Charity and Children

WP_20150316_15_50_04_ProLast Friday at playgroup Monkey did some Red Nose Day activities. He decorated some lovely biscuits (which sadly I didn’t get a photo of as he scoffed them almost as soon as he got home and I didn’t think to take a piccy) and made a funny face plate which he loves.

It was our first foray into the mixture of charity and childcare/school. I don’t think they asked for any donations for Comic Relief (hubs took him and collected him so am not 100% sure) and I’m not sure if they explained to the kids what it was all in aid of, I am sure the toddlers just thought it was another fun activity. They were asked to make Mother’s Day cards and Red Nose Day Biscuits. It probably all just felt the same to them.

It got me thinking though in a way I never have before, about the way certain charities have become so connected to schools and childcare. It was the same when I was a kid. We had a mufti day for Children in Need (where you wear your normal clothes) and there was always fancy dress and activites for Comic Relief. I’m sure there were others but they were the biggest ones. As a kid you don’t really think about it and I guess now I am a parent I realised something that I hadn’t thought of before. Which is that, as a parent, you suddenly have very little control over whether you give to these charities.

Now, I am not saying by any means that you shouldn’t give to these charities, or that they are undeserving in anyway, or that this should stop, but I guess, as a bit of a control freak I always hate when decisions or choice is taken away from me. Of course you do have a choice but I also don’t want to be the parent that makes my child the odd one out who isn’t wearing special clothes or who isn’t participating in something, so it does feel like we are a little forced into it. I know we aren’t generally talking about a lot of money here but it does all add up and I guess it is about the principle of it.

There are so many causes and charities out thereyou could choose to give to. The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, Sue Ryder, Oxfam to name but a few. What if you would prefer to give to those charities? What if you already do give to those charities? Most of us don’t have the luxury to be able to afford to give to every charity so what if you would prefer to give to a different charity, but don’t because you already feel that you have to donate to charities connected with schools and that almost target your children?

I personally don’t like sponsored activities, I hate asking people for money and I feel that there are so many things now that you can almost be sponsoring someone to do something every day of the week. (That’s not to say I don’t sponsor people, I do, I just don’t like asking other people to sponsor me.) But I do give to charity and have given to Cancer Research monthly for a long time. I donate things to charity shops and buy things from chairty shops. As Monkey grows older I will no doubt be donating to the various charities on his behalf that are connected with fun days and bake days and sponsored events.

Because actually I think it is a good lesson for kids. To understand the idea of giving. of doing something on somebody else’s behalf. To understand that there are many people who are less fortunate than we are and that if we can help them in some then we should. Much as I don’t like sponsored activities on a personal level I know they work and are a good way of fundraising so again I am not saying we should stop any of it.

I guess I just don’t like the fact that I don’t have a choice in where that money goes. Do you ever feel like this? Maybe it is just because we haven’t had to experience it before!

Mama and More
And then the fun began...

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Taking back control..

My word this week is control, because we are taking back control of our lives. With all of the illness last week it was all too easy to wallow and feel like the helpless victim of a rubbish situation. I decided to focus on the positives first of all (I do wallow sometimes, I am only human, but it actually really bugs me) and then I decided to take control of the situation. Ok so I can’t stop the kids or hubs getting ill with bugs, I wish I could, particularly when they happen at unfortunate times. But there are things I can do, and hubs can do, to make our lives a little easier.

February, in the run up to the wedding, was a really busy month and bugs didn’t make things any easier. but it is now March, we have a lot less planned so it is time for a bit of a fresh start. I just hope we can all be well for it! (Monkey has come down with Chicken Pox since I started writing this post, so we may have to wait a little longer for us all to be well.)

WP_20150304_13_12_46_Pro (2)First of all, we moved LM from Lactose Free to normal formula. Thankfully she has been absolutely fine on it, no more lactose issues, yay, and it is helping her poo etc. so no more worries on that front either, phew! Then the biggest thing for us is that we have decided to take control and get her routine sorted. We have always taken a pretty relaxed baby led approach, and I remember doing this with Monkey and it eventually all just slotting in to place. With LM though it has not remotely slotted into place and she is just all over the show and I don’t think it is helping her, and it is certainly not helping me!

So I got out our trusty friend, Dr Ferber‘s book and read what he had to say. As always he is pretty common sense and says that it is hard for babies to get into a rhythm if they have naps at completely different times every single day. So although we have been hoping to tap in to her natural rhythm and go with that, I think we have gone too far the other way and have potentially lost any natural rhythm she had. So this week we have made a decision for what we think are sensible wake up times and nap times and are enforcing them.

That is actually a really harsh way of saying it, we haven’t just picked times off the top of our head but picked what seem to be fairly regular times for her and by consistently putting her down and waking her up at those times (or near enough, we aren’t being 100% rigid to the clock, but we put her down even if she doesn’t seem tired or hasn’t woken up herself) we are encouraging and reinforcing those patterns. I am loathe to say too much and jinx us but so far it is going ok. There has been difficult moments and deciding to do it when both Monkey and I are poorly may not be the best time but when it works it makes life so much easier so I am clinging on to that really!

The hope is that if her routine can be a bit more regular, then everything can calm down a bit. I will know when I have time to plan activities with Monkey, when is sensible to arrange to meet other friends with kids so I can stop being a hermit. It should also mean I can get a bit more organised with the housework too, in theory! Too much that I plan to do just doesn’t happen with things the way they have been and so much revolved around what she was up to and that will still be the case, though if it can be a tiny bit more predictable it would make things so much easier!

I have let go of the diet at the moment. Just while we are all poorly, I can’t cope. I know eating for comfort isn’t necessarily sensible but I am exhausted and eating good food makes me happy. I am not going crazy and if anything am trying to make sure we all eat more vegetables and healthy food, but I am pausing my diet for a few weeks, to pick up again when we are all well. It may seem as though I am giving up, but I actually feel that I am taking control of that situation too as I won’t be constantly berating myself for indulging in a treat when I am feeling low. I will get down to the size I want to be, but I need to be in the right frame of mind to do it. I need to be sleeping well and feeling rested.

I have taken back control of my blog after letting things slip last week. I have finally replied to all of the emails and have a couple of cool things going on – one being my fab Mother’s Day Giveaway for a £50 E Voucher with Custom Canvas – please make sure you check that out! I am way behind on replying to everyone’s lovely comments so thank you to everyone that has commented recently and i am going to try and reply to as many as I can!

So things aren’t perfect. I have a horrible sore throat, Monkey now has chicken pox so we are going to be stuck at home a bit more (thank goodness for our garden as at least we can get out there to burn off some energy as he starts to get better) but I feel like we are getting on top of things. We are taking control of the situation.

The Reading Residence