My child is a teenager – what now?

My teenager

My teenager

Today, my eldest becomes a teenager. I clearly remember the day he came into this world, and still feel very blessed by his presence. He’s made us so proud already, I sometimes feel I will burst with pride.  So, what now?

Whilst we know that babies don’t come with manuals, that we have to learn how to parent, love and nuture, the same is true as children get older. The challenges get different within the family, not necessarily more difficult, but sometimes they are. We’ve learnt together how to deal with situations and set boundaries together. We’ve asked friends how to deal with certain issues. We’ve searched online for answers, and found some great places to read and share, including BeTeenUs.

What now?

We’ll I for one aren’t expecting behaviour, atttitude, or interests to change today. My youngest son would say the elder has been a teenager for a while now in outlook and attitude. So, what now?

  • Enjoy being with him as much as possible
  • Support him to use the talents he’s been given
  • Challenge his behaviour and attitude when it’s outside the framework we expect
  • Love him
  • Cuddle him as much as he’ll let me
  • Watch him grow up to be a lovely young man

What would you do/have you done with your teenage children?

Life moves on – a new chapter

There’s lots happening over here right now. “There always is”, I hear you cry! Well, yes, I guess.

Right now I’m changing the shape of the business to meet demands I hadn’t foreseen & using technology that didn’t exist a few months ago. I’m getting ready to step up to new challenges in the Bra Lady business by opening up training to anyone who wants to be a bra fitter and / or set up their own lingerie business. It’s all very exciting!

Ben-DaffodilDoddle14-smToday though could be a big step for my eldest son. As some of you know he’s very sporty and as a gifted and talented child in his first year at secondary school, we’ve got some decisions to make to support his next steps. We know life is full of paths and decisions which ones to take, but as a 12 year old, how do we help them make the ‘right’ decisions?

No. 1 has been offered an opportunity to be part of a coaching structure which we, as parents who’ve done quite a bit of research, believe will support his development in sport. It’s a big step though. His biggest fear, I think, is not knowing anyone. The decision is his to make, and if this opportunity isn’t right, we’ll search for something else that is.

I’d be interested to hear how you have helped your children make some of the ‘big decisions’ in their life.

For my teenage daughter and her friends

This was shared by a Mum I know with teenage daughters. I feel it’s relevant to any parent & child relationship. What do you think? Thanks to Lynne, @HonieBUK, who’s a busy Mum & blogs here.


You ARE beautiful – you don’t need a ‘like for looks’ to hear this
You ARE bright – even if some of your decisions are a bit misguided
You DO have my back – even when you do your best to cover up
You WILL make mistakes – just be sure to be with those you trust when you do

Yes, I have made mistakes, I have felt the way you do, I have lied to my parents and thought I knew best, I did think enough of myself to do the things I thought best for me……

I had some pretty bad friends and some that weren’t looking out for me.

But, I was very lucky to have good friends who were there to share these experiences with me and yes, they did watch my back…..

More importantly, there came a time when I realised that my parents, no matter how annoying, were right to nag me, right to keep on at me, to tell me the answers to my flippant “What the worst that could happen” and only now do I realise how unbelievably terrifying it is to ‘allow’ your Daughter to make mistakes and pray that she will have the same insight I did and the good friends I had to get me through my teenage years of thinking ‘I knew best’.

YOUR MUM IS NOT PERFECT – She has had years to experience, years to make mistakes, years to get over them, years to put things behind her, years to make the best of what she has, years to make things the best she can.

She also had her parents there to watch her do all of this and I’m grateful they were there.


2013 – here we go!

I know it’s the 19th January, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s only just getting going with 2013 ‘stuff’?


Not my diary – it’s got things already written in it!

I got all my diarys and planners ready early January, but they’re not yet completed. Are yours? I have spoken to the majority of the Bra Lady franchisees about their goals and plans for the year ahead, and I’ve thought about it. I just haven’t put pen to paper. Have you?

As you know, 2012 was a tough year, and some aspects of my weekly routines didn’t get done. I’ve spent the last few weeks getting up to date, so finally, today, I’m feeling like I’m ready to start & get going. Even the snow isn’t dampening my spirit!

