Thursday seems to have flown round so it is time for my weekly Striking Mums post.

voice

Can I just say how delighted I am with how people are responding to the whole concept of Striking Mums?

It is great to see very diverse mums taking part sharing their stories and truths. I love it when I see some real outcomes that I hope Striking Mums helped bring about – someone making an appointment for a health check, someone booking onto a course or carving out some precious time for themselves.

Last week, mums blogged about learning again very much in their own individual ways.

Common themes were how lack of time and money can act as barriers to education. It was noticeable that having a supportive family makes a huge difference and not every mum has that available to her.

There are certainly a lot of learning opportunities out there from psychology to macaroons, from English Literature to hairdressing.

What was clear from the posts last week is that you can learn as a stay at home mum, as a teacher, as a home-educator, as a student and as any combination of these things. Mums noted how therapeutic learning can be including during challenging periods of mental health difficulties.

One mum shared Nelson Mandela’s quote that “Education if the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So that is learning for us.

I have learned that I need to write a wrap-up post in future as there is so much good content in the blogs linking up to Striking Mums.

This week, I want to talk about keeping mum. Keeping mum means not speaking or staying silent. Please interpret the questions in a way that makes sense to you as the individual you are.

1. Have you lost your voice? When and how did that happen?

2. How do you use your voice? Are you using it for yourself, your family and/or a good cause?

3. Is there anyone in your life who would prefer you to stay quiet? Why would they want that to happen?

4. Whose voice do you miss most and why?

5. What do you need to speak up about? Who to? What support do you need to help you do that?

6. Is your inner voice helping or hindering you?

Finally, I wanted to hand out a honorary Striking Mums award to Jamelia and Janet Street-Porter who have spoken out about their experiences of domestic violence. Please do what you can to support the Loose Women campaign on this vital issue. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or think you might be, the link will take your to sources of support. When people speak out about these sort of issues, they always help other people.

I would love to have your comments and if you blog in any way about yourself and how you are taking steps tiny or otherwise to change your life, please link up below. I will comment on every post, promote them on my social networks and include links in a round-up post next week.

Please use the hashtag #strikingmums on social networks.

Please grab the rather attractive Striking Mums badge in the sidebar and display on your blog.

Most of all, please visit the other people linking up to lend them your support.

I have set up a Facebook group for Striking Mums – you don’t have to be a blogger to join this. You do have to be a mum.

I have also set up a Pinterest board for Striking Mums

Have a good week and I look forward to hearing your voices.

Aldi have some great news for mums and mum-to-be. From 18th September they will have a range of lovely goods in store while stocks last as part of their Special Buys range.

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Maternity

When you are expecting, you want to look great but don’t want to invest huge amounts in clothing that by its very nature is short-term. The ultimate capsule wardrobe for the mum-to-be includes leggings, fashion tops and dresses all at amazingly affordable prices. What’s not to love about a Maternity dress for just £11.99?

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Breastfeeding

Aldi will be every mum’s beat friend with padded Nursing Bras for £6.99, non-wired for comfort and not missing out on style with pretty lace detailing.

Out and about

Check out Aldi’s stylish waterproof Baby Changing Bag for £14.99 complete with lots of pockets for the multitude of things you need with you when you leave the house with baby.


Baby and Toddler

Welcome a new baby with Bramble Bear, Bonnie Bunny and Country Creatures gift sets at just £9.99. The presents include a photo album, frame and brilliant bunting.

Make sure your baby is comfy and cosy thanks to Aldi’s great-value range of cotton-rich clothing. Including Baby Socks 5 Pack (£2.49), Baby Bodies 3 Pack (£2.79), Baby Sleepsuits 3 Pack (£3.99) and Baby 3-Piece Set (£6.99)

For toddlers there are Infants’ Jeans (£3.99), Infants’ Tights (£1.99) and Toddlers’ Canvas Boots and Shoes (£4.49)

Aldi are not forgetting the important of learning through play with brightly coloured Build ‘n’ Learn (£6.99) and Puzzle Car (£3.99), or the Colour Me Playhouse (£7.99).

Aldi’s Specialbuys go in-store every Thursday and Sunday and are only available while stocks last.

Giveaway

One lucky reader has the chance to win an Aldi Specialbuys Baby Changing Bag from the new range by leaving a comment telling me their top tips on preparing to have a baby for parents to-be.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T’s & C’s

The winner will be picked at random on 14th September 2014 and notified by 15th September 2014. . Delivery of the prize will be by 30th September.

The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 years and over only.

Prize will be as listed while stocks last. In event that stock is unavailable; the same value will be given in Aldi vouchers.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

What are my reasons for cheerfulness this week?

