The Slow Christmas – How to Stay Zen Over the Holidays

new-years-eve-1909061_640Back in the beginning of our lives as parents, my husband and I tried to keep up with what had become our traditional family Christmases. Both of us have split families, and people we needed (wanted) to see in different towns. As a result, we would take on a full three days of celebrating each year, starting Christmas eve and ending on Boxing day, with each of the parties going on until late at night.

At first we brought our newborn son along for the ride, and exhausting though it was, we never considered doing anything differently. Then when he was a few years old, my dad’s side of the family somehow added an extra day to the festivities. They wanted to have a sit down evening meal at a pub 45 minutes drive from our house on the night of the 23rd. Three days of madness turned into four days of exhaustion, and though we loved seeing everyone, we were too tired and stressed to really enjoy any of it. Our son suffered, missed out on sleep and became utterly overstimulated by the constant chaos.

Then our daughter came along and with most of her medical needs being taken care of in the early evening, we were suddenly provided with the perfect excuse to slow down. In doing so, we have discovered how rewarding slow family Christmases can be. In this article, I will share the big changes we made, along with the ways we help our little people cope with the intensity of Christmas celebrations.

Continue reading The Slow Christmas – How to Stay Zen Over the Holidays

Protecting Your Child from the Trauma of Medical Procedures.

20161114_135836Over the past 21 months, I have had the eye opening experience of being a parent to a child with a chronic medical condition. We have spent vast amounts of time as hospital inpatients, and as her voice I quickly learned how to advocate, speak up, protect and cocoon her from the potentially traumatic effects of being a “hospital baby.”

Together we have endured countless cannula placements, blood tests, surgeries, x rays, ultrasounds, lumber punctures and so much more. But through it all I have done my best to protect her, and though she has had to go through some very horrible experiences, she is (thankfully) always quick to bounce back.

In this article I want to share the lessons I have learned during the past two years, lessons which have saved our family and our daughter from unnecessary trauma and helped to give her the support she needed to come out of each hospital admission relatively untraumatised. These lessons can be transferred into any stressful situation, not just in a hospital environment, but whenever a child has to go through something which could potentially be very upsetting.

Continue reading Protecting Your Child from the Trauma of Medical Procedures.

It’s Easy to be a Peaceful Parent… When Nothing Stressful Happens!

newborn-1506248_1920Stress. It’s something we all experience at some point or another. For mothers of young children, teens, multiples, home educating families or families parenting children with medical issues, to name just a few, the stress levels can increase exponentially.

When there is nothing more challenging than choosing which bagel topping to have for lunch or what film to watch on Netflix, it is easy to be calm. But the more balls thrown into our ever juggling arms, the more our stress levels can rise.

Our children are like sponges, soaking up our moods, be they calm or fraught. And when it is the latter, their own stress levels rise to match our own. They reflect it right back at you, no matter how hard you try to hide what you are feeling. You cannot mask your true mood from them.

They know.

They know you so deeply, they see through the false smile. And when they mirror that stress, absorbing all that tension, their behaviour descends into mayhem. They have to release it. A calm, serene child has little need to lash out and be destructive. They have no urge to argue or shout furiously in response to your requests. But when their insides are pulsing with pent up tension, mounting stress, they have to let it out.

They have to explode.

And it is the worst possible thing for us weary, drained parents. We are balancing on the edge of patience at all times. We are so close to reaching our absolute limit. We can’t manage a single extra challenge. And we are suddenly faced with a child who neither knows nor cares that we are hovering at breaking point, who is lashing out, needing support we can’t summon up the reserves to give.

This is parenting at its hardest. This is when things fall apart and we react in ways we later regret. When we ignore feelings, when we say harsh words or forget how scary it can feel to be lost in such big emotions when you are so very small. It all becomes just a step too far for us to manage.

It’s so easy to talk about the merits of peaceful parenting. It’s all so wonderful in theory. But is it really possible to be the parent you so desperately want to be in these times of undeniable stress?

Fortunately, the answer is yes. But it’s not easy. It’s not going to come without hard work. But it is worth it. Let me share how with you now.

Continue reading It’s Easy to be a Peaceful Parent… When Nothing Stressful Happens!

When Losing Things Takes Over Your Life. Beets BLU Product Review

“Where are your shoes? We’re going to be late… again!” I said to my five year old as I bustled through the living room.

“I’m wearing them,” he replied, concentrating on the castle he was building out of wooden blocks.

“Oh, good. Now where are your sister’s?” I muttered, lifting things up, searching. Finally I managed to find them, one behind the shoe rack, one under the sofa. The bag was packed, lunch, drinks and spare clothes for the baby all ready and waiting by the door.

“OK, all set, let’s go,” I announced in relief. I glanced at the clock to see we would only be fifteen minutes late to their home education group. Two children came running over, eager to go outside into the fresh air. I moved to open the door and saw the keys were not where I had left them.

Great!

Little Miss Marmoset, at eighteen months old, has recently developed a fascination with keys, loving nothing better than to take them off to play and then store them somewhere secret and impossible to find. The previous week we had lost them for two days.

Since I was a little girl, one thing has always been guaranteed to reduce me to stressed out tears of utter frustration: losing something important and having to search for it. It all stems from one occasion when I worked incredibly hard on a piece of homework for school, only to lose it.

I can still remember searching through the whole house at midnight, hours before the deadline, the feeling of absolute anxiety and the need to uncover its whereabouts turning me into a sobbing wreck. To this day, I don’t remember if I ever found the work, but I do remember how it felt to search fruitlessly for it.

Continue reading When Losing Things Takes Over Your Life. Beets BLU Product Review

Iris Grace’s Mother: On Autism, Natural Play Spaces and Child Led Home Education

unspecified1Iris Grace is a seven year old little girl with a massive talent for painting. Her work has been compared to Monet and has been bought and shared by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Daniel Radcliffe.

Iris also happens to have Autism.

Professionals were ready to give up on her, writing her off and offering outdated, one size fits all techniques, but Iris’s mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson knew that there was so much beneath the surface that wasn’t being seen. She knew that if she could find the right way to communicate with this beautiful little spirit, she would help Iris to escape her anxiety and reach her true potential.

She was a mother on a mission and she wouldn’t give up on her child.

I was lucky enough to get Arabella to agree to an interview for Love Parenting, in which she shares how she made the decision to walk away from her dream of sending Iris to school and choose interest based home education instead. She discusses the affect nature has on Iris’s behaviour, and her personal coping mechanisms that helped her survive the darkest days and long sleepless nights with a child who didn’t like to switch off.

Continue reading Iris Grace’s Mother: On Autism, Natural Play Spaces and Child Led Home Education

%d bloggers like this: