Friday, 19 July 2013

Surviving your first school year

Parent pressure has reared its ugly head for me this week, as we all counted down to the last day of term.

Thank you gifts for the teacher.

Throughout this week I've been hearing snippets of conversations about goodies being bought and handmade gifts being prepared. I've asked my own friends what they're doing and quietly taken in their replies.

So by Thursday evening I was feeling in a bit of a panic. As I looked down at the cards my son had written for his teacher and teaching assistants, I started to wonder if it was enough.

Not because I didn't think a card was enough, but because for a fleeting moment I was worried about turning up at school without the required gift bag.

Required by whom? Not the teacher I'm sure.  Gifts aren't like dinner money, they won't be chasing me for payment. Yet many parents buy presents simply because 'everyone else does it'.

The only pressure I was feeling was, indirectly, from other parents and the stories I'd been hearing about the preparations for this big day.  It still wasn't enough to do more than the cards but it had made me stop and think.

So I put it out on Facebook (as you do) and asked why the big gifts for teacher obsession?

I got a big range of responses. Different people do different things for all sorts of different reasons. And they probably don't care or notice what I'm doing. Absolutely no one is judging.

So as we come to the end of our first school year, what have I learned as a parent?

I've learned that we put the pressure on ourselves. The best thing you can do is have the courage of your own convictions and the confidence to do what feels right for you.

If that means buying every member of staff a lottery ticket, then that's great. If it means a simple thank you and a smile by the school gate, that's perfect too.

Don't do things because everyone else does, do it because you want to, and then try not to worry about it. Second guessing just takes too much time and energy ( I should know!)

Phew. I hope the second year is easier.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Bingo wings and swollen feet - it's Summer

The thing I like about the wonderfully unpredictable Great British weather is the huge range of wardrobe options you need to survive a year here.

It's hard to plan what to wear too far in advance and every day is a new and exciting challenge. Cotton dress and flip flops in the morning and a quick change into thick cords and wellies by the afternoon. Never a dull wardrobe moment. (I have a jacket for every occasion)

But this heatwave thing that we've got going on, is not only boring (oh look it's sunny again) but it gives me wardrobe issues of a whole different kind. How to deal with gentle perspiration in a ladylike manner.

Footwear - have I painted my toenails and will these shoes still fit in an hour when my feet swell and elephantitis sets in?

Tops - can I risk sleeveless and the big bingo-wing reveal? Too low cut and you'll see my tanline, might even risk showing the beads of sweat disappearing down my cleavage.

Middle - this is the biggest issue for me. There's a huge risk of sweat lines and the material getting folded into your baby layers when you sit down. I reject so many clothes on this basis. (I did consider losing weight but fortunately I've noticed that slim people sweat too)

Skirts and dresses - they let the air circulate and are generally much cooler to wear, but you've got to consider all of the above, with the added joy of some hot thigh rubbing. Lovely. 

And the best materials for the summer - linen and cotton - usually need ironing. Plus I'm absolutely sure that body hair grows twice as fast and suncream gives me greasy spots.

So God, please send me some gentle rain, a breeze and maybe some hail for a day or two.

I want a day off shaving and a bit of a challenge when I get dressed. Just give the sun back in time for the weekend :)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Why I don't like sun days - The Gallery

I am not a big fan of sun. I live in a valley that loses the sun completely by teatime and that is fine by me. There's nothing I like more than a bit of shade.

Sun is good and bad for my photographs. Good when it has that ethereal effect or it's doing the light streaming through trees thing. But bad when it's too hot and it involves me.

Let me demonstrate.....



I finally blogged for the first time in ages thanks to a prompt from The Gallery on the Sticky Fingers blog. Visit more sun stories here.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery