For us whom live in London, a hard fitness regime is paramount as such as in New York, do forget about the rest of England, where average folk look... healthy. Like they actually have had something to eat.
Babysitting. Something about which I have vivid memories; a teenage part-time-job. And now it's come full circle, as what seems like five minutes later, I'm all grown-up and paying a teenager to mind my kids.
For once the feed schedule you have tirelessly tried and beaten yourself up over when it failed, has started to stick giving your day some kind of shape. For once you feel like you have some control back. That your day is not just one long feeding session and that you have finally took a step towards some form of routine.
I received an email last week from a parent who was concerned about her daughter: "...she's lonely and I don't know what to do. I heard her whisper to herself I wish I was someone else. I am distraught. How can I help her?"
Well I first heard the words, 'autism is an excuse for naughty children' a year ago and I honestly thought that I would never hear them again, that this was just a one off ignorant comment made by an uneducated and 'nasty' person, but how wrong was I? I am surrounded by people who know and understand Tom, so it is always a shock to the system when comments are made like this.
But how about my kids? How am I with them? At my worst, I'm unable to cope with them. I can't engage, I don't want to play, getting myself up, dressed and fed is sometimes beyond me. Often, all I'm capable of is sitting and staring at a wall for hours on end. I resent every demand that's made of me, I want to be left alone, utterly and completely.
Establish a good bedtime routine. This is key to everything. Babies like to know exactly what to expect. So that they can do the exact opposite.
Having been one of those parents who had practiced this many times, until someone gently pointed out how I was coming across, I've now stopped. This one time I'm talking about is when I've said 'I'm sorry' but what I really wanted was relief from my own uncomfortable feelings of being a dysfunctional parent or to be allayed of my guilt.
Theo was not just developing slowly but was very ill, carrying a fatal genetic illness which would cause his muscles to waste away and kill him before he becomes a man. The pediatrician reassured us that this moment, the diagnosis, is the worst part, but stressed it would get easier as the days, weeks and months went by. But how could it? I thought.
I don't want my son to have to ask me again and again and again all day to play with him. He shouldn't have to ask. I don't want my son to have a kind of resigned sadness in his voice that gives away that he fully expects me to say "later." I don't want my son to give up on me playing with him.
Some studies claim that a break-up with a close friend harms your heart the same if not more, as a break-up with your beloved. But don't be tempted, it is time to get busy. You have new friends to meet, new relationships to build and new opportunities to fulfill.
I used to vex about how happy my children were, and still do sometimes, but with experience I've come to realise that their fundamental needs are very simple. They want to be heard, loved and given some special time. If I give them these three things every day, they thrive. So I do everything I can to ensure I make that happen and I know I'm investing in their happiness.
As I recalled my earliest memories I was keen to impress on the group that I don't look back and see my time in foster care as a negative, my expression wasn't from feeling sorry for myself, I completely understand that in the absence of my biological father, my very young mother, too young to even consider a woman would want to get herself together after having me at the age of 15 and, in some respects I think it was very brave decision to take. I didn't say this in front of the room of kids but I'd prefer to be fostered than to have been aborted and to not have had the privilege of life in the first place!
Now it is time for me to pick up the mantle of unconditional love for my children and demonstrate that worth is not bound by physical perfection or the whim of others.
Think back to when you were in your 20s. If you were anything like me you had a BIG VISION to change the world and become the next Oprah Winfrey - mo...
The world we live in makes it easier to eat more and do less. Our environment offers us triggers to eat at every corner, which requires effort to resist and a conscious ongoing commitment to being healthier. Indeed, the latest research found that so-called mindless eating can cause significant weight gain.