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Always the Attention Seeker…

Ok, When I started this blog I wanted to write it as a care leaver because there is so little written about or by care leavers which ultimately makes us feel very alone and misunderstood especially as we become adults. We lack much of what most people have growing up and becoming adults and all that most care leavers have in the way of support are other care leavers with their own set of fucked up problems or social workers who really have no clue and who most care leavers avoid unless they really mess up!

I was going through the comments on one of my other posts and there was this one comment (on the post about being there not being enough for my friend) that didn’t much grammatical sense but the jist was that I needed to stop whinging about my life and stop being attention seeking on my blog…

now here’s the thing… firstly I’d like to point out that it’s MY blog so I can pretty much write whatever I want, and to be honest I never expected anyone to read it, it’s just my way of speaking aloud, it’s my therapy as it were. Secondly, all care leavers are accused of being attention seekers but to be fair most of us spend the majority of our time trying to blend in and appear ‘normal’ so as not to bring attention to ourselves.

Of course that isn’t to say that I can’t be a bit of an extrovert, but that’s usually a front or with a few glasses of wine and the right crowd. ūüėČ

Anyhow, I don’t write about my life in care to gain attention,¬†I have to write about some of the shit times, not to be attention seeking but because it would be difficult to connect with someone unless you know a little of their story, and believe me I only touch the surface on here.

As for whinging, I think I’m pretty positive about how my life’s turned out, yes I have my negative moments where I find it difficult to move forward and get a little trapped in time and find it hard to escape my memories, but they’re the times when I recoil from life a bit and avoid being around people, but hey you can’t be positive ALL the time!

The things most people work towards; education, work, home, friends, family, life, happiness… are things that are much harder to come by for most care leavers, but with a lot of hard work they are attainable.

I am incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved against the odds.

Care leavers statistics

From now I will only leave positive comments on this blog, I don’t mind a debate but there is no room in my life for negativity so if you have nothing positive to say, please say nothing at all.

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Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Believe, Care Leaver, Life, The Past.

 

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When ‘Being There’ Just Isn’t Enough…

Most of the time I’m positive about my life and the way I grew up. I know to a lot of people who were raised by loving parents my childhood probably seems pretty horrific, and some of it was I guess, but I have this knack of putting the dark stuff to the back of my mind, the bad stuff is there but masked by the good times, and against the odds I have hundreds of thousands of brilliant memories…

I made the best friends during my 15 years in care and none who understand me better than those who I shared the good times with. There’s an unsaid agreement that you don’t ask what your care brothers and sisters are ‘in’ for but at the same time there’s an understanding between you. No-one’s in care because they had fluffy homelives, it doesn’t work like that does it? I thought everyone’s parents were like mine until I was 7 or 8 and I realised that people don’t like to hear about your experiences if they’re not pink and fluffy so I invented a life before care in true Tracy Beaker style and would relay these stories to all my friends outside of the care system! lol

But the teenage years were the hardest, this is when you really realise that your experiences are so totally different to other people’s and guilt about events in your life sets in. You may try to tell a friend at school by easing into it really slowly, giving a tiny snippet of information and then their shock is so obvious you laugh it off as a joke and retract the initial statement you made and get on with it, knowing that you will never be ‘on the same level’ as your friends.

This is when your care siblings become closer than any of your childhood friends, they ‘get you’, they’ve had similar experiences so you’re tolerant of each other’s mood swings and anger outbursts. When you leave care and lose touch it’s the loneliest feeling in the world.

When I left care I was more alone than I’d ever been before and first got the keys to a crappy bedsit at 16/17, well shared house really. I got moved into 2 or 3 bedsits until I settled in the last one. I was the only female and in the room to one side was 3 heroin addicts straight out of Brixton jail and on the other side a 40 year old pimp who scared the shit out of me so badly that when he tried to kill one of the other guys in the house with a hammer and hid the hammer in my room I said nothing and silently agreed to share his bed for the night so when the police turned up I would be his alibi… I once saw him chase his missus with a meat cleaver then beat her to a pulp so I wasn’t going to get on the wrong side of him.  downstairs was a fucked up ex copper and a 65yr old knicker stealing alcoholic so life as a care leaver wasn’t the best but you make the best of a bad situation and get on with it with the help of drugs and boys and alcohol and petty crime until you’re 18 and social services helps get the ultimate prize… your own council flat.

Anyhow, because of the joys of social networking and facebook, I’ve been reunited with a few of my care brothers and sisters and though it’s made me happy, of course it has, the people that I grew up with, fought with, cried with and laughed with were back on the scene… but it has brought with it a new heartache.. the realisation that life could have been different as it has been for so many of my siblings.

To find out that for some suicide was the best option has broken my heart and I’m left thinking ‘why wasn’t I there for you earlier’. For others prostitution was their way to get through life, for a fair few hard drugs, for others alcohol, for many crime and jail and some of these haven’t made it as far as the rest of us… but the ones who my heart aches the most over are the ones who tried so hard to break the cycle and failed… not through any real fault of their own, but because of shitty circumstances the children they love so much have been taken from them and placed in the same system that fucked us all up and made us the way we are.

These are the ones I want to help the most but I feel useless and ‘being there’ for them just isn’t enough to make a difference in their circumstances and it’s an excruciating pain that the friends you once considered your brother or sister are going through that.

There is no happy ending to this post for now, I can only hope that being positive and being here when they need me is enough to get them through the next day, and the day after…

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Life, The Past.

 

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Kids Being Kids…

Before you read this post, I’d like you to read this article

I read that article this morning and I have to be honest, I thought it was a case of a mum receiving a letter and being a little over-sensitive in her reaction, assuming people had complained about her 3 year old daughter but being a mum I get that, you’re lucky to have a safe area outside your home and let your 3 year old play outside in the fresh air with neighbour’s young children. They pick flowers and bark and act like young children discovering the world around them.

I happen to log into facebook and a certain tabloid rag has a twisted version of this story advertising their latest edition on their page talking about ‘kids running amok and ransacking other people’s garden’s’. This has escalated into a huge thread of people slating this woman’s parenting skills and her children. Comments like @she looks like a little monster!’ and ‘a 3 year old out on the streets, 2 words… BAD PARENTS’ and a barrage of people offering ‘useful’ snippets of advice like ‘social services should get involved’ and ‘the mum should get an asbo’ and ‘the mum should tan her daughter’s backside’.
It’s obvious no-one actually read the article properly, or I’ve totally misread it myself because what I got was that little girls were playing and maybe picking flowers and trampled a few plants. There has been some degree of anti-social behaviour in the area so the police decide to issue each house with a warning about how anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated. This mum felt as there wasn’t a problem in their particular road, that it was aimed at her children and got defensive. Why do tabloid rags have to turn it into ‘Britain’s youngest child threatened with an ASBO’???
Let’s get this into perspective now, they’re not smashing neighbour’s windows or shouting profanities or smoking drugs or stealing cars, they’re picking flowers… that’s what children do.

My children have spent the best part of the last 2 weeks exploring our local woods, discovering plants, (and yes, picking some!) collecting sticks, leaves and basically being children! We’re so lucky to have the woods so close by, there is a children’s playground built into the woodland and a bmx track so children can enjoy the space.
When my older 2 boys were younger, we lived in London and the streets and local parks were their playground. They were good kids and I knew roughly where they’d be if I needed them. I had an ‘open door’ policy, our door was always open to them and their friends for drinks, snacks, lunch, toilet or a safe place to be for a while. They had the odd mischievous moment, #2 came home one day soaked to the skin and ran upstairs sheepishly, 2 minutes later a frail lady knocked and told me she’d just thrown a bucket of water over him and followed him home as he was playing ‘knock down ginger’ at her door and she was poorly. I made him come down to apologise and told him off, apologised to the lady and that was that. I have to admit to having a giggle later on as I remember being 8 and doing the same (without getting caught!) as I’m sure most did. It was naughty but hardly deserving of an asbo. He’s now almost 20 and working at the same engineering job he’s been at since he left school at 16, my eldest has just graduated from University. Neither has a criminal record or an asbo. ūüôā

My point is, we’re so quick to judge kids behaviour and adults parenting skills nowadays, they really can’t do right for doing wrong. If the children sit indoors playing games consoles or watching TV- the parents are bad, they play outside and their parents are still wrong because it’s irresponsible or the kids might get an asbo.
Really? Is this where we are now? Have people forgotten what being a child was about? Full of wonder, full of energy, a bit mischievous but today’s discovers, explorers, creators, inventors… are tomorrow’s Lord Sugars, Richard Bransons, Larry Pages, Cesar Pellis and Sir Norman Fosters.

