Crime, deviance and riots

Took a trip down memory lane today, back to my old school, to chat to the A level sociology students about crime and deviance.

My school was a very good school, for clever girls (because back then, I had considerably more brain cell matter than I do now!) However, I always wanted to go to drama school and dreamed of being in the limelight. Having to repress this inner thespian had its disadvantages as it often led me to loud outrageous mischievous outbursts, which as a result, led me to having to take the “walk of doom”.

The walk of doom was the corridor that led down to the staff room. Yet on the left hand side and half way down, was the office I spent quite a few occasions, quivering in front of the head mistresses and awaiting my fate. Yes, I was a bit of a rebel at school!

Hence why today it was so strange and nerve wrecking for me, taking a walk down that same corridor today, except this time I made it all the way to the staff room without getting detention.

Yet even stranger, was talking to the students about crime and deviance, which I’m sure is something my form tutors expected me to get into, rather than prevent!

But I love speaking to the younger generation and giving them the opportunity to air their views and ask the questions most youths want to, but don’t have the opportunity to. Its so incredibly rewarding. In the majority of cases, I see so much of me in them, when I was their age. Curious and wanting answers, freedom, responsibility, respect, hope… and to be heard.

I am really inspired by the youths I engage with and feel so honoured to be able to work with them. And how many people can say they really, really enjoy their job? I can. I just wish there was more that I could do to put them up on their pedestal and have them heard. To create more forums whereby youths can express their concerns, fears, hopes and desires and come face to face with the government, local authorities and police.

And the hot potato topic that always pops up and raises its ugly head during most of the sessions I attend, is the 2011 riots.

I feel that the riots of 2011 highlighted some of the frustration that has been bubbling away within some of our youngsters. But have the issues really been addressed? Has anything been learned from it? Could we all do more to prevent a re-occurrence? Are we speaking to the people at the heart of this to find solutions?

I personally don’t see that much has changed since the riots which I think is a huge shame. We could have used it as the perfect catalyst to tune into the thoughts of our youth and utilise, even empower them, to help make positive changes.

But I’m just a lickle fish in a big old pond. I don’t know the answers. I wish I did!

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I do, whilst searching the few brain cells I have left as to what more I can do to make a difference. If not now, at least for the next generation… and for my boys.

And on that note, brain is frazzled, so I’m off to bed:)




Mummy (and Daddy) Time Out

I’m sad to say that today ProudMuma reached breaking point and there were tears at breakfast time, courtesy of moi!

It has been a long week of nursing my two poorly boys and my husband who had man flu, inbetween working full time, re-organising childcare and running the household singlehanded – with little sleep and whilst being poorly myself. There hasn’t really been a moments respite for ProudMuma all week.

As a bit of a perfectionist, I always keep going, pushing the boundaries and burning the candle, telling myself “I’m fine” and “I can handle this”, because I want to be the best mum and wife I possibly can.

But when I take off my supermum costume, underneath I am a human being. Like everyone else.

Whilst I love and cherish my role as Muma and wife, there is only so much one person can deal with before they snap.

And this morning I snapped.

Its silly, as I have allowed myself to get into this situation before by ignoring the signs telling me to take time out. Until its too late, and I explode into a sobbing, emotional wreck.

And I begrudgingly admit, like a lot of other Mum’s, I carry that negative self belief that by asking for help or admitting you’re struggling, you are failing as a mother. What a completely irrational and ridiculous belief that is! Yet I allow it to keep getting the better of me.

No more though!

I told my husband I had to go out, got in my car, turned up my music and I drove. I didn’t know where. I needed to be somewhere quiet where I could gather my thoughts without interruption – and where I could rationally tell that negative self belief where to get off! I found myself at my work place, of all places, and sat in the darkness and silence for a while until I’d found some peace. What a difference it has made!

Mummy (and Daddy) Time Out is vital. It is crucial to your emotional and physical wellbeing. You may feel guilty for leaving your children to do something for yourself, but you can not be the best, if you are not physically and emotionally strong. That’s not disregarding the fact that we completely deserve time out to acknowledge, praise and reward ourselves for the amazing job we do as parents.

In life, we may not always get the thanks or appreciation we feel we deserve, but we should not rely on external sources to feel happy and proud of our acheivements. Say thankyou to yourself by taking some time out and doing something for you. Whether that be reading a book, having a massage, going to the gym, walking in the woods, buying yourself something you’ve wanted for a while but keep putting off, meditation, lunch with friends or writing a blog (like me!)

I left my house just over an hour ago, and in that short amount of time, I feel calm, relaxed, positive and emotionally strong – and ready to go home and REALLy enjoy some quality time and cuddles with my boys.

And the next time I find myself getting tired, frustrated, irritable or at breaking point – I will send myself straight to Time Out.

You should try it too… 🙂

Do plimsolls go to heaven?

Didn’t quite realise how attached my sentimental 4 year old son had grown to the plimsolls that we bought him just before he started at preschool in September.

They were a pair of £2.50 Marks & Spencers jobbies, reduced in the sale to £1.75. ‘Bargain’, I thought! ‘They will do for the summer and then we can get him a pair of winter proof ones’.

Well, they barely lasted the summer before they were full of holes and the soles were flapping around helplessly.

“We’ll have to get you a new pair!” I told him.

