of our house where I once wrapped myself in yellow insulation material pretending I was at a posh ball. Delusions of grandeur from a very young age!

As a parent, I have being a vigilant one trying to prevent my children getting hurt in any way. My first son was nearly ten when I let him go to the corner shop. I did this on instinct that I could not explain. It just felt right one day. Both he and his Dad were stunned I was allowing this sudden freedom.

My daughter turned 10 at the start of the month and pointed out that her brother was allowed out when nine years of age so why wasn’t I allowing her out? Well, it’s different with a girl, isn’t it? I hate that in myself but we know what threats there are out there to women and girls and she is my precious babe. How could I let her out and about?

Eventually I agreed that she could go with her brother to the fish and chip shop next door.

Having moved to a cul-de-sac, we were out the front when she walked up to a girl and made friends immediately. Lots of children including incredibly young ones play out here so I could hardly say no. My eight year old son saw this and expected the same treatment.

Surrounded by boxes and black bin liners after the move, I have not really had time to reflect as usual but have just decided to go with it. They are clearly enjoying themselves and becoming part of the community. They are getting fresh air and thankfully leaving their various gaming devices alone.

It’s a good thing and yet I hate not having them in my sight all the time. It’s so scary but I guess you have to let them go.

Tune in a few years when I have the door locked on a permanent basis so that they can’t leave home.

Not easy this parenting gig, is it?

Do you let your children play out and from what age?

What safety precautions do you put in place?

It’s April Fool’s Day and I think I might be the fool.

I say this as I seem not to understand what is going on in this world right now.

Today, we are encouraged to eat 7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day so that we can all live longer. This is only a few minutes after we were told fruit is dangerous because of the sugar content. What is this obsession with living longer anyway? Our society is not currently equipped to deal in a way that meets the economic and social needs of an ageing population. Yet here we are are carrying out research studies into how to ensure we all live to the age of 200. If we do who is going to pay for us and who is going to care for us?

Then on social media and television programmes, women are making a big deal about not wearing make-up as if it is some brave feat. I do it all the time. I must be due a Pride of Britain Award any day based just on this fact. I won’t make myself popular by saying it but it worries me that some women seem quite so terrified at the idea of being seen in public as they really are. Who has given them that message? Whose purposes does it serve? By the way, I am no way saying it is not great to do things to raise money for charity but I just wonder on this particular campaign what it says about womankind.

The parenting police tell us every day how we are doing it all wrong giving conflicting guidance so we are guilt-ridden which I actually can’t think is good for our children. My parents smoking in the car was the very thing that turned me off trying cigarettes. Fattening goods and salt played a huge part in family food when I was a kid yet my parents both lived into their eighties. Guess what? We even had meals on our laps most of the time in front of the telly and yet we managed family conversation. Again, I am not saying smoking in cars is good – I am merely saying that life pans out and eventually ends whatever the research studies say.

It’s true I am an April Fool and actually if the world keeps going weird on me, I don’t want to live to 200 anyway.

I had a sudden memory of me railing at my mother many years ago probably as a sullen teenager.

“You can’t expect me to be grateful. I did not ask to be born and I did not ask you to adopt me. You did it because you wanted to”.

I stood outside school this afternoon watching children with their offerings for their mums for Mothering Sunday. Bags with little gifts and very individual cards. Some brandished them with pride and others had them hidden ready to “surprise” Mum on Sunday.

Ah yes, Mothers’ Day the one day of the year when it is possible although by no means guaranteed for Mum to be put first.

I get my mum more now that I am one.

I think most of us sign up for the motherhood deal not really knowing what it entails and then some of us just have sex and go “Oops” when the penny drops that there is a bun in the oven. Or maybe I just hope that is the case or else I am up for the worst mum in the world award.

Maybe it is just me but there are some aspects of being a mum I do not like one bit.

Having to be vigilant about the children all the time so that you really don’t have time to care for yourself too.

The parenting police and constant research surveys telling you loud and clear you are doing it all wrong.

The way that ear wax can appear in ears and stains on jumpers seconds before the school run begins.

The way you constantly have to remind them what should be pretty basic like “Please flush the loo” and “If you could clean your teeth, it would make Mum really happy”

The obsessions with all things gaming that I get approximately not at all.

The things you find under sofas and drawers

The monotony of school runs

Looking back, I have this sepia image of myself as a good girl. The sins I admit to are ..

Hiding poo in a wardrobe once – yes really.

Ironing the stairs for mum and leaving the iron there so that my Mum fell down and had a bad arm for life as a result

Obsessions with stamp and doll collections.

Breaking two valuable ornaments and gluing them together and painting them with a kid’s paint set to hide my crime

Moodiness – some things never change!

Not introducing Mum to friends at Cambridge. I did not mean anything by this but it hurt her.

Dear Mum

You took on someone else’s baby when you were in middle-age and could have given yourself a much easier ride.

You said on your deathbed you had spent too much time cleaning. As you know, I feel this already.

You cooked the most amazing meals on a daily basis.

You went out and cleaned for other people so that I could have little treats.

You always bought me a gift after dental appointments.

You told me I would never be lonely so long as I continued to read books.

You taught me to aspire.

You fought my corner however powerful the authority figure.

You introduced me to Cointreau on the Rocks.

You were amazing and it might be a little late but I hope you know that whether I “should” be or not, I am very grateful.

Somehow I have to work out a new way so that I am good enough to be your daughter.

And suddenly Mum is my ear saying “They won’t come knocking on your door. You’ll have to get out there and do something about it”

Once, twice, three times a lady – that was my Mam.

I am looking for an organisation/brand to sponsor the costs associated with me attending Britmums Live, a major blogging and social media conference run by the UK’s largest parent blogger network with over 30 000 Twitter followers and thousands of registered members. It takes place in June and is attended by hundreds of bloggers and social media influencers. You can find out more about the event here

What are the benefits of sponsoring me?

Imagine having me as your representative at the conference chatting to people about your product or service. I could wear branded clothing or let people have your business card.

Should you become my sponsor, I would promote you with an introductory blog post once the sponsorship is agreed and in place. If you would like me to host a competition or post a review of a product or service, we could look into that too. I would be happy to post an advertorial post too once content is agreed.

Obviously, I would tweet about my sponsor before, during and after the event.

How much would sponsorship cost

I am looking for help with the costs such as travel and accommodation as this is a two day conference in London. I live in Yorkshire. I will provide a detailed breakdown to potential sponsors.

Who am I and what is my blog about?

groovinggrabbadge

I am a 45 year old mother with children aged 8-13 years.

I am an award winning blogger recognised for my Outstanding Contribution in the MAD Blog Awards and for Brilliance in Blogging.

My blog has diverse content including food, travel and parenting. It also has a strong emphasis on supporting other women via initiatives such as Groovy Mums. I have considerable experience of raising awareness of charities too.

My blog is well read and has good levels of engagement. I have thousands of Twitter followers.

I would hope to develop a long-term and positive relationship with my sponsor.

If you are interested in finding out more, please email kateonthinice@gmail.com and we can discuss things further.