How can it be ok if we imprison our children and stop them from reaching their potentials by holding them back out of fear of being branded ‘bad parents’?

 

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Family, Kids, Life, News, Parenting

 

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Things Will Always Get Better!

Well I’ve been neglecting my blogs lately, I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator! But here I am, better late than never and a bit more positive than last time!
The husband has gotten a new job which pays slightly better. It’s only a stopgap because he is in the running for another job which pays exceptionally more than both and offers more in the way of promotion. So finger’s crossed on that one, we may just get out of the financial shit creek we’re in!

Anyhow, thinking positively, my crafting is going well, especially the crochet blankets and rice charms, it’s so rewarding when people appreciate something you spend so much time and effort creating.

The school holidays are going well, we’ve had some great days out. ¬†A group of us had a picnic in the park for a friends birthday, the kids played happily and the princess juice was flowing for us mums, it was one of those carefree days where everyone’s happy.
Then we had the pirate adventure in the woods… 7 adults and 11 kiddies = another great day out.
We’ve had a few days in the park that became more hours than planned but I love it when you don’t have to check the time and you’re engrossed in good conversations with friends.

My cousin is coming out of care this month and as I write to her, I’m hoping for a meeting at some point. Some details in her files sit badly with me as I know she was blamed for things she didn’t do and I want her to know the truth, there is no reason for a child to be blamed for another child’s injury when it was one of the parents, it is disgraceful. I can’t wait to see how she’s grown and how she’s doing. I can’t wait to tell her what a precious little girl she was and how we love her and truly missed her. How we have a photo of her in our living room right next to her cousins. I want her to know we never forgot her. And most of all, I don’t want her to feel like I did when I was her age…

 

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A Sunshine Award to start off the Summer!

When I started this blog, it was for a few reasons… Firstly, I guess it was just because I like to write, it’s something I enjoy doing almost as much as I like reading. ¬†It’s also a form of therapy for me… I write about things and those things become clearer in my mind.

The thing is, for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that people might actually read it! So imagine my surprise when I checked my emails today to find a Sunshine Award from fellow blogger¬†justbetweencousins!

I’d like to say a big Thank You (!) for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and for actually taking the time to read my thoughts on here, it’s much appreciated!

Now, in accordance with the Sunshine Award Rules, I agree to;

  • Include the Sunshine Award image. (check)
  • Thank the person who gave you the award. (check)
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself. (Apparently, the giver can make up new ones. It could get interesting!) (check)
  • Pass the award on to 10 Sunshine-worthy bloggers (Only 10?!) (check)
The Questions…

Love or Money? Love (can I have some money thrown in?… no?… okay just love!)

Favorite Book? I love childhood memoirs, my favourite being Ugly by Constance Briscoe.

Who is the Television Character you simply adore? Waynetta Slob… Kathy Burke is truly a comedy genius! (Though I do love Nan Taylor too, Catherine Tate is too funny!)

Favorite Music? I love strong women that say it how it is. Pink, Linda Perry, Eva Cassidy, Jessie J and Amy Winehouse to name a few.

Favorite type of movie? I like comedies best, thrillers are great but NOT horrors!!

Facebook or Twitter? ooohh, I can’t decide, I love both… facebook just edges it… for now!

Favorite number? 13. I was born on the 13th so consider it my lucky number!

Favourite Animal? Horses, I love them just because they are so beautiful.

Giving or receiving? Totally giving, I just wish I could afford to give some more!

Favorite flower? Poppy… that’s why I named my daughter Poppy!

And last but certainly not least, here is my list of Sunshine Award bloggers in absolutely no particular order…

One Fierce Mama¬†I love Mummy blogs, they give us mums a way of expressing ourselves and proves there is a lot more to us than ‘nappies and baby sick’! I especially like the ones that keep it real!

Journey to my Heart… a day to day discovery¬†we’re around the same age and have so many things in common, yet are so different. It’s refreshing and interesting to read about someone that you feel even the smallest connection to.

Heaven 4 Earth¬†I love reading things that make me think… truly think on a really deep level. This is a blog that makes me think.

A Three Day Hat¬†Another Mummy (or Mommy!) blog that ‘tells it how it is’!

