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My mum’s mum Sally Ann.

My mum Irene.

Dad’s mum Harriet.

Numbers of children – 7, 3 and 1

Numbers of grandchildren – 15, 3 and 3

One of these mums brought up her child whilst caring for her disabled mother.

One of these mums experienced extreme domestic violence.

Two of these mums struggled with depression.

All of these mums experienced poverty and discrimination.

Two of these mums did not get on very well.

Two of these mums were brilliant bakers.

All of these mums went on to see a little of the world.

And on Mothers’ Day, well you could say life is a beach.

Look into those eyes and seize the day. I will if you will.

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.

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I arrived at the Savoy on London in a lovely car courtesy of Tesco.

A man came up to the driver and asked who his passenger was. He did not know having scrubbed my name off his white-board earlier. I told the man my name and he asked “Are you Red Carpet?” I was almost tempted to say that I was and have the red carpet moment but thought better of it and was driven direct to the door of the Savoy.

I was rushed in and there were so many people and cameras around.

I was greeted warmly and directed to the champagne reception. As I hit the top of the stairs, I came across other bloggers checking out the table plan. I had one of my “I don’t fit in” wobble moments so went into the champagne room to see if anybody wanted to play with me. I spotted a lady on her own so started there. What a treat. She was really friendly and shared her story of motherhood so openly. She helped me feel at ease and we had fun spotting celebrities as they arrived. I was so thrilled when she said “I wish we were at the same table for lunch but I bet we aren’t” You mean somebody actually enjoyed my company – this day was amazing already.

We were called to lunch where I knew I was going to be sitting next to Actually Mummy. I have never really got to know Helen before so it was wonderful to have a little time to get to know the woman behind the blog.

As we found table 9, Jason Merrells came up with his companion Emma and introduced himself in a friendly fashion. Jason plays Declan in Emmerdale. As I took my seat, I spied the place name next to mine was Sue Cleaver the actress who plays Eileen Grimshaw in Coronation Street. She arrived with her lovely mum. Natalie who plays Alicia in Emmerdale and Nadia who played Zainab in EastEnders also were suddenly joining our table along with their lovely guests.

I have to say that the celebrities were so not up themselves and so warm with us non-celebs. They shared some personal information and also showed a keen interest in learning more about the blogging world. We had a very pleasant lunch including things I love such as guinea fowl and a very rich chocolate dessert. Needless to say the wines went down very well although I was careful to keep drinking water too.

Every so often I would glance around and see famous faces including Brian McFadden and Vogue sitting alongside bloggers. I did not even realise just how many celebrities attended until I checked out the highlights video later.

It is funny but because you see such faces on the telly you did sort of feel comfy with them already if that makes any sense at all. I had a fun moment with Nadia popping up and waving as we could barely see each other due to the huge floral display on the table. She took it well and giggled along with me.

I am not going to say too much about the awards ceremony itself as I am hoping you will watch it on Sunday on Channel 4. I can promise that you will be moved and inspired by the Mums of the Year. Check out some highlights.

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I loved hearing Sam Bailey sing and also seeing how very human and ordinary she is whilst of course being totally extraordinary.

At the end of the evening, Boyzone almost made me miss my train but there was not way I was leaving until I had seen them perform their songs.

I had a car waiting to whisk me back to Kings Cross. As I raced down the platform, I saw Natalie waving at me as if we were old friends. Such a lovely lady inside and out.

I felt so upbeat after my day out and seeing my children racing down the platform to greet me on my return was the icing on the cake.

This blog loves to feature mums who take charge of their lives in ways large or small. If you have a story to share, please email kateonthinice@gmail.com

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Here is Linda’s story

1. What made you decide to take up teacher training?

I wanted to be a primary school teacher at 18, but I didn’t get my Maths GCSE grade C, I got a D. I wasn’t allowed on the teaching course so I had to take another path and studied languages instead. I didn’t know back then that I could have maybe taken a year out and then tried again to apply for a teaching course. After having my children I realised that I couldn’t work full time anymore, financially it couldn’t work for us. I was a teaching assistant in a secondary for 2 years. I loved it and this made me want to be a teacher again. The added bonus would be that I would have the same school holidays as the children.

2. How did you feel when you first started looking into it?

Once I made the decision I couldn’t wait to get started. It wasn’t that easy to the find the right course though. I knew I definitely wanted to be a teacher but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to teach languages as that is my degree (Italian and Russian). In the end I found a part time course offered by Bedford College in which I would be able to teach travel and tourism (my professional background) to college students in further education colleges. This is perfect for me as I am still very passionate about the travel industry.

