More than “just a M* mmy”

Seriously I know I’m going to sound like such a hypocrite as a lot of my content is Mummy motivated but seriously, I want to take it back to basics .. Who was I before I became “Mummy”. I was “P”… Not just a Mummy.

My reason for having such a Mummy focused blog at present is because I pride myself on blogging based on how I feel at the time. This ensures that my content is authentic and straight from the heart. For the last 6 months I have been strictly in Mummy mode, so my posts have been predominantly based around my Mummy Shenanigans. 

This was set in stone last weekend when my son said “Mummy, why are you going without us, don’t you love us?” and at that point the mummy in me wanted to unpack my bags and cancel my girly weekend.  But the “P” in me replied ‘Son of course I love you, but I love myself too so it’s important that Mummy has a break and refills her cup”. His reply “what cup” 😂

Who were you before you became “Mummy”

Now you’re going to either love this post or you’re going to hate it. But during my daily scroll through Instagram. I connect with so many mummies, and mummy bloggers. I know so much about their children (age, likes, dislikes) yet I know so little about The amazing women who created them. What makes you smile? What was your dream as a little girl? What’s your favourite wine? Who are you? 

And more importantly Who the “fuck am I” I’ve asked myself for the last 6 months of maternity leave. The truth is, I know who I am, I know what I want out of life, I have robust expectations and I refuse to compromise . But every now and then motherhood throws me out of sync, just when I think I’ve got my shit together. 

This whole loss of identity stuff

Hands up if you’ve ever had a Mum identity crisis!!?? I’m a cross between a drunk off paw patrol, sleep deprived, converse wearing zombie. With a hint of 6 inch heels wearing, hair flowing through the wind Kinda girl when I get a quick boost of energy.

Loss of identity is a real issue, and I’ve spoken to countless mothers who have experienced the loss of identity phase. In fact today I left my house with only one hand of my nails painted because I needed to take my son to school.😂 (me trying to create an identity.. But once again being humbled by motherhood). 

As humans our identities change and evolve as we progress through the differing stages of our life. And the last 6 months have taught me that you can have more than one identity . I am the career woman, the goal getter, the fiancée, confidant, the travel junkie, and a millennial girl facing millennial problems. 

Feeling like you’ve lost your identity can really compromise your emotional well being so if you’re going through this, and need some one to talk to. Please, email me,  message me, DM and let’s talk about it. I’m always ready with an open ear. You can read more about my loneliness and loss of identity here

 

Not just a Mummy

 

So! With that being said, allow me to re introduce myself and Include 10 facts aside from being a mother of two gorgeous boys.

Hey, my names P. 

  • I’m the “strong friend” the go to, and the comforter.
  • Career wise, I am a children’s services practitioner, a court advisor, a youth engagement officer and now a blogger. 
  • I have a degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice and another in Applied Criminology. 
  • I pride myself on helping others, I don’t have a bad bone in my body and those of you that know me will know I would give you my last pound. 
  • I’m a sucker, for 6 inch heels, lippy and a cute cocktail bar. 
  • Generally I’m not designer mad but I love cute designer hand bags.
  • I’ve been with my partner for 10 years and I can’t get rid of him 😂 I think he’s here to stay. 
  • I’m an advocate for female empowerment. 
  • I brought my first house when I was 22
  • My favourite hobby is boxing.

This is ONE for you! 

I want to know three facts about you aside from being a mother? 

 

Have You Ever Felt Powerless As A Mother?

Have you ever felt powerless as a mother?

From the moment we learn we are carrying life, our only mission is to strive to protect our children. We hold them close, we nurture our bumps, we vigorously research guidelines and we anticipate the day we will finally meet our Crown Jewels. 

In some circumstances, we don’t get the chance to meet out Crown Jewels because they’re needed in heaven where the angels belong. But those memories of their tiny hands and feet will forever remain in our hearts. I would like to honour this post in loving memory of Baby O’Toole. Baby O’Toole is the angel of Katie, who is our first story. Rest beautifully angel. It’s never good bye, only see you soon. 

The bond we create while pregnant is indescribable. We tell our babies we will always protect them, we will never let harm come to them and that we will be by their side till we take our last breath. BUT! What happens when you’re faced with a situation that prevents you from doing all the things you promised? 

