Thoughts For Manchester

What news to wake to this morning.

at least 22 dead, including children, and 59 injured (so far) after an explosion outside the Manchester Arena last night, following the Ariana Grande concert. And there are still some classed as ‘missing’…

Apparently a bomb like bang was heard on one side of the arena and then a swarm of concert-goers from that side descended on the other side in terror.

There were many children at the venue too, going to watch their favourite singer. How horrific to have to go through this… I’m just glad this happened outside the venue… imagine the carnage had it been inside.

The singer is also shocked, and devastated that something like this happened at her concert. She is ‘broken’.

It has been classed as a suspected terrorist attack.

Thanks to the emergency services who swarmed to the site on duty and worked selflessly through the night to safe keep the rest of the city.

I thanked goodness that I was not aware of anyone who was there, but my thoughts went to my friend who had been to an Ariana Grande concert a few nights previously with her two daughters… What must she be feeling…?

I wondered… do I mention this to the children? They are 9 and 11 and may be too young to be exposed to all this, but then I know they are aware of all the other horrific attacks that have happened over the last year or two. That’s the joy of the internet, and gossip.

My Lil Man is at secondary school so the older children would definitely know, so we watched the news unfolding this morning.

My Lil Princess is an Ariana Grande fan, and will always sit and watch her songs, and look for information about her. It was inevitable that she would find something out. Better I explained the tragedy to her than her finding out alone, because I knew what her reaction would be.

Tears.

First thoughts from her was “Is she [Ariana Grande] ok?”  and since then she has been asking me “Why?”

Isn’t that the question on the lips of everyone?

Why all this senseless killing? Not just from last night, but all these terrorist atrocities? No God wants you to kill innocents. That is no God indeed, if He is asking you to kill the life He created…

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all concerned.

Is It Harder To be A Parent In 2017? – Thursday Thoughts

The other night, as I was making the chapatti’s at my Mother-in-law’s house, her friend came to visit. They had their usual chats, then the talk turned to their grandchildren.

I could hear the comments about her children constantly on the go, taking their children here and there, and the kids demanding things, and having phones, iPads, TV at their disposal… it began to sound like one of those conversations where they were going to criticise the parents of today, because obviously it was better in their day…

Rolling out the chapattis, I was glad I wasn’t in there, as I may have said something!

But it got me thinking…

Is it harder being a parent now, in this day and age, than it was when we were children, and it was the turns of our parents?

Time Management

There is no sweeping statement we can make on this.

Back in the day, there were more Stay at Home Mums. You were more likely to find mum at home, caring for the family in a more child-centred way and Dad was at work, then came home to pat the children goodnight,  but equally there were many parents (my in-law’s included), who had moved over to a new country, and wanted to make a good life for their families, so they worked hard too, working all the hours God sent, to provide for their families and try and instil a good set of morals into their children. But still, you would have someone at home, making dinner, assisting with homework, ensuring the children had everything they needed.

Retro, Family, People, Rain, Clouds

Nowadays, you still have working parents and Stay at Home Mums, but it feels like there is not enough time in the day to deal with all that needs to be done. The rush in the morning to get everything ready for children, and yourself. Lunches made, bags packed, equipment kept ready for all these after school commitments. Then the day begins, school and work. Home time consists of rushing around to feed kids, so they can be shipped off the various clubs. While they are gone, you tend to jobs that need to be done. Getting them to bed is another story! Trying to grab phones and tablets off them, making sure homework and reading has been done, before lights out! Sometimes you could easily go to sleep before them!

Presence or Presents

Growing up, I remember my mum always being there. Pops was at work, but when he was home, he was with us, taking my brother to matches or training, or going out as a family, but we were together a lot. Being there with us counted for a lot.

Boy, Kid, Child, Phone, Calling, Mobile

Now, I feel that I have snatched moments with my children. Everything is a rush. Desperate to fit everything in, I often get short tempered then regret it immediately after. I am not too bad at this but it an be easy to compensate for not being there by promising treats and gifts. Chocolate, a trip to the park, watching a special programme on the TV. The requests are small as a young child, but once the expectations are there then the demands get bigger, and more expensive, Consoles, games for them, iPhones, iPads, the latest trainers. Which leads me on to…

Financial Pressures

I’m not saying everyone was rolling in it a generation back.

