How to tackle the challenges of parenting

Being a mum to two boys, aged 9 and 13, who are very different can be challenging. All sorts of issues come up day to day and most of the time I know how to tackle them, but occasionally we'll come up against a challenge and we're (the Hubby and I) struggling to come up with an answer. It's not really the fact that they're both boys, or their ages, that causes the problems, it's that they're children and even as their parents we are learning how to tackle the challenges that actually being parents throws at us.

When you become a parent you don't realise how tough it's going to be. There's things you have to decide from the moment your baby is born, and choices and decisions have to be made continually for years!

As a (somewhat) experienced stay-at-home mum I've had my fair share of challenges to deal with and below I'm discussing some of them and how you can try to tackle the challenges of parenting.



Bickering


All  siblings bicker. Whether you have children who are 1 and 2 or teens who are 16 and 17, they will bicker. I've even know the Hubby's brothers to bicker and they're adults! And to be honest it's not usually a problem, bickering can mostly be ignored. But sometimes all they do is bicker, minute after minute, day after day, and that's when you have to do something.

My boys, BP (who is 13) and LP (who is 9) bicker ALL THE TIME. I think they're at that age when they just annoy one another no matter what they do. BP towers over LP, in fact he towers over me now at 5' 10'' he's a tall lad. The problem with this is that he still feels like he has to retaliate when LP kicks him. Now if LP has kicked first he obviously gets into trouble, but when BP retaliates and LP ends up in tears I get angry. Mainly because we've told BP hundreds (if not thousands!) of times that he's too big to be hitting or kicking LP. He is too big to be fighting back and when he does LP gets hurt. But at the same time LP provokes him.


Boys fighting, another one of the challenges of parenting - how do you tackle them?


It's a constant battle. I end up as the bad guy either way because someone is being punished and then they bond over how evil I am!

When siblings bicker you have to play referee, watching over them and punishing the one that starts it. Usually though everyone needs to be punished because they've both (or all) been doing something to annoy the other.



When your child won't talk to you


BP turned 13 last August and he's been becoming more and more of a teen throughout the year. We've had tantrums, yelling, even tears. I wrote a while ago about how my teen won't talk to me, he keeps secrets and thoughts to himself but still expects us to know what he's thinking and feeling. It's quite a minefield.

I know teens don't like to talk to their parents, I certainly didn't when I was a teenager, but as a parent it is so frustrating. Particularly when I know something is bothering him.


A teen walks away from the camera along a footpath in the woods. Getting teens to talk is just one of the challenges of parenting.


Trying to get BP to talk about anything is a job in itself, the only thing I've found helpful so far is to catch him off guard - like when we're in the car alone together. I'm not looking right at him because I have to watch the road and he seems to open up a little more. I've read how teens prefer to not look at the people they're talking to (or maybe I just made that up! I don't remember!) - particularly parents - because they feel like they're under scrutiny when you look at them and try to talk. Which is why it makes sense that BP tends to talk more when we're in the car.

Some parents don't have this problem, their teens do talk to them and share their thoughts and that's great, but for those of us that struggle - getting our teens into a situation where they might open up a little is wonderful. I've been trying to think of ways BP and I can go in the car together for ages just to see if he'll open up again!



Privacy


When I was growing up, particularly during my teenage years when my parents were going through a divorce, I kept everything to myself. My privacy was important to me and I even had a lock on my bedroom door, which I kept locked anytime I wasn't in it. My parents had no idea what was going on in my life, or what was going on in my head. I'm sure it was a terrifying time for them.

The Hubby and I try to respect our boys' boundaries while still being parents and taking care of them.

Phones, tablets, the internet, there are scary things that happen these days so we have to keep an eye on things. But we also have to respect that there are some things they'd rather we didn't know. It's a tight rope we have to walk and sometimes that's very hard.

Because BP has a phone we can track his location and I've used it a few times when I've been worried about him not being home at a particular time. Like when he goes to a Youth Club in an evening and wants to walk home, I know to expect him home at a time and when he's running late I worry. Being able to check his location is very reassuring and I don't think it infringes on his privacy because I don't immediately text him to tell him he needs to be home. As long as I know where he is, and that he's safe, I'm good.

With LP it's a little different because he's only 9 so doesn't have a phone yet. But saying that he doesn't go out alone yet, so I don't really have to worry about that. But I do know that's coming, he's starting to talk about walking to school on his own and even taking his bike with him. I'm certainly  not ready for that yet!

Privacy is something that we need to tackle as if it were us - how would we feel if someone were constantly checking everything we did? With my boys that's how I see their privacy, but obviously use my discretion if I think something is wrong. It's a judgement call.



Respect


Respect goes two ways - if I don't show BP respect then he won't show me any right? The problem comes when I go out of my way to be respectful to his thoughts and feelings but he doesn't do the same. Obviously I know he's a teen and is learning, but when respect is missing I have to teach him.





Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. 

Plato




With this one all you can do is teach by example, talk to your children, and hope they listen.



Obsessions


For LP it's football (playing not watching), and for BP it's YuGiOh - for anyone who doesn't know it's an anime style TV show but there's loads of other things relating to it too. Games on the iPad, cards to collect, TV series and even Mac games - it's everywhere.

LP tends to play football for a while and then gets bored and moves onto other things. We've found that there aren't enough hours in the day for all the different things LP wants to do. For BP though he tends to focus on one thing for hours on end. YuGiOh takes over his life and if he's not playing on the iPad he's playing with his cards. Or creating his own cares. Or watching the TV show. Or playing on the Mac. Everywhere I look there's YuGiOh.

While I don't mind them taking an interest in something spending so much time (all day every day!) on just one thing can be damaging. In this case I have to be the bad guy again and tell him to move on. Obviously I want to give him some time on the thing he likes but spending all his time on it is not healthy.



Lies


I don't mind little white lies but when my boys start doing things they shouldn't and lie about it it's time to tackle the problem. I've always tried to emphasise that the truth is more important, using "I won't get mad if you tell the truth" when asking them about something. It's not easy of course, not getting mad when they do something you've told them not to, but getting the truth out of them is more important.


A woman puts her finger over her lips, signifying silence.


At the moment I can mostly tell if LP lies to me, sometimes I'm unsure and he may be lying to me but I hope that he knows. BP is a little more difficult to read because he's always quiet anyway. Add that to the fact that he's a teen and has a natural tendency to keep secrets even about the small stuff and it's a difficult parenting time.

My boys get punished more if they lied to me about something and then get found out, than if they'd told the truth in the first place. We punish the lying, not the thing they did.

As a parent I know that my children will lie to me, and that it will only get harder to judge whether they're telling the truth. But also as a parent I know that teaching "honesty is the best policy" is important - I want my children to grow up being mostly honest.



Punishments


Working out what punishment to give and how severe it should be is something we have to do constantly. More so as the children get older.

They need to know when they've done something wrong, but at the same time you don't want to go too far. Knowing how and when to punish (or not) your children is one of those things no one tells you how to do.

At the moment my go-to punishment is to do with the boys' games. If they do something wrong they'll get a day of no games. The punishments scale depending on the thing they need to be punished for. The latest punishment BP has had is no technology for 2 weeks. That may sound harsh, I'm not sure I could even cope with that, but it's the last in many punishments for something he's doing again and again. I'm hoping that this time he will pay attention and NOT DO THE THING.

When I was growing up our punishments were groundings - we couldn't go out with friends - and that was a big deal back then. It's what I did most of the time and hated being grounded. For both BP and LP they don't really play out with friends because we live in a small village and their friends live more than a mile away. Groundings would never work on them because they don't go out! That's why I had to resort to the no technology punishment. It's tough, and I do hate doing it, but it's necessary.

What punishments do you use?



So how do you tackle the challenges of parenting?


Unfortunately, as I think you've already guessed, it's all a judgement call. You know your children, you know what punishments they will respond to and you know how they feel about respect and privacy. As much as I hate saying it, no one can tell you how to do it, because it's all about you and your children.

That's what's so terrifying about parenting.

It's like looking for something in the dark. You're blinded and have no idea what to do, but you've got to find your way anyway. You fumble, stumble, and make mistakes. And there's no way of knowing if you're doing the right thing, if you're raising your children in the right way to be good people. It's exhausting.





If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much. 

Jackie Kennedy





No matter how much our children protest, and tell us they hate us, we will continue to be the bad guy when it's needed and teach them all the attributes they'll need for life as an adult. It is our job. And sometimes we'll be rewarded with some wonderful days out, or spending some lovely time as a family with no bickering!


Parenting - it throws so many challenges at you, but how do you cope with them?



If you'd like to continue the conversation about to tackle the challenges of parenting head over to my Facebook Page where I'm discussing it - I'd love to hear your thoughts.

To read more about the challenges of parenthood you could check out a post I wrote about BP not wanting to talk to me, entitled Why won't my teen talk to me?. Or if you're after something a little more light-hearted then my post Why it's awesome being a mum to tweens/teens is what you're after, I look at some of the better things about being a mum to older children. I'd love you to stop by.

As a stay-at-home mum I'm always looking to connect with other stay-at-home mums. I write weekly emails featuring parenting issues, how to cook lovely family meals, and how to cope when your children go to school and I'd love you to get these straight to your inbox. You can do this by visiting my page Helping stay-at-home mums - you'll make my day by joining me.

Don't you get bored of Walt Disney World?

This is a question we get asked all the time, whenever we tell our family we're going to Walt Disney World again the first thing they say is "Don't you get bored of the place?". My answer is always, and will always be, NO - why on earth would I get bored of an amazing holiday where I get to go on rides, eat tasty food, and see my children happy every day?