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1. We went to see the BoxTrolls film in Leicester Square Odeon on Saturday. The whole family loved it so it comes highly recommended for 8 to 57 year olds! Very cute, funny and with a great message too. Living so much closer to London is fantastic on days like this. We were lying on a beach at Hayling Island on the South coast by teatime with the children enjoying a good paddling session.

2. I am thankful for online support when times get tense. I am not going to name names for fear of missing somebody out but I do like to feel I have that backing even if at such a distance.

3. My teenager headed back to school and after a little wobble the night before got quite comical about the whole thing. He seems happy to be back and excited about his options particularly business studies.

4. My other son starts back at school today. I was impressed how he got straight back into the morning routine and also how he said without any prompting that he wants to try harder with his Literacy work this year.

5. My daughter and I are embarking on a home education journey. This feels odd and scary at the minute. I have cleared a unit in the lounge so keep her books and work on. I have identified online networks. I have reassured my husband that we will not just be doing craft all day. He is nervous too and I need to understand that.

6. 5 people linked up their stories on Striking Mums during the week. More on that later.

7. Last night, I realised it was the 5th anniversary of my Mum’s death. I feel a little bad for not remembering sooner. However, I guess it does show that time eases things a bit although she still leaves a very big hole in this family as she was such a full-on character.

me and mum

I have set up an online support groups for mums to help us all make positive changes in our lives. It is time to seize the day, take baby steps if that is what we can manage and change our lives.

So what about me? What do I need to change?

1. We have had a bumpy ride over the last 16 months with my husband losing two jobs, a long period of unemployment and a big relocation from North to South. My son is missing his friends back home. My daughter did not settle in her new school. I think my husband’s ego has been very damaged by recent events too. As a family, we are feeling a bit battered and bruised I think. I know people have much bigger problems to confront but this is my space to say how I am feeling. I would really welcome a period where we don’t get hit by major hassles. I need to work on my marriage and my parenting but I also need to build myself back up again in order to do these things.

2. I don’t get out enough during the week which results in me being very isolated. This is going to change because once my son goes back to school, I am going to be out and about with my little girl. I could do with somebody to tweet me every day to ask if I have gone out of the door yet. It always makes me feel so much better.

3. I have a poor self-image. Weight has a lot to do with this as over the years I have come to terms with mad hair and vaguely weird looks. I have given up booze and I am cutting out red meat. I am going to eat more healthily and take more exercise. Again, I think having the company of my daughter will help with this.

4. I am going to spend less time watching the television. I think it can suck your energy away and is too easy to use as stimulation when you are stuck in the house.

Having said all this, I have made huge strides in recent years and I think have just got a bit off track after losing my Dad, the redundancies and the house move. I am angry at myself for that but maybe I need to ease up on myself and allow me to be human too.

So yes, dear reader, I need Striking Mums too and look forward to reporting back as to how I get on.

As I look back on this post, I am heartened to see that although the changes are major, there are very few of them to sort out. The future is bright!

Are there changes you wish to make in your life?

Do you feel you are stuck in a rut?

Would you like to take up new interests but lack confidence to do so?

Do you yearn for the you of yesteryear and want to get that person back?

Perhaps you have a poor self-image?

Or perhaps it is just time to shake things up a bit?

If any of these feelings resonate with you, I would love you to get involved in an initiative to feel that mum power.

It is you that can change things. It is not always easy to do. So what if a group of mums came together online to support each other in their individual paths towards a bright future?

Welcome to Striking Mums!

Every week, I will post something inspirational and ask you to get involved too.

You can do this by linking up a blog post and then visiting others on the linky to offer your support, tips and/or personal stories.

We will also have a Striking Mums Twitter party on a weekly basis using hashtag #strikingmums to share our hopes, aspirations and the baby steps we are taking towards that exciting future.

If you follow me on Pinterest I will follow you back and then you can pin in the Striking Mums collaborative board. I am hoping this will become an inspirational visual image of just what us mums can do when we support each other.

Why is it called Striking Mums?

Striking as in mums that stand out

Striking as in mums on strike in terms of taking a little time for themselves

Striking as in the striking beauty of all mums

You can stand out and you are beautiful whether you feel that or not.

First week’s challenge

We will keep it simple for the first week of Striking Mums. Share a blog post about what you want to achieve. It can be anything that will make you feel better. Sometimes it could be as simple as getting out of the house more or setting up a night out with your partner or friends. Maybe you want to set up a business, return to work to take up studying. It is your life so dream a little dream and share it with us.

We will have a badge ready for you to display on your blog soon courtesy of my lovely friend Jo.

Details of the first Striking Mums party will be shared shortly.

I look forward to reading your posts and don’t forget to visit other mums taking part in the linky.

If you would like other mums to find out about Striking Mums don’t forget to push those share buttons so we get the word out quickly.

Here is a badge for you to display on your blog if you believe mums matter designed by my lovely friend Jo.

Kate on thin Ice Striking Mums