Burnout in the Blog

Some of our regular followers will have noticed that we haven’t posted in a long while. Even with a big writing team we found that last winter was too hard on us to carry on with the blog for a while for a few reasons that we will share as and when we feel we can. Unlikely as it seems, our whole team hit a burnout around the same time!

Our health, both physical and mental, is a priority and as individuals we were all facing one thing or another that was consuming all of our time or energy or general capacity to exist. We had planned to be back in April, after a refreshing break. We spent a long time discussing whether we wanted to keep the blog going and if we did then what direction did we want to take it in? Well, we never came to a definitive answer before we were thrown head first into lockdown and home schooling.

Mummykind will be sticking around, maybe there will be some rebranding down the line and the team might be a little lighter for a while but for now Mummykind will stay just the way you know it. It’s going to be very important for us to take it one step at a time and ease back into writing, so our upload schedule will be a little slower than it was until we build back up to more regular posts.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around and to all of our new visitors – website traffic has been phenomenal even without any new content in nine months! We are looking forward to writing for you again.

Becoming a big sister…

MVIMG_20200119_104222

I wrote a blog entry in 2019 about preparing my daughter for her brother coming along. It worked to an extent! She was so excited and seemed to be prepared for the change! But we’ve still run into a few hurdles along the way.

I cannot fault her for how helpful she is with him and for showing an interest in him. I’m so proud of her when she tells me on a daily basis that she loves him and when she introduces him to everyone that she meets.

Everyone said she’d get jealous but I was so adamant that she wouldn’t. I mean I never stopped giving her my attention so I naively thought in my head it wasn’t going to happen. The first few weeks passed and we had no problems whatsoever.

In hindsight this could have been because my partner was around for the first 4 weeks. Since then my daughter’s been copying behaviours such as wetting herself, (which has happened as  late as her brother turning 4 months old). On one occasion because her brother had drooled on me, she started licking my clothes! She’s stopped doing these things, (at the moment) and I found the best way to respond was to talk to her, to ask her if she was okay, reassuring her that I love her for her and that she doesn’t have to be like her brother. I’ve been trying to make more one to one time although it’s quite hard because my partner is at University as well as working full-time and we don’t have a lot of involvement from other family members, because they are busy doing their own thing. She’s constantly asking for cuddles and wants to sit on my lap when I’m feeding her brother, but I’ve found a way of having them on each knee! It’s easier said than done though, trying to juggle everything. I feel so guilty that she’s having to wait all the time for me and if she asks me to play with her, I feel like I have a million and one things I need to do first at the moment. I don’t want her to feel she’s not important, but I only have two hands! When my partner was home over Christmas I was able to take her out to do a few nice, inexpensive Christmas activities, so we could have quality time, but I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard to do that since. In my situation my partner finishes University soon, so hopefully that will create more opportunities for us as a family to do nice things.

Whether it’s because: she’s now 3; that she’s dropped her daily nap; or because of all the change, her behaviour has definitely become more challenging. She is such a strong and determined young lady, which I’m proud of but she can be so defiant and a handful when she wants to be. So taking both little ones out on my own, trying to build up my confidence, has been difficult when she’s been doing what she wants to do and not what I’m asking of her. Not only that but the not listening is so hard isn’t it?!

Please tell me this phase passes soon! 

Mummykind’s January Top 5

Welcome to our new feature – a monthly round up of what we’ve done and our successes (or even failures) over the last month!

So, here it is for January…

Top 5 Blog Posts

 

Top 5 Instagram Posts

1.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

2.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

3.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

4.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

5.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Mix It Up LinkyTop 5 Things we did

  1. We were the biggest climber in the Parent Blogger Club, soaring up 239 places!
  2. We were the Mix Masters on the #MixItUp Linky (Hooks and Dragons) with our Top 7 Tag Post
  3. Maria shared the news that her household are expecting another baby!
  4. 2 of the Mummykind tots had their birthdays this month
  5. Sarah started a new job this month!

