A letter to myself…

This phase won’t last forever, but how you choose to respond right now, may affect their ‘forever’.

Feeling touched out, constantly needed, forever interrupted, unable to properly care for yourself, counting the hours until bedtime and THEN…your child won’t go to sleep.

Oh the frustration. The squelched anticipation. The feeling of being robbed of your time. Of your evening. Of your SELF.

You find yourself firmly laying down some rules, threatening lost privileges and tricking them into going to sleep on their own, with bribery.

But that one night, when they turn around and  tell you that actually they are frightened. That they only feel safe at bedtime if you are with them. That they have a painful sicky feeling in their chest from the worry they are feeling. Wow. You’ve got to listen to that, right?

The frustration is still there for sure, but really…what’s a few minutes knocked off your evening when your six year old needs your help to feel safe? It is surely worth avoiding an hour to two hour long battle if you sit with them for 15 minutes to help to feel calm.

You know what? It won’t break them. It won’t make them ‘too soft’. They won’t need you there forever. But what they will know is that you LISTEN to their needs. You CARE about their feelings. You WANT to help them. And that’s pretty powerful stuff for a child to grow up knowing.

Mama. This won’t last forever. In fact, it’s going to be gone in the blink of an eye. But how you choose to respond can affect their ‘forever’. It can shape their being. It can influence how they cope and deal with their feelings, even in the distant future.

In a world where mental health struggles are soaring and where male suicide rates are at an all time high, you have to take these cries for help, support and encouragement seriously. You have to take the, sometimes frustrating, route to reach the end of a troublesome path and guide them through. You have to let them know you are listening, will listen and will always be there to listen.

You must listen.

It’s not forever Mama, but you sure can shape it.

Lucy

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You got this Mama, even when you feel like you don’t

MOTHERHOOD
*You got this Mama, even when you feel like you don’t*

This photograph popped up on my Facebook memories. An exhausted Mama and a 17 day old baby. My friend had come to see us and this is what she got to hang out with.
I had a chicken pox ridden 2 year old absolutely covered in itchy, painful spots and little did I know, Rocco would end up with it at 4 weeks and we were both in for a stay in hospital for IV antivirals.
Rex had just finished his paternity leave, Christmas and New Year had been and gone in a whirlwind of illness and exhaustion and we had only left the house about 3 times since he had been born.
I was a mess in more ways than one. Physically in pain post birth and on top of that, those breastfeeding fake contractions they neglect to tell you about!! 👀
Emotionally all over the place with my attention constantly divided between my poorly toddler and my needy newborn.
Exhausted through lack of sleep and claustrophobic with cabin fever and always being needed by someone.
But Mamas…you know what? Things changed. The boys got older and I actually missed those midnight cuddles from Rocco. We got through the illness, the chickenpox, the gallbladder removal, the hospital stays, the constant need to be touched (ok, ok, that still happens some days).
Motherhood isn’t easy.
Motherhood is full on and ugly at times.
Motherhood can make your heart feel like bursting with pride, whilst simultaneously breaking for your children when they are going through rough times.
But to those Mamas in the newborn stages – it is ok to not feel like you are enjoying every moment, like you feel you should. It’s normal to crave time to yourself and to hide in a cupboard to get a minutes peace. There will be days that your children decide to get on and you can drink a hot cup of tea and maybe sneak a biscuit. You won’t fall asleep on your friends when they visit and you will have days when you laugh so much you cry (there will also be days where you cry so much you laugh!)
Surround yourself with good people. Get out to the baby groups and have the courage to talk to other people. You need each other!
You got this Mama! Even when you feel like you don’t.
♥️
Lucy

(Originally posted on our Insta page)

What do you do?

What do you do?

I am a Mother.

I am a professional debater, negotiator and mediator.
I am a referee.
I am a personal shopper, a launderette and a cleaner.
I am a meal planner, a recipe maker and a chef.
I am a Google taught nurse, a doctor, a diagnoser and a prescriber of Calpol.
I am a P.A.
I am a taxi driver, a chauffeur and a sit-in-the-car-while-they-play-football-in-the-dark kinda cabbie.
I am an agony aunt.
I am a shoulder to cry on, a punch bag to let out anger on and a hug when they need it the most.
I am a party planner and a caterer.
I am a time keeper, a weather woman and a travel agent for days out and holidays.
I am a teacher of Mathematics, English, Geography, History and Languages to name a few.
I am a teacher of life.
I am a role model, a guide and a mentor.
I am a leader.
I am a crafter, a creator, a maker and a make believer.
I’m an actor, a singer, a do-a-silly-dancer and an author.
I am a planner, a thinker, a giver and a do-er.
I am an encourager, a reassurer and a ‘you can do it’ proclaimer.
I am an advisor.
I am a protector.
I am a shield.
I am a one woman army fighting for a good cause.
I am just a full time Mum at the moment.
I am all of these things.
I am Mummy.
I am Mum.
I am.