“Noooooooooooo!” he wailed, scowling at me and clinging on to his plimsolls for dear life.

For a few weeks I allowed him to wear them to preschool. The carers there must have thought I was a really cruel mum for making him wear these worn down, dishevelled and dilapidated shoes. I had visions of him being bullied for not having fancy shoes like the rest of the kids there, but he was happy as Larry, and insisted on wearing them, so who was I to argue??

And then the wind came. With the rain. Quickly followed by frost.

“Sorry hunny, but now the winter is coming, you need some shoes without holes to keep the cold out,” I explained.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because otherwise the cold and wet will creep in the holes and make your toes turn to ice.”

“I’ll just wear extra socks,” he said smugly.

“The plimsolls have got to go!” I replied firmly and marched him down to the shoe shop to find a new pair.

We tried on smart trainers, shiny shoes and even flashing shoes.

“But I just want to wear my plimsolls,” he said sadly.

Arrgh, this wasn’t going to be easy by any means! How could I prize my son away from his beloved plimsolls?

Whilst he was distracted, I bought a pair of flashing new shoes, hid them in my bag and puzzled over how on Earth I could persuade him to wear them…

Later that night I sat down with him quietly, and thought that maybe I could sweetly tell him that the plimsolls were going up into the sky to be stars, like all the other old pairs of plimsolls. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and said, “Mummy, plimsolls dont go up into the sky when they’re old, they go in the bin! And I don’t want my plimsolls to go in the bin. I love them.”

He looked up at me with those huge brown puppy dog eyes. Ooooooh, my heart strings were being pulled to breaking point!

I then glanced over at the little fairy house we had made together, and a thought popped into my head.

“Perhaps the fairy’s will come and take them for you…” I whispered.

“And fix them?” he asked.

“Oh yes,” I said excitedly,”And bring them back to you next Summer looking all brand new!”

He smiled, but then his smile fell, “But what am I going to wear to school tomorrow, mummy? Will they bring me some new shoes when they take my plimsolls.”

“I’m sure they will. A flashy new pair of shoes!” We hugged a big hug, and I felt a huge sense of relief. That wasn’t so hard after all!

The next morning, my son couldn’t wait to get dressed so he could wear the new pair of shoes the fairies had left him by his bed. With every step, the shoes lit up and he flashed all the way to preschool.

When I returned home, I picked up his old plimsolls with the intention of putting them in the bin. But ironically, I couldn’t bare to! So I wrapped them nicely in a box, wrote my son’s name on the box with “Beloved First Plimsoll’s” underneath and said “thankyou” to them before putting them up into the loft. Also known as – Plimsoll Heaven.

So I guess Plimsolls do go to heaven… x

Off to plimsoll heaven…

Calling all Muma’s who have lost their “oomph”!

I just love being pregnant.

I don’t have the easiest of pregnancies physically, but I am so filled with positive emotions and beautiful hormones throughout, that the whole experience is euphoric and magical.

Throughout my last pregnancy, I found myself driven to do things I’d never dared to before. I found this amazing lust for life. I was inspired, motivated and passionate. I was completely “in flow” as some may put it.

This state continued after my beautiful baby was born and throughout breastfeeding. I achieved so much in this time, from a diploma to two professional certifications. I started a personal development blog which took off like a storm with many followers. I lost all of my baby weight within a short amount of time and actually became my slimmest in over a decade. I was eating and drinking healthily. My relationship with my husband and older son was stronger and more loving than ever. I felt and looked amazing and was the happiest I had ever been. EVER.  However, at 6 months, I returned to work and we gradually weaned off of the breast.

After weaning, I noticed a drop in my motivation and drive. I dried up on inspiration for my blogs and almost ceased to write them. I found myself watching daytime TV again during my baby’s naps, whereas before I would have seen this as a perfect chance to research, study or for self development – or even to just sit and watch him sleep! I had trouble sleeping and mood swings. I began eating more and drinking more alcohol to pass time in the evenings. I even put on weight.

It was almost as though I had been possessed with this amazing inspirational being for a whole year, who had suddenly left me… and quite frankly, I felt a little lost. I longed for that fizz of excitement for life, that beautiful sustained feeling of love for everything and everyone that I had had throughout my pregnancy.

I had read a lot about oxytocin before and after giving birth, and was aware of the powerful positive feelings it overwhelms the body with on its release (including throughout pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding). I wondered if perhaps, now I was no longer breastfeeding, and no longer getting that regular burst of the hormone, that my body was experiencing some kind of withdrawal! I had unbelievable irrational cravings for that euphoric, overwhelming, loving feeling again.

I have read a few case studies about women who experienced similar occurences, and it was put down to postnatal depression for which they were prescribed anti depressants. I found that you could buy an oxytocin spray online, which would give you an instant burst of the hormone. Tempted as I was, I have always been hesitant to rely on any external stimulants, as they could lead to addiction, and I strongly believe it is best to find the cure from within yourselves. That way, you can tap into it whenever you need a little lift!

And so my quest began: to find a natural way of releasing oxytocin, empower women who have found themselves in a similar situation – and hopefully become that inspirational, driven woman I was again!

I would firstly like to ask all other amazing mothers out there, whether they have had similar experiences as me, and how you dealt with it? Any comments would be gratefully received.

For now though, this is ProudMuma signing off… X