I'm a mother to three boys - aged 26, 23 and soon to be 13. I'm also godmother to a beautiful 18-year-old girl for whom I assumed a motherly role when her real mum (one of my best and dearest friends) died three years ago.
A parent's impression of their child's school day can be rather nebulous, and so I thought I would share a few techniques I've developed to get a bit of a firmer idea of what their school day is like.
Now, when I drop my daughter off each day, I will hand her over to someone else. A surrogate parent, almost. Someone other than me will pick her up when she falls, wipe away her tears and reassure her that everything is going to be okay.
Grief has hit me in many ways, but the one I was least prepared for is the tiredness which floored me these past few weeks. For months I've been pushing through the stresses of daily life, carrying my family and caring for everyone else but myself.
In a day or two, almost 70,000 four-year-olds will be starting school and it's a big day in everyone's life. I'm 53 and I can still remember my first day at school! Your child is very likely to be anxious about their first day and it's important that you prepare your little ones well. I've given my top tips for preparation below.
This week we published a new research, entitled 'New Starts'. The research and report profiles young people who are estranged from their family, studying in Higher Education without the emotional or financial backing of a family network.
The hey-days of all night parties and boozy lunches that roll until midnight are a hazy memory. Bank holiday weekends with kids is a whole new level of stamina. If you're impressed you can rave til dawn the baby all-nighter is going to push you to the edge...and then some.
As Relate's new CEO I will make sure this report is used to continue to build our understanding of what people want and need from relationship support. And we are getting a very clear message from the stats - families need more help to get the balance between work and family life right.
I know people say girls are hard work in their teenage years so I am going to enjoy these years with my 'idol'. I know children can drive us insane, but when you look at the person you now are, you realise they are worth it.
I'd love it if people who wanted to know the realities of cancer read real accounts of living with cancer, either written by sufferers or those close to them, and if we could dispel these ideas that cancer is all bald heads, cake, trips abroad, and profound moments.
I more than anything wish I was always there at your beck and call. Reading when you wanted me to. And not washing up. Always willing to watch Peppa with you. And not tidying up Lego. Saying "OK!" to every chocolate bar and every time you begged to stay up late?
Family trees are also a great interest of mine. Unfortunately, my own family tree has had a bit of surgery. A few branches have been cut off and some of that wood has been used to fuel fire. However, recently, this tree of mine has seen some new growth. I'm pleased to feel strength in it again.
When my twin girls were nine months old and my son was two, my husband packed his bags and left. To say it was a tough time would be an understatement. I wasn't a one parent family by choice. I had never intended to bring up my kids this way. But you can't change the circumstances- all you can do it make the best of what you've got.
Marriage is in a state of transition and the men I have spoken to for this research project hold contradictory views on its importance as a relational construct. However, they do consider the institution of marriage to be a necessary safeguard for the family unit.
The uniform has been carefully purchased, washed and ironed to an inch of its life and the painful task of labelling the whole flipping thing is finally done.The time has come at last time for the new school year and the kids are FINALLY back at school! I can feel your excitement from here.
Christ alive I've never known a rollercoaster of emotions quite like the last three and a half years. Gone are the 'good days' and 'bad days'. Days are less easy to emotionally rank now. Sometimes I encounter the full spectrum of emotions in the same day.