Grenglish¬†I went to school with Sarah and though we weren’t in the same circle of friends, the power of Facebook put me in touch with her blog… brilliantly written and touches on subjects everyone can relate to.

Cathy’s Voice Now¬†I love her honesty and her fearlessness when it comes to her sharing her voice.

Texas Gaga¬†because repurposing and upcycling is a dying art… but the only way we’ll save our planet…

Precious Paper A new blog but proof that upcycling is beautiful!

Missy B & Family She is ME!  But she makes it much more interesting!

Pearlyqueennotebook¬†reworking beautiful things… I need say no more than that!

These Bloggers old and new have caught my interest, inspired me, or made me look at my own life differently. I think that’s an amazing talent to possess and should be recognised.

Enjoy your Sunshine Award nominations and pass it on.

 
 

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Earth Mother?

I have a simple philosophy on parenting and that is this… I am not my children’s friend, they should have enough friends if I’ve done my job as a parent properly… I am their parent. Their teacher, their chef, their nurse, their confidant, their coach. but in my opinion, while they’re still children I’m certainly not their friend.

I have made many mistakes as a parent, especially with my eldest two sons. I allowed the emotional and messy break-up with their father affect me and I neglected my boy’s needs. I made it difficult for my eldest to confide in me and without realising, I allowed him to feel that it was his fault and because I was wrapped up in how I¬†felt, I became unapproachable in his eyes.

But part of being a parent is being able to recognise when we’ve made mistakes and trying to adapt and be a better parent, I patently didn’t learn that from my own parents!

Children should be nurtured. I use the ‘Earth Mother’ loosely but I had natural births, I breastfed until they self weaned, I BLW, Cloth nappy, co-sleep, and pretty much follow my instinct.

I am a bit of an Earth Mother… I believe in a Mother’s Instinct and Intuition, that feeling¬†you get that tells you if you’re right or wrong. I believe in my instinct and I am in tune with my intuition.

We co-sleep. On hearing this, people are so quick to point out how ‘dangerous’ this practice is but I’d like to bet that most of us have at least had the odd night where we’ve put baby in our bed to get a night’s sleep…

I read an article once on sleeping arrangements of babies. Parents were asked where their babies slept and all answered “In his/her cot/moses basket”… when questioned more indepth, a huge proportion then admitted to having their baby in the parental bed for the majority of the time.

We just admit to doing it full-time for at least the 1st year. I breastfeed so it seems the most natural thing to do so that baby has his/her feeds and goes back to sleep without being disturbed. At around a year old, we’ve put a bed in their room and introduced the joys of having a ‘big boy’s/girl’s room’ ¬†and they’ve been really happy with it… then again, although they’ll go down great, by morning they’re very often in our bed again and we’re absolutely fine with that. My attitude is what could be more natural than sleeping in the warmth and security of the people you love the most?

I breastfeed… I believe it’s simply what we’re supposed to do. I have no idea what the ingredients in formula are and to me they sound like a chemistry lesson, so I choose to breastfeed… I don’t try to make others do the same and no-one should feel guilty either way, though I do believe there’s not enough information for those wishing to breastfeed and there’s a lot of misinformation which worries new mums into quitting early, believing they ‘aren’t producing enough milk’. Breastfed babies DO feed every hour or two for the first few weeks and they do often stay on the breast for half an hour or so… that doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk, nor does it mean you’re not doing it right. At 6, 8 and 12 weeks, babies tend to have a growth spurt and demand to be fed more often… these are often times when mums quit thinking they’re not producing enough to sustain baby’s needs. I have found health visitors to tell mums to ‘top-up’ with formula (which will hinder mother’s milk production!) as baby won’t be gaining the right amount of weight. (you know, the amount the chart in their red health book says they should!)

The Health Visiting Team are an OPTIONAL service that I opted out of, I gained my own support network of like-minded mothers and I feel I am wasting the time of a Health Visitor to be honest, though my last one was fantastic, I just felt that after 5 babies, I kinda knew pretty much all they could tell me.

Weaning… I follow my child. Baby-led Weaning is the only way in this house. I did it all by the book with my eldest and when he was still gagging on lumpy food and spitting out the lumps, I was at my wits end… ‘The books said they MUST be having lumpy food by 10 months!! He was surely going to be eating pure√© forever at this rate!’…

With my others, I introduced finger foods when they were ready and baby rice and home pure√©d foods occasionally too. We didn’t stick to any particular way or age, just what felt right.

