Life, Love, and Passports

Posts tagged “children

This used to be my playground

It’s been quite a while now that my girls have been asking me to join their skipping routine. They’ve tried to convince me that it’s great fun. I’ve never been any good at skipping, jumping or any other sporting activities for that matter. Come to think of it I’m actually not that bad I’m a keen swimmer and known to have some skills rollerblading.

When it comes to skipping my excuse is that their rope is too short for me which is true. However, I could not imagine myself bopping and moving my feet is a real challenge. After much nagging I eventually bought a full length skipping rope and just dreaded the moment I’d have to use it. Today was that day and it was fun.

Having young children really does require you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. I can’t claim that the girls keep me young but they sure do keep me involved. I have no idea what’s next on their agenda but I’m almost certain if will take me right out of my comfort zone.
Today I witnessed the joy of a carefree childhood. Watching not just my children but all the children in the park enjoying the glorious sunshine and having fun was another reminder that life is to be enjoyed.

Growing up is so overrated! I’m certainly going to make every effort to be carefree. If it means skipping with my girls then bring it on. I can’t resign from being an adult but being young at heart is a wonderful alternative.


Birthday wishes

Today my first born celebrated her eighth birthday. She woke up this morning with the biggest yelp and her excitement was infectious. After opening her gifts and reading greeting cards she was ready to face the warmest day of the year. She had a fun day planned with a few of her friends and she couldn’t wait.

Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday that she wouldn’t go to sleep (Mmm come to think of it that’s not actually changed!) and suffered from colic. Now it’s hard to imagine life before her. As I watched her with her friends it was clear to see that she values friendship and is a team player. She loved having her friends around on her special day yet she took time to care for her younger sisters too.

Today I feel especially blessed having been trusted with an amazingly bright, thoughtful and extremely wise little girl well not so little anymore! She challenges us daily and tests boundaries constantly. Her enquiring mind keeps us sharp and grateful for search engines.

Her special day is drawing to a close and she’s managed to do all the things she enjoys. There’s nothing more to be said or done.
Happy birthday Charis!


Stamp of approval

Last night my two older girls took part in their schools production of Oliver. Of course I’m using the terms took part rather loosely as every pupil was involved. Although their classes had just a song to sing it became apparent after last nights performance that they required a pat on the back after asking ‘ Do you think it sounded good?’ ‘Did you find that funny?’ The one thing I have learnt in recent years is that you only get one chance to have a first reaction. Needless to say they got a big well done and I meant it.

Praise and approval are a pivotal part of growing up and life in general. There are those of us who thrive on praise and get little accomplished unless we’re constantly complimented. Some of us think praise is unnecessary especially since what we’re accomplishing is considered a duty. Hard work and outstanding efforts should be rewarded not just as lip service but sincerely.

I really struggle with the concept of managing praise! Is it possible to over praise? Surely not every completed task deserves praise just those that are exceptional. Do children require more positive reinforcement than adults? Perhaps the child within all of us needs to be praised.
Note to self: Must praise more! Sincerity is key!


A special kind of mum

I think it’s official and I may never have to repeat this truth again. I am a documentary junkie not just any documentary but beautiful moving ones which make me look at my life differently and just be grateful for all that I have.

So once again I was moved by the account of two very different moms. One with a rare form of dwarfism and the other with no use of her legs and limited use of her arms. As I watched them doing the most basic chores for their children I realised that no matter what ability or disability we have we’re all just moms trying to do our best.

I think it would be naive to say that they’re not different because they are different they’re just not less. Those differences have drawn criticism and ridicule from various people both in their communities and even their loved ones. Our role as citizens of the world is to treat each other with respect and hopefully be treated the same.

The goal (hopefully!) of all moms is the same and that’s to raise well adapted children by doing the best we can. I watched as one of the moms struggled to cope not because of her disability but because of her unrealistic expectations and just wanting to get things right constantly. I suspect this wouldn’t have been the case if we didn’t live in a society where moms create this false ideal of how perfectly adapted their children are.

Whatever difficulty you’re facing today no matter how big or small share it with a realistic mom who understands that things are not always perfect. Then when you’re sailing smoothly try to remember how it felt when you were going through a struggle and show the same understanding to a mom facing a difficulty.


‘He wanted to be a hero’

Mick Philpott and his wife Mairead have been found guilty of manslaughter following the death of their six children after they started a house fire and the children were overcome by smoke while they slept. I must admit I’m still trying to get my head around such an evil act. It seems it was done as a ploy to blame an ex lover who had dared to walk away with her five children from a very unnatural family set up which saw him sharing the house with his wife and his lover along with their eleven children. He planned to rescue the children and be hailed a hero then be granted custody of the other five. Sadly, that is not what happened.

I’ve long grappled with this very spiteful idea of parents who claim to love their children and then put them in harms way in an attempt to teach somebody a lesson. It is impossible to be a good parent and be selfish. Parenthood requires selflessness. As reports were made of each court appearance it became quite apparent that these parents thought only of themselves. That attitude was a recipe for disaster.