3. Tell us more about what the training entails?

The course is a two year part time one which fits in well with my family commitments. I go to college as a student one day a week. As part of the course I have to have a teaching placement in a college, so I teach (on a voluntary basis) in a further education college one day a week to complement my studies. At the college where I have my placement I have a mentor who works with me. I have 3 assignments a year to complete and in these assignments we have to show how we can relate the teaching practises we learn about to our own teaching.
After two years, if I pass everything, I will be qualified to teach in further education colleges as well as students aged 14+ in schools.

4. Where do you hope the training will take you?

I love working with teenagers/young adults who display challenging behaviour and would like to specialise in teaching this group. I also mentor young offenders at a young offenders institute and would consider teaching there in the future. I just need more experience before I can take this type of role on.

5. Have you ever felt, even briefly, like giving up the training? If so, why was that?

Not at the moment, but it may happen soon! I have an assignment due at the end of this month and motivation has been low!

6. How have family members responded to you doing this training?

My husband was a little unsure at first as I can sometimes start things and not complete them, but he has seen how serious I am about teaching and has been supportive. He tries to help out around the house more which has been great. My kids have been fine and love hearing about my students and how they can misbehave in my lessons.

7. What was challenging about taking on the training?

The biggest challenge was writing the assignments and believing that I could do it. I graduated in 1995, so 18 years had passed since I’d last written anything so academic in nature. I was so stressed writing the first assignment, I wasn’t sure I could do it or whether it would be at degree level. Thankfully it was and I passed.

Looking after the household and making sure the kids keep up their homework is a continuous challenge. However my husband is more aware of what the kids need to be doing and so is taking on the homework duties.

8. What would you say to a mum who was thinking about returning to learning/re-training?

To definitely have a go if possible. It can be frightening being a student again, however if you can afford it financially it will be immensely worth it. You’re also teaching your children that it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality.

I now know that if I had done this course 22 years ago I would have struggled academically. However, over the years I have read a lot and learnt how to write reports. In these reports I have had to justify why I should be given funding for events and had to back this up with evidence. This has helped me with my assignment writing. I also know that I don’t want to fail this course and for people to think that I’m a failure.

9. What qualities do you think you will bring to teaching?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I think this passion shines through when I teach. Originally I wanted to teach primary school age, however I find that I have a real affinity with the troublesome older kids.

I discovered this whilst working as a teaching assistant. I watch football, know about music (hard core hip hop too!!) and cars. During the lessons with the very troublesome lot I would find a common ground with the boys, and by surprising them with my knowledge of cars and football, they would see me as someone they could talk to. By breaking down these barriers they would settle and actually do some work.

With the girls, my knowledge of music will break the ice and they too see me as someone who “is actually OK” (my students’ words). It’s this quality of me taking an interest in them as people that is helping me work towards being a good teacher. I’ve still a lot to learn but I’m on the way to achieving my goal.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with Groovy Mums?

Life as a mum can be really tough. You’re constantly juggling trying to be a great mum, a good wife/partner and having some time to be “you”. If going back to your studies or training is something that will give you back an identity then I would say just go for it. My daughter is physically disabled and my husband suffers from Crohn’s Disease. Over the past 4 years both have undergone numerous operations. It’s been really tough.

Now that I am training to be a teacher and mentoring young offenders, I am doing something for me. When I’m teaching or mentoring I don’t think about my family, and while that may be selfish it’s actually quite nice.

Big thanks to Linda for sharing her story and inspiring other mums.

Remember if you want to highlight your story on this blog, just email kateonthinice@gmail.com and yes you can remain anonymous if you wish to do so.

Groovy Monday seems to have arrived very fast.

Five mums shared their thoughts on taking positive steps to change their lives last week. Do check out their stories and leave a supportive comment – that’s how Groovy Mums works best.

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I have looked at the 5 ways to well being and can report as follows.

1. Connect – I have looked the world in the eye more especially on the school run where I find cliques very intimidating. I have managed to chat and laugh a little with mums. For me, this is very groovy.

2. Be active – I am incorporating more walking into my day. I also tried a little yoga at the weekend. I am going to commit to doing some exercise straight after the school run every day. I think that will work best.

3. Take notice – It is vital to count our blessings. I have tried to savour moments more particularly cuddles with the children.

4. Keep learning – I have not done enough on this front. I need to read more and to write more. As a wonderful woman told me even putting 20 minutes aside a day to write that novel could pay dividends in the long-term.

5. Give – I have a very groovy giveaway for you this week in association with the British Heart Foundation. It will appear today or tomorrow at the latest.

So my groovy challenges for you this week are ..

1. Speak to somebody new

2. Look into how you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine

3. Savour the moment letting go or what was or what might be.

4. Visit your library and see what learning opportunities exist in your area

5. Enter my Groovy Giveaway and Ramp Up the Red.

Blog about how you are taking steps to change your life for the better in ways large or small and link up. Visit the other entries on the linky and offer your support.

In other news, my husband has a job offer that might take us in a very groovy direction indeed. I sense we are at a very interesting crossroads right now.