Far from it. But life was simpler and cheaper. There were fewer clubs and ‘things’ that were requested. And you could occupy your child relatively cheaply, because they were more likely to be happy with whatever you provided. I never wanted for anything, but then, I never really demanded anything from my parents either I got so much love from them, material possessions meant little to me. As long as I had a book, I was happy!

Life now has created financial pressures for most of us nowadays. Both parents working, if they can find jobs, because there is a need to work, not because they want to. Cost of living had increased immensely. It’s hard to keep up mortgage payments and house bills, and feed the family decent food. On top of that, you have to clothe your family. When they are young, you can get away with whatever you want. As they grow older they want certain things, and though you don’t want to spoil them, you want to give them what they crave at least some times. Extra Curricular activities can be free, but some, you have to pay for, and in today’s day and age, you feel terrible if you aren’t sending your child to at least one activity.

Too Many Choices

“Sit down and eat your dinner!”

And we would.

Not in any bad way, but as a parent you rarely requested your child to do anything, you told them, and the respect was there, that you listened.

Now, we I fear we have made a rod for our own backs. There are so many choices out there and often we will say to a child “Would you like this or that?” Allowing them to take certain decisions is not a bad thing, but when you end up making three different dinners because one child won’t eat that, and the other detests this... are we giving them too much choice?

When you are still waiting for your 7 year old daughter to get ready because she can’t decide what she wants to wear..? My mum put my clothes out for me… there was no choice.. and at that stage, I didn’t know what fashion was!

Social Media and the Internet

Way back when, there was the daily papers, and three channels for us to watch. News was something that was national, or affected us locally. Worldwide news would be in the papers the next day or a few days later, or if important you’d get a bulletin on the TV. Children went out to play with friends at the park, or you’d have play dates at your mates house. Sleepovers were fun.

Baby, Boy, Child, Childhood, Computer

Nowadays children still have friends, but if allowed, they are mostly communicating via social media. Snap Chat and Instagram, Twitter,WhatsApp and Facebook are the means for communication. Even the young ones have accounts on Roblox or MSP where they can message friends, real or otherwise. We as parents have access to these things too, as well as the internet, and instant access to news, and things happening everywhere.

Tricycle, Red, Childhood, Toy, Fun, Ride

When you put all this together it can make for scary thoughts. Why are we more hesitant to allow our kids to play out with their mates in the evenings, or to get on their bikes in the morning and not see them until dinner time? It was okay for us growing up, but now we’d prefer then to be somewhere we can see them…

Blame that on Social Media and the internet. Using the World Wide Web, we find out so much about awful things happening across the world. Stories about abductions, bullying, abuse, and so much connected to social media too. Isn’t it easier to keep our children inside a bubble?

I wonder whether we have made life harder for ourselves though. Lets be honest, a lot of this was happening before too, but our parents weren’t aware of it as all these horror stories weren’t reported in such a frequent and easy to access manner. Now all it takes is to log on to your Facebook account, and stories are shared of horrible things that happen. We want to protect our children, but give ourselves extra stress because we worry about what could happen, rather than live in the now.

Growing Up Too Soon

The innocence of childhood… that phrase rings so true when I think of when I was growing up. We played with toys, listened to our parents, had innocent fun until into our teen years.

It’s a different story now. Watching things on TV or the internet means that children are exposed to so much. Their language has matured from a much younger age. They are aware of a lot that is happening out in the world, which makes some cautious from a young age. They dress more grown up, want items with ‘names’ on them. Watching music videos, they don’t realise it, but they dance around in a sexualised way. And the attitude these children show too! The lip we have to endure from Tweens… see even a new name for those pre teen stroppy mares!

