Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Working AND a Mum?

How easy it is to work and be a Mum? Part time work is ideal for the working Mum but part time work during term time only is equivalent to the holy grail. Interviews can be a challenge when you have young children. There's childcare to arrange, childcare to find when you finally receive a job offer until eventually, with a little juggling, work and childcare fall into place.

With three young children I have had my fair share of challenges fnding work. There are the interview questions that no book or online guide can prepare you for. When I was first faced with the interview question, 'do you have kids?' I wasn't fazed. At thirty-something years of age, kids were a 'maybe after the next holiday' and of course there was always another holiday to look forward to. Kids were as far into the horizon as my distant holiday destinations and I confidently shook my head and answered a resounding 'no!' I got the job then something changed. Actually I did want children.

The 'kids' question come under a number of different guises and these are genuine interview questions I have had to face:

'Do you have children?' Followed by 'So you will need more time off than the annual 23 days then?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'How old are they? How many? Are you married? What does your husband do for a living?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'If you had to pick up your child and had not finished an important piece of work what would you do?'

It can be difficult not to be torn between answering sensibly and shouting, 'you can't ask me that!'

Now I have three young children, I'm much more relaxed. I expect this type of question and I am pleasantly surprised if it doesn't come up. It's easier to answer honestly and truthfully knowing that if I suspect the company doesn't want to offer me the job because of my marital status or childcare responsibilities, for example then they are not the right employer for me.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Make up in Minutes

Now I am a mummy of three and a mature mum at that, I need a quick morning make up routine.

I have recently converted to mineral makeup and after reading online reviews I decided to use LILY LOLO mineral foundation in BLONDIE. I need to use a moisturiser underneath but I never expected a powder foundation to cover as well as a liquid one. I love it and the colour is extremely blendable so no tell tale tide marks.

STILA convertable colour is the only choice for cheek and lip colour in ROSE which leaves my skin looking fresh and flushed. A little goes a long, long way and my new morning routine means I'm up and ready to go in minutes.

Finally, I love BARE MINERALS make up. I have the eyeshadow in BAHAMAS and it is a lovely shimmering brown. The pale colour gives me a very natural look and I can add eyeliner for more definition if I feel the need.

Finish off with mascara and I'm good to go!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Education, education education!

I was interested to read that some professionals believe education should start at ages 6 or 7 especially as my tiny four year old started primary school last week.

Daughter one actually started primary school aged three and three months and I question whether this was too early. She only attended mornings but she was given homework every week and I had to sign a diary to say I had read the book with her and completed the tasks in her 'busy box'. I love the busy box. It's a small plastic container that holds little readable squares of card each printed with a letter or number. As a result, at 4 she can say the alphabet and count to 20. The school has one of the best results in the area with 98% pass rate in Maths and English.

So, imagine my dismay when we moved. I had to take daughter one out of my beloved chosen primary and she had to go to a less well performing school that only achieved 75%. I collected Daughter one from school that first day and asked, 'how was school?'

'It was fun!' she said, 'I want to go back every day!'

Of course this is the difference between the two schools. My preferred one is results driven and starts formal education at 3 so by the time the children start reception they are already a year ahead compared to most of their peers. This school focuses on structured play, we have homework but there is less of it and parents one have a term to do a project with her rather than a week. Play seems to be very important and Daughter one loves it. She said 'I could bang on the drums as loud as I wanted for as long as I wanted and nobody told me to stop.'

I'm glad she loves her new school. But I am thankful for the academic start she has had and although I want her to enjoy school I also want her to achieve. This is why I carry with the busy box and the reading books we had as homework at the old school in the hope I can prepare her  academically for the years ahead.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Magical things

I realised today that I look at my childhood story books with the same sentiment as I look my children's out grown baby clothes.

I was hunting around in the garage for my Hans Christian Andersen book of Fairy Tales to read to my four year old after her first day at school. I found it and with it were about twenty books my mother and grandmother used to read to me as a child and a few more that I always meant to read but never did. I found Little Women, Alice in Wonderland and loads of Enid Blyton books I had devoured as a child. My favourites were The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair but nothing could compare to the joy of reading Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales. I love The Little Match Girl and remember as child I cried at the end, not because she had died, but because of the wonderful magical images the lit match had revealed to her. Her last moments on this earth were truly magical and she had now found the love and warmth she had craved in heaven with her grandmother.

These are the memories my grandparents left me and now they are no longer here I want to create the same magical memories for my children that they created for me.

For a treat my mother used to cook and, like most children, I loved to use a wooden spoon to eat the remainder of the sugary eggy goo that would become a perfectly risen cake in the oven. I used to love crafts and art and was forever painting, gluing and adding glitter to paper on the dining room table.

I wonder if my children will be the same. Will a certain smell or taste will remind them of me? In spring I put hyacinth bulbs in my eldest daughters room and we watch them grow and bloom over a number of weeks until they eventually release their fragrant smell. Daffodils grow wild by the riverbank and we pick some and put them in her room. This summer was warm and lunches were often picnics in the garden and we would walk to the town always coming back through the park where daughter one would whizz down the wibbly wobbly slide while I guide the pushchair down the curling path.

This is what I want my children to remember. Not memories distorted by rose tinted glasses but real ones punctuated by fragrant smells and tastes, stories, fairy tales, make-believe and imagination. Magical memories that never fade.