Thursday, 13 February 2014

Yet another 'When I was young' article....

So most parents give themselves a hard time, or at least question our actions and try to improve our parenting. I am constantly reading, watching and absorbing comments or actions of others. If I feel I have done something wrong I apologise to my kids as I would anyone else.

So last week I sat down to read a magazine, it is a current affairs magazine so I didn't expected yet another article containing those words....."When I was young". I am so very tired of these articles. In this particular letter to the editor, a man who grew up in the 1950s advised that when he was young there were no obese children, there was no junk food, today there were no children in the street playing and apparently they are all inside on their computers or watching TV.

Let us look at his points, firstly, there was no obese children. Well, there was obese children in the Victorian era and I am positive that as far as the world goes back there have been obese people and children. We get that there was a war and rations were in place but didn't children not have enough fruit & veg. Some had dietary issues with other groups and some were starving and in the grip of poverty. I am also 99% sure that if Mr X from Somerset had a big McDonalds up the street and tuppence in his hand, he would have been at that as quick as you could say cheeseburger!

Secondly, junk food. Food develops. I understand there is better access to junk food however I am sure a child of the 1920s thought sweets received or chocolate in 1950s was considered junk food or even 'devils food'. Today, we have a much better education on food, the advantages and disadvantages. Although, we have access to junk food, we are also constantly bombarded with the negative facts regarding it. After all this, if I have been working all day, my kids (who I feel have a good balanced diet however I must check with Mr X from Somerset) I just feel damned lazy as we are all expected to do everything nowadays, I decided to dive into McDonalds or Burger King, I am an adult and perfectly entitled too without a guilty conscience.

Thirdly, this is a issue we could write and write about however to keep it short. The reasons there are not many children playing in the street are simple. 1. The media feels overloaded with kidnappings, abductions, abuse or car/vehicle accidents. So much particularly abuse was covered up in history, we are now petrified of letting our kids out in case something happens! 2. Its freezing here. I know a lot of children including myself played out more.  I don't want my kids out in the UK weather all the time and we have a fantastic choice of indoor activities not available to Mr X from Somerset. Maybe he should have a wee jump in a ball is very stress relieving and much better than playing on a building site or something equally dangerous.

Last but not least, it doesn't mean that if children aren't out freezing themselves in the street that they are automatically watching TV or on playing online games etc. My children for example do a little of both however little cars, a car mat, figurines and a tea set are components of a very frequent scene in my house. If they are using the computers or watching TV, this isn't always negative, they are still learning, they are being taught the future of computers plus for children with specific learning issues this can be a godsend. I would imagine a quick go on Mario kart or a little Justin's house or some even a litte Candy Crush would chance Mr X's opinion. In the 50's Elvis was seen as a mover and shaker, music and entertainment has developed and definitely improved our children's lives.

So my message to Mr X from Somerset, how about instead of sitting back and criticising our generation of parenting or children, you help! You tell us stories of history, you teach our children games which may have died out and replaced by Tescos version of Guess Who, take the neighbours kids into the garden and show them how to make stuff instead of the constant plastic supply of toys we buy. Remember, we learn from the past so we can move forward. We need older generation help, advice & support not yet another sentence starting....It was better when we were young!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Winter & Sickness

The wonderful winter wonderland, the open burning fire, the necessity to wear big chunky clothes and therefore your beauty regime can slide a little are all the highlights of Winter!

I see the yearly calendar drawing to a close and panic! I have three little germ carriers and of course, two are at school so it is not 6 people passing to each other but in excess of 100 other little germ carriers sending us sickness.

I remember when my son was a baby and his sneezed or coughed, I panicked, checked his temp, cuddled him and everything stopped to ensure his comfort. Given our extremely hectic lifestyle, one of the kids sneezes or coughs and I feel a fear! Fear that this cannot be happening AGAIN! They have all just getting over whatever the last infection was! Although, of course, as a mother I am a sympathetic but I am a little less empathetic. I know what will happen. One kiddie will get sick, either the others will but if we are lucky enough they don't they will, of course, inevitably demand time of school as 'he is off!!'.

The next stage in the journey will be that I will get whatever disease it is this time. As mums, because we are sleep deprived, busy, probably snacking instead of eating, our immune system has dropped since having kids. Of course, something which would have ended in 3/4 days off work, lying in bed watching Jeremy Kyle when we were young free and single now results in a cup of tea, paracetamol and a glass of wine for sleep at night. My doctor has on occasion been shocked that I have managed to keep going let alone, work, school runs etc but the sentence, you need to rest and take it easy, is not advice a busy mum needs to hear. It is just not possible!

The next issue is whether to phone the doctor. With baby one, I was probably keen to phone the doctor regularly however as you have more, you generally hear the same information time and time again. I know the exact dosage for most medicine off the shelf and how to administrator. In the UK there are so many products which are restricted to over 6 years old, we don't have many options without going to the doctor. When I was in the Middle East, there was a whole variety of medicine which included a mix of herbal and traditional medicine.

You pause and lift the phone. In a sheepish voice, I request either a call back from the doctor or an appointment. The reception answers using my first name which like the Chinese take away lady, you don't really want to happen. Mostly, now, due to experience I can tackle most issues over the phone with the doctor which is a little comforting but I still feel like the doctor sees one of our name, sighs and throws her eyes to the sky before answering my call. I get the best advice and support as always but all whilst feeling guilty.

After mountains of Calpol, Ibruofen, antibiotics if required, millions of juice cups and 200 disney films, they start to fight with each other and normality resumes! I am now just waiting for the next sneeze, cough or tummy upset!