As a parent, you can control a lot of what your kids do, if you have a choice, but their is access to so much, from many different avenues, it can be hard to keep an eye on them the whole time.

Thirty years ago, the big worry may have been finding a naughty magazine under your son’s bed, or a hidden lipstick, or the discovery that your child has a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Now these are small worries in comparison to what we face. Do we censor everything? When my son started secondary school, he was quite innocent, and he still is. However sometimes we would hear him speak of certain things, that we would never mention, or condone him watching, and he said that his friends at school showed him on their phones.  He is growing up. Too fast in my eyes, but I know every parent thinks that. We have had to grant him trust, hoping that he knows right from wrong and that he doesn’t take a wrong path.

Going back too the beginning of the post, I went and joined my mother in law and her friend. I was fully expecting a conversation stating how rubbish we were as parents compared to them.

But I was wrong.

Instead, this aunty-ji said she felt for us parents of today.

Watching us run ourselves ragged, depositing children here, there and everywhere, working long hours, she felt for us.

Both her and my mother in law were so happy that they were here and able to be some support to us with regards to childcare, while they are still able. After all if we didn’t have their support, we wouldn’t be able to work properly, or if we did, the childcare costs would go up for us, having to pay someone to keep our kids until we were able to come home…

There was no criticism, only concern.

In their eyes, being a parent in their days, to young children was a doddle, compared to now!

What do you think? Is parenting harder now, or was it tougher back in the day?

Images from Pixabay.

 

I Should Know Better!

I am a pretty good person, always looking out for others, smiling through life’s problems, that sort of thing.

But I don t half have some bad habits that are hard to break!

Now there’s organised, and then there’s organised!

I believe it’s the Virgo in me that likes to have lists of things to do, that needs me to know what is happening when, that asks a question and needs an answer NOW!

And these are all okay habits, but I can have a tendency to get myself a bit obsessed with them too! And often to my detriment!

Take last night for instance.

There have been lots of changes in our family life since Lil Man started Secondary school. The biggest being that now he is at another school, other than the one I teach at, I have little control or knowledge about things happening there (oh, I find that so hard… but breathe, Ritu… let go…!)

We have to go for his parent meeting soon. Now in primary school, it’s a pretty painless process/ Your child has one teacher, you book a ten minute slot. You arrive, maybe wait if there are any delays, but, unless you have more than one child, thus needing more ten minute slots, you are in and out relatively fast.

Not at secondary school!

Now we have a lotta subjects, so a lotta teachers and a lotta kids whose parents need to be seen!

There is the old fashioned way of booking your slots, which is to fill in a piece of paper, using a pen (remember those?!) requesting the teachers to book you in with a slot. We tried that last time, and I think one teacher managed to actually book a time.

Then I resorted to the new-fangled way, which is an online system! Oh so easy! You see the teachers names that you child has, you book your five minute slots, and leave five minutes in between, to give yourself time to move around!

Great!

If you get in early enough. But if you are one of the last ones to book, you end up with 7 appointments interspersed within a three hour window! But we were relatively quick so only had a couple of waits.

So when I realised his end of year meetings were coming up, I was hot off the mark!

I have been checking the website for the last couple of weeks and knew that the system opened up for booking yesterday.

But what time exactly?

In the morning it informed me that the system would be open 17 from them. I worked it out and made it to be an 11 pm open time.

Being me, Mrs Virgo, I wanted to get appointments booked and out of the way, so I knew what we were doing on that day!

I was tired too.

But I kept myself awake, and had checked throughout the evening to make sure that I know when it was definitely going live! Last time it was live at some silly time like 4 am, so I had to wake up to get the bookings done!

Just before 11 pm I dragged myself to the PC and logged in. The counter that had said one hour to go for the last hour should have said Open at 11 pm, but no.. it told me there were 59 minutes to go!

Dang!

I had to wait until midnight!

Now here was where common sense should have prevailed and told me “Ritu, go to sleep. Get up at your usual time, don’t snooze your alarm, and you can book the appointments them.”