Over the years I have visited Walt Disney World lots of times, and even though we were going to the same place it has always been different.



Visiting with babies


When BP was a baby, just under 2 years old, we got to experience the Walt Disney World for babies. We rode all the gentle rides, we watched Playhouse Disney - which BP loved because he got to see his favourite characters on stage - and we got to meet lots of characters. The characters were brilliant  with BP because he was so little and it was lovely seeing the interaction.





Having a baby is a life-changer. It gives you a whole other perspective on why you wake up every day.

Taylor Hanson





We also went when BP was older and LP was in the pushchair. Enjoying things for the older children as well as the things for babies was a new experience. LP and I waited while Hubby took BP on the bigger rides and we played games or I let him sleep. 



Visiting with older children


When we visited with older children (4 and 9 years old) it was different because we didn't have a pushchair (stroller for readers across the pond) to store everything. That meant I didn't have to carry a huge bag around because I didn't need baby stuff anymore. I was able to walk around with a small bag around my waist. It was much easier, the boys walked around and enjoyed the park and they got to go on the bigger rides too. Seeing their reactions to the characters was brilliant, I particularly remember LP meeting Mickey Mouse - his face was a picture, he couldn't believe he was meeting Mickey Mouse!


Two boys have a photo with Mickey Mouse at Epcot, Walt Disney World


With older children again (6 and 11 years old) it was different again. This time LP got to ride all the bigger rides rather than waiting around with me while his brother and the Hubby went on the roller coasters. He still remembers things from this trip and he's 9 now. At 6 he was still young enough to enjoy the 'baby' rides like It's a Small World but he loved the roller coasters too. He loved being able to ride with his brother and dad. Both boys were still young enough (just) to still enjoy meeting characters too. 



Visiting with Teens


This summer we're visiting with a 9 and 14 year old. BP is a teenager, which means we'll probably have some fun with hormonal outbursts. But at the same time, he's grown up loving Walt Disney World, so I'm hoping that will keep the outbursts to a minimum. LP is 9 which means he is tall enough to go on all of the rides in every park and he's looking forward to that. He can't wait to try out Summit Plummet in Blizzard Beach. Going with older children is much easier, I can trust that they won't run off at any time and if they do they have phones to use so I don't have to worry. 





My advice to any teenager would be don't try too hard - just get on with it. That's what I did. Have fun; enjoy life. 

Alfie Allen





There is always something to do in Walt Disney World. I love going on the 'baby' rides, even now, they're gentle and entertaining, but most of all I get nostalgic and remember when BP sang the Figment song. I love walking around the parks and taking photos I've taken a hundred times before, you get to document how the parks change over the years when you do that. 


Inside the Backlot Tour in Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
The Backlot Tour - a ride that closed a while ago now, but one I will always have fond memories of.


One of the best things about returning to Walt Disney World, and one of the main reasons I don't get bored of it is, the boys remember things too. They remember meeting their favourite characters, LP remembers riding Expedition Everest for the first time, and BP remembers going on a Wave Runner on the lake. 



Food


Then there's the food. Trying out new restaurants, every time, adding them to our long list of places to visit again and eating some truly amazing meals. The kids even try new foods in Walt Disney World, which still surprises me but I am so happy to see them trying things. BP has already said he's going to try more seafood and LP is getting a little more adventurous with his food too so fingers crossed! The restaurants in Walt Disney World are an experience, not just somewhere to eat.


Fish on top of a bed of vegetables - amazing food in Walt Disney World




Other stuff


And of course it's not just about the parks, the rides, and the restaurants. There are water parks, boats to hire, bikes to hire, shows, and even other hotels to visit. We have visited almost all of the hotels in Walt Disney World, and there are some wonderful things to see at the hotels as well as the parks. The shows are so entertaining - I'd highly recommend seeing Finding Nemo The Musical, which is at Animal Kingdom, and Hoop De Doo Musical Revue which is at the Wilderness Lodge Camp Ground. We've rented boats and floated across the lake and during our visit this year LP wants to rent a bike - which you can do at Wilderness Lodge. 


Don't you get bored of Walt Disney World - what a silly question!



Visiting Walt Disney World again and again is not like visiting Spain year after year, staying in the same hotel and doing the same things. While it is the same hotel things are always changing. We haven't yet had the same holiday twice, and we always manage to find something new that we think we should've been doing all along. 

How on earth could I get bored with all that entertainment?


If you'd like to read more about why visiting Walt Disney World is so good check out my post What I love most about Walt Disney World, or if you're currently planning your holiday why not read Things to know before visiting Walt Disney World.

Don't forget to stop by Facebook and say hello, particularly if you're a Disney fan!

Are you sick of losing mum battles? Join me in my #MumWinning Revolution - it's about time us mums started winning right?

