Sunday, 21 October 2012

Nothing but the tooth



My daughter has a wobbly tooth and so do all her school friends. So, once again, I find myself making little Tooth Fairy friends - felt molars, with faces and accessories, and a little pocket on the back for those tiny little milk teeth. And of course, there's room for a shiny coin from that generous fairy.

You wouldn't believe the pickle I get into over characters like the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas. Honesty is all in my world. And I'm also a terrible cynic. But I have gone along with the big 'lies' of childhood because something (Conformity? Tradition? My mom?) tells me I should. But I'm just dreading that moment when the penny drops and my once innocent child looks at me, all betrayed, and vows never to believe another word I say. I've spent way too long imagining this exact scenario. Their little brains working, their big hearts I go again.
I should just stop over thinking this right now and busy myself with something. I have loads to do. Father Christmas will be here before I know it!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Should I get paid to stay at home with my kids?

First up I must state that this is not a post that in any way sits comfortably within the realms of 'mummy wars' or whatever other patronising term is used by the media every time a person has something to say on the subject of child rearing, work, breast feeding etc.

I've just been reading a bit lately about parenting and working and you know, the sort of stuff that is designed to make you think. And I've been thinking.

So now I'm writing, as much for myself as you. Just to see where I'm at really. So, I had a child eight years ago and made a decision not to return to the freelance TV world. I didn't always expect to have children. He came as a bit of a shock actually. But I did know that if I ever did have children I would not be a working mum. Although I knew there would be a lot of work involved in bringing up a child, and that is how I've looked at it over the years to be honest. I have a job to do. To raise a child. Or children, in fact, because I went and had another one 5 years ago, at a time when we were in a mess financially, my husband struggling to launch a new business in a recession. But I am in the lucky position of having a husband who loves and respects me and went along with my decision to give up a steady income (and a good income at that) so that I could be the one who took on the main carer role in the early years of our children's lives. It could have been him who stayed at home. We talked about that. But maybe he's more driven in terms of wanting to achieve things in the field of paid employment/career. If I'm honest nothing would have stopped me being at home full-time with the kids. I love it. And more than that, I feel it's what I am supposed to do.

But there are sacrifices. I'm not talking here about a loss of career, ambition, connection to the real world or friendships. The sacrifice for me has been purely financial. While successive governments are constantly striving to provide low cost child care and get women back to work the stay at home parent gets nothing. And so there's no choice for a lot of people. If they cannot afford to stay home, they won't. But for many working parents, I know, child care costs are the biggest expense they face, and it only gets higher the more children you have. But let's face it, the teenage nursery nurse or veteran childminder with 30 years experience aren't reaping the financial benefits. They're only getting close to minimum wage usually. And I don't think the kids are gettinig much out of it either. So why not just give parents the choice. Get paid to stay at home and look after your own kids or choose childcare and benefit from help with the costs if necessary. If people have a choice, can actually make decisions about their lives like the adults they are, I'm sure there'd be many more happy parents and the knock on effect? More happy children.

There are many issues here, and I'd welcome your comments or even a debate. I just feel we've lost something. And we need to start thinking differently about how we do things. Especially the big things. How we care for our elderly and sick. How we educate our children. How we eat and how we spend. And somehow we need to find the time to do all of this thinking, and then turn it into action. Because while we're all so busy working hard and often struggling to balance our finances, time, emotions, other people are making decisions. And I'm pretty sure they're the wrong people and the wrong decisions.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Toasty and warm

That's the vibe I'm going for at this year's Bearwood Handmade Christmas fairs. We (Crafty Muthas) are organising two dates again, 24th November and 8th December and we'll be filling Bearwood's St Mary's Church Hall with talented makers and bakers. My table this year is going to be all about warmth, coziness and making you and your home nice and toasty this winter. I'm starting with patch worked draft excluders. Got some lovely recycled and scavenged bits of materials and I'm aiming for a slightly smaller, more stylish draft excluder.

Also, hot water bottle covers. With hot water bottles inside! Got very excited when my shipment of red, natural rubber bottles arrived last week. I'm using pure felted wool (upcycled jumpers) to make cosy covers for these. Everyone needs a hot water bottle. You can cut down on your heating costs and warm your toes wherever you are. Although I like to put mine on my belly. Where do you put yours?