Top 5 Other Blogposts we LOVED

  1. A Rose Tinted World – How to Make Children’s Leggings 
  2. One Frazzled Mum – To the Newly Single Mum
  3. Family Hype – Features of the Five Point Harness
  4. Kelly and the Kids Blog – Show Yourself Some Love this Valentines’ Day
  5. A Thirties Girl – Why I Let My 12 Year Old Son Wear Makeup
Let us know your top 5s for this month!

Schooling in the UK and Denmark…

Share

This is a topic that has always fascinated me…
The UK, for all of its strict, formalised education system, isn’t doing as well as it should be. In fact, the UK’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results demonstrate that we have fallen behind to 26 other countries in Maths, and to 21 other countries in Reading. The UK fell out of the top 20 for Reading back in 2006.
By contrast, Scandinavian countries such as Finland, Norway and Denmark consistently achieve high results. As of 2013, Finland was the only non-Asian country among the top-5s in any of the categories!
PISA test results from 2016
So what is it that makes them so different?

“Teachers in Finland are given a great deal of responsibility and are allowed unfettered flexibility in what and how they teach. Performance isn’t observed and graded.”– The Guardian

The same can be said for the school system in Denmark, with no compulsory testing until the child reaches the age of 15.
In Denmark, children do not go to school until 6 years old, and complete their compulsory education at 15 years old. Compared to the UK, that is 5 years fewer in compulsory formal education. Children begin school aged 4, and since the recent (or now, not-so-recent) reforms to our education system, they cannot leave formal education, employment or vocational training until they reach the age of 18.
This has its own criticisms, most valid being that this practice only serves to reduce the government’s unemployment figures post-16, however, is our approach to education fundamentally wrong?
The highest achieving countries in the PISA league tables are, unsurprisingly, China, South Korea, Singapore and Japan, however, South Korea has also been found to have the unhappiest students, whereas Indonesia (though at the lower end of the table and a relative 6 years behind those at the top) boasted the happiest students in 2013.
Is the secret to a good education a happier education?
Clare’s children will be attending school in Denmark, however she and her other family members attended school in the UK. Clare knows the differences in education and the whole system first-hand, with Denmark being a far more equity-based education system than the UK and similar to Finland’s education system in many ways.
Denmark in 2016 ranked more highly than the UK at Maths, making it into the top 12 of participating countries, so perhaps the UK could learn a thing or two from the Danish education system?
Thank you Clare for sharing this informative post with us!
 
Schooling in the UK and Denmark
1.     Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
I’m 31 years old from Runcorn, England and my husband is 26. He is Danish, and we met online at the end of 2012. I am a student, doing a Bachelor of Education and he is a mechanic. We have 1 boy and 1 girl. Jakob is 4 years old and Skye is 2 years old. We live in the south of the mainland part of Denmark, close to the German border.
      2.     How did you come to live in Denmark and how old were your children when you moved there?
I moved to Denmark in August 2013 and we now have 2 children. I found out that I was pregnant while getting ready to move here. I was working my last shift at Warrington Hospital when I got the positive test. When I moved here, I was 6 weeks’ pregnant.
      3.     How different is the school system in Denmark to the UK? Have you made any school applications yet?

There are a lot of differences between the school system in the UK and Denmark…
School in Denmark starts in the August after a child turns 6 years old when they start in grade 0 (reception class) and they stay in school until 9th grade (age 15). After that they can choose to stay on for 10th grade or go to ‘gymnasium’, which is a similar idea to sixth form in the UK.School days are shorter for younger children, starting at 25 hours a week for the youngest and going up to 35 hours a week for the older students.

School is separated into subject classes from the first year at school, so each class will have a different teacher for each subject.The basic subjects in school are Danish, Maths, English (as a foreign language), Nature and Technology, Sport and Social Studies for 0 – 6th  grade. German is taught from 3rdgrade, then instead of Nature and Technology, from 7th grade, they include Science, Geography, History and some optional subjects that vary depending on the school. These are things like Art, Music, Drama, Home Economics, Woodwork, other languages etc.

