Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Please don't judge me for being a single parent

I have been a single mother for a few years now and in that time I overheard some very disturbing  comments being made against people in my situation. I try not to listen to them because I know that they are untrue and that single parents should be regarded as super-heros as it is one of the hardest jobs in the world, especially if like me you have no family around to help with child care. 

Maybe you're a single parent too or if you are not, chances are you know one. The biggest things that single parents deal with is feeling alone and misunderstood. I also feel left out/different. Single parenting is lonely and I admit I have to fight daily with feelings of jealously towards 'happy' families and that feeling like you're not worth being loved. Everyone around me seems to be in a happy relationship and I am always the single one at the table during family meals out. 

It is easy to judge someone before knowing their story and background. There is always a good reason why a person is in the situation they are in today so it bugs me that people are so quick to make assumptions nowadays. Nobody likes to be judged, labelled and misunderstood, it's a horrible feeling. It is easy to say to me that I always look sad and begin to list a ton of things that I have gone wrong in my life. I know what went wrong and there is no need to judge me for the mistakes I have made. There is also no need to make assumptions. Yes, both my children are from the same father (a question I have been asked many times), yes I was in a happy stable relationship with a good career when I made the decision to have children, and no I didn't ask/want to be a single mum. Please please don't judge, judging people doesn't help anyone. 

I know that there are thousands of single parents out there and I am so glad to have been able to meet others in similar situations to me through blogging. It why I still want to carry on and I really value all the support and encouragement I get when times are hard.


 I wanted to list a few common assumptions people tend to make towards me as a single mum:

- I am desperate to find a guy, one with a fat wallet, because I just can't be without a partner. Oh and some have even presumed that I want to steal their husbands because I am so desperate. It is also unfair to say that I need a man in my life to be happy. When people say 'why aren't you putting the effort in on the dating websites?' it makes me feel like I am letting them down. Why do I need to be in a relationship? In my opinion, I am better off as a single parent. 

- Assume that I am so extremely poor that I cannot pay my side of the bill when we all eat out/stop for a coffee together. Also its kind of not OK to tell me that I shouldn't be buying myself and the children new clothes, having days outs, taking a trip to the theatre, and that I should be limiting trips to the supermarket. Nobody wants to discuss their personal finances and have people tell them how to manage them unless they are working for the bank of course. 

- Some people think the complete opposite to the last point which is that I am rolling in tons of money because I get CSA and benefits. This really bugs me because its far from the truth. I don't get a lot from the government and hardly anything from CSA. When I tell people the amount of help I actually get from CSA they tend to be horrified. 

- I don't work and I just sit on my bum all day watching Jeremy Kyle with a bag full of cookies. Actually I do work, yes it's only part time but I don't think we could have the lifestyle we have today if i didn't work. When I get home I wish I could fall onto the sofa but there is just so much to do that I don't normally sit down until the children go to bed. Just because I am a single parent that doesn't mean  I am lazy. 

- I sleep about because I have two children with no father around. This is what I feel like people think of me all the time when in fact I haven't had a partner in two years and that was my husband. I have never had a one night stand and I was in loving relationship when the children were born. Unfortunately relationships break down through differences, not all are because one partner was unfaithful. My relationship broke down because it was better for the children to separate. 

- Single mums can't be hired because of their demanding lifestyles and family responsibilities. My previous employer hated me for being a single mum and made life difficult for me. I left because of the discrimination I felt and I wasn't the only mum there who felt forced to hand in their notice. When I went for interviews for a new job, many employers expressed their concern that I was a single mum and so wouldn't be able to fulfil their expectations for new employees. I guess they felt I was going to take so much time off, be unable to work shift patterns or be too tired to work my best. I think this is extremely unfair because parents know hard work/long hours and want to work to provide a good life for their children.

- A single mum's child will grow up to be a menace to society. This statement can be true for children growing up in both single parent homes or two parent homes. There are so many examples where children have come from single parent homes and have gone on to succeed in life. Just because their parents are no longer together, that doesn't mean that they are going to fail in life. Single parents are able to love and nurture their children just like married couples can. 

I know this was a bit of a long rant but I just wanted to get all my anger out onto a blog post about how I have been treated these past few years. Hopefully this post will relate to other single parents out there and encourage them to ignore any negative assumptions they might experience along their journey. 

Have you heard any assumptions lately about single parents that you feel should be put to rest? 


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Monday, 27 July 2015

30/52 25th July

This weeks portraits for Living arrows were taken during a day out in Plymouth on Saturday. We avoided the city and headed to the waterfront to check out all the classic sail boats that were moored up for the weekend. The harbour was packed full of people but we still managed to have a lovely time. 

“You are the bows from your children as living arrows are sent forth" Kahlil Gibran
30/52

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plymouth, plymouth barbican, blogger, hearld, fun, devon, holidays, photography, lifestyle blogger, review, top blogger,
lemons, sour, face, portraits, waterfront, plymouth, barbican, food, relaxing, devon, chilling, parent blogger, family blogger,  living arrows, photography,
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Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Sunday photo

plymouth marine aquarium, turtle, sealife, blogger, parent blogger

This weeks sunday photo was taken at the national marine aquarium in Plymouth. It was fairly dark in there so apologies for the grainy photo but this is Snorkel the loggerhead turtle, a favourite amongst everyone who visits the aquarium. She was rescued 25 years ago after being washed up on the beaches of Cornwall but was too ill to be released back into the wild. She is blind in one eye and has a deformed shell so she cannot swim very well but she is definitely a beauty. 

Linking up to my sunday photo. 

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Monday, 20 July 2015

29/52: Happy Birthday Tom

Dear Thomas,

On Sunday you turned Seven! I can't believe it's been seven years since the midwives handed me another beautiful and precious little angel. You were a spitting image of your big brother and you still are. Your birth was exhausting and wasn't without complications but when I first held you in my arms, everything was forgotten, it was love at first sight. You were a good baby, you didn't cry too much and seemed content to sit in your chair staring at your big brother running around you. But then you learned to crawl and climb and we noticed what an  amazing personality you were developing. You were a little explorer (and still are) and love to get into everything. You were hilarious and always had everyone in fits of laughter. One thing I really love about you Thomas is how much you love me. You loved and still love our mummy and son cuddle time. My favourite memories will always be you and I on the sofa reading together surrounded by all your teddies who never left your side. 
throwback, photography, son, mother and son

You're about to leave infant school and head to junior school. You have so many friends and I am sure you will be fine. Everyone you meet absolutely loves you and I couldn't be more proud of my confident little ball of energy. All your school reports boast how smart you are and your teachers tell me they love having you in their class. I just know you are going to so well in the rest of your school years. 

I know that you will change as you grow up, but I hope some part of you always stays as you are now, sweet, funny, loving, inquisitive, and excited about everything. I am so blessed to be able to call you my son and I just know Alfie loves being your big brother. You two are the best of friends and I hope you always will be. You and your brother have made the my world worth living.

I hope you are able to achieve your dreams and live the life you deserve. Right now, it's your ambition to become a zoo keeper. I think you would be perfect. You are so loving and caring towards animals, you only want to watch animal planet on TV and all the neighbour hood pets come running to you and only you for lots of cuddles. But if your dreams do not work out for you, just know that I will always be there to support you and help you back on the right path. 

So happy Seventh birthday baby boy. I hope I made it special for you. We had a fantastic day out at your favourite theme park, Woodlands on the Saturday and Granddad came to take you for fish and chips on the beach on Sunday. You were smiling and giggling the whole weekend and I hope you will remember the fun you had for many years to come. I also hope you enjoyed your birthday cake which Alfie insisted he gave to you.

I Love you Thomas. Happy birthday. x

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happy birthday, minions birthday cake, jurassic world
happy birthday, living arrows
smiles, harry, alfie, son, thomas, dinosaur, fashion, h&m, minions, laugh, fun, photo, wish,


Living Arrows
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
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Saturday, 18 July 2015

My Sunday Photo


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OneDad3Girls
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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Through my child's eyes #17

Hello and welcome back to Through my child's eyes, the link up for mini photographers and artists. The link up was started when my eldest son Alfie started to show an interest in photography. He wanted me to put his photos on my blog and also he wanted to see if other children like to take photos too. The Linky will run from Thursday to Saturday, so plenty of time to link up your posts. 
link up, parent blogger, blogger,