The benefits of being a stay-at-home mum

I have been a stay-at-home mum for 14 years now, with BP at almost 14 and LP at 9 years old it's difficult to remember a time when I wasn't a mum. It's not an easy gig, you often get blamed for everything and you're the bad guy when anything bad happens. But at the same time it is the best job I have ever had, it makes me happier than I ever imagined I could be and I get to watch my boys grow up.

With the media focussing on how women should be strong and independent and strive to have the best jobs (with equal pay) in high-flying positions I find myself wondering about all those women, like me, who chose to stay at home with our children. Are we less strong? Are we not independent because we don't have a good job?


Morgan Prince, from Morgan's Milieu, watching over her children. she is smiling.


The fact is the recent bout of bigging up women who are executives trying to get equal pay is making people like me feel inadequate. Which, to be honest, is how society has always made me feel. Being a stay-at-home mum is not a choice made by someone who couldn't do better. The person who chooses this job is not intellectually challenged, they just happen to have put someone else's needs before their own, but they still have interesting things to say.

I have always found that when I'm in a group of people and tell them I'm a stay-at-home mum their eyes glaze over. They suddenly lose interest in talking to me because I have nothing interesting to say. Does that ever happen to you?

For years it has annoyed me that people see me as "just a mum", all I do is take care of the children at home - how hard can it be?





Never undermine yourself because you are 'just' a house mom.

Tracey Taylor, Stay At Home Mom





Yes, I mean really, all I do is cook meals, clean the house, iron the clothes, take the boys to wherever they want to be, make sure they're up and ready for school every day, organise play dates, organise days out, give treats, discipline, referee when they're fighting, and a hundred other things. And that's all usually in one day! So why on earth are we "just a mum"?

As part of my rant (sorry about that!) I've decided to put together a list of things, good things, about being a stay-at-home mum. Yes, we work very hard every day but we do get a few benefits too...



Outdoors


Every other day I walk LP to school, it's a little more than a mile away and on lovely sunny days it's a wonderful walk. I get to exercise in the morning and afternoon and I get to chat to my son without the distraction of tech. It's a brilliant opportunity to talk about how things are going in school, if there is anything that is bothering him, and even chat about silly things he's made up. We have fun together, we talk, and we get outdoors. It's all a win.


Family out walking on a canal pathway


For some parents the school is too far away to be able to walk the whole way, but why not try parking your car a little way down the road from school? I'm sure the parking will be easier and you get to chat to your children on the short walk to school.



Time alone


With both my boys at school every day I get lots of time to myself these days. Yes, hubby works at home but because I now have my own space I am alone for the majority of the day. I can sit in my room, tap away on the computer, and be "me".

Having this time when the boys are at school has allowed me to find the thing I love doing - writing. It began as writing a novel and has since transformed into writing this blog. So, that's what I spend my time doing. I choose to sit in front of a computer and write words - admittedly sometimes the words kind of suck but that's just who I am. I write about being a stay-at-home mum, in the hope that someone else out there - a stay-at-home mum who is feeling alone - will realise that she is not alone. I have been through it, I am here, I am a friend.

The time alone is a wonderful thing. I don't have to write, I choose to and that in itself is brilliant. Having a choice that I make for myself makes me feel more in control. Whether I choose to write a blog, attempt a novel, or even pop out of the house for a coffee with friends it is a choice for just me.

What do you choose to spend your time doing?



Children know where you are


My boys know that no matter what happens during the day I will be at home. Admittedly this is not always true, but I am never far away. They know that if something were to happen at school they could call me and I would be with them in a matter of minutes. There is nothing they have to worry about.

Being there for my boys is my biggest responsibility and I take it very seriously. I am glad they know where I am.



Manage your own timetable


Whether it's arranging to meet friends on a school day or organising a trip during school holidays YOU control your timetable. There is no one (apart from the children) dictating when and where you can do things. You can have doctor's appointments during the day when the children are at school - sparing your children from unnecessary worry. LP used to worry terribly whenever I had to go to the doctor's, he would always ask lots of questions about what was happening and I know it bothered him. I'm glad to say that now he's at school he rarely notices when I go to the doctor's.

I decide when my jobs get done, whether that's the washing and ironing, or something else, I can choose to do those jobs when I feel like it. Or rather, when I know it needs to be done. I don't think anyone ever feels like washing or ironing!



No need for a "Work's Wardrobe"


I can dress however I like - I could wear PJ's all day if I wanted to. Not that I have ever worn my pyjamas all day but I could. I have, on the other hand, worn jogging bottoms and a large tee in order to be comfortable.


Woman wearing light blue jeans and a white shirt.


On those wintry days when the rain is hammering on the windows and it's miserable you can sit in your loungewear and drink a hot cup of coffee without worrying about "looking the part". I have never had a Work's Wardrobe, I wouldn't even know where to start. I spend my days in jeans and a tee most of the time and I love it.