Applying to school is very different, the child is registered with a social security number as soon as they are born, instead of waiting until they are 16 to receive their National Insurance number in the UK. They are automatically given a place at the closest school to their address and there is no need to apply. You can get this changed to a different school, all you have to do is speak to them at the education department in the local council building.
4.     Are your children aware of when they are starting school?
My son knows that he will start school after he turns 6 and knows which school he will be going to. My daughter doesn’t understand yet, but she will be told about it when she is older.
5.     What has your experience of the school system in the UK been like compared to the system your children will experience in Denmark?
I prefer the schooling system in Denmark. There is a lot less stress on the children. The motto of the Danish school system is “learn through play” and they do not have any important tests or exams to worry about until their final year at school when they are 15 years old.
The Danish schools have a lot of focus on group work and team building and I have seen how well classes can work together on anything from presentations to experiments to workbooks. Also, it is illegal to separate children based on their abilities, so there are no classes full of only the smartest students. Instead, teachers are trained to incorporate mixed learning levels into the work and classes are quite varied in skill levels.
Photo by Ian on Unsplash
Children call their teachers by their first names which helps them to feel more secure and comfortable when talking to them. There are no school uniforms here but the “bullying culture” isn’t really present here so, no, children don’t get bullied for what clothes they are wearing.All added together, it makes a school, a more relaxing and comforting place to be and children learn better because of this. This leads to a very high level of children going on to higher education and there is a very low percentage of people that don’t go onto the next level after they leave school.

6.     Do you think you will keep your children in Denmark until secondary school age (11+)?
We have no plan to leave Denmark. I am hoping to get dual nationality soon and we would like the children to complete school in Denmark.

Schools here do not have the secondary school age, they simply have “folkeskole” which goes right through from grades 0-9.
7.     What kind of school/pre-school provision is there for under-6s in Denmark? Is it normal to have children at a nursery-like setting for childcare?
Children can attend a nursery setting from 6 months old. They are separated into two parts, 0-3 years (nursery) and 3-6 years (kindergarten). Smaller daycare settings are also very popular here, where someone is licenced and paid by the council to run a small daycare with 3-4 children in their own home. This is usually only 0-3 years old though. These small daycares also have the option to take children before 6 months old if needed, but it is unusual for children to start before they are about 9-10 months old anyway.
All childcare is subsidised by the council and the price you pay is based on how much you earn. The maximum amount you would pay, if you earned over the highest wage, is 2700 Danish krowns, or about £315 per month. This would give access to childcare up to 48 hours per week.
8.     Do you find that parents’ attitudes are different in Denmark from those in the UK?
I think it varies depending on the parent. But in general, I think that the school system allows for a difference in attitude.
In Denmark, homework is unusual, so parents feel less stressed and less strict when it comes to school work.
It is difficult to judge parents’ attitudes when the system is so different. I think for a parent from the UK or America, the Danish school system would require quite a big adjustment in attitude, a few examples being:

  • Young children sleeping outside at naptime. They each have a large pram with a duvet and rain cover and children sleep a lot better outside. Weather doesn’t change anything, and children sleep outside in snow and ice. Only being brought inside during extreme weather, thunderstorms etc.
  • Campfires. It is quite normal for a kindergarten to have a firepit where they will (with adult supervision) make a campfire and sit around and sing or cook.
  • Day trips. They regularly take trips out to the lake, the forest, the playground etc. These are normal trips that don’t require signed consent from the parents for each trip. Consent is given for trips when they start at a nursery, but it is only needed once.
9.     What are you most looking forward to with your children’s schooling in Denmark?
I am looking forward to seeing them start their language classes most. They are both already fluent in both English and Danish so they will not have any problems with their English lessons, but they will start to learn German as well and it is so good to see how important language learning is.
From my own experience, learning French in school in the UK, there is no real importance to the learning, the main goal of language learning (and most other school subjects as well) is to learn what is needed to pass an exam. However, here in Denmark, there is a large focus on learning and connecting the learning to real life.Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Clare! This is so interesting. Good luck to you and your family in Denmark over the years to come!Have you ever been educated abroad? What was your experience like?

Ideas for your Paper Anniversary

Mine and Jamie’s first wedding anniversary has been and gone (I had planned on publishing this on the anniversary but I’ve become a bit unreliable with blog things lately as life is getting in the way!) and so I thought I would share the ideas I had before FINALLY deciding on my first anniversary gift to my darling husband.