This weeks 'Through my child's eyes' has a dinosaur theme. At the moment, both boys are obsessed with dinosaurs after seeing the film Jurassic world. They are always playing with their giant dinosaur models in the garden, recreating fight scenes from the film. In Alfie's photos the T-rex was hiding in the long grass and as the triceratops and stegosaurus walked past, then he pounces on them like a cat. 

link up, parent blogger, dinosaur, t-rex, jurassic, mini photographer
link up, jurassic world, parent blogger, family, blog,
link up, dinosaurs, toys, parent, review, photography, mini,

The Linky 

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your children's artwork or photos, with or without words is fine
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Saturday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #throughmychildeyes and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Feel free to link your Instagram photos too
  • Enjoy working together

I look forward to seeing the photos and artwork your children have created recently. Please help me make #throughmychildseyes a success by sharing the link up across your social media and by adding my badge to your posts.

Through my child's eyes




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Why I love having sons

I really love having my two boys and I definitely feel extremely blessed to have them in my life. I love their energy, their playfulness, and how loving they are. I will admit I used to wish for a little girl but my shop is closed. The doctor confirmed my children were miracles and I was lucky to have fallen pregnant twice with the condition that I have. I may never have anymore children but I am fine with that. My boys are all I need and besides I have nieces and a little sister that I can spoil with all those gorgeous pink frilly dresses I see in the shops. So instead of dwelling on the daughter I may never have, I want to list all the amazing things my boys bring to my life. 

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1.  Quick to get ready in the mornings

There is no need for french braids, neat buns, or pig tails tied up with a ribbon with boys. This is great  for a mum who struggles to make her own hair look acceptable for work let alone someone elses. The boys hair sometimes doesn't even need to be touched as I like to keep it short unless its picture day and then I might spend two seconds rubbing some gel into it. Also boys don't care about what they are wearing. You just have to throw them a t-shirt, pair of jeans and a pair of trainers and off you go. As a young girl I remember stressing out over what to wear to non-uniform days, school discos, and clubs. Boys just want to be comfortable, they are not interested in impressing anyone with their latests fashions. I have heard this might change when they are teenagers though, something to look forward to. 

2. Lots of cuddles

My boys never stop moving, they are just so full of energy but when that energy does start wearing off in the evenings, its cuddle time. My youngest boy is especially the most soppiest little thing you will ever meet. Boys really do love their mums. I know all children love their mums regardless of gender but I do now see why the term 'mummy's boy' is so frequently said. Both of my boys love to fight over who sits on my lap for a bedtime story and get upset when mummy gives the other brother more night time kisses than they received. One day they might tell me that they are too old for kisses and became a little distant but I know we will always have that special mother and son bond. 

3. The muddy adventures

It is perfectly acceptable to be running around the fields covered head to toe in mud, holding worms in their hands while fighting to keep their trousers up because their pockets are so full of stones. I am a self confessed tom boy so I love going into the woods to hunt for that perfect tree to climb, looking for bugs and building dens with the boys. 

4. The toys

I have always preferred boys toys over girls, I just think they are so much cooler. Having sons is the perfect excuse to build giant lego structures, play with dinosaurs, push around fire trucks/ambulances, shoot each other with nerf guns and play with all the avengers action figures. There is also the fact boys are just so much fun to be around. Alfie and Tom love to dress up in costumes and create scenarios where one will be the good guy and the other the bad guy. They will hide behind trees with their giant water pistols, jump off low walls, attempt a stunt roll, and just randomly break dance when they catch each other. Boys can be quite fascinating to watch. 

5. Creating gentleman

I have a very important job to ensure that my boys grow up to be respectful gentleman. I have to teach them to be men but tell them it's OK to express your feelings. I want my sons to know how to treat others and to have confidence in themselves. I want to teach them about how hard work is rewarding and that their dreams are possible. Also, I want them to know that I will support them in what ever decisions they make in life and that I will always be there for them. I have years until that dreaded day where they fly the nest and I am no longer needed but for now I hope I will create kind, loving, and respectful gentleman. 

What is your favourite thing about having a son? 

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Living Arrows 28/52: Portraits


This week for Living arrows I decided to have a go at taking some photos indoors rather than our usual outdoor shots . Due to the weather, we decided to stay indoors and relax, something we haven't done in a long time and very much needed.  