What do you wear most days?



School holidays are easy


Okay, so that's not to say the school holidays are a breeze, because let's face it - they can be hell. But what I mean is you don't have to worry about planning work holidays around the school holidays. You're already at home so no need for planning other than planning how you're going to be spending the time.

I love the school holidays (most of the time) because it's a chance for us to go for long walks, visit zoos and fun places, and to get the boys out of the house and away from their games. We get to talk to them, have fun together, and bond. What's not to love?



No childcare issues


I know I kind of covered this above but when you're a stay-at-home mum you don't have to ever worry about finding childcare. Whether your children are ill, there's a snow day, or there's been an accident, there is no need for you to find cover either for work, or for the children. You are there, all the time, ready to make them feel better, have fun in the snow, or clean their grazes.





A mother is the one who is still there when everyone else has deserted you. 

Author Unknown




Surprises


This is one of the best things about being a stay-at-home mum, especially when you're children go to school.

Arranging surprises is brilliant - being able to do research, plan a trip, and arrange everything for the trip without the boys knowing anything about it is one of the things I enjoy most. Saying to them that we're going to a place they've wanted to go for ages and that we'll be spending the day (or longer) there, seeing their faces light up and having hug monsters attack me is the best feeling ever!

Have you ever arranged a surprise for your children?



Coffee anyone?


Arranging to go for a coffee with friends is great, especially when you're going to be meeting up with people who are just like you - stay-at-home mums!


Coffee and cake sitting on a wooden table.


I don't get to do this as often as I'd like, mostly because times have changed and most of the mums I know are not stay-at-home mums anymore. When their children went to school, they started working. It's difficult to find common ground sometimes, and even more difficult when you can't get to have coffee! But it's always nice to go for a coffee with friends, in the middle of the workday when it's less busy than usual and you can chat for an hour or two. It's been such a long time, I really should arrange something!

How often do you meet up with mum friends?



Eating lunch together


This one may be more of a personal benefit rather than one for everyone but I wanted to mention it anyway. Like I said earlier, the Hubby works at home and that means we get to have lunch together every day. Sometimes we sit and watch our favourite TV shows, sometimes we'll eat lunch then do some of our Lego, and sometimes we'll even go out for lunch. The best bit is that we get to spend time together, without the boys. We get to be a couple, and that is so important.


The benefits of being a stay-at-home mum - what benefits can you think of?


So there you have it, just a few benefits of being a stay-at-home mum. While I write most days, and even help the Hubby with some of his work, I still consider myself a stay-at-home mum. It will always be a part of who I am.

What benefits of being a stay-at-home mum do you enjoy the most?



If you struggle to get time for yourself you could always get the children doing chores. My boys do chores daily and it helps to give me more time for other things. I've got a chores list download just for you, as a welcome gift. Once you've downloaded the list you can write in what jobs your children should do and put it up on the fridge - like we do!

And be sure to reach out to me on social media to let me know what you enjoy most about being a stay-at-home mum.

Try out Nordic Walking this summer for FREE!

The summer holidays are upon us, the kids have either already finished school or are about to and then you'll have six long weeks to find activities to do or you'll be inundated with phrases like "I'm bored". Being a mum is tough during the summer, we have to find things to do every day and we're not used to having the kids at home for so long. But this summer you could try out Nordic Walking for FREE and not only keep the kids busy but also get them outdoors while saving your bank balance from another hit.



ParkLives


Coca-Cola are trying to make it a little easier on us mums with their ParkLives project, they're running free activities in local parks around the country. One of those parks is Wollaton Park where we visit often. We like to go walking there and sometimes LP takes his bike so he can ride around while we're walking. It's a fantastic park with lots of space so it's a great place to take the kids. 


A boy hangs on to a tree branch and dangles his legs below him. He is about a foot from the ground.
LP playing around while we waiting to try out Nordic Walking.



Coca-Cola's ParkLives has been running for a few years now and in the past we've tried out Geocaching, High Ropes, and when I was trying to lose weight I went walking with a group too. I love it. 



Nordic Walking


This year we were invited to try out Nordic Walking. My first thought was "what on earth is Nordic Walking?" and as I found out on our trip it's not just walking with sticks. There is a point to the sticks and actually there's a technique to walking with them, you don't just swing them about and poke them in the ground. 

On Sunday we went along to Wollaton Park to join in with the Beginner's Nordic Walking session run by a trainer. When we arrived we were measured up for the right size sticks and had to fill in a short form and then we got on with the session. We were joined by three other people who were trying out Nordic Walking too.





The trainer started out by showing us how to get started and how we should use the sticks. We had to walk around in circles keeping our arms straight while digging the sticks into the ground behind us as we walked. It all sounds very complicated but once you're walking you somehow get into the swing of it - or at least I think you do!

