The Mother & Teenager C25K Challenge

One thing I never thought I would be taking up again at 50 is running!  I did all that and got the t-shirt way back in my 20's and 30's. Keeping fit and healthy is of course a priority, but over the last decade it has been of a more conservative nature than returning to pounding the streets and parks of South London.  So what happened?

Well with a a staycation planned for our summer and lazy days stretching ahead with just the youngest teen for company, it struck me that we could both benefit from something to focus on and as I wrote only a short while ago having a shared interest with your child or teens is so valuable.  It gives us a common purpose, keeps us talking and keeps our relationship alive and as any parent with teenagers will realise that is not a bad thing.

There are some seriously accomplished running mumbloggers out there, Sarah at Mum of Three World for one and some like the fabulous Prabs at Absolutely Prabulous who like me is pushing back against midlife in style.  There have also been many wonderful and inspirational pieces written by other bloggers about their own Couch to 5K (C25K) journey including Charlie over at Mess & Merlot, who not content with reaching the 5K milestone, pushed herself onto 10K.  Aspirational indeed but for now we like all newcomers are just focusing on the first steps to 5K.

The C25K programme is not new, it has actually been around since 1996 and ironically was actually devised by a young man called Josh Clark with his 50 year old mother in mind, to encourage her to address her health.

When I hit 50 earlier this year I reviewed my midlife exercise regime with its focus heavily towards Pilates and Barre work outs and booked sessions with personal trainer Clare at Live In Fitness Retreat.  A 56 year old whose mantra is that "50 doesn't define us anymore", Clare took me outside of my comfort zone and introduced me to HIIT, a way of exercising that can be done in just 12 minutes a day.  It was a real eye opener for me in terms of my cardio-vascular health, I managed the sessions and still do some at home, but it was evident that it was something I had neglected in recent years.

Following in the footsteps of Josh Clark's mother and all the other 50 year olds like her I hope that apart from binding me in a shared agony with my daughter, running again will address that area of weakness for me.  But this experience is not just about me, the other half of the "us" is my daughter who is keen to return to school in September fit and ready for the hockey season ahead, with its gruelling training schedule of early mornings and late afternoons.  For her it is all about improving her stamina and of course hanging out with me!

So how has it been so far?  Well we are almost at the end of the third week of the nine week programme and I think I can safely say we both feel quite smug.  Firstly, because we have proved to the doubting boys in the house that the girls in the house can do "sweaty, heart pumping" exercise if we put our minds to it and secondly because quite frankly not every day has been easy!

There have been days when we have been too hot, too cold or soaked to the skin by archetypal English downpours.  Some mornings we have just been dog tired.  We have also been embarrassed as we pass people we know with the dulcet tones of Michael Jordan booming from our phones encouraging us to start, to stop, to run, to walk but most importantly to keep a steady pace and just keep going.

This aside, however, we have enjoyed the warm up walk and the chance to chat about "stuff"; the way we feel at the end of each session; the fact we keep on doing it not because we have to but because we want to and that as each run passes we have ticked another box, plus we are getting close to noticing a real difference.  Of course we have exchanged a few cross words along the way but we don't pant now, we breathe and not just in time with our own footsteps but with each other. We are in sync on our runs, supporting and coaxing each other along the way.

Josh Clark said that he wanted the programme to be easy and rewarding, recognising that we are creatures of inertia and need carrots to get moving and to continue.  In that regard, it is working for us thus far.  As beginners the schedule is sustainable.  I don't know how far we will go with it and whether once we reach the end and tick off our first 5K we will then join the masses running several times a week.  I do, however, hope that we will both reap the rewards of improved fitness and at the very least we will get together once a week for some more "us" time.  Watch this space!

 

Have you embarked on the C25K challenge or something like it?  If so I would love to hear how you coped.

 

Mummy Times TwoThat Friday Linky

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond Summer Holiday Read

School's out for Summer and that means a break for all of us in terms of our daily routines and regular commitments, it is a time to indulge in some quality time with our family and friends and in my case my teens!

If you missed our post last week #Tweens, Teens & Beyond is taking a break.  The rule book is out of the window for the summer.  The linky is open from today Tuesday 25th July until Thursday 31st August.

During this time you can link as many posts as you like, comment on those that have struck a chord and that does not have to include us the hosts this time, because we are exempt from commenting too.  Normal service will resume on Tuesday 5th September.

Have a great summer.  Kick back and enjoy, in the meantime give a big cheer to our loyal linker and favourite post from last week Liz at It's A Drama.  Her post on Hormones and Hormoans struck a chord with me for sure.

Grab the badge, link as much as you like and comment as you see fit.  Happy Holidays!

Mother of Teenagers

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The Value Of A Shared Interest Between Parent & Child

What makes you tick?  Do you share any passions with your children? One of the many things I love about being a mother of teenagers is discovering shared interests that help to cement our relationship as adults and as a family.

As parents we are all guilty of enrolling our children from an early age in a multitude of clubs under the guise that it will be "good for them", whilst waiting quietly in the wings to see which ones stick and if we have a child prodigy on our hands - oh if only!

Those early day activities do have a role to play but the real moment of discovery comes with the secondary parenting stage when our children cast off the shackles of stage one parenting and start to own and nurture their own interests in a grab for independence of mind and spirit.   It is a moment of childhood metamorphosis.