“You are the bows from your children as living arrows are sent forth" Kahlil Gibran
28/52


living arrows, photography, brothers, siblings,
photography, portraits, fun, brothers, love, siblings,
Living Arrows
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Sunday, 12 July 2015

My sunday photo: Flying high

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Linking up to My sunday photo with One Dad 3 Girls
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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Through my child's eyes #16

Hello and welcome back to Through my child's eyes, the link up for mini photographers and artists. The link up was started when my eldest son Alfie started to show an interest in photography. He wanted me to put his photos on my blog and also he wanted to see if other children like to take photos too. The Linky will run from Thursday to Saturday, so plenty of time to link up your posts. 
photography, lego, link up, parent blogger, british, uk, england, childrens photography,

This week for 'Through my child's eyes' Alfie decided he wanted to take his two favourite lego mini figures on an adventure in the garden. He made up stories for them, pretending that both had to stand watch on top of the flowers and prepare for an incoming invasion from the neighbours cat. One of the figures kept falling down as you can see below but I still think his photos are beautiful. The colours in the flowers really stand out and Alfie especially couldn't be more happy with his photographs. 

lego, geek, mini figure, photography, blue flowers
lego, mini figure, ninja, ninjago, parent, blogger, photography


The Linky 

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your children's artwork or photos, with or without words is fine
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Saturday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #throughmychildeyes and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Feel free to link your Instagram photos too
  • Enjoy working together

I look forward to seeing the photos and artwork your children have created recently. Please help me make #throughmychildseyes a success by sharing the link up across your social media and by adding my badge to your posts.

Through my child's eyes



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Monday, 6 July 2015

27/52: Covered in sand

This weeks portraits for Living arrows were taken during our beach trip on Saturday. The weather has been unkind to us the past few weekends but saturday finally brought us enough warmth to head to our favourite beach in Cornwall. 

“You are the bows from your children as living arrows are sent forth" Kahlil Gibran
27/52
 
whitsand bay, beach, cornwall, beauty, view, parent blogger, plymouth
splash, parent blogger, living arrows
game, beach games, action shot, photography, blogger, whitsand bay, cornwall,
beach, beach life, cornwall, blogger, living arrows, photography, portrait
childhood
brothers, siblings, blogger, parent, cornish, cornwall, beach life,

 I loved our time on the beach together. We had such a fantastic day at Whitsand bay, the sun and sand was just what we needed. We have included photos from this beach before in our weekly portrait project which you can see here. This post has been one of my most viewed so I thought another would be welcome. Saturday was a little different than our previous trip, we spent less time in the sea due to a sudden influx of purple jelly fish washing up on the beach. The boys were petrified of getting stung despite the life guard informing us that the sting is just like a slight brush of nettles. Instead the children discovered a few pools dotted about in the sand which they had great fun laying and splashing about in.  By the end of the day and after building many sandcastles, the boys were literally covered head to toe in sand. All the photos were taken on my I phone hence the low quality as I just cant risk taking my camera to the beach but I am pretty happy with how they turned out.  
Living Arrows

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Saturday, 4 July 2015

My Sunday Photo: Jumping over the waves


On Saturday we spent our afternoon at the local beach. My youngest son, Tom loves the water so spends most of his time splashing in the sea. For this weeks 'My Sunday Photo' I decided to try a few action shots and this is one of my favourites. Jumping over the waves as they come into shore used to be one of my favourite things to do as a child and I love that the boys do it too.

action shot, photography, my sunday photo, cornwall, mummy blogger, parent blogger, mom,

Linking up to My Sunday Photo
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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Through my child's eyes #15

Hello and welcome back to Through my child's eyes, the link up for mini photographers and artists. The link up was started when my eldest son Alfie started to show an interest in photography. He wanted me to put his photos on my blog and also he wanted to see if other children like to take photos too. The Linky will run from Thursday to Saturday, so plenty of time to link up your posts. 
Jurassic world, dinosaurs, link up, photography, parent blogger, mini photographers

This weeks set of photos for Through my child's eyes was a fun one to shoot. Alfie and Thomas had this amazing idea to dress up as Owen and the Velociraptor Blue from Jurassic World and then head off to the woods to chase each other around the trees just like in the film. I gave Alfie my camera and asked him to snap away at Thomas, pretending that the camera shoots out nets. Unfortunately there was some issue and all but the photos below came out very blurry. I think the camera I lent him was just a little too heavy but he did a good job considering. 

