Mother’s Day

I have posted this on my personal Facebook page, but wanted to share the sentiment with my followers on here too:

Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely friends. I’m taking the opportunity to share this again …

To my friends who are Mothers, I hope you are treated today. I’m celebrating with you.

To my friends who have their Mothers, be thankful today. I am thankful like you.

To my friends who long to be Mothers, I hope you have hope today. I’m praying for you.

To my friends who are Mothers to babies and children whose lives were far too short, or who have lost their Mothers, have strength and courage. My heart breaks for you.

To my friends who are Mothers but are struggling to ‘enjoy every moment’, I see you. I hope today your spirits are lifted and you can find joy in the small things.

To my friends who are doing this journey of Motherhood alone, you are real life superheroes. My hope is that today you will know that and will be showered in love by your little people.

I am so aware now more than ever that today is lovely for some and so hard for others (sometimes even a mix of the two). My biggest hope is that all of my friends know and are shown love today (and every other day!)

Love

Lucy
Xxx

To my village…

It’s been a week since we made our move to our new home and I have been sitting on this blog post for a while. I thought now would be a good time to share it before it is too late.

This one is for my village. You know who you are.

It has been said many times that it takes a village to raise a child. But the problem I have found since having my children is that community is so broken down these days. The ‘village’ just isn’t there in the way it used to be. The early days of parenthood, once the visits have fizzled out and the husbands or partners go back to work can feel like more of a wilderness. A lonely time of sleep deprivation, pans piled high by the sink, trying to work out what’s best when it comes to your babies feeding, sleeping, crying and even trumping.

For me, this just wasn’t going to work. We were first time parents, away from my family and if I hadn’t dragged myself, eyebags and all, out to meet people, I could easily have slipped into a very dark place.

So off I trundled to our very first Music Bugs class with my 4 month old (the waiting list was long because it was so popular) and found myself singing to my sleeping baby, trying to build up some courage to talk to someone and instead rambling on to Archie about where we would go next.

Fortunately for me, I had sat next to Amy, who turned to me and invited me out for coffee with her and a couple of others and I am so glad I plucked up the courage to go. These people and gradually more lovely Mummies became my village…

The ones who look out for each other.

The ones who accept each other in whatever state they rock up in every Tuesday.

The ones who rearranged their working patterns at the end of maternity leave to protect spending Tuesdays together.

The ones who scoop your baby up when you end up crying alongside your over emotional toddler in the middle of a soft play centre.

The ones who change their plans to help you out when you or your baby are sick.

The ones who are there for each other through everything that life throws at them. Even the really messy stuff.

The ones who genuinely care for your children and you for their’s, as if they were family.

The ones who can stay up until midnight on Whats App, discussing towel washing or musicals or babies’ poo habits or more important stuff than that.

The ones who you would drop everything for if they or their children needed you.

The ones who you can sit on every farm park tractor ride with multiple times and still have fun.

The ones who you can totally be yourself around and not feel judged.

I feel incredibly honoured to have made such brilliant friends over the past 5 years and have made it my mission to be a ‘bit more Amy’ when I see someone who may need a friend. Someone who looks lonely, or overwhelmed, or new.

So…my village…I love you all, I miss you and I am so grateful for the friendship we share. You and your children have shaped the past 5 years for the better and I look forward to adventures of a different kind in the future.

And anyone else reading, don’t let yourself get swallowed up by the potential loneliness of early motherhood. Be brave and step outside your comfort zone. Get out to meet new people and if you see someone looking a bit lost, remember – be a bit more Amy.

Lucy x

Instagram – @thelifeschoolers

thelifeschoolers@gmail.com

Are we making fair comparisons between our schools?

I’ve recently seen a local news website publish a list of the top 10 performing schools in Lincolnshire and the worst 10. While I am in absolutely no doubt that the staff at the schools in the top ten are working so hard to the point of exhaustion (it kinda comes with the job,right?!) I have a few things I feel I need to get off my chest in support of those who didn’t quite make the grade (or level?) this time.

Firstly, these lists are produced based on the percentage of children in this year’s cohort getting a certain level in their year 6 SATS, including a teacher assessment in reading, writing, maths and science.

Whilst I totally disagree with the SATS for various reasons, I also feel it is totally unfair to label certain schools as the ‘worst’ in the county for many, many reasons.

