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20 things you will never hear your child say

Recently, I was watching a programme about the funny things children say and laughing about it with the other mums at the school gates. It struck me that there are certain phrases that conversely, you will never hear come out of your child’s mouth. Here are my top 20:

  1. Shall we watch what you want on TV today?
  2. I know we’ve just passed the last services for 50 miles but guess what? I don’t need the toilet
  3. Can I go to bed now?
  4. Can I do my homework now?
  5. Not McDonalds again…
  6. But I really want the comfy shoes not the horrible glittery heels
  7. I love going shopping
  8. Please can I have more sprouts?
  9. I’ve had enough chocolate today
  10. I really love my little brother / sister
  11. I don’t want to have a party this year
  12. Cartoons are boring
  13. Right, who’d like a cup of tea?
  14. Tell me again what games you played as a child
  15. This is interesting
  16. Vegetables for dinner? Yummy
  17. Why not? Let’s try it
  18. You’re right, it does stink. Let me clear it up
  19. Thank you for kissing me goodbye at school mum. I want my whole class to know how much you love me
  20. It was me
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Sick note

The girl has spent most of Sunday throwing her guts up and is feeling a little rotten today to say the least. Going to sleep on an empty stomach is an alien concept for the girl that eats everything and I did feel very sorry for the sad little figure who went to bed last night with a face the colour of unbaked cake mix. I have had to take the day off work today as a result – not ideal since I’m self-employed – and am in a quandary about what to do tomorrow. I know that school rules dictate she must not go back to school until 48 hours have passed since her last bout of sickness but who’s to know? I could say she was sick on the Saturday instead, send her back on Tuesday (24 hours vomit-free) and get back to earning the pennies myself ASAP.

I have had discussions at the school gates before about parents sending their children back to school sneakily early following illness and have been irritated beyond belief that such people are putting their own needs before the potential health of every other child in that class. However, now that the shoe is on the other foot, the little devil on my shoulder (I think it’s Dad) is saying ‘sod it, it’s every woman for herself in a situation like this especially as work has been especially slow the last few months ‘ and it’s true, I can ill afford to lose another day. Besides, no-one else seems to have a strict moral code of ethics about sending their sick child to school so why the hell should I? But then the nice little voice in my head (I think it’s Mum) tells me not to be such a sheep and that two wrongs don’t make a right, yada yada, yada. So what to do? What to do?

Hmmm, I have always been a bit of a Daddy’s girl, so…

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Blog of the Week – 20 things I want my teenage daughters to know

20 things I want my teenage daughters to know.

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Top 10 money spinners for working parents

I’ve finally reached the point during my child rearing years that I would actually like to go back to work and earn some money of my own. After being a SAHM for three years, it appears that I am no longer in demand in my previous career (Marketing) as everything has moved on rather swiftly since I left and so, I am left with two choices; 1) accept a huge pay cut in Marketing and work my way back up the career ladder (unfeasible given the hours I would need to work and the associated childcare costs) or 2) find an alternative career.

Now, I’ve been thinking a lot about this latter option recently. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think where my skills lie so that I can launch myself on the world all focused and rebranded but that, pretty much, is as far as I’ve got with the process. It’s not that I don’t have skills, it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be much call for (nappy) bomb disposal, crisis diverters or expert negotiators except for maybe in the Middle East and I’m not sure that’s entirely where I see my new career heading.

So, after various discussions with other Mums and Dads at the school gates who have re-branded themselves, I’ve come up with a top 10 of potential money spinners for other parents who may be looking for a career change or a way of working round the children either by re-training completely or by working with the skills they already possess.

  1. Reflexologist – A one year course which involves attending one or two-day seminars spread over this time period. It requires around 8-10 hours of home study per week and a small amount of written assessments with an examination taken at the end of the course. GOOD IF: you can touch other people’s feet without freaking and are over 18. BAD IF: corns, bunions and cheesy smells are not your thing.
  2. Cake maker – A couple of the mums have done this actually; one specializes in cupcakes and hosting cupcake making parties for kids and the other does wedding cakes and cake-pops in the post. GOOD IF: you can make a decent sponge. BAD IF: you can’t.
  3. Tattoo designer – GOOD IF: you have a fair amount of artistic flair. BAD IF: you’re needlephobic.
  4. Nail technician – Nail Courses cover gel, acrylics, manicures/pedicures, nail art, and maintenance and you can train at home. GOOD IF: you’re spare time is limited and you want to get started quickly. BAD IF: you’re not a people person.
  5. Copywriter /proof-reader – Companies, students, the press and plenty of others rely on people to proof-read their work before it gets printed to check for errors. You can set up on your own fairly quickly and with minimum outlay with this idea. GOOD IF: you have an impressive command of the English language and grammar. BAD IF: you don’t.
  6. Cleaner – Zero set up costs and everyone knows how hard it is to find a decent, honest and reliable cleaner. Once you’ve got a few clients, word of mouth will complete your journey fairly quickly. GOOD IF: you take pride in grime-busting and are a bit of a perfectionist. BAD IF: you hate cleaning.
  7. Childminder – You need to complete a pediatric first aid course and be ofsted registered (which costs around £90). These certificates have to be renewed annually but you can be up and running with this business very quickly. Earnings of around £4 per hour mean that if you take a fair few children, the money soon adds up. GOOD IF: you like children and need to take your own child(ren) to work. BAD IF: you prefer your house to be immaculate.
  8. Teacher – This is a good one if you already have a degree as the PGCE will only take a year to complete full-time (slightly longer for part-time obviously). Or you could work as a teaching assistant/classroom helper and beg the school to sponsor you while you train. GOOD IF: you have school age children as you can work round their holidays. BAD IF: you don’t like other people’s children.
  9. Photographer – You just need a decent camera, an eye for a good shot and a portfolio of your friends’ babies. If you have a room you can convert to a studio, so much the better. GOOD IF: you enjoy taking photographs and have a good ‘eye.’ BAD IF: money is limited as the initial set-up and cost of equipment can be quite high.
  10. Dog walker – There are literally hundreds of working people with dogs at home who need to be exercised during the day. The opportunity is there to make some decent wedge. Average charge is £5 per half hour and if you take three of four dogs at once, the money’s not half bad. GOOD IF: you like dogs and walking. BAD IF: you’re allergic to them.

So there you go, my top 10 of potential money-spinners for those of us who need to work around the children and / or school hours and who may or may not have certain skills. The trick is to work with what you have or identify what you enjoy and go with that. Feel free to comment on your own career changes after having children; it would be useful to know what else is out there for the rest of us.

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Feeling lousy

I was at my parent’s at the weekend and I happened to mention that the boy had some scratches on his tummy and one behind his ear which he’d obviously done himself during the night. My Mum jokingly asked if I’d checked him recently for headlice (we’ve never had them in our house before) so I half-heartedly pushed my fingers through his hair, peered closer and couldn’t quite believe what I was looking at. What at first appeared to be two tiny black-fly sized bits of fluff were actually filthy carnivorous insects nonchalantly sucking the blood from my first born son! I nearly died. I quickly checked the girl’s hair and saw nothing at all but, taking to her with a nit comb, a bowl of water and some tea tree conditioner soon revealed that she was just as riddled with parasitic nasties as her brother. One trip to the chemist, £6 down (2 x lyclear treatments) and 30 minutes later, I finally announced the house a louse free zone.

As I see it, the issue with headlice is threefold; they’re uncomfortable, they’re easily transmitted and they’re ubiquitous in school age children. Just the subject makes most people’s skin crawl and just writing about it makes me itch. *rakes fingernails through scalp in earnest* It’s rather like somebody mentioning pelvic floor muscles within a group and every woman present starts to clench and relax in unanimous response to the subject issue.

What makes me so mortified however, is that if it wasn’t for a chance comment made by my Mum, I wouldn’t have checked the kids’ heads. I never saw them scratching and I couldn’t see them in my daughter’s hair even when I looked closely. I would have blithely sent her back to school this morning and tutted along with the other mothers at the school gates when it was announced in Friday’s newsletter that headlice were doing the rounds again! I would have listened to the usual comments; “Why don’t parents check their children for goodness’ sake? Surely they can see them scratching” etc etc and I would have nodded gravely and agreed that yes, some people just really didn’t seem to bother much with their children. Thank goodness for loving, caring and attentive parents like me. Oh the shame!

So, just in case you’ve never been lucky enough to have dealings with these horrible little crawlies, just bear in mind you probably won’t see much without a nit comb and a bowl of water. The good news is, they only take minutes to shampoo out. And now I’ve dealt with the problem once, I’ll have more of an idea what to look out for next time which is handy because I’m pretty sure there’s going to be one. And if the parents at the school gates are as oblivious as me, it’ll probably be fairly soon.

Happy hunting Mums and Dads!

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