New Beginnings

I’ve had an awful year. There has been lots of personal problems that have divided my attention and time. But these past two months things have turned a corner. Perhaps one I wasn’t expecting or initially wanted, but perhaps what was needed.

For all the best intentions in the world, sometimes things just cannot work out the way you want them to. Things break. Stress, life and illness can get in the way. 

So, what does that mean here on the blog? Well I am still rebranding. I am still sticking with the name and nothing much will change. However, for a while at least there will be little posts on parenting and family for personal reasons. I may comment on life as a parent but in a less direct manner. Instead this blog is going to be purely concentrating on gaming. Due to my pending move from one home to another in the near future, I do not know when I will finish the posts I have been writing behind the scenes. I also currently do not have access to my computers or consoles (I need to buy new ones). With my handy smartphone being much more blogging friendly, it means I should be able to update or at least converse over Twitter or Facebook more to chat with you all things life and gaming. 

I am in talks currently with hosting options and the blog will be gaining its own domain name which makes me very excited! I am also looking for an artist who can help me with the logo and design of the page. 

Related news is that soon I will be starting a journalism course which will gain me more links in the industry and in the press world. Rather exciting. I also plan to get back in with all you fellow bloggers and perhaps meet some of you at events across the UK. 

Thank you for being ever so patient and still following me. Please come and say hi on Twitter or Facebook the links of which are below. I look forward to giving you all further news and developments and talking to you all.

Always forward, forward always.

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Why do I write?

whydoiwrite

Why Do I Write? (c)The Gaming Mum 2016

Someone asked me recently a key question I think all Bloggers should think about. Why do I write? It’s a loaded question isn’t it? And one that certainly requires thought.

When I started this blog, I had written several personal blogs from teenage years (some of them I’m so glad the services got taken offline, I bet they were full of teenage angst!). With no job at the time, and parenting being a sometimes lonely exisitance, I wanted to write. Since meeting my Hubby, my love for games has grown and reminded me why I used to play games in the first place. Me time. Everyone needs that personal time to themselves. But at the same time, I wanted to write out my feelings with parenting and my opinion on games. I am a fairly unique dynamic, being female, a parent and a gamer. I have tried to make games in the past, but must admit I’m pretty lost over it all! I have a lot of respect for developers who can create these beautiful games to share with people the world over.

I digress. Back in early 2000’s I was at University and it was suggested to me because of issues at the time that I changed my BA Hons in Drama to joint with another subject to ease the pressure (Drama is not as easy as it looks, it is an absurd amount of pressure and time consuming…). I looked around at what my University offered as I was about to enter my final year and a lot of courses would be out just purely because of prerequists. Then I found the Creative Writing course. This was a new course and the third year students would be the first to graduate on it. My personal tutor at the time knew I had some sort of creative bone this was because I’d shown her a script for a one act stage play. So, that was my minor as a Joint Honours. In the end, I didn’t complete the degree due to one specific module and other personal issues, but I did get enough credits to get a DipHE in Drama with Creative Writing. Those Creative Writing classes were amazing to me. I could set myself free. At the time, I did consider the fact that I could write as a career but when I finished University, the Recession hit and jobs everywhere were like needles in haystacks – especially for someone with a University Diploma rather than a degree in Journalism or suchlike. The period of time after that is definately another story.

So just over one year ago, why did I chose to start The Gaming Mum Blog? I had what I called itchy fingers. I wanted to write, and although I could finish that novel that is waiting for me to go back to or write some short stories, I had no idea what to do with those. Plus if writers block hit, I really would be back to square one. Plus I wanted to be heard. I didn’t want to write and it be stuck somewhere gathering virtual or physical dust. What’s the point in writing if it is not read? I was watching a lot of Twitch streamers at the time (okay, I still do!) and thinking, well I could do that. Maybe not stream as I’m microphone shy and get anxious, but I can comment on games. And there is a lot of parenting blogs, why not include that in there too? I’m still a parent after all. I’m still a struggling parent who soon has to deal with the first day of school milestone… And The Gaming Mum was born.