“10 Mothers, 10 Stories”

I have brought 10 women from around the globe into one forum to share a time they have felt powerless as a mother. WHY? Because there is no magic guide to motherhood, it’s unpredictable, it’s scary and it’s a whirlwind. It’s time to talk, it’s time to raise awareness and it’s time to empower. In a world where our parenting skills are scrutinised the minute we walk out the door. I WANT, I NEED mothers to know that we have all felt powerless, and that’s ok. 

    Mother of 3

There was no heartbeat” 

Last August {2017} I went in for my 19 week OB appointment. I remember being so excited because the following week was our big ultrasound so we could find out the gender of our baby that would be joining our family in January. At that appointment, there was no heartbeat and my baby was only measuring 15 weeks. It felt like someone had sucked all the air out of the room.

They sent me over to get an ultrasound to see if they could figure out what had happened. I lay there sobbing as they did the ultrasound. This was supposed to be such a happy time. After they did the ultrasound the Doctor came in to talk to us. He told me that from the ultrasound they still couldn’t see what had caused the miscarriage and not to blame myself, there was nothing that I did wrong.

The Guilt

Of course, I blamed myself. I had never felt so helpless or powerless in my life. I was this baby’s mom. My one job while being pregnant was to keep this baby safe. Help this baby grow and develop. A year later, there isn’t a day that goes by, that I don’t think about that baby. Think about what I did wrong. Did I not eat healthy enough, did I not drink enough water. Did I not rest enough or did I push myself too hard? The list went on and on and to this day I still don’t’ know what happened. I never will.

As mothers {and women} we all want to be perfect. We all want to be the best. But that is such an unrealistic goal. If it weren’t for the other moms and women around me, I don’t know how I would have gotten through that time in my life. I had so many women sharing their own stories with me, telling me they loved me, or just sitting and crying with me. It made me realize how important we all are to each other as we go through motherhood. It has made me step outside of myself and look around at other women and mothers who might need that same reassurance that I had been given.

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 Mother of 1 

Our genes had created his illness” 

I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, unlike anything I’d ever felt before. My son had a genetic disorder. Because of us, our son isn’t quite the perfect baby we thought he was going to be. The moment we were told by the consultant that Fletcher had Cystic Fibrosis, was the first experience of feeling like a powerless mother.

Before we were given Fletchers diagnosis, I’d never heard anything about Cystic Fibrosis. A few days after Fletcher’s heel prick test we were called to visit the hospital because “something” that came up in the heel prick test we were not informed as to what exactly it was. This, as you can imagine, was extremely frightening.

When the day came and we were in the hospital waiting room, we felt nervous waiting for the unknown. A consultant called us in and dropped the news on us like a tonne of bricks. Throughout the entire conversation I kept looking back at my gorgeous newborn baby.

I felt like it was our fault. Our genes had created his illness. I was at the lowest I had ever felt in my entire life and I just couldn’t contain the tears. Nothing prepared us for what we were told and I just wanted to turn back time and pretend it never happened. You just don’t imagine something like this to happen to your new family. Will he be able to live like like a normal child? So many questions rattled through our minds, due to being totally uneducated about CF.

The overwhelming emotion

As a mother I felt guilt, sadness and complete and utter helplessness. I couldn’t take it away from him. I couldn’t make him better. I wanted to pick him up and hold him close and tell him everything was going to be alright. We both, as parents, felt like we’d already failed our son. Emotions were high for at least a week after his diagnosis. Reading more information about CF both frightened us and gave us hope. We had no idea what lay ahead and we just wanted our son to be happy and healthy. Thankfully, this was the lowest point and it only got easier from here.

There is no worse feeling than feeling like a powerless parent.

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 Mother of 2

“We have to be stronger than the struggle, we have to KNOW we will overcome. Together we will, one problem/one moment at a time”

Honestly, I feel like choosing just one moment of feeling powerless is doing a disservice to other mothers-expectant, new, even seasoned moms who are currently in a time of struggle. The truth is I have felt this way many, many times in my motherhood. I feel this way today actually.

For me it started when after 2 days of labor my first child still would not come out!! I was powerless to make that happen. It continued through times of colic, when I couldn’t soothe my baby whatever I tried. The first days of preschool when they clung to me not to go and I cried in the car afterwards feeling like I had no power to give them that courage to say goodbye for a few hours.

I am now in the elementary school time of my motherhood and the powerless voices are still ever present in my head. When they walk into school I am powerless to help them find their voice against bullies or to be brave enough to make new friends. I can”t make a teacher “get them” or help them learn a new concept. Outside of school, yes. Inside, no- I’m not there. This feeling is like a neighbour that plays their music too loud, it’s there no matter how you try to quiet it or hope it will move to another neighbourhood.