We soon got started on our walk and I got chatting the trainer who told me all about Nordic Walking and the benefits. She said that it gives you a whole body workout, you're using your arms and swinging sticks while walking and I did notice that you tend to walk faster when you're digging sticks into the ground. 

The lovely instructor told us how Nordic Walking was started by Olympians who needed to train for their skiing even when the snow had melted. They worked out that by using their ski poles when walking they could work their upper body and when the snow returned they could work on the skiing. They managed to get a good workout all year round despite there not being any snow some of the time.

During the walk it was so nice to hear the instructor telling LP that he was doing well and she even commented that he seemed to be enjoying himself. BP, while not really in the mood for it (it was outdoors on a Sunday morning - teenagers!) did give it a go and said it was "okay" so I guess for him that's a win. 

As we walked through Wollaton Park I continued talking to the instructor who was telling me about how she had been teaching amputees about Nordic Walking. She works in hospitals around the country to help them get back confidence when walking and she said that even their doctors had commented on how happy they all looked and how their posture had improved since she started teaching them. Apparently Nordic Walking is great for older people because they feel more confident walking with sticks and it keeps them fit and healthy while getting them outdoors. 

I really enjoyed our Nordic Walking session and I learned a lot. One of the things that sticks in my mind is that the sticks have tungsten spikes in the end of them. This means that while you're walking you should avoid walking too close to other people in your group. I learned this lesson on the day when the Hubby and I were walking close together and his stick bounced off mine and scratched the back of my leg! Luckily it wasn't deep and while it hurt it wasn't terrible but we certainly learned a lesson. 



Overall we had a good morning and got a workout in the process. I've put together a short video for you to check it out...





If you get a chance head over to the ParkLives website and check out what activities are available in your local parks. You never know, you might find something you've always wanted to try out!

Have you ever tried Nordic Walking?




If you enjoyed reading this post you might also enjoy London during the summer holidays or if you're looking for more activity inspiration try Activities that will bring you together as a family.

I'd love to hear what activities you book so head over to Facebook and let me know.

And if you'd like some tips on how to get some essential me time during the summer you can join my #MumWinning Revolution where I celebrate ALL of your wins!

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The best time to visit Walt Disney World

If you're planning a trip to Walt Disney World at some point in the future I'm sure you're wondering when is the best time to visit. With all sorts of things happening throughout the year it can be tough to settle on just one or two weeks at some random time in the year. Here's a little info to help you decide.

Even after visiting as many times as I have I find a quick search on Google can be a little helpful. There are certain dates when it is super busy, like Christmas - Christmas is the busiest time in Walt Disney World. I have never visited at Christmas, although I really want to, but I've heard that the queues for rides are epic and the crowds are huge.

To give you a starting point my family and I have visited during the Easter holidays (UK) in April, when it is busy but not too bad, during the summer (July/August), when it is very busy and very hot, and once in November, when it was a lot less busy and a lot cooler (although still very hot - it is Florida after all). 





The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney





In a list of the best times to visit Walt Disney World is the second half of August and I'd have to agree - at least slightly. 

Having been there from the start of the school summer holidays, around 21st July, and stayed until the start of September more than once, we've noticed that the crowds tend to clear out a little during the second half of August. I think this is when the American children go back to school - I'm sure my American friends could confirm that one. With less people comes shorter wait times for the rides and this is definitely welcome, we loved the shorter lines and go on rides more than once sometimes.


Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World


But there is also a downside to visiting during the second half of August. Because there are less crowds the parks open later and close earlier. Sometimes it's not by much and this is why we tend to prefer it this time of year.

In our opinion the summer is the best time to visit Walt Disney World but if you can, try to stick to the second half of August.



Crowds


When we arrive in Walt Disney World at the start of our holiday it always super busy. There are people everywhere, the queue lines are long, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming - particularly for the younger children. 


Mickey Parade in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World


You can escape the crowds though, you just have to know how. There are plenty of rest spots around the parks, shops all over the place for you to escape the heat, and I've noticed that the area around Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom always tends to be quieter. I'm not sure why that is.



Weather


The weather during the summer months can be unpredictable. It can get very rainy at times but the sun is back out in no time - usually. From our extensive research (visiting many times over the years) we've noticed it tends to be sunny in the morning and there is often rain in the afternoon. Sometimes the rain will last all afternoon and we tend to use these times to have an afternoon nap, but other times the rain will last just 10 minutes. Like I said, it's unpredictable but if you're from the UK you'll be thankful for a little downpour because it eases the humidity just a little.


A rain storm in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
We were on the PeopleMover when I took this photo - we just missed the downpour!



Planning


The key to beating the crowds, and sometimes even the weather, is planning. When you book a holiday to Walt Disney World you can pre-book your fast passes. Fastpass+ is a way to skip the queues for rides, and you can book them before you even arrive in Orlando. 

