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Showing posts with the label Parenting

5 Tips To Work From Home, And Parent

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Home-working, what a thrill, what a Buzz! The children returned to school this week, but there were no changes for dad. It's now eighteen-months, since I joined the 'working from home' gang. School closures, lockdowns, and Joe Wicks workouts, seem a distant memory. The world is (supposedly) returning to normal, but not for me. Imagine working from home for so long, ABBA have reformed, and put out new songs! In some respects I'm lucky. Being at home affords me time with the kids, and that's a blessing. For now, there's no alternative option. But I'm not fully onboard. I miss the office life, personal space and even the commute. Because, by default, I'm an introverted lone soul. Imagine working from home for so long, ABBA have reformed, and put out new songs! That said, I'm making the best of this situation. With planning, structure and boundaries; you can operate as worker and parent. So this is how I do it, for what it's worth. 1. Create A Dedica

Stay Young, And Invincible

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"Stop it dad! You're 40!" Don't get old, never get old! Always, maintain a youthful approach to life. Impart your wisdom, but stay young. Be mature, be adult, but never lose a sense of fun or adventure. It's a common trap, as we become adults (or parents). The aging body, transcends into an aging mind.  That's what I admire about kids. They attack life with youthful exuberance.  Life is there to be attacked with fun and purpose. Live by this philosophy. Be the cool mum, dad, uncle, aunt, etc. Don't get old, never get old! Don't Become Boring Life places expectations on us. Society has a template for adults, and we foolishly play along.  Society has a template for adults and we foolishly play along.  Too many people, approach adult life in 'mundane mode'. Sadly, for many, our best personal qualities disappear. I say screw the rules. Stay young of heart, and stick two fingers up to convention.  Maintaining A Youthful Mindset I read a book recentl

National Lampoons, Cornish Staycation

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Cornwall rocks! A little review, from our Cornish "staycation". Everyone is doing the "staycation" thing in 2021. In troubled times, I was happy to support British tourism.  Cornwall seemed the obvious and predictable choice. The fall-back option for disappointed "package holiday" lovers. Spare a thought for the Cornish locals, stuck serving pasties to twats, who'd rather be in the Mediterranean. Seriously, who'd go abroad? It sounds like hellish effort. This is the year for domestic pleasures. British holidays don't come cheap. But for this year, I took the hit. The Eden Project Inside the Eden Project. So the first trip, was the  Eden Project . Basically, it's 'Gardener's World' meets the 'Crystal Maze'. Two large domes filled with various plant species.  I saw a banana plant, which you won't see often. It's a surreal experience, as you wander around the place. The domes are kept warm to preserve the plants, it

PlayStation Parents, Move Over Kids

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PlayStation incoming, special delivery! Gaming is for kids right? Nonsense! Big news, we own a PlayStation 5. A couple of hipster parents, down with the youngsters.  It's becoming the evening ritual. When the kids go to bed, the gaming starts. It's glorious escapism. We also have online personas. 'Mayhem Mum' and 'Cyber Dad' are quite badass.  Our Gaming Past We last owned a console, about eight years ago, but we sold it. It wasn't getting used, I was studying and life was busy. Years later we talked about buying a new console. Then the kids came along and it didn't happen (again). I dabbled with emulators and retro gaming, but that was it. During my youth, I was over every gaming platform. At various points I gamed on a ZX Spectrum (Google it), Atari, Amiga 500+, Mega Drive, Game Gear, Game Boy, PlayStation 1, Xbox, PSP and Xbox 360. The launch of the PlayStation 5 (PS5), was a route back. As you can imagine, these things are popular. Fortunately we got

Schools Out, Surviving Summer

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More coffee please. To quote Alice Cooper , "schools out, for summer".  Imagine not knowing school without a pandemic? My son just finished reception class. These are unprecedented times.  Top marks to the parents, for navigating the farce. You earned the parent stripes, and some.  School closures, remote learning, facemasks, isolation, rapid testing, and more school closures. We'll look back and laugh some day. Challenge number two; the summer break. We've just done a staycation in  Cornwall, so five weeks left. That said, September seems a long way off. I warn you, this may be ranty. Summer Break, Six Weeks, Help! Who decided summer breaks were needed? Probably teachers! Fortunately I work from home, but it isn't without challenges. It presents many childcare issues. How do you juggle work and life demands, with kids? Netflix? Disney+?  The problem is, everybody is busy.  Even most nans and grandads still work. So this further limits childcare options. With reti

