The last few days have been spent in preparation mode, I've been sourcing kids crocs on eBay rather than hunting down the perfect shimmery sun tan cream and it got me thinking about how different pre-holiday preparations are now that we have children...
Since becoming a mum, is your idea of a break a solo trip to the loo and enough time to cut your toenails? Do you feel positively Mediterranean slinging a bit of feta in your shopping trolley, and having a siesta (or rather passing out from exhaustion), on the couch while the kids nap? It could be you are suffering from a well-known condition called MINOAH - Mum In Need Of A Holiday.
Six weeks of summer and the media is reporting a £600 spend on entertaining the kids. That's up 50% on 2012 figures and doesn't include childcare.
It is not just money (or lack of) that is forcing children to eat in a way that is detrimental to their health. People make poor choices in general when it comes to food for their families. The modern diet, full of refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated vegetable oils and sugar, can in itself cause problems.
As parents, we cannot simply sit back and let this narrative take its course; it must be within our disposition to do our best in protecting our children. First and foremost, we need to foster deeper and lasting relationships with our children that are built on love, respect and mutual trust.
When The Baby's noises show an emotion, particularly a negative one, The Toddler will usually get involved. She will report The Baby's feelings to Mummy: 'The Baby is sad.' She will offer reassurance to The Baby: 'Don't worry, the Baby!'
Well who knew Mark Zuckerberg talking about his and his wife's miscarriages would cause such a media frenzy?
The first thing that hit me was that it was written by a mum. (And a lawyer...) WHAT?! Written by a mum? But what really astounded me was the overwhelming assumptions and stereotyping that had been made.
Something had to change. So I've decided to turn off the telly during the week, just for a bit to tame the addiction. I'm not getting precious about it. If we're at someones house and it happens to be on, I won't be shielding the kids eyes or anything. And we'll still be flicking it on as a treat at weekends. But in the week we're going unplugged. Ekkkkkkkkk!
Now I am a parent myself, I am faced with a dilemma. Do I terrify my own children about strangers? As an adult, I now know the uncomfortable truth. That children are far more likely to be hurt by people they know and trust and that simply never talking to strangers isn't always enough to keep them safe.
My mum has since gone on to have about 11 short-term foster placements with young children looking for love and stability. Many kids that with a good routine, structure and cuddles, blossomed into charismatic little people they had never got a chance to be.
We have launched #StoptheSpread to encourage all students starting university in September and young people at secondary school to make sure they are protected against this deadly strain of meningitis and septicaemia.
There are so many perks to this fathering gig. I just cannot believe the benefits of having a small child with you, wherever you go. I'm pretty sure that I outrank old age pensioners, the disabled, war veterans, sick animals and even other children. The list is endless and I take full advantage of it at every opportunity.
The summer holidays can be a time of exotic vacations for many lucky people. But for some it can be a time for a more modest and outdoorsy holiday. It can be a time when a family packs their car so full that the car can only drive at 50 miles per hour.
To the mother who breastfed her baby until they needed it no more; I know the amazing feeling that comes with knowing your little one is getting everything they need from you. Your body is an incredible thing. I know too, the sheer exhaustion you have felt when it's all down to you, your nipples are cracked, and you don't get a break. We are not rivals.
The shape of the family has changed immeasurable in recent decades as divorce, remarriage and single parenthood have become increasingly common. No one would wish to turn back the clock, but are we underestimating the impact that changing family structures are having on young men in particular?
We bring gender baggage with us at all times, and consciously and subconsciously we cloud our children's world with subtle and not so subtle messages. Many parents who think they are gender unbiased, actually aren't.