This week we’ve accepted an offer on our house, seen somewhere we want to move to, and got the accounts up to date. The VAT return will be completed tomorrow, 10 days ahead of schedule. The boys have had a great start to the year with their athletic events. And, we’ve caught up with some family and friends we hadn’t seen for ages. Not bad for the first 19 days!

The smugness will be gone again once I start to write my plans down though! My head is working overtime with all the things I want to achieve this year – personal and business. It’s good though isn’t it? To feel so positive that you can put pen to paper and commit your ideas so that others may support, or question you? Being challenged is one of the most difficult things we face isn’t it? And when others challenge your goals and plans, how does that make you feel? Threatened? Pleased they’ve taken an interest?

Well, here’s my broad plan for Support4Women this year. I know I neglected it last year, but I’m in a better place for supporting you, so I hope you’ll join in & encourage others to support each other. I’m not looking at monthly themes, but themes that will run throughout the year with some guest posts from you. Yes YOU!

2013 Support4Women themes:

Getting & staying active – I really like the She Moves campaign that’s just started to encourage more women to get and stay active. I’ve had a personal journey to stay active, and this is continuing to help me with get fit & stay sane amongst all the ups and downs of life. I’d like to hear about your own experience of getting & staying active this year. If you’d like to share a monthly diary with us, let me know.

Transgender support – through my Bra Lady work, I’m increasingly meeting and supporting biological men become women, and all that entails. It’s bad enough learning about changing bodies when we’re born female with a mother or aunt to support us. How much more difficult it must be when a person is trapped in a male form and doesn’t have that basic support. If you’re going through the change, or are/have supported someone through this change, and are willing to share your experiences, please get in touch.

Small business support – over the year’s I’ve personally supported a lot of small businesses, and growing business through coaching, action learning sets and through the franchise business. This small business support, this year, will be further developed through regular articles for small businesses. If you’ve got ideas to share with those thinking about becoming self employed, or developing a small business, your views and ideas are most welcome.

Parenting – being a Mum of 2 very active boys, 1 of whom suffered at the hands of bullies last year, I’d like to share more parenting ideas and issues. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I always like to promote discussion. If we’re not prepared to look at issues from different angles, I’m not sure we can learn as individuals, or as parents. If you have parenting issues you’d like to share, please get in touch.

I think that’s enough, don’t you? There’ll be posts on cancer, community, volunteering, breastfeeding and maybe some about bras during the year. I’ve been asked to do some reviews, so they’ll fall into place somewhere along the way. I’m looking forward to sharing an eclectic mix of views, news and discussions to support you and your family during 2013.

Ours has started well, I hope yours has too? Please get in touch if you’ve got ideas, posts, reviews or discussions you’d like to share with others. You can also give me a nudge on twitter, or Facebook if those are your preferred ways to chat.

Picking yourself up

Sometimes we go through tough times. It may be work, family, friendships that cause us to be sad, or low. We may be watching someone die, or caring for someone who is poorly. It’s tough isn’t it?

But we also know whilst we’re doing what we need to do, that it has to come to an end somehow. We have to move on from a friendship that is hurting us; we know that our loved one is going to die and be released from their suffering, leaving us behind. So what can we do?

I’m not sure I’ve got the answers, but having gone through some tough times these last couple of years, all I can do is tell you what I’ve done to pick myself up and move on. We’re all different and cope with situations in different ways. The important thing I’ve learnt is to talk to other people, and find a something to focus on to get me through.

When my Mum died I thought I coped pretty well. I got on with organising and arranging and clearing out her things. It was only 6 months later that I knew I needed help to work through my grief. There was all sorts of emotions going on, and I don’t think I was helped by the fact my Dad started seeing another lady 3 months after Mum died. It’s been a lot to cope with!

I knew that bereavement counselling wasn’t what I needed, so I tried Reiki, with a spiritual healer. She’s been fab, and has helped me so much over the past few years to come to terms with the way of the world. She’s worked with me to ensure I focus on the things I can affect, and my own emotions. I no longer get angry when other people are doing things I can’t affect. It’s helped and has been reassuring.

