HOW Do You Work With Teenagers?

HOW do you work with teenagers?

I get asked this quite a bit.

My answer?
Very easily actually.

Because ‘teenagers’ are wicked.

They have SO much to offer society and they have so much brilliance in them, if we’d only stop sometimes to listen.

Teenagers are in limbo; stuck in the chaotic chasm between childhood and adulthood; trying not to be children, trying desperately to be adults, and landing somewhere in the middle.

They are brilliant. They are intelligent. They are fun and they are inspiring. They are kind and empathetic and sensitive and brave.

Surely there are moods and hormones and stomps and grumps and huffs and eye rolls and attitude; but guess what?

They were huffy and stubborn as toddlers and children too.

And as adults, we’re pretty partial to the odd huff or eyeroll or attitude too, are we not?

Being a teenager is hard. And I wouldn’t return to that period of my life for all the tea in China. (Well, maybe for an hour to give myself some advice.)

We expect them to act grown up but then criticise them if they do anything “adulty”

We expect them to stop acting like children and yet, can treat them like children in the next breath.

We often assume that they are moody and grumpy just because of their age, rather than asking them what is actually bothering them.

We assume that they are all addicted to computer games and incapable of doing anything for themselves, when actually, so many of them are creative and capable.

We brand them impossible and useless and tut at their inability to make decisions or solve problems.

And in so many cases, the things that we complain that they can not or will not do for them, are because we didn’t show them how to do it, or trust that they could.

Now listen, I know that some parents get it incredibly difficult with their little Sweetums-turned-Satan, and as a teacher believe me, I have been on the receiving end of some teenage angst and attitude in my time.

But I have also learned that often, the behaviour that is causing the adults to eye roll and stomp feet, is not a result of ‘bad’ kids, but often a result of frustration.

New emotions, new feelings, new situations, new relationships, new friends, new worries, new realisations, new expectations, new disappointments… everything is new.

The level of overwhelm on a daily basis is unreal for many.
And don’t even start me on the kids who are dealing with all sorts of chaos at home before they even get to school in the morning.

Why the hell would a young person who has spent the night listening to rows, or who hasn’t eaten properly in 2 days, give a continental shite about right angles, or Shakespeare’s soliloquies, or that you are “so disappointed“ in them for not having homework done again or for being late.

Some teenagers are going through things that most of us, as adults, wouldn’t have a clue how to start dealing with.

Sometimes we need to cut them some slack.
Sometimes we need to ask how they are.
Sometimes we need to ignore the attitude and continue to be pleasant and nice to them.
Sometimes we need to NOT respond how they expect us to when they kick off.
Sometimes, we need to trust them.

For many young adults, all they want is trust. To feel trusted and to be given some responsibility to try, and to prove themselves. They need to know that failing at something is not as important as having TRIED it in the first place.

And again, guess what?

The magical 18th birthday does NOT with it bring the key to all things adulty. I’m a long-time, “experienced” adult and I’m still experiencing all of the NEW things I listed above. And sometimes I feel like a teenager who needs an adult to show me how to fix or deal with things.

Life doesn’t change. We get on with adulting and being adulty and we continue to deal with new problems and fears and worries and people.
Adults just don’t get criticised so much when they make mistakes or get overwhelmed.

We need to give teenagers some credit.

They are wonderful.
They are brilliant.
They are kind and they are caring.

If you trust them, or let them use their own initiative, it’s incredible what they can do.
If you let them express their emotions, they might just learn to understand them.
If you tell them things are going to be OK, they might just believe you.
And if you tell them you believe in them, they might just start to believe in themselves.

Because if they think we don’t like them or believe in them, how can we expect them to like themselves?
And while sometimes, we want to give them the proverbial kick up the *&^%, they’d probably do a whole lot better, if we gave them a smile or a hug.

Because sometimes a hug is all we need. Teenagers and adults alike.

So How do I work with teenagers?
Quite happily thank you.

Still an Issue – Bump Shaming

It’s Memory Monday…

Body Shaming happens to all women, of all ages, of all shapes and sizes, all the time…EVEN, believe it or not, during Pregnancy. 😲
Yes, Pregnancy…
You know that time when you are eating for two and are supposed to GLOW like a fricken Christmas Tree and your body is a temple of growth and nurture, for all to admire and be in awe of?

When you’re also a hormonal wreck, paranoid, vulnerable and particularly susceptible to tears? 😢😢

When you’re growing a PERSON inside of you; sometimes more than one, 😥and you are supposed to be officially exempt from giving a continental crap about your shape for the next year and more?
Yes. Even then.