I should say, I’m a bit cringy when it comes to these things. My Paper Anniversary means that the gift should be Paper too! But anyway… here are the gift ideas I came across on my search for the perfect present!

1. Tickets

More often than not after having kids, you don’t really get the time to have a good old night out with your significant other. So… the FIRST thing I considered was some kind of event ticket.

BUT I didn’t want to wait absolutely months for the event – Jamie is still not home yet from Afghanistan so we’ve missed our actual anniversary. With a bit more pre-planning I maybe could have found an event for when he came back, but there wasn’t really anything and the things I did find were still a little while away!

The gift(s) I did compile in the end incorporate theatre tickets, concert tickets, and other event tickets, so these have featured in our anniversary celebrations but not as a standalone gift!

2. Scrapbook

I wish I’d had more time to put something like this together, though in all honesty it would be more for me than Jamie! I’ve still yet to finish my bloody wedding scrapbook… that I started while I was planning the wedding!

If your other half would appreciate a scrapbook of memories from your first year, this is the perfect present to reminisce over your honeymoon and beyond.

3. Love letters

Again, I wish I’d had the time! I wanted to write 365 letters to Jamie for our next year together. However, being a military family this again presented issues as the whole one-a-day idea doesn’t work when he misses the first 9 or 10 days of our second year of marriage.

Plus, I’m good at being lovey dovey, but filling 365 letters or notes with lovey dovey stuff? Not sure even I could do that! 

4. Maps

I’ve seen these a lot on Pinterest! Maps pinpointing the place you met, the place you said ‘yes’, and the place you said ‘I do’. 

These are such a cute idea and I may well do this another time for us. You can frame the maps in a aperture photoframe and even decorate the frame yourself if you wanted to. It’s both a cute present and a lovely addition to your home decor!

5. Lyrics

I think Jamie would actually have really liked this one – using your first dance song as the inspiration, you can turn the lyrics into a piece of art for your loved one! Frame the lyrics on their own as a standalone piece, or write the lyrics onto a mount of your first dance photos… which brings me on to the next one!

6. Photos

Again the options are limitless for this – get your wedding photos printed and framed, or get a couples photoshoot of you holding a wedding photo.

Every year, book a photoshoot of you holding the picture from the year before! I would love to do this just to see how many photos of photos of ourselves we can get in the frame! It may take some convincing though to get Jamie to do a photoshoot… tactics, anyone?

7. A Diary Full of Dates

Last but not least, this is the present I’ve put together for my husband!

One event wasn’t enough, and I liked the idea of the love letters in having something to open/do every day. However every day wasn’t feasible, so my idea was to buy Jamie a 2019 diary. In the diary I have planned events for us at least once a month, and they completely range from romantic to trying to kill each other with paintballs.

Here are just a few of the events I’ve planned:

  • Weekend away in Belgium
  • Football match
  • Party Like Gatsby event in London
  • Theatre tickets
  • Cinema date
  • Dinner date
  • Paintballing
  • Day out at Hever Castle
I’ve even pencilled in my birthday, with a note that it’s his turn to plan a date for me!
For me, this was the perfect idea because I got to put a lot of effort into planning so many lovely things for us to do, and equally we will both reap the benefit of having regular date nights together having spent 7 months of our first year apart (not by choice!)
Have you got any other anniversary ideas for your Paper Anniversary? What’s worked well (or not so well) for you?

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Organix Snacks for Babies and Toddlers!

We were recently sent a big box of goodies from Organix to review! Included inside were a number of baby and toddler snacks which are all vegetarian and some even suitable for vegans and children with cows’ milk protein allergies (CMPA).