The credit crunch has affected my business, along with every other business in the country in a dramatic way. My growth plan that started before Mum’s prognosis and the credit crunch meant that I was saddled with expensive premises just when sales halved. It’s taken time to get things straight, change strategy and develop a new way of working to support more women through the Bra Lady network, whilst generating a profit.

The thing I’ve learnt here is to keep trying different things. Don’t give up. If you know your business is needed within the market place, then you’ll find a way of developing it, however slowly. If you’ve got the energy and can afford to keep going with it, just do it. You’ll never be happy until you’ve tried to make it work. However difficult the economy is.

Family life is often challenging. As children grow up they want to do different things. As a parent you want to support them, and ensure they get as many opportunities to do different things. It’s got to the stage in our house that we want to give the boys those opportunities, but we have to work out a way of financially supporting that. For us, it wasn’t a difficult decision. We have a lovely old house that needs work doing to it, so we’ve decided to sell up and move on. What’s the point of having a house we can’t afford to be in, whilst the boys are missing out (and we’re missing out on watching them develop new interests)?

So, whilst the last few weeks have been extremeley challenging in so many ways, I’ve managed to pick myself up, dust myself off, and not quite start all over again, but certainly move on in all areas of my life. The next few months are going to be tough. Moving house and all that entails will be a challenge. But, now we’ve made the decision I feel lighter and more able to look at other parts of my life and put things in perspective.

We only get one chance at life. However tough life seems now, we do need to make the most of it. Use your support network to help you through, and choose some simple tasks to achieve each day. The bigger tasks and decisions will follow when the time is right. Small steps is all we can hope to achieve when we’re sad and upset. Those small steps though will help us move towards the sunshine that we want back in our lives.

I’ve got friends who are newly bereaved, and others are watching their loved ones suffer. I’ve got friends who are struggling with their businesses, or have seen their businesses taken away from them. My son’s friend’s Dad died at the weekend. It’s all around us this sadness and upset. But then we see a new born baby, or a beautiful flower or view, and we know we have to live in the here and now. We have to support our children to grow up and be able to cope with all that life will throw at them. My 10 year old son wrote this in a card he’s sending to his bereaved friend “We hope happiness will come back into your life soon.” .

Year Two – A Dad’s Journey

Daddy blogger Gavin McCann talks about his toddler’s jouney from one milestone to another…

A lot of guides to babies and toddlers arm you with the knowledge you need to get started in the first year or so of parenthood – to guide you through your first steps leading up to that point when your child takes theirs. But what then? Once you’ve gotten past your first year, what can you expect? As my daughter’s second birthday approaches, I’ve stopped to take a look at what’s gone on in the past year – the highs and lows, and what I guess most parents can expect from their children too. Continue reading

Reasons to go Cloth!

Helen Grounds from Petit Mom is a lover of cloth and tells you why you should consider it too!

Up to 500 Years in Landfills!
Did you know that 8 million disposable nappies in the UK go to landfills EVERY DAY? That’s a lot of nappies that can take as long as 500 years to decompose, yuck! As a cloth user I’m not putting my nappies into bins which then end up in landfills, I own them. Continue reading

How committed is your 7 year old?

This post has been brewing for a while now. I’d really welcome your views and comments, even though for us, the issue has resolved itself.

I don’t want to come across as anti-football & pro-other sports, so let me set some context for you.

No.2 son was 5 and in year 1 at school when his best friend asked if he wanted to play football on a Saturday morning. He went along and enjoyed running around kicking a ball, and he had fun with his friends for an hour. After 6 months the ‘team’ moved to an evening coaching session with matches on a Saturday, which no.2 wanted to do. It was all fun & they were all enjoying themselves, and we were fairly happy with the supportive nature that team sports give to a child’s development.

Both boys have always been active, and we’ve been able to let them try different sports and activities, without any plan for them to become experts in any area. For us their activities are about fun, learning, socialising and developing their bodies and outlook on life.