Having previously worked in the school that has achieved second place in the top schools list (well done everyone!), I have also worked in a wonderful school in an area of the city with a much higher percentage of families living in deprivation. In this second school some children couldn’t talk before starting school. Some couldn’t independently use a toilet. Others were rarely fed breakfast or got to school on time. Some children had to sleep in their beds that they had had an accident in for the rest of the night. One girl had to escape her house through a window with her mother, whilst another had to be gifted with her own towel, soap and toothpaste so that she could maintain a level of hygiene at school. Add to that the amount of children speaking English as a second or sometimes third language in some areas, this quickly becomes a far more complex issue.

Some of these children start school in a much more vulnerable state and are not at the same ‘level’ of children in other schools. They first and foremost need to be shown love, affection and protection. They need to learn that they are valued and worthy of time. They need to be fed and nurtured in a way that others take for granted. Some children need to learn a whole new language and culture.

These children may never achieve a level 6 in their year 6 SATS (although some might), but the PROGRESS that these children will make in a good school with hardworking, dedicated and brilliant teaching will be outstanding.

A child who can not speak at the start of primary school may not reach the highest level by year 6, but they might be able to express themselves well, communicate effectively with others, perform in the school play, show someone new around the school and sing in the choir. Things that noone would have expected of them when they first started.

A child who can’t dress themselves when they start school or whose uniform is always unclean, may be able to demonstrate personal hygiene through the nurture and care of the school. They may learn to pour themselves a bowl of cereal, wash up their pots and help younger children when they need to. The brilliant staff in the school will no doubt have worked alongside the family to help them in areas they are struggling in. Plans will have been put in place to make sure this child will thrive and grow.

It’s ALL about the progress.

Please, please don’t look at the bottom of this list and think these schools are failing. They aren’t necessarily and they may even be some of the most nurturing and creative schools in the county; I don’t know. The schools towards the bottom may not hit the same levels as the ones at the top, but who knows, the progress these children make may well be outstanding!

How about we stop measuring the success or failure of a school by the results of a stressful and pressurised testing system.

How about we stop thinking that these schools at the bottom of the list are failing their children and in turn creating more stressed and disheartened teachers.

How about we spend more time focusing on these beautiful children and helping them to be the best person they can be for the benefit of the future of our world. Nurturing them to be all they want to be. Planting the seeds of hopes and dreams for the future.

How about we start trusting out teachers more and show more support, encouragement and respect for an entirely demanding role with a huge amount of responsibility.

I am NOT trying to say the schools at the top of the list have the easy job. FAR from it. They are clearly very brilliant at what they do. I just want to encourage people to recognise that this is a far more complex issue than how many children get a certain level in their year 6 SATS.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please do get in touch through the comments on here, via @thelifeschoolers on Instagram or by emailing us at thelifeschoolers@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading.

Lucy x

Why my children are not my world…

 

 

I see it all the time…a beautiful picture of a Mama with her babies and the caption ‘My world’.

While I totally understand the sentiment behind it, I have to confess…

My children are not my world. 

There. I said it.

Do I love them? More than they will ever know.

Would I walk through fire to save them? Without a doubt.

Do I spend most of my days with them and for them at the moment? Yup!

But my world? No.

Let me explain…

First things first… The husbands and partners are often not included in these lovely pictures. I want my husband to know he is very much a part of our lives and OUR world, even though he is the one that has to go out to work regularly. We love him and value him so much!

I also can’t help but think of the pressure a child must feel when we rely on them to be our whole world. I know more often than not it is a turn of phrase, but children take things literally a lot of the time. To be Mummy’s whole world and then Mummy has a bad day…”What did I do wrong”, “Was I not good enough”, “Did I not make Mummy happy today?” Might be a few thoughts that go through a child’s mind. To be someone’s world suggests that you are everything to them. You are what makes them happy. If they are not happy, it must be your fault, right?

I believe that these little boys have been entrusted into our care, so that we can love them, raise them, empower them, teach them and nurture them. These boys will hopefully grow to be strong, well rounded and grounded individuals who one day won’t need us as much as they do now. 

If they are my world and they grow up and move away, I’m in trouble. 

I am going to find it hard enough to watch them go as it is, but we will support them in any way we can to do what they need to do, so they can go where they need to go. I can’t imagine the incredible heartache someone must feel when their ‘whole world’ ups and leaves. Not to mention the guilt and worry that those, now adults, feel when they are breaking their Mother’s heart by following their dreams.

If I get all my happiness and worth from my children, because they are my world, I will get let down. A lot. Children mess up, they make mistakes, they break your stuff, they ruin your sleep, they don’t always consider you in their actions. Because they are children. They are growing and learning every day and they cannot provide this perfect world that so many people strive for, nor should we expect them to. 

My children are a HUGE part of my world, that is definitely true. But so is my husband, my family, my friends and my God, without whom, I wouldn’t have a world at all.

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Lucy x