Part of the bundle of goodies we were sent were these new pea-based snacks:

The pea puffs on the left are suitable for vegans and CMPA, and the other two packets are suitable for veggies and a huge win with Olivia! Her favourites are the cheese and onion lentil hoops, but whenever she eats them I have to sit her away from me because the cheese and onion smell is quite strong!
These packets are great for taking out and about with you and even for packed lunches, and are a fab alternative to just having unhealthy crisps in the kids’ lunch bags. Organix have a no junk promise, ensuring that these are pretty much as good for your children as you can get. I love that these have hidden veggies in them but are marketed as NORMAL things your child would eat, specifically aimed at kids and with fun, colourful designs on the packets to make them more appealing… In fact, these ones Olivia calls her “sweeties”:

The fact that she thinks they are sweeties is adorable and great from a mum perspective, because I can bribe her reward her good behaviour with “sweeties” that are actually not full of rubbish! No mum-guilt here!


Here’s what Amy and Oliver thought!

Oliver tucked straight into his pea puffs, infact he snatched the bag as soon as he saw them and ga
ve me a massive grin, I was very intrigued to see his reaction as he has a tendency to be picky sometimes, but as you can tell by the picture, he was tucking straight in and at some points I had to ask him to stop ramming as many as possible in his mouth.

They we’re great to have in my handbag or his nappy bag to take out and about and since trying them I have bought more as they’re good value for money and it’s reassuring to know what he is eating is healthy and won’t give him a massive sugar high.

I could tell he enjoyed it as Oliver does this super cute thing where when he is enjoying food shouts “Mmmmmm” and makes a cute attempt at saying “delicious!”

These biscuits were also a big hit with both of them, and definitely a much better alternative to normal sugary biscuits! Oliver and Olivia enjoyed sharing them and kept coming back for me!

All in all, these are fab little snacks for babies and toddlers of all different ages! Oliver is almost 2, and Olivia is 6 months older than him.

The no junk promise makes these the perfect selection for picky children who want a treat, without any mum guilt!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

How I use my bullet journal to get my parenting shit together!

You may have been a queen at organisation before you had kids… HA! How is that working out for you now, hmmmmmm?

Like it or not, actually trying to organise your time effectively isn’t going to be easy peasy. For someone like me, who plans out every second of my life so as to suck out the chance of fun and spontaneity (because I am well and truly a fun sucker), this inability to do anything really ground me down.

However, I have a solution, and I am sharing it with you all. It’s my Bullet Journal. I actually love this thing, possible more than my child.

Here are 5 ways my bullet journal has made me get my shit together…

1. Shopping lists

Look, I know this is incredibly anal of me, but I made lists of what I can buy cheapest where. Yes, it took a lot of time, and yes, it was totally worth it. I try not to shop at Tesco (even though it’s most convenient, literally being at the end of my road), and if I’m able to, I shop around and check special offers on http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk

If you can make out my tiny writing and you have these shops near you, feel free to use the list next time you go!

Obviously there’s not every single item on these lists………. THAT would be ridiculous…. ha

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Tesco now sells custard creams the cheapest – 36p a pack. Priorities.

2. Money saving

This is my newest spread (that’s what you call a page in the BuJo lingo, I’m so down with the kids) and I frigging love it. Can you tell what my weaknesses are?
I am going to hit my 30 days “spend free” – it’s not really spend free as I obviously have to buy food and shit to feed my kid, but it’s no spending on anything non-essential. I’ve got days out planned for weekends that are totally free, or if not, dirt cheap. For example, today I went to a local RSPCA centre with Olivia, saw the kittens, dogs, horses, and ducks and had a home made picnic, and all it cost me was probably a couple of quid in fuel and a small donation on entry (and yes, I am having to be stingy, so it really was small! – I’ll make it up to them in a few months’ time).

I am going to be the most frugal mum on the planet if it kills me! I’m fighting all of my instincts to do this and I neeeeeeeeeeeed to stick it out for at least a month or our Christmas is ruined… awkward.

3. Future planning

Anyone like Back to the Future? Do you see what I did there? I’ve literally just completed this spread and I’m feeling all pleased with my artistic prowess (that completely totally doesn’t actually exist but let me pretend for like an hour, okay?).

4. Setting goals

I completed this spread on New Year’s Day, and it has served me well! I followed it up with a 6 month progress spread to see how I felt I’d improved and in which areas of my life…

BUT I won’t be doing this one again. I’ve found myself tracking things I don’t need to track – i.e. spirituality! That’s what happens when you use a template. I definitely will use a similar style to do monthly goals in the future, hopefully utilising some of my CBT techniques!