We've had this year's holiday booked for more than a year, and because we are staying "on property" we were able to book our Fastpasses 60 days before arriving in Walt Disney World. It may sound strange to book "tickets" for rides when you aren't sure what you'll want to go on when you get there, but here's the thing - it makes it easier to decide where to go next! We have six whole weeks of Fastpasses booked now.


A young boy stands on a boat with his hands in the air as he looks at Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.


For us summer is the best time to visit Walt Disney World, mainly because we get to spend six weeks there and we can't do that at any other time in the year because of school for the boys. However, even if we were staying for two weeks I think we'd still choose the summer. That may change when our boys are older and it's just the two of us going, only time will tell. 





When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.

Walt Disney





You can do all the research you like but no web page is going to tell you when is the best time to visit for you. Your plans, your tolerance for heat, your ability to cope with crowds, they're all considerations to take into account and to be honest you're not going to know what to do without going. 


The best time to visit Walt Disney World - in our opinion.


Visiting Walt Disney World is a magical experience no matter when you visit, so take the plunge and choose a date - you'll enjoy yourself no matter what!

When are you planning on visiting Walt Disney World?


If you liked reading this post and are planning a holiday to Walt Disney World you might find my post Things to know before visiting Walt Disney World helpful, and I also have a post all about fast passes entitled Everything you need to know about Fastpass+.

I adore chatting about Walt Disney World so if you'd like to chat head over to Facebook and connect with me.

And if like me you're a stay-at-home mum fighting battles every day why not join my #MumWinning Revolution and start winning!

Teaching your children about work

When I was a child my parents didn't work, as far as I can remember. I was at school all day and both my parents were at home. I have no idea what their situation was and I didn't judge them for it, it was just how our life was. For my boys the situation is similar to mine in that both their parents are at home all day while they're at school. The difference though is that my boys know the Hubby and I do work at home, we talk to them about work all the time. It is important to teach children about work, and the easiest way to begin is to talk about it.



Open conversations


We have always talked to our boys about our work. For us it's more important because they don't see us going out to work, as far as they know we do nothing all day. So we talk about what we do. The Hubby will show them the work he's done on his current game, he might even go into how he makes changes, and they'll see the progress the game makes because of the work the Hubby puts in. For me it's more about them seeing my site, or seeing me typing on the computer. More than once LP has mentioned that he thinks my fingers look crazy when I'm typing and that he can't believe how fast I type. This allows me to talk about how I went to college to learn how to type (I trained as a secretary) and that my typing speed is quite fast because I do it every day.





Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. 

Gordon B. Hinckley





Discussing what we do, even if it is out of the home, is a good way of introducing children to the idea of work and give them an idea of the kinds of jobs that are out there. The classic thing is that children want to grow up to do what their parents do, but that isn't always the case and learning about the different kinds of jobs can be a good way of showing them choices. Talk to them about your job, your partner's job, even other family members.



Chores


I have written many times about why I give my children chores. Not only does it teach them about the kind of work stay-at-home mums do, but it also teaches them about taking responsibility for their own mess. If they make a mess they have to tidy it up, and more often than not they learn the lesson and don't make a huge mess - at least for a while.


A mess of toys on a red carpet in a lounge - a great opportunity to teach your children about work.


Chores are also another way of teaching children about the kinds of jobs there are. Cleaning is obviously one and if they don't enjoy doing chores they'll know they probably wouldn't enjoy being a cleaner. 



Extra jobs


We don't just limit the boys' efforts to their chores, if there's some kind of housework or gardening that needs doing we get the boys involved too. For example during the last few weeks we've been spending time cleaning our drive of weeds, re-sanding, and making it good again. It took a long time and we had the boys go over the drive pulling up all the weeds while we blasted the tiles with the jet-washer. We all worked together to make it look nice again and it does actually look really good now it's all done. LP gets to enjoy it most because he plays football outside a lot and BP likes it because he's not going to have to worry about icy moss on the drive in the winter (we hope!).


A teenage boy sits on a driveway and pulls up weeds.


It is so easy to let your children play games or play with their toys while you do the jobs around the house. Sometimes having them involved makes the job harder for you, but it's a teaching opportunity. Yes, you have to suffer a little but if it makes a difference to your child's work ethic surely that's preferable? Have the children involved in the jobs around the house and they might even find something they enjoy!



It's all about money, honey


As an adult we know that by going out to work we earn money, we may not like the work we do but we do it because we have to. Obviously it would be awesome if we could have a job we loved as well as getting paid, but that's not always possible. Again this is where there's more teaching opportunities.





Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work. 

Aristotle





Getting your children to do chores or extra jobs around the house is another chance to teach, this time about earning money. When we give our boys extra jobs they earn money for the time they spend doing the jobs. At the time we decide what the rate of pay will be and they get to learn about earning money for doing jobs. LP loves this concept, he's well aware that if he puts a little effort in he can earn more money and it's a great motivator for him.