It’s OK not to be ok.

We cannot prevent disabilities (learning included), other children that hurt their feelings, unforeseen illness or moments of difficulty. What we can do, what we will continue to do is to show up, advocate, have hard conversations, worry, and put in the time and effort. We will never stop searching for answers, methods and resources to help and to give this everything we have. There’s a reason they say “the struggle is real”…it is!! We have to be stronger than the struggle, we have to KNOW we will overcome. Together we will, one problem/one moment at a time.

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Mother of 2 

Your child is struggling to breath and there is nothing you can do…. Powerless would be an understatement”

Imagine this, you get a call from your child’s nursery asking if you can collect them as they aren’t presenting as their normal happy selves. “But don’t worry it’s nothing to worry about” they insist. 

As you approach the nursery you see an ambulance parked in the middle of the road which prevents you from driving down the road so you spend a few minutes looking for parking. As you walk past the ambulance, your hands start to sweat and you think “I hope that’s not for my child”. But you quickly talk yourself out of the idea as the nursery confirmed everything was ok. 

Before you even have the chance to ring the bell, you are greeted at the door which is so strange as they normally take a while to answer. As you walk past the members of staff they all have a look of worry on their face, and ask if I can make my way to the office. I ask where my son is… They all remain silent. 

As you approach the office, you hear silence, followed by a weep! As a mother you recognise your child’s cry’s for help from mile off! My foot steps begin to pick up pace and I begin to run towards the office. 

Imagine seeing your child, on the floor, on a stretcher being held down by two paramedics. With his arms out reaching for you to hold him. Imagine being told that you can’t hold your baby because they specialist help. Your child is struggling to breath and there is nothing you can do…. Powerless would be an understatement. 

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Mother of 2 

 “Being a mother while trying to repair yourself mentally and emotionally is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” 

I’m zpowerless as a mother when I can’t find the remote to mute my mental monster and he goes:

“You woke up late again today. So many moms do it & you can’t? Wow!”

“So what Sebastian doesn’t sleep, do you see anyone else complaining? You should be able to do this.”

“You have time. Stop making excuses cause you have time.”

“Why can’t you do this?”

“You’re not a good mom.”

“Tell someone? No don’t, you don’t want pity. You want people to feel bad for you? No you don’t! Good.”

“Give up. Can you imagine just laying back not doing a damn thing! How come they can and you can’t!?”

“You can’t do anything. Good luck living the life you want.”

I open my room door and the lights are off, everyone is asleep. I hear it again and it goes “Oh perfect. Another day lost, great job at this mother/wife thing.” 

I peak on the kids and my fiancé and hope to be a better a person for them tomorrow but truth is I can’t promise anything. I’m mentally tapped out but I’m hopeful.

I read a quote the other day – “Being a mother while trying to repair yourself mentally and emotionally is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.” Someone out there feels me.

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Mother of  2

Diagnosed the day after she was born, she was then fitted with a Pavlik Harness which held her hips in a frog-legged position”

There are many things that occur in our children’s lives that makes us feel powerless. Things that leave us with that painful sting in our heart when we realise there is nothing we can do to take it away.

I’m no stranger to this feeling. We are currently treating our daughter for Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). Diagnosed the day after she was born, she was then fitted with a Pavlik Harness which held her hips in a frog-legged position. She was two weeks old and cried and cried as she was being put in. I cried and cried. I felt awful. I felt like she’d done nothing to deserve it and useless because there was nothing I could do. She just didn’t deserve it, I thought.

I was powerless. I supposed to protect her and I simply couldn’t.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Since then, I’ve tried my best to draw from the strength that powerlessness can give you. It can allow an enormous level of bravery and courage that only your children can draw out of you. I had to choose to be brave, for her, even though I didn’t want to have to because I didn’t want her to have dislocated hips!

So, yes, I am powerless to take the problem away. Despite feeling as useless as I do, I can choose to believe that I can still be enough for her, help her and love her and bring her through this the very best I can. Because I’m her mum.

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 Mother of 3

“Having to stand and watch as that four day old baby had a seizure was and still is to this day the worst thing we have gone through”

As a mum it is your job to protect your baby. You have this idea of what type of mum you are going to be and you also have this idea of what your child is going to be like too. Realising that none of this will go the way you had once thought is devastating. 