Last summer the ‘team’ got a lot more serious. Sponsors were found for kit & a website, and training was moved to an all weather pitch for the winter. Matches were arranged for Saturday mornings. All this was OK and no.2 enjoyed playing with his friends. He is very competitive, (as is no.1 son), so he relished the opportunity of the physical challenge of matches.

Football at u7 and u8 is non-competitive. Leagues only start at u9 age, and no.1 son has just completed his first season playing for the same club at that age. But there is non-competitive, and non-competitive isn’t there? The boys saw each Saturday as a match that counted – giving their all and getting upset when they lost. And we felt the coaches put pressure on the boys to feel like this.

We also started to have a problem when the main coach, also best friend’s Dad, quizzed no.2 about his non-availability at weekends. Now, I know we’re not alone in having family time at weekends. And my work does make it more complicated with training and Baby shows. With only 1 parent to ferry around, if our family/friends needed support, then OH couldn’t do the football run as well.

Our main problem was that coach was asking no.2 why he wasn’t available, not us! Now he is a bright 7 year old, but he’s not able to juggle the diary just yet! He obviously got upset that he wasn’t available for ‘his team’ and he started to feel that he was letting coach down. We didn’t. When the boys were away for 2 weekends with their Grandpa at half term we felt this was good use of their time. What do you think? One whole week with Grandpa = 2 missed games of 40 minutes football.

As time has gone on, there have been lots of little things that we, as parents, were getting more uncomfortable with about this u7 ‘team’. And that’s just is UNDER 7! Yes, no.2 was chosen to have some extra coaching with Liverpool Football Club Development Centre. But after 6 months he got bored and wanted to move on. He also started athletics when he was 7 and really loves the variety that it offers – running, jumping and throwing. What more could a little boy want to do, (get muddy I guess I’d add to that list!).

And when no.2 said “I can’t do that as I’ll be chucked out of the team”, the alarm bells really rang for us. Do you REALLY have to be committed to a team at age 7?

Well, there are lots of people that want that, and are happy to fit into this structure. We weren’t, but were really struggling with our own feelings and what was best for no.2. I was going to write this and ask advice, but as I said before, it’s resolved itself!

We had to ask both boys what activities they wanted to carry on with in September, as the football clubs have to register all their players ready for the next season. No.2 said “Athletics”. There’s a running night the same night as football training, and he wants to go to that instead of being part of the team. We’ve found some Saturday morning football ‘Come and Play’ sessions that he can attend, with different school friends, so he’ll still be doing as much. Just in a different way.

His friends are devastated – crying to their parents. Most of his friends only play football. Coach can’t fathom our outlook on life, and I guess we struggle with his – football is everything and you should practice all day everyday to improve. We’ve had a real problem with him insisting that his son brings a football to school to practice everyday. This child is the one who cries when his team loses.

Yes, for some people football/one sport or activity is everything. I’m not saying we have it right. But surely a balanced activity schedule to support a balanced school education is going to support our children’s development? Not a “one size fits all” approach? And to say to your child that you HAVE to attend training & matches for the next year….is that right at age 7?

When we were discussing this, neither my husband nor I remember playing competitive sport until late primary school. The boys have taken part in far more competitive sport than we ever had at their age. We’re not saying competition is wrong. We think it was the commitment expected at that age that wasn’t right for us.

For completeness, no.2 now does: Beavers, swimming lessons, and athletics twice a week, with a Football session on a Saturday. No.1 is part of local swimming club, football club, athletics once a week and Cubs.

What’s your view? Have you experienced something similar? Be interested to hear what you think.

Apologies for the length of this, but wanted to get all the issues into the open for a full discussion. And as I said…it’s been brewing!

Mums In Biz – Leaping Onto The Lilypad

Today’s blog is from Donna Pinnell, founder of Little Lilypad Co – a business so family oriented even her 6 year old daughter pitches in….

My name is Donna and I love shopping! (This is a little like going to AA for business mums!) I have always said that I wanted to run my own business but with work commitments, a family, a home to run and (sometimes) a social life – who has the time to set one up? Continue reading