5. Habit tracking

This was my first tracker of the year, and it worked and it didn’t work. For a start, I was tracking too many things, and I was still insanely busy at the beginning of this year. Now, in line with my money saving agenda, I’m tracking a couple of things. No spend is a continuous one, as are the amount of grocery trips, and then there’s things like blog posts or social media.

You can use this tool to track what cleaning and household tasks you’ve done and how often, or even get the kids to do their own to track their chores and make it a bit more fun… If you think stationery and colouring in little squares is fun… Which I do… Don’t judge me!
It’s such a versatile option and it really does help me get my parenting shit together!
What do you use to get your shit together? 🙂

A poem for my husband

If you’ve been following our blog up until now, you may or may not know that my husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

We recently received some pretty bad news about his deployment, and I’ll be honest, I’m not handling it all that well. I’ve been on anti-depressants again for a few months now and only recently upped my dosage, and I felt like I was finally content with my life. After all, I have nothing to be depressed about right?
Wrong.
Depression affects the way you perceive everything. And so, Jamie, my darling husband (warning: if you’re reading this you might want a sick bucket to hand), there’s only one thing that is unaffected by this horrible illness, and that’s the way I feel about you and our girls.
This is for you, for keeping me going through the tough times.

Our Love

Our love is like a tidal wave,
Powerful and strong.
Our love is like a piece of string;
It goes on and on and on.
Our love is like an hourglass –
Stuck forever in time.
Our love is like a rocket,
Seeing how high it can climb.
Our love is like an envelope,
Enclosing everything we are.
Our love is like an aeroplane,
Taking us away someplace far.
Our love is like an ocean
With beautiful depths to find…
Our love is like the sun;
It can make any other man blind.
Our love is like an angel,
Flying across the earth.
Our love is like a goldmine
With its irresistible worth.
Our love is like a mountain,
Standing steadfast and tall.
Our love is like a safety net
To catch us when we fall.
Our love is like a fairytale
With the happiest ever after.
Our love is like a playground
Filled with so much laughter.
Our love is unconditional,
Evergreen like the trees.
Our love is everywhere,
And it means everything to me.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

#MySundayPhoto 13/05/18

Share

Hi everyone!

As you know from our post last Sunday, this week we have decided to ask our readers to submit their own photos from the bank holiday weekend! We had a load of lovely entries on our Facebook page, and it was pretty tough to choose just one photo to be our #MySundayPhoto this weekend!

BUT

We have chosen this one by Emma!

This picture is adorable for many reasons, but personally I love the very serious expression on the little man’s face and the fun being had with everyone else in the picture! This shows that digging up sand and building sand castles are very serious business indeed!
Thank you Emma, great photo and it looks like you had a fab time at the beach!
                                                   Photalife

ENDED:#RNW2018 – Reusable Nappy Giveaway!

***WINNER ANNOUNCED IN THE COMPETITION WIDGET***


Reusable Nappy Week happens every year and is a great time to get into cloth – not just because the warmer weather means quicker drying times. The popularity of reusable nappies is soaring (yay!) and during RNW each year there are special discounts with so many retailers and competitions for prizes of all sizes. If you’ve been thinking about trying cloth now is the time to give it a go!

We have teamed up with Ashford Cloth Nappy Library this Reusable Nappy Week to bring you the opportunity to win a large (9-12kg) Bambino Miosoft cloth nappy cover and two prefold nappies to use inside it. Please note, this competition is for UK entrants only.

 
#RNW2018 Prize - White hook and loop fastening Nappy Cover

If you want to try cloth and don’t know where to start, find your nearest nappy library here.

 
We would love for you to share but it is not a requirement to enter the competition. 

ENTRIES FROM OUTSIDE THE UK WILL NOT BE COUNTED.
Winner to be announced on Tuesday 1st May 2018.

#RNW2018 GIVEAWAY!https://js.gleam.io/e.js

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mummies Waiting