The moment I watched my babies tiny body shake and jerk in abnormal ways left me with a huge sense of feeling powerless. Having to stand and watch as that four day old baby had a seizure was and still is to this day the worst thing we have gone through. Waiting for the minutes to tick by whilst watching and waiting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not being able to take away the pain and make it all better kills me every time. 

The Mum Guilt

When we got a diagnosis I knew it was the end of my searching. We had been given a diagnosis which could never be cured. I knew there was nothing I would be able to do to make this go away and that somehow as a parent I had failed to protect my baby from having a “normal” life. Not being able to take away the seizures leaves me powerless as a parent. I hope one day the guilt of him suffering rather than me goes away.

Acceptance

I know deep down it’s not my fault and that he’s just extra special but the feeling of being powerless will never leave me. My son has ARX (Aristaless Related Homeobox), a rare genetic disorder. The ARX gene provides instructions for producing a protein that regulates the activity of other genes. This condition affects Ethan’s development and at the age of 8 is still at the developmental level of a 6 month old in most areas.

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Mother of 2 

“The ER doctor comes back and tells me that the preliminary spinal tap results came back and that baby boy has meningitis”

Baby boy was not being himself and had a low-grade fever. The pediatrician said that because of his age (7.5 weeks), I should take him to the ER. They did so many tests on baby boy. So many needle pricks because his veins were so small. Then the ER doctor comes in and says that because of baby boy’s symptoms, they have to do a spinal tap. I had to step out of the room because I couldn’t watch them do that to him.

The ER doctor comes back and tells me that the preliminary spinal tap results came back and that baby boy has meningitis and that we have to be admitted for 2-3 days. If it is viral, we can go home. If it’s bacterial, we have to stay longer. My mind goes blank. What do you mean he has meningitis?

The NICU nurses come to administer antibiotics (in case it was bacterial) through a series of shots. Great… more needles. He had been through so much already that when they gave him the shots, he only had enough energy to cry for less than 10 seconds and just collapsed in my arms because he was so tired. I felt awful. He was just whimpering in my arms and all I could do is say sorry and hold him close. My poor little guy!

Then it was just a waiting game. Wait to see if anything grows on the blood, urine, and csf cultures. 24-48 hours they said. In the meantime, they will keep a close eye on him. I slept maybe 2 hours the first night…

My emotions throughout this whole ordeal:

Powerless/Helplessness – that’s what it feels to know that your baby is fighting off the infection on his own and you can’t do anything about it.

Guilt – maybe if I washed my hands more than I already did, we wouldn’t be in this situation. What else could I have done so this wouldn’t have happened??

Overwhelming sadness – my baby. My rainbow baby who came to us after 2 miscarriages could potentially be fighting for his life

Finally, on the fourth day, the doctor had great news! No bacterial infection in any of the cultures! Baby boy has viral meningitis and because he was eating well (it’s in our genes ;)), and was producing enough wet diapers, we can go home!

Hope – everyone praying for us and pouring their love on us. Hope that God hears all our cries and that He will get us through this somehow.

Love – over the next three days, so many amazing people – family and friends – came to give us a hand, prayed for us, and cheered us on from near and far.

Relief – my baby is going to be ok 

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 Mother of 1 

The guilt of putting her eye mask on after a feed and putting her down as she cried and needing love and attention”

My first experience of this was before Imogen had even made her entrance. After being in labour since 1am. I went into hospital after contractions and waters braking. The midwives found out Imogen was breech and that was it. A C-Section was decided.

I felt SO powerless knowing that the opportunity of the natural birth I had hoped for was snatched away from me. But not just me, I was so upset that I had taken this away from Immy. Knowing that C-Section babies struggle more with mucus, and Imogen really did. But also that our first skin on skin moments were not at all like what I had dreamt about for the both of us.

Shortly after, Imogen had Jaundice. Seeing her go through phototherapy for near on 24 hours. Not being able to hold and comfort her when she was upset. The guilt of putting her eye mask on after a feed and putting her down as she cried and needing love and attention. I felt like I was letting her down and not being the mummy that she needed.

Luckily for me, I haven’t experienced Post Natal Depression, but like all new mummy’s, I have had my down days. When I have felt exhausted and ‘not good enough’. Meaning I didn’t have the get up and go that I usually would to interact and meet Immys needs. This then made me feel 100 times worse as I would feel like I was ignoring her and being the worst mum in the world.

Empowering each other

Being a mother truly is something no one can prepare you for. I also think it is important to talk about how normal ‘not feeling good enough’ is. I think I get this feeling at least once a day, and that is okay. Through talking and sharing our experiences we realise this is completely normal and we are all good mums in our own ways.

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Mother of 1 

“One thing I do know is that I will always be there for my daughter no matter the situation, even if it’s out of my control.”

When I gave birth to my little girl, everything was going fine. She was a healthy baby. Before we left for the hospital I was having a little bit of trouble with breastfeeding but figured that would happen since this was a new experience. 

The nurses and doctors were just a little concerned with her bilirubin level but sent us home anyway. I noticed within the first week that she was really yellow so we took her to the doctor to check her levels. Once the results came back they told us to go to the emergency room.

This really scared me. Sometimes this happens when you are breastfeeding but I thought in my mind I was giving her enough. It was confirmed that she had jaundice and her bilirubin levels were high. They had to immediately put her under the light therapy. They put a mask on her eyes and put her under that light. I felt so helpless watching her. I wanted to reach out and hold her in my arms but I knew this was what she needed.

Doing what was best

Since she wasn’t getting enough milk they recommended giving her formula and breastmilk between feedings which I had no objections to as long as it helped lower her levels. I have never been so scared in my life. I just wanted it to be over and take her home in my arms. It felt like forever having her under that light wondering if her levels have changed or not. But eventually it did and she got better. I was able to have a lactation consultant help me with breastfeeding and then we were able to take her home. So glad it did not get too severe, which is what I feared.

Embracing vulnerability

I’ve never felt that vulnerable and helpless in a situation like that before and I know plenty of mamas go through it. One thing I do know is that I will always be there for my daughter no matter the situation, even if it’s out of my control.

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Have you ever felt powerless as a mother

To ready more collaborations from powerful women click here

Childhood Fantasy VS Adulthood Reality

Disclaimer: * I apologise in advance. My posts do not normally contain swear words however this particular topic I’m very passionate about! Adulthood is damn hard!

Like many little girls, when I was younger I had big dreams for my future. Even at such a tender age perfection was imbedded into my existence. I had practically written my autobiography. You know the usual stuff, two kids (boy and girl) a husband (tall, dark and handsome, like Ken from barbie and ken). And a huge detached house with a water feature in the front garden.

As I grew up… Shit got real

However!! What no one warned me, was that “Shit Gets Real”. The heartache, the frog kissing, the fuck boys, AND the mobile phone contract bills I should have paid to ensure I had a good credit rating. Basically I got fucked over 😂 .

Why is it that on all the films I watched as a little girl it was so easy to be a princess with a Prince Charming who would open doors for you and pull your chair out. Why in 2018 are Instagram and Facebook forums to declare our love and seek validation. The truth is modern day dating is just one big fuck up! People want and expect the commitment of relationship but with a no strings agreement! (Welcome to new age dating).

The truth about relationships 

Now I’m lucky enough to have met my soul mate from quite young age. However, with that being said what a shit show it was to get to this point. No-one told me that I would have a crazy ex girlfriend, who stalked me on Instagram from a hair weave account. No-one told me that she would want to kill me over her relationship that ended 5 years ago. AND no one told me that I would end up in a different city with her, at the same university on the same course as the DAMN ex. Only me. Click here for the full story.

Not only that, isn’t it crazy that as a little girl/teenager we perceived marriage and having a family as the end goal? When in actual fact it’s just the beginning, where your journey starts. I honestly thought it would be a walk in the park. But in reality it’s not till that point that I actually began to unravel the layers and depth of myself. While having to do the same with my children and partner. It most definitely comes with its own reward and challenges.

Where were the single parent families?

Something I noticed was that there no coverage of single parents when I was a child. From around the age of 4, I was part of a single parent family, so I’m well aware that relationships don’t always work and separation can be inevitable. However, society tells us that the norm is to have a family, yet no one warns us that “shit happens” and often family’s separate. For that reason I feel there’s so much stigma attached to single parent households and it actually makes me want to puke in my mouth.

DISCLAIMER: *A complete family doesn’t always equate to happiness and a separated family doesn’t always signify dysfunction*

Why didn’t they tell us?