A year on, my blog did get neglecting a little (so sorry sweetie!) due to securing full time work. But this is still my home. My space. My opinions. And I love it. The joy I feel after completing a blog post, seeing page views go up and people interacting with me on Twitter who happen to have thousands of followers… it’s amazing. Right now I am in discussions to securing a permanent home complete with my own URL! It’s exciting. I am slowly getting myself more organised, starting with my desk (it was  a pigsty dumping ground) which is now more organised and I’m making it a proper work and game space. I also plan to make more videos and perhaps branch out into more videos on Youtube with audio commentary as well. And I’m trying to get over my fears of streaming (hey, I’m an anxious and nervous person really!) I have plans for where I want to be in a year’s time. If I could make talking about games, consoles, PC Gaming and making associated video content as a full time job I would jump for it. That would be the ideal. I do not want to work in my current industry forever. I want to interview developers, be physically at GamesCon and especially Blizzcon as not just a gamer, but a commentator on games. As a blogger.

So the original question, Why Do I Write? It’s simple. Because I want to. I have something to say. I enjoy it. And most of all, I think everyone who visits my blog or engages with me enjoys my little space on the web. And as long as I have the passion there, this blog will continue and you’ll hopefully continue to see my love for games and my parenting antics as time goes on.

What do you think? Do you blog or write? Perhaps you stream or make Vlogs or other types of Youtube videos? Why do YOU write?

Comment below or on social media, I’d love to hear your answers!

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Work & Family -The Home & Life Balance

worklifebalance

So my new job is in full swing for the past few weeks (wasn’t meaning to be so long between posts!), and my Hubby just got a proper job too! Of course, this is a massive change for Miss. She is used to having Mummy to herself (to a point!). And Daddy goes out sometimes, but not for long periods of time like shift work causes.

Adjustment is needed. Tonight while Hubby went off to work, she said “Daddy isn’t coming back.” And I said time and time again, yes he is just after your bedtime. I tried explaining how Mummy is at work in the mornings but Mummy comes back later. This is the same thing. But she is still finding it difficult to understand. She even started wetting the bed again.

It’s hard. I hate leaving at the morning at six AM. My heart strings feel like they’re breaking to be sneaking out of the house, even though I know this will be so much better for us. My job is also flexible, in that as she gets older I can move my hours around to longer or to be around school times.  Hubby will be the stable breadwinner, which makes him happy, and he’s guaranteed overtime if he wants it. My work, well it’s a bit pants money wise. But I’m enjoying it, and that’s great. I’ve worked in a variety of different settings, but this one is different entirely. It’s not all paperwork or being sat at a computer or stacking shelves. It suits me.

As time goes on, we’ve no idea at this stage what will happen. I may not get any work one week (I really hope not!) which would hamper that week entirely for shopping. At least for now, Miss seems to be adjusting. It’ll just take time.

What about you? Are you a parent who works? How did you manage if you went back to work when your kid was older? Comment or Tweet me, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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10 Things to Try with Your Preschooler This Summer

(c)TheGamingMum 2015

(c)TheGamingMum 2015

Summer holidays suck as a parent. As a child it never seems long enough. But for a parent who can’t explain to her threenager that we’re on a very low income as I await hours for my new job; this is hell.

When you cannot drive between you and the Grandparents are all busy, this means one thing. Most days you will be at home. Nearly every day. With no access to the garden which needs attacking by professionals. Seriously, I have a jungle for a garden, but unless you have over 30m extension cable, good luck reaching it!

But this sucks. I start a new job soon so I thought naively that I would be able to enjoy these last few weeks as a stay at home mum. No. We are officially a month down from when Nursery said it’s summer for those who aren’t paying for extra hours. And most of that month I admit has made me cry, scream, and wonder what I’ve done wrong. It’s not like a year ago before she went to Nursery and it was an everyday all day thing. Her mind has moved on, needing more and more stimulation or the meltdowns start. And quite frankly, for a child that can already count to thirty unaided, and has been saying the alphabet since she was two, this Mum has no idea where to go next learning wise!

Trying to teach her to write her name makes her frustrated, her name starts with a K and she can’t get the hang on the letter. I’m slowly teaching her French to compliment what Nursery are supposed to be teaching her (think I’ve taught her more than them). Miss is just so independent now, with a proper personality and attitude to match. The Threenager is definitely in residence!

So what am I to do? Here is a list of everything we’ve tried so far!

  • Colouring/writing/drawing – obvious but we just got given a printer so I’m able to print out many Peppa Pig/Doc Mcstuffins/Dora pictures as demand dictates.
  • Cutting/Sticking – only allowed when Mum is prepared for the mess and for the inevitable “I got glue in my hair Mummy!”
  • The ScrapBook. When she was in the Toddler room at Nursery, the kids would be given a copy of the Argos book to rip,cut and look through as they wanted. I thought this was genius as the massive book is free. All I have to do is walk into town, She will quite happily just sit and look through it and occasionally I’ll get the preschooler scissors out for her to practise with. And when it’s finished with, recycle and go get a new one!
  • Origami – I’m not great at this, though a quick google search can tell you all you need to make a paper hat, frog, pirate ship etc! Oodles of fun!
  • Dressing up – I admit, her dressing up box is a bit lacking. But combine bits such as old cot bedsheets for capes and the origami hats in different shapes and we have everything from pirates to superheroes to princesses!
  • Puppets – you can buy sets or make your own! Also if you use card and cut out the “puppets” you could try shadow puppets on a sunny day and make up a story!
  • The park – on good days, the best place to go to tire out little high energy persons! We’re lucky in that there is lots of different parks where we are so there is some variety.
  • Painting – With my Miss, this is not for the faint hearted. I have found paint on our ceiling. And we have high ceilings! Mind boggles.
  • Shopping – This is here because normally I do my shopping child free when she is at Nursery. I do not put her in the trolley and instead she walks around quite happily helping me fill the trolley and then emptying it! If I’m using the self-scan, she’ll help scan non-fragile stuff too.
  • Playdoh – The prepackaged stuff is amazing, but for cheap you can also make your own when you want it. It doesn’t last as long but hey, cheap is good! I’ll do a future blog post on my recipe for it and what I do to make it interesting!

There is more I could add to this list, but you get the idea!

How are you coping with the summer? Do you have any ideas to share? Tweet me or comment below!

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What to do when tantrums get you down 


Picture sourced from Pexel.com

This week has been a pure battle of wills. Miss now no longer listens to me, and instead bites, hits, shouts and treats me like I’m garbage. A slave for her every whim. If I say “no” she completely ignores it.

This causes major problems when we are out. I no longer can risk taking her to my local shop as she cannot be trusted to stay holding my hand or not shoplift. Obviously this is dangerous, we do not exactly live in a very quiet area and some drivers do not think about their speeding in a mainly family orientated neighbourhood.

I’m starting a new job soon, so I really don’t want to come home and just end up with a headache. I want it to be that I can come home and play with her.

The final straw with this behaviour was when we took her swimming the beginning of last week. Both before and after she decided that it was her way or no way. The changing room echoed with her high pitched, ear piercing screams that completely made the fact she was swimming solo in the pool a non event. Hubby said after he knew something was wrong as other parents were coming out whispering and muttering to themselves. When we got home, I burst into tears. My darling girl who loves to help and was the most polite kid ever had turned into a headache-inducing monster. And ninety-nine percent of the time the evil part was aimed at Mummy.

There has been major changes since then, some of which mean there are a few extra tantrums. However, they are contained. To a point heh.

  • No TV after breakfast. Unless the PS4 is going on for a game for family game time, Spotify music is the rest of the day. More on this in a later post!
  • Time out/Naughty Chair. We have rules and if they are not followed there are consequences. Miss will be made safe on the chair and I make sure she cannot hurt herself in her rage before I leave and ignore her.
  • There are rules. Why is this a bulletpoint? Because kids need boundaries. If they think they can get away with anything, they will and they will do it.

This works for me. She and I are both happier people.

The point is, this is learning for the whole family. When looking into how to discipline your children, there are many different methods. Some will work, others won’t. If you’re a parent who like me last week is in tears reading this, don’t worry. It is okay to cry, go scream in a pillow and be mad. Just go take a break (safely!), have a cuppa and rethink. Remember that your child reflects your moods and just try to relax. It will be okay.

What do you do or have you tried? Comment here or catch me on Twitter @TheGamingMum and brainstorm!

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Just keep swimming! First time at the pool!

  

Wednesday was the hottest day of the year so far at 34c! We’d gone to visit the grandparents and were sat in the garden talking when Hubby had a brain wave. “Let’s go swimming!” Genius. The paddling pool, while great, meant that Nanny couldn’t get in and was feeling left out (she has physical disabilities) so when this was suggested, she kick started into gear and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her move that fast! 

This was the first time we had taken Miss swimming and to be honest, I’m not the best swimmer. I can swim but not for long and I flounder a bit, also I have to know I can touch the bottom. So no deep end for me! When Miss is older, I’m hoping she’ll have even just a few lessons so she can be properly accustomed to the water and feel safe in it. From pregnancy I wanted to take her swimming but due to not being a strong swimmer I always put it off. There is only so much you can teach her in a bath (safety stuff and about floating with Mummy holding). 

Armbands were purchased, costumes changed into and slowly walked Miss from the changing room to the pool. She did not want to let go of my hand. Hubby helped her get her armbands on and we walked in. Our local pool has a beach like setup so little kids can paddle and explore the pool safely. 

To begin with, she definitely wasn’t sure. The water was cool and it was a lot bigger than the paddling pool at Nanny’s house! We were lucky in that for a general swim session, it was fairly quiet. I think if it had been noisy, lots of kids and all hell breaking loose (how I expect it to be when summer break starts in two weeks!) she would’ve noped right out of there.

With a lot of encouragement and the introduction to a pool noodle, she started to float and kick her legs! (“A noodle?! Mummy you’re silly!”) I’m so proud. If anyone splashed near her she panicked a little bit but for the child that has screamed about hair washing for two years, she did amazingly. 

When time was finally up as we only had an hour in the pool, Miss started to cry.

“I don’t want to get out Mummy!”

Bless her. I had to explain that there were children having lessons now so we had to get out and we’d come another day. 

So really, that first swim went swimmingly! (Pah bum tsst! Alright I’ll stop the puns..) We are trying to be a healthier family (more on that in another post) and swimming is probably one of the better exercises this Mummy can do since she has no idea how to exercise. And bonus is, when Hubby and I went solo when she was at preschool on Friday, I got my confidence up and I didn’t hurt after. We are headed there today, and Miss is so excited! 

Have been swimming with young children? Did you pay for lessons or you also going solo? Comment and tweet me, I’d love to hear your stories!

Getting a Threenager to eat healthy

Getting a Threenager to eat vegetables sometimes isn't easy

Getting a Threenager to eat vegetables sometimes isn’t easy

The bane of chicken nuggets!

For those not aware a Threenager is a three year old who is a mini glimpse of life with a teenager. Getting Miss to eat anything new is sometimes very stressful if it is obvious on her plate. She will cry and scream if she is even told to try it. Then says she doesn’t like it when it has not gone anywhere near her mouth yet. The one food she would eat every meal if she could would be chicken nuggets. I hate giving her processed food and because of my dodgy relationship with food, I am trying so hard to give her a better attitude and better all round diet than me.

So how do I get my Threenager to move past the chicken nuggets? I have a variety of different ways, the main one being that she has to try everything on her plate. Just once. This encourages her that she doesn’t have to eat it all, (I’m not going to force her!) but Mummy made this and would like her to try one mouthful with no pressure. We still get a tantrum about that one spoonful but it is smaller than earlier methods. She has to be encouraged. Sometimes, saying “oh Miss isn’t going to eat (food here) all up” will make her gobble up the evil food. Reverse psychology.

With her I’ve noticed that a lot of the foods she doesn’t like involves textures. If they’re bitty (contain mince for example) she really doesn’t like it. To be fair, this is something I have trouble with. I don’t know why but I hate lumpy food and even mash when smooth I cannot stand it in my mouth. I still make a point of eating it though. Because I have learnt that if Miss sees something that we adults don’t eat, she will refuse to eat it.

So if you are a parent, this is what I do that may help you.

  • Try one mouthful of everything
  • Try at least one new food or food done differently each week
  • Reverse psychology (you’re not going to eat that _____)
  • Don’t take the easy route of chicken nuggets just because s/he wants them. The adults pick tonight’s meal.
  • Make sure the food makes a healthy and balanced meal
  • Make sure there is not too much on the plate. This can be overwhelming and resort in nothing eaten

We still have issues, but this helps a lot. Last night for example, she refused to eat her vegetables!

If you have a young child who has problems with food and have any other suggestions why not comment below? Each child is different after all!