You won't always win


Admittedly you're not always going to be successful, particularly if you're trying to teach teenagers. BP complains all the time, when we ask him to do a job the first thing he says is that his friends never have to do chores or jobs at home and how I'm just being mean. Yep, it's awesome. My response is usually along the lines of "my job is to teach you - this is how I choose to do it.". I have tried saying that his friends almost certainly have to do jobs around the house, but I can't win that one because he's convinced I'm wrong.

It's tough trying to teach your children about work, when they're teens they're convinced you're just being mean and when they're younger they don't do as good a job as you would. But it is our job to teach our children all the same, we have to undergo the suffering to ensure we are raising children that will contribute to society. At least that's how I see it.


Teaching your children about work - it's not easy, but someone's got to do it.


As a parent teaching our children about anything can be an uphill battle, but we keep at it because that is one of our main responsibilities.

How do you teach your children about work?




If you enjoyed this post you might like Teaching your children about social media or if you're looking  to have some fun with your children instead why not read Activities that will bring you together as a family

I'd love to hear about you teach your children about work, connect with me over on Facebook and we'll chat!

And if you'd like to join other stay-at-home mums who know what it's like to have to cope with the growing children while still staying on top of the housework you can find us in the #MumWinning revolution!

Post Comment Love 13th - 15th July

Welcome back to Post Comment Love our little linky that welcomes all bloggers to link up their favourite post of the week. Will you be joining us this week?

Well this is it folks - my last week of co-hosting pocolo before my EPIC HOLIDAY!!

We head to Florida next Friday and it's been crazily busy the last few weeks but I think we're finally ready. It's been handy having LP on his residential trip this week actually because I've been able to get loads done and I distracted myself too. I've got some great posts coming up over the summer and I'm so glad I've been able to get it all done. 

I do apologise for not reading and commenting on posts linked up for a while and be sure I'm catching up as we speak. There'll be shares everywhere from me!

As for other stuff, well as you can imagine we're getting ready for the holiday. We've spent weeks slowly getting things together but this last week will be us thinking about everything properly and packing. Even thinking about that gets me all excited!

So as I'm still quite busy it's just a short update from me this week. I'll be back co-hosting with Stephanie in September but until then do remember that Stephanie is continuing Post Comment Love over the summer and she's got a couple of guest co-hosts to join in too (thank you so much Nikki and Suzanne xx)! Do stop by over there and send her some love - she's working super hard so that I don't have to when I'm on holiday! Much love Stephanie. xx



Blogger Showcase Elise from Elssthinks




Who are you?


Hello there! My name is Elise and I blog over at elssthinks.co.uk. I am passionate about sharing my views/beliefs/ and things I find interesting to the world regardless of the topic, and enjoy blogging with all my heart!



How did you discover blogs/blogging?


I discovered blogging through a channel I engaged with on YouTube. As well as created videos, the lady also occasionally blogged, and after reading multiple posts and exploring the blogging world a little more I decided I wanted to become a part of it.



Why did you start blogging?


I have always been quite an opinionated, talkative person about things I found many of my family members and friends were not interested in. So blogging was the perfect way for me to express these things to people that would like to engage with them.



What do you find most challenging?


As blogging is ever increasing, the amount of original content is going with it, and sometimes it can be difficult to feel faith in your blog and the content you are posting. It becomes difficult to think of unique ideas that you think your readers will like, especially when you see so many other bloggers churning out the same content and doing incredibly well.



What is your favourite topic to write about?


I think my favourite topic to write about is True Crime, the first ever blog post I published was an unsolved case, and I still adore writing them today!



Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?


Definitely blogging for fun. Of course, it's nice to have some goals along the way, especially if you see your blog growing, however, I do not have any plan to become a full-time blogger.



What is your favourite thing about blogging?


My favourite thing about blogging is the ability to make people feel happy and safe through your words. You have a platform to give people that little escapism they need after a hard day at school or work, and although this may only be to a small extent, you still have the ability to cause happiness.



Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?


Sadly I have not attended a blogging conference, although I would love to.



What are your 3 best posts?





Describe yourself in three words!


Loving, funny and passionate!



Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?


See this is a difficult question because I do love tea and biscuits but coffee and cake are like my favourite things in the world! I think it's going to have to be coffee and cake.



What's your idea of a perfect night out?


A perfect night out is getting ready with my friends (it starts the night off brilliant) walking around the town, ending up at someone's house for a party and then grabbing a kebab and going back to a friends house to sleep (or party more).


What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?


My best friend would say my best quality is loving brutal honesty, I like to be honest about situations and not sugar coat them because it does not help anyone in any way, however, I try to be as loving and caring about it as I can.


You can connect with Elise here:


Thankyou so much Elise for taking the time to answer our questions and feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly on your blog!

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Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

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Thank you for popping by.


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