  • Why didn’t they tell us that going to university doesn’t always equal success.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that getting married and having kids doesn’t always equate to happiness.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that budgeting, saving and that having a good credit rate can determine our future.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that getting a credit card in university is a no no.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that growing up was a trap. We have to pay bills, cook dinner and actually be organised.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that in this life nothing Is free (In the UK we even have to pay 5p for plastic bags. “Do you want a bag”. “No thanks I’ll just carry my full trolley of shopping in my hand”.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that as you grow older no-one gives you money for your birthday ( I need it more than ever now).
  • Why didn’t they tell us that by the age of 30 we will only have around 2-3 friends.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that love hurts.
  • Why didn’t they tell us that we should live with our parents till We hit 40.

What did I even learn at school.

Why is it that at school I didn’t have a single lesson on money management, promoting good mental health, and healthy relationships. We merely had a sex education lesson which helped us put a condom on a banana. Great we can protect ourselves from pregnancy and STD’s but not from Barry over there who is a narcissist with 7 girlfriends (2 of them pregnant). I’m so sorry, I digress!

 

The childhood bubble 

The point I’m trying to make is that growing up I was in a bubble of childhood fantasy and I wanted so much to grow up! I was that little girl who tried on my mums bras and heels! However, I was neither mentally or emotionally prepared for the storm “adulting” had waiting for me! Honestly most days of adulthood is like a car crash waiting to happen, it’s like a baby calf learning to walk, it’s like a newborn with colic, it’s like when you go to make cereal and realise there’s no milk, it’s like that heart broken feeling you get when you find out your guy cheated. Adulthood presents a whirlwind of emotions.

Now I’m a parent myself with two children, I realised that my mother was trying to protect me from this ugly world and preserve my innocence. However, money management, confidence & self esteem are imbedded into my engagement with my son, even at the tender age of 3 years old!

I may not be talking to him about spotting the signs of Barry the narcissist.. But I will be talking to him about “Cindy”. Cindy has her shit together, she is ambitious, caring and selfless, that’s the kind of woman you need but not only that.. You will contribute equal amounts to the table, you’re a man of your word, you can provide for yourself, you know what it means to have a family and how to empower and support both them and yourself.

To my younger self

To the little girl growing up, to the teenage girl going through puberty. To my 10 year old self preparing to start high school. Self-love may not mean much to you right now but this is what’s going to carry you through life baby-girl. Because you see social media, if you’re not self assured and confident in your skin, it has a way of making you feel inferior, it has a way of making you desire the lives of others. Little girl what glistens isn’t always gold! What you see isn’t always reality. You must first learn the art of loving yourself before you seek to love another.

You will make mistakes, you will cry tears, life will throw you curveballs. But this will be the making of you. Ride the storm and stand strong. Society tells us that by 30 we should be married with kids. I’m here to tell you it’s not that simple! The most important attribute you can carry through your life is happiness. And it’s down to you to define what that picture will look like.

 

Empowering Children Through Books

Growing up as a little girl, I can vividly remember my deep rooted love for children’s books and fairytales.. As my mother read the words, I can remember transitioning into the world where super heroes, and princesses were beautiful, kind and self-less. I always hoped that at the end of each novel, would present a secret passage which allowed me to enter the world of fantasy.

The importance of books 

I’m an advocate for instilling the love of books in my children, and believe it’s one of the most beneficial attributes you can foster within your child. Why? Books play a significant role in lives of children as they transition into adulthood. A parent who has incorporated books in the early stages of their child’s life will observe an improvement in communication skills, imaginative play, vocabulary, language and attention span.

Have you ever noticed that when your child reads a book they begin to mimic the qualities of the character. That being said it is so essential that the reading material we provide to our children have positive connotations.

As the mother of a 3 year old and 5 month old, I am constantly on the look out for children’s books which promote, empowerment and self esteem. So when I discovered “The Works” 10 for £10 book range I was absolutely over the moon. There are so many fantastic books on the shelves in 2018. However,  very few actually reflect real life experiences that children may encounter, for example having a sibling, or transitioning from nursery to school. The works book range does exactly that, all for an affordable price.

So who are The Works

The Works is the UK’s leading discount retailer founded in 1981. The Works 450+ stores across United Kingdom provide books, toys, gifts, stationery and arts & crafts to its 22.5 million customers each year.

The works sell approximately 40,000 different products yearly. What I love about this organisation is their ability to cater to various target audiences. The works has been imbedded into my transition from childhood when, my mother used to purchase my picture books all the way through to adulthood where I now purchase my favourite novels and organisers. Their ability to academically accommodate the differing stages of my life has been impressive. Not only can you find an array of big brands within The Works stores across the UK, they have developed a range of their own branded products.