What did piss me off was a Health Visitor telling a friend that she was an unfit mother for introducing baby rice to her 4 month old son when ‘The World Health Organisation’s’ recommendation is to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and not to introduce solids until at least then… What they failed to inform her is that the WORLD Health Organisation includes 3rd world countries where there isn’t sufficient nutritious food… this is England! When my eldest 2 were babies, we were told that if we DIDN’T introduce solids before 6 months, that we’d be hindering their speech as they need to exercise their jaw muscles!!! And now they’re back to 4 months again!! I prefer weaning when baby shows signs that it’s time… much more reliable!!

Nappies… I like to cloth nappy… Most are shaped like disposables and velcro or popper closed, have gorgeous waterproof ‘pul’ covers and look adorable… not to mention they save hundreds compared to disposables, especially if you use them for subsequent children or swap them around with friends. I don’t buy into the fact that they are more ‘eco-friendly’ as it really does depend on how you wash and dry them, but they certainly are easier on the pocket than disposables. To be honest, once my kiddies are toddling, they often go without nappies in the daytime, you can often tell when they’re about to go and you can get them to a potty and let their skin air.

Don’t even get me started on immunisations!! Firstly they are optional… how many parents actually feel they are optional though? Most parents I know thought they were compulsory! Secondly, when you get drugs from the chemist, you ALWAYS get a leaflet that you HAVE to read before you take the medicine… it lists all the active ingredients, things that could cause adverse effects, what those effects are (even rare ones) etc… when you take your 2 month old baby to get those 1st lot of jabs, do you really know what’s in them or what the adverse reactions could be? Two of my children had serious adverse reactions to immunisations and I am against immunising babies so young. I’ve really done my research on this and I once had a bit of an argument with a ‘medical professional’ about my children’s delayed jabs… they claimed that by not immunising my children, I’m putting their childen at risk! What?! If you are 100% sure that those jabs are effective then how is my child risking your child? Your child is protected surely? The only way my child could possibly be infected is through other non-immunised children, and your children are protected so there should be no problem at all!! I made an informed decision to delay my children’s jabs. I am not entirely happy allowing them at all to be honest, but I’m delaying them at the very least.

We all make choices as parents, I’m not claiming my choices are right for anyone else but my family. I’m not disrespecting anyone else’s choices.

There are women out there who eat their placenta’s… not for me but hey, if they feel that it makes them better mother’s and they certainly aren’t affecting anyone else, then go for it, that’s their prerogative.

We all have our beliefs. I certainly do. I know that a lot of what I’ve done, at least with my eldest is totally against what I believe now, but that’s through learning and experience. Making mistakes and wanting to better them. None of us are perfect parents but I’m sure we all strive to be.

I believe that children thrive best in a secure family with good role models, ideally with their mum and dad. As a couple we should teach our kids by example, how to deal with problems in relationships, how to love, how to work as a team. Whether those parents are together or not, they made that child and should act as business partners, working together to raise a well-adjusted child. No-one says you have to get along but you both have something in common… love for your child and a want to give that child the best upbringing you can possibly give.

A mother should raise her daughter to be a woman with morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know herself and be independent. Not to depend on a man for money but to know she can work and be successful and support herself.morals, values, self-respect and self-worth.  To know that a couple balance each other as equals, neither one is more important than the other.

A father should raise his son to be a man with morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know himself and to be independent and be domesticated. To respect women and not to depend on a woman to look after him, to know he can take care of himself. morals, values, self-respect and self-worth. To know that a couple balance each other,  they are equal, neither one is more important than the other.

None of us are perfect but we can try to be better, that way maybe our children will be better parents than us…

(core values image from http://www.all-about-motherhood.com/index.html )

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Believe, Family, Kids, Life, Parenting, Thoughts

 

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Neglecting my Blogging Responsibilities!

Just a quick message to say Hi.

My blog been neglected of late but I have had lots going on.

#4 is only 4 years old and has had some health issues and is under a Paediatrician, Respiratory Clinic, Dietitian, ENT specialist… He’s had teeth out, blood tests, heart scans, special diets and is due for a sleep study soon.

#3 is having his own issues with the ASD.

#1 is doing well at uni and #2 is still looking for work.

Other than that, things are ok and we’re getting through these tough times!

Be back soon guys.

 

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