Parent Fitness, 7 Principles of Healthy Living

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You've got this dad! I just read a book called ' Total Fitness After 40 ' by Nick Swettenham. It blew my mind. It covers the seven principles of health. I was prime clickbait. A forty-year old dad, overcoming injury. My injury occurred in May, after I cracked a rib. During the recovery, I pondered my mortality. Where can I improve? What can I do better? Parent life is exhausting. Who doesn't what more energy?  I realised there were was room for improvement. Health extends beyond nutrition and exercise. As you age, you must cover all aspects of body health. Sadly, too many don't! Forty seems to be that age, where the excuses creep in. Parent life is busy, but find time to maintain yourself. Don't fall apart, sort it out! This is serious business, so I won't be cracking many jokes or ribs! Staying Healthy, As We Age I believe the impacts of aging are overstated. For men, our testosterone depletes a little, but we can still gain strength and muscle. It may be h

How To Make 'Dad' Friends

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Social Dad, up for a beer! Recently I've been trying to obtain 'dad' friends. That's right, what a loner! I have friends, but I don't have many 'dad' friends. As such, it can become difficult to relate to your friends. It's nobody's fault, friendships don't stay perfectly in sync. Today I discuss parenting awkwardness. How I overcame it, to win parent acceptance and dad friends. The journey began in September, when my son started school. I work from home, so school-runs are my job.  Soon I was surrounded by cliquey mums in the playground, sharing feminine anecdotes. "Samantha, can you make Zumba on Friday? You can? Oh brilliant!".  The school playground is a lonely place for dads. In fairness, I attracted the odd smile. Half-smiles, not the real McCoy. The type reserved for neighbours and strangers.  Perhaps in the early days, I exuded weirdo vibes? Who knows. But slowly I rescued the situation. This is my journey from shrinking violet

Dealing With Slumps and Regaining Motivation

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Demotivated dad! I seem to be stuck in slumps-ville. Slumps are destructive little buggers. They creep up on you, and before you know it, you aren't attacking life with the same zest. I blame my recent injury for this decline. A number of weeks back, I cracked my right rib, getting out the bath, dumbass. It was clumsy and stupid.  Weeks of soreness followed, on prescription painkillers. Exercise took a back seat, as I recovered. Ribs take around 6-8 weeks to heel, so I'm waiting it out. I feel like a wounded animal. A dad losing his edge. Fitness and health levels have declined. Never underestimate the importance of a healthy life.  Low motivation becomes a cancer. It can damage all parts of life. Now it's time to snap out and stop feeling sorry for myself.   Passions like music, reading, learning, blogging and fitness are taking a backseat. It's time to reset, recalibrate and get things going! Calibrating Body and Mind Slumps normally have a trigger. Low motivation doe

Private Tutoring For Your Children?

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Hey teacher, leave those kids alone! So recently, my son started receiving private tutoring. I know what you are thinking; pushy middle-class parent, leave him alone. I don't blame you, I'd think the same. My son is five and doing well at school. The basics are there and we are proud. Our concern was his handwriting. He knows the letters and numbers, but struggles to write them. A common trait in boys (we're told). In fairness, I don't possess great handwriting either. Perhaps it's my fault? Anyway, nearby, this local tutoring firm launched. We saw the opportunity to support a new business, and our son's learning.  Is Private Tutoring Worth It? It is hard to put a value on your child's education. I pay £20.00 for a half-hour tuition, on Saturday mornings. I thought extra learning would be a hard sell. He does five days of school, then dad springs this nonsense on him. Surprisingly he bought into it. This is 1-2-1 tuition, with no distractions from classmates

Travel: Family Glamping, At Lee Wick Farm

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Daddy, Glampion Of The World. So last weekend, we went glamping. What is glamping? Ah, let me explain. Glamping is the posh version of camping. Basically, camping for tarts. Designed for those who need home comforts. Last weekend we got away. Granted, it wasn't far, or even out of Essex. 'Lee Wick Farm' was the destination, a small farm outside the area of Clacton. Apparently it's one of the UK's top 20 glamp sites. We booked it months ago, and for a while, I doubted it would happen. Then the lockdowns were eased, and Jurassic Park, we were on! Read on, for my glamping experience. What Is Glamping? Glamping means 'glamourous camping'. Unlike a tent, you typically sleep in a cabin (see picture). Facilities vary, but toilets, running water and cooking equipment are common. Glamp David. We had a small microwave, which was useful. Although proudly, I managed to cook dinner on a BBQ. The site provide BBQ starter kits, for around £10.00 ($15.00). The term 'gla

Five Podcasts For Dads & Podfathers

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Are you a Podfather? Make no mistake, podcasts are big business. Everyone is listening to podcasts (it seems), it's a growth area. Big media corporations have spotted the trend. Spotify for example, have spent fortunes buying podcast content. The likes of Joe Rogan, Michelle Obama and Dax Shepard have all joined the stream giant. All tastes are catered for in podcast land. It's niche after niche. We even have podcasts about podcasts.  Today I'll discuss the phenomenon and share my favourite 'Dad' podcasts. Brief History of Podcasts Let me take you on a journey. I've been listening to podcasts since 2004, welcome to the party. In 2004, my favourite podcast was the 'Daily Source Code'. It was presented by former MTV presenter 'Adam Curry'. His podcast was slick and ground-breaking at the time. He revolutionised podcasting, earning the title 'Podfather'. He still podcasts today, on the satirical show ' No Agenda '. Curry is a podcast

Tablet Devices For Kids, Yes or No?