The 10 for £10 deal

The works 10 for £10 offer allows parents to choose fantastic children’s picture books from a wide range of authors and genres. This is amazing for stocking up your child’s book collection. My 3 year old had the pleasure of choosing 10 of the most amazing picture books to review, and boy oh boy was he was in his element.

Normally when we choose books I have to persuade him to choose books that are educational and beneficial to his needs. However,  as we browsed the collection, I was thrilled at the fact that the majority of books advocated empowerment and an educational message within them, which eliminated the tears and tantrums. AND WHAT A BARGAIN AT £10. As parents we love a bargain so to be able to select 10 books for £10 (£1 each) when the RRP is £5.99 is phenomenal.

Although my 3 year old LOVES books, story time can be short lived as he has quite the reputation for being easily distracted. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to sit down and actively engage with each book. The bright coloured book covers and pictures definitely aided in his ability to sit and actively listen to each story.

He asked if he could share his top 5 favourites out of the 10 books we were gifted. He also very helpfully offered his perspectives on why he liked each book. (It took us a while haha).

1. The Bump Buy it here

If any of you have children from age two upwards, you are well aware that they can be extremely inquisitive. WELL. When my son asked “Mummy how did I get here” I immediately told him to ask his dad. I so was not ready for the question. So when we received “The bump” it was like all my prayers were answered. This amazing book explains step by step the process of having a baby in a child friendly way.

During this book my son and I laughed, smiled and he asked questions about his birth. It provoked conversation that I never dreamed of having with my 3 year old.

My son has recently become a big brother and I honestly wish I would have discovered this book 6 months ago, as it would have made the process a lot easier for him to understand. I purchased one personalised book for £19.99 to help explain the process when I could have purchased this for a fraction of the price.

2. His Royal Shyness Buy it here

This is a tale of a little prince who is shy and scared to meet his subjects. Those close to him tried their very best to bring him out of his shell, however nothing seems to work until Grandma comes along with the best advice ever.

Anyone who knows my 3 year old will know that he’s a very confident and self assured child. However occasionally when in the company of new people he can be very shy. As I began reading the book to him, he began to suggest reasons as to why the prince shouldn’t be shy. “Mummy he shouldn’t be shy because he has all of his family with him”.

I was so impressed at how the book allowed my son to look at this from the perspective of another child. He was able to offer advice to the boy in the book which demonstrated a level of maturity and empathy. Again this book encouraged conversation about confidence and self esteem and why it’s important. I love that this book encouraged empowerment, as well as an important message at the end of the story.

3. Making New Friends Buy it here

This book was one of my sons favourites. This is a tale of two brothers who are moving house but they don’t want to leave. The brothers soon discover that moving house can mean new friendships.

I read this book to my 3 year old while we were away on holiday. Ironically he had been making lots of new friends. Therefore he was able to refer back to his own experiences as we progressed through the book. I honestly feel that this book empowered him with further confidence to engage, communicate and initiate more friendships. Before he went to bed he stated “I can’t wait to play with my new friends tomorrow Mummy”. “I want to play catch like Noah from the book”.

Not only that, he spoke of a time when he was at the park and initiated play with a little girl who had no friends. As a parent I was so extremely proud of the optimism and maturity he demonstrated through reading this book. Had we not have had this book, I would have been unaware of experiences of making new friends and involving others.

4. Who’s afraid of the dark Buy it here

This is the tale of a little fox who is scared of the dark. This story highlights the fun to be had in the dark and shows that night-time really isn’t that scary after all.

when I read the title, the first thing my 3 year old said was “Mummy remember yesterday when I was scared of the dark”. When he says yesterday, what he really means is 2 years ago haha.

As parents, at least 80% of our children have experienced a phase of being scared of the dark. When they’re in that mode it’s very difficult to console them and settle them to sleep. If this is you, you need this book in your life. This book beautifully rhymes and has a fascinating and effortless method of explaining why night time isn’t so scary after all.

What I loved about this story is that my son actually went to nursery and recited much of this book to his peers. I loved that the book empowered him to tell the story to others. His key worker stated that it opened up conversation about children in the class who may be worried to go to sleep when it’s dark. *Proud Mummy moment*.

5. Have you seen my potty Buy it here

‘Have you seen my potty’ is a story of a little girl who had something important to do, little Suzy needed a poo. The book explains her mission to locate her potty.