I am a Mother.

Maths activities for the natural learner…

Most of the learning we do is in a really natural way. Through play, exploration, nature and every day life. I share a lot about this over on our Instagram page, but I thought I would compile a little list of a few ways we learn maths in a blog post!

MONEY

This is a really simple little set up for learning about money, as we try to involve the boys with money in age appropriate ways.
They get a little pocket money every week, which they save or spend and they are starting to understand the benefits of saving up for something. They also have real money in their play till and we try to use cash in shops to demonstrate change etc etc.
However, they both struggled with the idea that a single £1 coin was worth more than a handful of 1p coins. So, we had a quick trip to the bank to get one pound worth of each coin, to help them to understand the value of the coins.
We talked about the coins, played with them, made patterns with them, matched values (for example twenty 1p coins and one 20p coins) and their understanding grew.
It is the perfect little activity when you are stuck inside for the day!

TWO DIGIT NUMBERS

Rocco has a great understanding of numbers – what they look like and what they represet. He is now starting to learn some two digit numbers, so this little activity was perfect for a small world play loving boy! Cheeky old Jess the Cat muddled up all of Postman Pat’s letters and Rocco’s challenge was to read the house number on each letter to the corresponding house.
Rocco loved helping Pat to deliver all of the letters to the correct houses and did some great number recognition learning of numbers 11-20. You could change the numbers to 3 or 4 digit numbers, or even house names, depending on what you are focusing on with your child!

BINGO

This bingo game I picked up in a charity shop has been a complete hit with the boys! We have played it lots of times and it is another great game for number recognition right up to 100! Both of the boys have often read numbers backwards (so 85 would be 58 etc), so it’s a great way to get a bit of practice in whilst having fun!
I added these little blue cubes/sticks of 10 whilst we were playing and we represent the numbers with cubes each time to really consolidate what the number actually means. Archie has always had a real interest in number, so he was quite happy to include this into the game!

BAKING

Baking is a great activity for learning lots of mathematical concepts, so I will list a few here:
Weighing
Measuring
Estimating
Recognising and reading number
Time
Temperature
Money (buying ingredients with cash and looking at change)
Quantity
Size
Accuracy
Shape
This is not an exhaustive list and depending on what is being made, there is scope for even more maths learning.

SHUT THE BOX

Archie instantly fell in love with the game and it is perfect for solving addition and number bond problems! What a fun maths lesson hey! He screamed in delight when he rolled this double two to shut the box for the first time ever!
Initially I added the cubes to help him to work out some of the trickier number bonds or for when he needs to use 3 numbers, but he can play the game really independently now and never uses the cubes any more!
You can pick up a shut the box game relatively cheaply on the high street, so keep your eyes peeled for one!

CHILD LED

Children want to learn. They want to solve problems. They want to create. They want to discover. Our role is to provide the tools and facilitate. To support and to encourage.To have patience and be flexible.
I’ll be honest, after setting up such a lovely relaxing lavender play dough with lots of natural resources, I had to bite my tongue when Archie asked for the cutters we use when we just get the play dough box out. But he had a plan. He sat for a long time creating this pattern, working it out and checking for mistakes “small star, big star, circle, circle”. Not only was he consolidating his understanding of pattern, but he was learning patience, concentration, dedication, fine motor skills, completion of a task, properties of shape…all whilst discussing what he was doing, the play dough and the dry and fresh lavender. We talked about how lavender grows and about the scent.
If I hadn’t have given him the cutters, he probably would have sat there for another few minutes before going to do something else. This is what child led learning is all about.

There are so many opportunities to discuss and learn about maths in everyday life. In shops, in the home, in the car and even out and about in the natural world. It’s all about nurturing interests and natural curiosity and before you know it, your children will be understanding mathematical principles in a deeper way than if they were learning by rote.

How do you approach maths learning? I’d love to hear from you! Get in touch in the comments or over on Instagram @thelifeschoolers!

Lucy

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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