As they await sentencing along with their accomplice Paul Mosley I can’t help but feel absolute pity for these six children who lost their lives in a fatal plot which went totally wrong. Phil has been portrayed as a violent, selfish, lazy, layabout who had as many children as possible to live a comfortable life on benefits. At this point in time and following the tragic loss of innocent lives all I’d like to see is the longest prison sentence to ensure these lives were not cut short in vain.

Rest in peace Duwayne, Jade, John, Jessie, Jayden and Jack


So you’ve done nothing today?

This was the response from my five year old after I replied that I hadn’t gone anywhere today after the school run. Not even to the shops mom? Surely she should realise that home is where all of my work resides. On second thought there are many people who I meet and when I explain that I’m a stay at home mother often ask what I do all day. Perhaps visions of me lying on the couch in my pyjamas watching telly and munching on some unhealthy snacks.
Depending on the mood I’m in I may give them the pampered wife response. I guess the question I’d like to ask in return is ‘what would you do on a day at home?’ well that’s exactly what I do. Vacuuming or hoovering as its affectionately called in this part of the world. Dishes, laundry and of course picking up endless toys.

I’ve been a stay at home mom for over five years and I’ve mastered the art of owning my time. I really have enjoyed the challenge of raising my babies and the experience has taught me to dig deep when days got tough. I can’t help but feel that this phase of my life is coming to an end and I’m preparing myself mentally. My girls have been an amazing source of strength and even companionship during those early days when we arrived in the UK. We’ve come a long way since then and I’m excited for the future.


Mothering Sunday

As this day draws to an end I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be raising three wonderful children. Though I sometimes complain about my lack of personal space I would never trade motherhood it teaches me so many new things daily. I love that my girls keep me sharp with their enquiring minds. My only request today was for the girls to give my lap a rest. It may not sound like much but honestly the minute I sit down my children think I’m a mobile bench. I’m pleased to say they really did try!

Many mothers would’ve experienced a range of emotions on this day set aside for honouring them in the United Kingdom. Love, joy, sadness, despair, guilt and loneliness are just a few. It breaks my heart to think that there are mothers out there who have offspring who don’t care about their welfare and of course mothers who fail to nurture their children. This world can be so cruel.

Tomorrow the daily mother grind will kick in if or when things get to breaking point I’ll try to remember how special I felt when I received those handmade cards declaring how beautiful, thoughtful and loving I am. I have a little cheat up my sleeve because when the second Sunday in May rolls around I’ll join my South African friends in celebrating Mother’s Day again. It’s a win win situation.


International Women’s Day

Women the world over were celebrated today. My day went by in the usual kind of way mainly involving seeing to my children. Just when I was thinking that my day was pretty mundane I spared a thought for many women who don’t enjoy the freedom that I enjoy daily.

Many questions were being asked about who we look up to as role models and what the future holds. There are many who were honoured today both past and present for the liberties we enjoy. My gift to all those courageous women is to be the best I can be with what I have and by helping other women reach their potential. It’s been said that women are their own worst enemies and by celebrating each others achievements and assisting through difficult times we become stronger.

Of all the things I have I’m most grateful for my education and honest friends who steer me in the right direction. My dream on this special day is access to education, social freedom and the right to choose a path in life of their choice with no oppression. It seems impossible but it is my dream!

If you know a phenomenal woman let her know that you’re inspired by her.


Say cheese!

After perusing my holiday pictures it has become quite apparent that I need to make an effort to spend a little more time in front of the lens. I’m not particularly photogenic but I suppose in years to come my children will wonder exactly where I was when they were having fun. As a mother it’s become part and parcel of my life to capture the milestones of my girls. I’ve had an epiphany now that I need to capture special moment not just of my girls but with them too.

Here’s to a future of making photographic memories together. They won’t always be perfect but they’ll be our moments and that will make them perfect!


Unbridled hope for the future

I’ve recently watched a documentary of a group of children whose lives have been documented from the age of 7 at seven-year intervals they are now 56 years old. The series was originally intended to show how socio-economic conditions determine a child’s future. They were so wrong! As it turns out good and bad choices determine your future.

It was so amazing to see the enthusiasm and hope of each of those children when interviewed initially but sadly the flame of hope seemed to be fading as the reality of life set in. It became really hard for many to keep their eyes on the prize. Some did achieve their childhood goals and others were forced to redefine what success meant to them. I must admit that I was slightly jealous that my thoughts and ambitions weren’t recorded because I’d love to know what was ideas were cooking in my little brain at a really tender age.

I have no plans to subject my daughters to a documentary series on such a grand scale. However, I do have every intention of letting them know that the sky is the limit and only they have the power to decide their future. The future is super bright for them and I will make every effort to keep their dreams alive!