I absolutely love the underlining message behind this book and how it empowers children to use the potty/toilet. Suzy Sue refused to do a poo until she located her potty as she knew it was wrong to do it anywhere but there. This book is brilliant to support parents who are potty or toilet training their child and I will most definitely be utilising this book when my youngest hits that milestone. What I also loved was how it encouraged my 3 year old to demonstrate empathy. He was so concerned that Suzy sue couldn’t find her potty and forced me to read the book frantically in order to get to the end.

6. Little hedgehogs big day (back in stock soon)

This particular book really resonated with both myself and my son as he is starting school in September. And ironically in this story the little hedgehog doesn’t feel that he is big enough to start school, which echoes my exact worries. Although he is very assertive he’s so small an literally can’t imagine my baby carrying a tray to get his food at lunch time.

The story Illustrates the anxiety and worry the hedgehog feels at the prospect of starting school, he can’t sleep as he is struggling to find ways to get bigger before he starts school. Following numerous suggestions from his friends on how to grow, he confides in his mummy.

This story demonstrates the beautiful way in which a mother empowers her child to accept his individuality by showing him and explaining to him all the amazing achievements in his life so far. I definitely shed a tear while reading this book to my son. I have actually taken the same approach to empower my little one to start school. I asked him to rate this book, his reply “20 out of 10 Mummy”. I think he liked it .

7. How to babysit a Grandma (back in stock soon)

Honestly this book had both me and my 3 year old rolling on the floor with laughter. My son absolutely loved it. He could relate to absolutely every single page of the book. ‘How to babysit a Grandma’ is a story of a little girl who switches roles with her nanny for a weekend. It’s literally a “how to” guide on how to babysit an adult. This book is honestly so relatable, down to the activities that the little girl and Grandma get up to.

I love how the switch of roles between the little girl and Grandma empowered her to think and act as an adult. As I sat and read the book to my son he subconsciously began to risk assess the scenarios in the story placing himself and his Nana in the scenario. “Mummy if I took Nana to the park we would need a plaster because she is very clumsy”. I loved that this book encouraged his wild imagination.

8. Mummy’s little sunflowers Buy it here

This book was one of my personal favourites. Scurry the little mouse wants to grow a sunflower just for his Mummy, however disaster strikes when his baby brother eats the only sunflower seed. They set off on an adventure to find a sunflower seed. This story, shows the effort that two siblings go to, to make their Mummy happy. It demonstrates compassion, care and selflessness.

After reading this book to my 3 year old we had a conversation about why it’s important to look after your parents, it was so nice that I was able to refer back to the book to reinforce my points.

9. The sniffles for bear Buy it here

Bear has an awful cold. He is adamant that no one has ever been as ill as he is. And when his friend arrives to visit, Bear declares that mouse does not appreciate the “gravity of his situation” despite the mouses efforts to make Bear feel better.

My sons favourite character was mouse. Almost immediately he observed the mouses desire to care for others. My observation was that the book really reinforced why it’s important to help others when they’re in need. As a parent when we teach our children morals and principles we never know how much of that information they’re digesting. One thing I consistently in-still in my son is to care for others and to help others when he is able to. This book most definitely echoed my teachings. Not only that, this is brilliant for children who are learning the art of empathy and compassion.

10. There’s no such thing as monsters Buy it here

This book is a story of a little bear who is excited to sleep in his very own bedroom. But with the absence of his big brother, things seems a little scary. Big bear sits with little bear to reassure him that there are no monsters under the bed. Very similar to the ‘who’s afraid of the dark book’ so many children are afraid of monsters under their bed. Even as an adult I cover my feet In bed as I think some one may eat them if they’re out haha. So this little story is so relatable to many children, I love that the big bear humours the little bear in order to comfort him.

Final thoughts

WELL! It’s safe to say my son knows 50% of the books off by heart already as he requests that I read them during breakfast, while he sits in the bath and at bed time. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your child enjoy books particularly when they’re advocating confidence and self-esteem. Before reading the 10 for £10 range my honest opinion was that it was too good to be true. How can books so cheap be of a good quality. However, I was so wrong the quality, the price and the content is absolutely fantastic. I would honestly encourage you to check them out! GO GO GO.

*It’s a huge thumbs up from him*

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*Disclosure: Today’s post was sponsored by “The Works”. I can confirm that all of my opinions are my own and I will always remain honest with my readers. I hope you enjoyed this collaborative post. If you have any questions please send me a message*