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iDad? Tablets for kids? There's a divisive subject! I wrestled with the dilemma myself. Christmas was nearing, and we suffered a prolonged "sh*t, what can we get him?" moment.  Previously I'd been strict with screen time. Tablets were viewed with cynicism, the lazy approach to parenting. I was not going to be that parent. Along comes Black Friday to tempt me. Before long, there's a Fire tablet in my virtual basket. Hooked like a haddock, on a £50.00 ($65.00) saving. I'm so weak! So how did Amazon break me? Great question, let me mount a defence. Technology Is the Future Most schools use tablets, and even nurseries. Most households have a Fire or iPad device. Friends of your children, will be using them.  Parents (I believe) hold onto a nostalgic belief, that technology is bad. They want their children to enjoy the simpler things, as they once did. I get it, but we have to be real.  Parents hold onto a nostalgic belief, that technology is bad. Nobody wants litt

Vinyl Records: A Hipster Dad's Tale

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Glorious 12" vinyl! Vinyl records continue to surge in popularity; as eager buffoons embrace the musical frisbee, and nostalgic traditions. Sales are up a staggering 30 percent across the UK, to the delight of audiophiles and hipster twats everywhere. Experts predict that vinyl will outsell CDs this year, for the first time since the eighties.  Have we all gone bonkers? Perhaps we should start wearing shell-suits and listening to Phil Collins? What time is the 'A-Team' on? So, what is behind the trend? Well, basically, nostalgic old vinyl lovers like me. But younger people are buying into the trend too, because vinyl is a "new" experience. For the young, it's their chance to own physical music, instead of renting it from streaming services who (allegedly) "rip-off" artists. The appeal stretches beyond the music, because vinyl is collectable too. I own 109 records (according to Discogs ), including rare ones, signed ones, coloured ones and some limit

Mother's Day and Lady Stuff

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Mum's had worse days! Monday was 'International Women's Day' and today is 'Mother's Day' (in the UK). Our moment comes later in the year, with 'Father's Day' and 'International Men's Day' respectively. "Every day is friggin' men's day!"  my wife would say. Mother's Day gets tricky with small kids, as effectively your are stung twice! I can hardly make my 2 and 5 year old, visit the card shop and florist alone. So the burden falls on me, along with gifts for my own mum. They should rename it 'Wife Day' or 'Valentines 2', because if you have small children, that's your reality. This morning we enjoyed a McDonald's takeaway breakfast, something different. It goes against my healthy living, but hey, it's a special day.  Today's gifts include flowers (standard), Charlotte Tilbury make-up (pillow talk?), chocolate truffles (yum) and a small bottle of Sauvignon blanc (pisshead). I'll

Seven Lessons Learned In Lockdown

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At peace with life, and pink! I've done a lot of growing over the past twelve-months, and not just the period where I got fat! ( read here ) By growth, I mean the personal and self-development variety. The kind where you experience epiphanies, clarity and new perspectives on life. So much has happened, yet so much didn't happen!  German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" (or was that Kelly Clarkson?). In short, setbacks help us to grow and improve. Forgive me, I am about to go all Zen. I present to you, my seven lessons learned in lockdown. 1. Avoid The 'Comparison' Trap Social media has revolutionised the way we connect, I love it. The problem is, we often consciously and subconsciously compare ourselves to others. Too easily we become envious when the grass appears greener. Don't get caught in that trap, focus on your own purpose! People rarely have perfect lives, and believe me, many battle their own dem

Being A 'Working From Home' Dad

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Another day, another dollar! I look back with fondness, on my former office life. The office was my solace, the quiet place and the break I needed. Then Coronavirus came along and ruined it for me. Two enjoyable parts of my life were suddenly merged. Now I'm stuck working from home, whilst simultaneously parenting our two boys. What a long and arduous journey it has been. All things considered; I've done well, but bloody hell, it's been tough! In the news recently,  Goldman Sachs boss David Soloman branded working from home as an "aberration".  I think I'm with Dave on this one! Give me a 'kid-free' day in the office any time!  No generation of 'working parents' were ever tested like this. Pat yourselves on the back mums and dads, you've earned the stripes. The 'Working From Home' Myth Right, lets set the record straight! All employees expect a certain degree of productivity, so when you work from home, you don't "get away&