And quite possibly, it did try to tell me that, but stubborn, organised Ritu had her voice on loud speaker! “Ritu, watch another mind numbing programme to keep yourself awake then book, and you can sleep in peace!”

And so I awoke from a snooze just before midnight (luckily with no alarm, otherwise I would have been gutted!) and drowsily headed off to the PC again to book.

Surprise surprise I was probably the first one there, and all appointments needed were duly booked. I could rest easy for the next two weeks!

Except, you know when you wake from a deep sleep, you just can’t go back to bed.

So I was back in bed by 12.07 am and tossed and turned for an hour! And when my alarm did go off, I cursed my inability to listen to common sense!

But I was secretly happy that I got my preferred time slots!

So now I know I shall spend today in a stupor of tiredness – self-inflicted tiredness, at that!!

I should know better!

Any habits that you have that you really should change, but you just can’t quite make yourself to do?

 

Zzzzzzz! 9 Reasons I Still Need My Bed This Morning!

I thought Friday was bad enough with four hours sleep..

But after a pretty hectic weekend, filled with kids clubs, travelling to a family gathering and having a late Saturday night, and getting organised yesterday, I managed to sneak in an hour’s nap in the afternoon, and got to bed at a decent time.

  1. You get the amorous husband – Er NO!!!
  2. The mewling kitty – no food at 1.-12am!
  3. The kid who can’t sleep – It’s 3.23am, seriously?! Oh oh you have a cold and can’t sleep.
  4. The kid who thinks your bed is too hot – 4.06pm… Ok, she’s down again so can get at least two hours kip.
  5. The husband who think’s his luck is in as we are kinda awake! – 4.45am…SERIOUSLY??!!
  6. The bounce-back kid – 5.12am – Her bed was too cold…
  7. The dang alarm! – 6am came too soon! SNOOZE!
  8. The snoozed alarm – 6.05am… please 5 more minutes!
  9. The hyper kid – 6.09am “Mum! You’ve overslept!” He says – been awake since 6 and already in his uniform!

Guess I’ll have to get up!

Have a great Monday Peeps! Here’s hoping you got more rest than me!

I Hate Shopping, MUM!!!!!

Image Source

I don’t wanna go Mummy,
Please don’t make me!
Shopping again? Really Mummy
Please don’t take me!

All we seem to do is
Go up and down the aisles!
Its not a massive shop Mummy
But you make me walk miles!

Then we turn a corner
And you spy  an old friend
You stop to natter…
Oh, this trip will never end!

Toy aisle! My favourite!
Now we’re talking!
No, Mummy, stop!
Don’t keep on walking!

Okay, then the sweetie aisle
Its coming up real fast!
But yet again you manage to
Push the trolley straight past!

This is no fair! What’s my reward
For being dragged around?
You just said no to every treat
That I had gone and found!

Well fine then, just hurry up
Get to the till to pay!
So we can pack this shopping up
And quickly get away!

Back home you present to me
The trading cards you had
Hidden in the trolley…
Cool! Shopping’s not so bad!

Ritu 2015

This is one dedicated to my kids, who seem to need bribery to convince them to ever go grocery shopping with me! With Lil Princess, its a magazine, or something arty, Lil Man wants trading cards for whatever collection he is attempting to amass at the time!

Since when did kids start bartering for rewards (read bribes!) just so they agree to go shopping?! When I was young, it wasn’t an option! If mum needed to shop, and we were too young to stay at home, we were just put into our coats and sat in the car, no explanations needed, then we quietly, obediently, went arould the shop either walking beside, or sat in the trolley!

I must admit, I used to take the opportunity to add to the contents of the basket when I was smaller, as mum’s back was turned, and the fact that I was sat in the trolley gave me much easier access to some pretty yummy stuff, as I was higher up! It would get discovered at the till, but hey, I had fun trying!

But hey, this is for all those parents out there, struggling to drag their offspring around the aisles of the local supermarket! I don’t get the vocal tantrums, but believe me, If I was to come across you in the aisle, with your child screaming, I wouldn’t roll my eyes, I would totally sympathise!

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