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peek, woods, trees, dinosaur,
Dinosaur, mum and son, parent blogger, pr, giveaway, friend, best friend, into the woods,

And  finally one that I managed to capture of the boys to show much fun they had:

owen, recreate, recreation, velociraptor, trex, Jurassic world


The Linky 

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your children's artwork or photos, with or without words is fine
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Saturday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #throughmychildeyes and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Feel free to link your Instagram photos too
  • Enjoy working together

I look forward to seeing the photos and artwork your children have created recently. Please help me make #throughmychildseyes a success by sharing the link up across your social media and by adding my badge to your posts.
Through my child's eyes





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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

How I am trying to get back my love of blogging

I will be honest and say that for the past two months my love of blogging has disappeared. I haven't been able to put as much love and work into this site as I should be. There are a few reasons why but I think a loss of confidence is the main culprit. I read a lot of blogs and the standard of writing lately just amazes me. With my life as it is now and my brain not as intelligent as it used to be, I keep telling myself that there is no way you will ever be able to compete with everyone else. Life has been getting in the way a lot too. I have been trying to date/failing at dating, spending my free afternoons in the gym, and attempting to improve my home which seems to be falling apart at the moment. Also I think I am just feeling a little uninspired lately and I guess with any hobby we all go through these stages of boredom. 
This week I have been working really hard to get my self back into the blogging world that I love so much and back into the community that continues to inspire and support me everyday. I know I must not be the only one who goes through stages like this so I thought I would share some of the ways I am trying to get back my love of blogging. This is kind of a part two to my previous post: 'How to stay motivated to blog' which you can see here. 
 

Avoid looking at Statistics and scores

It is easier said than done and I put my hands up and say that I became obsessed with checking my alexia rank, my klout score, and daily page views as well as the monthly Tots100 scores. I needed to know if they were dropping, steady or improving. I have recently stopped myself from checking because I felt like I needed to see that statistics are not what blogging is about, its how writing and sharing my life with others in similar situations makes me feel. Bad scores can be the top reason why many bloggers quit and quitting something has always been what I have done best but I am fighting to not be that person anymore. I keep telling myself the reason why I started this blog and that reason was not to have better statistics than everyone else. 

Take a short break

If you find yourself writing and publishing posts that you are not happy with because you felt rushed or stressed, then its probably time to step away for a little while. Do not feel pressure to publish a post every day because everyone else is doing it, you should feel proud of the content you are producing. If your non-internet life is getting too on top of you then I find it best to make sure that I get everything done first before sitting back down at my desk. It's so much easier to blog with a clear mind.
 

Don't waste time

When I can't think of anything to write, I find myself easily distracted and just generally not focused on why I turned my computer on in the first place. It is so easy to browse through peoples twitter conversations, click through peoples blogs for a nosey, watch the latest youtube videos and get sucked into a series on Netflix. As a working single mum, my time at the computer is precious and so I really should be using what little time I have finding inspiration, researching and writing. There is an app out there called Focus booster which blocks you from visiting time wasting sites for a certain period of time which I must start making use of.

Blog when everyone else is asleep

This is probably not for everyone but I have seen on twitter that a few fellow bloggers only blog at night time just like I do. You may have noticed that the majority of my posts get published at midnight and this is because I find it easier to write when the kids are asleep. It so difficult for me to blog during the day when there's so much going on and the children are screaming in my ear every five minutes. I'm much more relaxed and focused at night-time. I like the peace and quiet and I can fully focus on my blog.
 

Blogging somewhere new

I have recently discovered how productive I can be if I blog outside of my usual environment. There are so many distractions in my home and it can be really difficult to get any work done. Recently, I have started to take my laptop down to my local cafĂ© and I really wish I had done this a lot sooner. Sitting in a room with other people who are relaxing with a paper or also busy working away on their laptops really does help. You see them working hard and then you may feel pressure to do the same, it can also make you feel like you are at work therefore you wouldn't want to slack off.

 
So there are a few suggestions which will hopefully, if like me, help you to get back your love of blogging. I will leave you with an amazing quote I recently saw on twitter 'When you want to give up, remember all the people who want to see you fail' and that for me is aimed at the people who laugh/smirk/roll their eyes when I tell them about my blog. Blogging is tough and you should be proud to call yourself a blogger not embarrassed to tell the world what you do.

Gem
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