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Body shaming the Bump DOES happen.

It’s not usually intentional, but it happens.
I have a confession to make.
During my last pregnancy… (and I mean last in both senses of that word!)…I did something mean. 😈
I got so fecking SICK of people freaking out when they saw the size of my bump, that one day I decided to have a little fun with it.
I was HUMONGOUS. (And no, I am NOT exaggerating. Ask ANY of my family or friends and they will smile a dim smile and nod in agreement.) And just to prove how big my perfect bump was, the photograph below was taken when I was 36 weeks. And I wasn’t quite as big as I would be at 39! 😂👇👇👇👇👇👇

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With Mini-Me, I showed at 10 weeks.

With Princess, I got to 7 weeks before I got fed up trying to hide my bump.

I have always been quite slim so in fairness, trying to hide a bump was never going to be easy, but even loose tops didn’t cover my little (or not so little) secret.

We never really got the chance to keep it to ourselves until after the 12 week scan, but hey!
So you can imagine how big I was by 30 weeks. I looked bigger than most expectant Mammas look at full term. I remember walking into a shop one day at 31 weeks and the look of panic on the shop assistant’s face when she clocked the BUMP was hilarious. She approached me and flew through the usual chitchat to get straight to her point.
“When are you due love?”

I couldn’t help myself my Pretties. It was out before I even thought about it.
“Ten days ago”, I answered, shaking my head and rubbing my big belly, “I’m hoping a walk around the shops will help get me started.” (added puffs for effect…pause as if wincing in pain…)

“Here let me help you!” I swear to God, she ran around that shop filling my wee basket so quickly, I really couldn’t keep up with her.

“All the best now Lovey, I hope all goes well!” she cooed after me as I left. I’m pretty sure she needed a strong drink after that. and yes, I shouldn’t have lied, but I was fed up.

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For almost 10 months, you become the property of the world. (and yes, it is 10 months…9 my arse.)
EVERYONE has an opinion.

You’re so HUGE!” (Really? I hadn’t noticed. Is that why my pelvis is dragging on the ground when I walk?)😐
“I was never as big as you!” (Piss off.) 😐
“Aw poor Maria. You must be scundered…” (No Deary. I’m just pregnant.)😐
“Well Tracy SAID you were huge but I didn’t think you were THIS HUGE!” (Yup. For this one, I had to kick my sister under the table to stop her from DESTROYING the unintentionally offensive woman.)😅
“Is it heavy?” (In fairness, this question was from a lovely friend who has bever been pregnant so it was a genuine question and I gave her a genuine answer…”Yes. I feel like I’m carrying an articulated fecking LORRY on my ladybits.”)
“I suppose you can barely move with that bump?” (No. I’m just back from Irish Dancing. I’m high kicking Higher than ever before!)😂
“Aaaaaaah you’re not THAT big!” OK, OK. Who am I kidding? I NEVER heard this one! 😅😂
“You must be nearly due?” (No I’m only 28/30/32/34 weeks…cue shock/horror/sympathy/panic on their face.)
And these are only the few I remember.And so maybe now, you understand why I played the trick.

Do I feel guilty? No, but I felt really fricken frustrated a few weeks later when I didn’t have the balls to go in with my even BIGGER Bump and I really wanted a certain cheese the lady stocked. 😆😆
But seriously, Stop it. We all need to stop it. (And of course I include myself in this. We ALL do it don’t we?)

In fairness, we don’t even realise we’re doing it.

The things we say to a pregnant lady are usually not intending ANY offence AT ALL. Of course not.
But if you’re going to say anything, try not to comment on the bump.
Tell her she looks glowing, even if you think she looks knackered.

Tell her she’s gorgeous, even if she looks like the articulated lorry she feels like she’s carrying.

Tell her it suits her. She might just need to hear that, but don’t comment on the size of the bump, regardless whether it’s big or small.
The Mammy who hears “You’re so neat”, might have spent the whole night up counting baby’s kicks, or panicking that her bump is too small compared to others. 😣

The Mammy who hears “You’re huge!” doesn’t need to be reminded. Trust me, she already knows. She remembered once she opened her eyes this morning and tried, like an upturned turtle, to get out of the bed to pee. 😅
So keep it positive and keep it off the bump.

And yes I know that many people don’t mind and maybe even enjoy the attention the bump brings, but unless you’re telling them their bump is gorgeous, just Ssssssh!
And then…THEN comes the Post Baby body Shaming but that’s another post altogether.
You’re beautiful and your bump is perfect.

That is all you need to hear.

The S-Mum xxx

I am Sick of Sanctimammies Mum

Sanctimammy

Noun – A Mammy who believes that her way of parenting is the correct and proper way; judging and dismissing other Mums who do not parent as she parents.

Adj – Sanctimammious     

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‘Live and Let live’ they say.  But once you dip your toe into the world of Parenthood, that seems to change for some people.  It becomes ‘Do as I do, Think as I think’. There is no area in our lives which can cause heightened levels of self-doubt and self-criticism as parenting.  And often, it is the outright self-righteousness and shared opinions of other parents which makes us doubt ourselves.

Have you ever been asked something about your child, only to have an eyebrow raised, or a lip pursed at your reply?  Have you ever been nervous of telling someone how YOU do things, because you know that they do it differently?

We all have.  We’ve all been there.

Parenting styles and beliefs and practices vary, not just in countries, or counties or communities, but within homes.  For twenty houses in an estate or on a road, there will be twenty different parenting styles happening at once. But here’s the thing.

Just because you do things differently, doesn’t make you better.

Just because you work AND have kids, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who is working her ass off at home.

Just because you’re able to stay at home with your Puking minion, doesn’t make you a better Mum than the Mum who had no choice but to leave hers with Granny, because she couldn’t get off work.

Just because you Breastfeed your baby, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who, for WHATEVER reason, has to (or choses to) Bottle feed. You don’t know why they can’t (or don’t) breast feed.  You don’t have to. It’s none of your business.

Just because you use organic, reusable nappies, you are not superior to the Mammy who stocks up on Packets.

Just because your Baby sleeps well, does not mean that the Mum who hasn’t slept for 14 months is less brilliant than you.

Just because you’ve decided to wean your Baby by the guidance of some book, feeding Quinoa and avocado and peppers, doesn’t make you better than the Mum who feeds her kid mashed potato and gravy, or (shock horror!) fishfingers and waffles.

Just because your little Japonica goes to 5 activities a week at 11 months old, does not make you a better Mum than Jacinta next door, who can just about leave the house to do the shopping, because her PND is so crippling that she can’t breath.

Just because you gave birth without drugs, in a calm and wonderful experience, does not make you a better Mum than the lady who has had 3 sections.

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Now, I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t make an effort to do what’s best and what’s healthy for your baby. What I am saying is that what YOU deem right and important, might not be the same as another Mum.  Our priorities are all different. And that’s OK

Every Mum does what SHE has to do for HER family. And the only person who knows what is right for your family is YOU.

You don’t know another Mum’s circumstance. You don’t know her. You don’t know if she’s happy, or watching you getting into your car to go to work, longing to be you.

You don’t know if she’s driving to work in tears because her Baby cried again as she was dropping him off.

You don’t know how many times a day the Mammy in the office feels a gutwrenching guilt at being away.

You don’t know how the Mum in her kitchen is longing for a conversation.

You don’t know how much the Mum who has to pay bills rather than pay for Baby swim classes longs to be able to sign her baby up.

You don’t know how much time and effort that Mum, looks fab at the school gate, took to just get out the door this morning because she cried all night.  

You don’t know how much the Mum who seems to have it all, wishes that she had something else.

You don’t know how much the Mum who is mixing up formula berates herself.

You don’t know Jack sh*t.

As long as your children are fed, and loved and looked after, you’re doing great.  

How we parent our children, is nobody’s business but our own.  And what other Mums think of your parenting, is absolutely none of YOUR business.  

And if you EVER hear yourself dismissing or tutting at another Mammy because she’s doing it differently to you, lift your hand, grab a wooden spoon and hit yourself a good hard slap on the arse with it.

No one likes a Sanctimammy.

 

Remember to join Mammy on Facebook  and Instagranny too.

 

As featured on The M Word

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I am Special Fundraiser Mum

Well what can we say?

Today, we had the most festive few hours with the most wonderful people and raised lots of money for two very worthy charities.  The Jack and Jill Foundation and The Victoria Thompson Scholarship do such incredible work for so many families and children all over the country.  What better cause to do a fundraiser for before Christmas, than Children and their parents?

 

A few months ago, I commented to The Him that it’d be lovely to watch the Polar Express on the big screen again.  “Make it happen then” he said.  So I did.

 

Today, 220 smiling faces watched the Christmas Classic on the Biggest screen in Century Cinemas.

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The queues began to form at the cinema from before 11am, with the excited crowd clutching their golden tickets.

 

Tickets were punched by the Polar Express Conductor, (The Him does have a fun side outside of Jim!) and everyone, EVERYONE, received a little Jingle Bell, just like the bell in the movie, as they entered.  No one has any excuse not to believe now…

 

We thanked everone for coming and for supporting, before presenting a cheque to Sharon Thompson from the Victoria Thomspson Scholarship.

 

(We’re meeting a representative from Jack & Jill next week!) Then we told the girls and boys that the train needed some Christmas magic to get started, and so the crowd sang Jingle Bells before the much awaited feature.

 

And, just as we’d hoped, it was WONDERFUL!  It’s a beautiful movie and the runaway train scene was just as spectacular on the big screen as it was the first time we saw it.  The most magical part for me was when everyone started to jingle their little bells as Santa arrived.  It was AMAZING!

And this evening, I’m smiling from ear to ear at the photographs of families at the event, and of the kids hanging the bells on their trees at home.

Thanks to our followers and friends, we were able to present over €900 to EACH of our chosen charities; The Jack and Jill Foundation and The Victoria Thompson Scholarship.  But tonight, I can happily announce that the final total for each charity is a whopping €1000!  

The event was sponsored by Rushe Fitness and wouldn’t have happened without Anne-Marie, Pete and Mark in Century Cinemas.  Thank you all so much for supporting yet another one of my random ideas.

So that’s that… for now! It might just need to be an annual event apparently, but I’ll get tonight over me before I start planning anything else!

 

We do hope that everyone who joined us today had a wonderful time and once again, thank you to you all.

The S-Mum & The Conductor…

 

 

I am Say Hello to Floor Mum

​Let me introduce you to my friend Floor.
“Miss Bedroom Floor” to give her full title.
Mummy misses Miss Floor. 😭

We have a complicated relationship.

We often go for months without seeing each other.

We can spend weeks apart, not talking, not asking how the other is doing, seemingly not caring aboit each other.
When Floor and Mummy fall out, it’s usually over clothes and shoes.

We have the same taste see.🤐

Floor also has a lot to deal with.  

Mummy neglects her. 

I do.

Since the kids came along, Mummy just doesn’t have the same time to spend with her.  You could say she has been abandoned, dropped on, forgotten by Mummy.

I walk all over her really.

There is a layer of cobweb on our relationship, and it’s horrible.😭😭😭
And of course, there are the OTHER Floors… Floor MUST be jealous as Mummy keeps the other floors generally tidy.

 SOMETIMES, (believe or or not), Mummy even MOPS the Other Floors.

I know. 

I’m awful.😲

So I really can’t blame Floor for hiding from Mummy and ignoring me sometimes.
But like any TRUE FRIENDSHIP, when distance grows between us, we both feel sad.

Mummy misses Floor terribly.

When she is sad and isolated and upset, and the distance between us is great, Mummy could cry.  

It’s all such a MESS. I feel like the whole house is falling down around me.  I can’t get over her.  I can’t get past missing her. I feel like my head is going to fucking EXPLODE.
This morning, my broken and disintegrating relationship with my friend Floor, became too much for me to deal with.

At approximately 7.45am, Mummy freaked out on The Him. 👤
I couldn’t DEAL with the absence of Floor any longer. 
“I can’t deal with this situation any more. It’s driving me insane. I just can’t get the time need to find Floor!” were just a few of the things I ranted and rambled while trying to find the trousers Floor had hidden from me.

STRESS CENTRAL.
I went to work, promising myself that this evening, I WOULD make time for my Friend Floor.  I WOULD fix this mess. I WOULD make her remember that she is loved and valued.
I would.
As I collected Princess from The Him after work, I was still determined to make amends with Floor.

As HIM drove off, he called “Try to get that Floor sorted this evening will you?”
He was waved off with less than 5 fingers and many obscenities, expletives and petnames muttered after him.

He will pay for that.
And then we came home and I opened the bedroom door to find THIS…

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NOT ONLY had The Him tidied up the room, he had rearranged the wardrobes to GIVE ME MORE SPACE!

I. Shit. You. Not.
I almost FELL on the floor in shock (and joy!)

I think I fell a little bit in lurve with Him all over again too.💙💙💙💙
Joking aside, I can’t find the words to express how much this simple, unexpected action meant to me today. It isn’t even the tidying that has floored me…(boom)… it’s the fact that he noticed how much it was stressing me out.

In a house where I sometimes feel like no one even HEARS ME most of the time, just to have something be noticed is amazing.
Tonight? If he bought flowers, diamonds, chocolates… none of that could compete with the utter joy of seeing Floor again.
The Him gets a tough time on here, so I must give credit where it’s due.

He is my Superhero. 

My S-Him.

AND I’m NOT even going to REARRANGE the rearranged wardrobes!
(I’ll do that tomorrow!) 😂😘😘😘