It is wonderful to see them hit on something that ignites a spark and for which they truly develop not just a liking but a passion.  It is even better, however, if that something also interests you and will therefore connect you as individuals with a shared interest, rather than simply as a parent and child.

Of course with a boy and a girl in the house it is natural to assume the father will do all the boy stuff and the mother all the girl stuff, but that is an outdated viewpoint and certainly not the case in our house. I would be lying, however, if I said my eldest teenager's passions for rugby and cricket ignite a spark in me, but nevertheless I am genuinely interested in what it means to him.  So over the years that has meant standing in the back garden and helping out whilst he practises his passing (rugby) or bowling (cricket), turning up to support him when he is playing, trying to understand the rules and taking an interest in the detailed match analysis that always follows every game. Sport excites him and is a big part of him I cannot ignore if I am to understand and connect with him, although sports trivia and inside sporting jokes are clearly the preserve of my husband as are trips to watch live games or to play a round of golf.

Sport aside, on a more frivolous level  we also love shopping together (yah!) a male in the house that loves to look good after a wasted decade spent trying to persuade my husband that clothes maketh the man and are not just a necessity for covering nudity, is a relief I cannot quite describe.   My son has helped me to decide on many an outfit over the years and was my chosen shopping companion when buying my all important shoes for my 50th this year.  My husband would say it is a shallow shared interest of course but I beg to differ.

Sadly my eldest does not share my passion for reading, the theatre or art.   Over the years we have forced books upon both our teens but with our eldest it has been clear since primary that reading would always be a means to an end for him and not a pleasure.  A Freddie Flintoff biography remains to this day his favourite read of all time - as an English graduate I have despaired!  Similarly, with the theatre whilst we have enjoyed many a family excursion to national and local theatre, aside from a pantomine featuring the dance group Diversity after their success on Britain's Got Talent, it really hasn't flicked his switch but it doesn't mean we have given up - it is just a case of finding a compromise sometimes and we have had a few wins amidst the fails War Horse, Le Cirque du Soleil to name a few.

These passions of mine are all the reserve of my shared interests with my youngest teen who devours books by the truckload, adores drama from the perspective of a spectator, performer and director and is very happy to wile away several hours with me at the RA , the Tate or our local art galleries and has even started her own mini art collection as a result.

Similarly with my daughter, however, despite our female connection she shares a fistful of interests with her father I can't get close to.  Sci-Fi for one, YouTubers with extraordinary names, the Marvel Universe and Gaming and as she reminded me only this morning, it was as a result of my husband spending hours at a time making up stories with her toys and shooting videos that ignited her love of filming.

It is impossible for everyone in a family to like all of the same things but to survive the next phase of parenting and beyond it is essential to have some areas of common ground.  It is our areas of shared interest that give not only our family our identity but the relationships within it too.  If I think about my relationship with my parents now in their 70's, my mother's absolute love is gardening and it is through her that I have developed my own interest.  Growing up in Norfolk, outdoor coastal walks were a regular occurence and gave us the chance to come together as a family and this is something I still enjoy not only with my parents when I visit, but also in London with my own family, even if the views don't involve the sea.

As a family we have clocked up some fabulous experiences together including our Super Saturday experience at the 2012 Olympics and an array of moments from travelling and exploring different countries and cultures, something again that my own parents engendered in me during my childhood.   Comedy is also a shared passion and we all relish a night being entertained either from the comfort of our sofa or live at comedy clubs or the big venues with the likes of Michael McIntrye and Jack Whitehall - a new introduction for me by my teens in fact.

The truth is, however, it doesn't even need to be complicated, some of our best moments together have been enjoying a wet and windy walk around the common or sitting around a table playing a card or board game (Scrabble brings out the worst in all of us) and binge watching on Eastenders or Come Dine With Me whilst waiting for my own culinary masterpiece to materialise (think Wendy of Butterflies fame - if you are old enough of course!)

Parenting teenagers is a distinctive journey and the value of shared interests is nowhere more apparent than at this stage - they will provide a multitude of unforgettable experiences and are ultimately the glue that will bind you together for the stage beyond.

 

What interests do you share with your children and as a family?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 

Tammymum Cuddle Fairy

 

 

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond #17

My teens have now finished school and the joy and chaos of the holiday beckons.  Meantime, welcome to another week of  Tweens, Teens & Beyond #17.

Last weeks' posts were brilliant as always,  we have enjoyed every single one of them and it's been really hard to choose.  However, on the basis that she has managed to inspire us so much with her concert loving, festival going tales, Mary at Maryom's Thoughts gets our vote this week.  Despite saying she hasn't crossed off all of her New Year's Resolution's in her post this week, we tend to disagree because Mary has done a whole load of stuff since joining the linky that we can only aspire to and for that reason, we are pleased that she is our worthy winner this week.

Looking ahead, school's out for summer and we have decided that means ignoring the rule book and doing things differently, so next week's linky on 25th July will be open until midnight on 31st August and during that time there are no rules.

There is no need to comment on the host posts unless you want to and you can link as many posts as you like. It is a Tweens, Teens & Beyond Summer Holiday Read, so please dip in and out as you see fit.

This also means we are taking a break so we will not be commenting in the same way and we hope this less formal approach will allow all of you and us of course, to just do our thing when time allows.  Normal weekly service will resume on Tuesday 5 September

Now on to this week's linky, the rules are below for those who are new to our linky and those who may need a reminder.  The most important is to share the linky love and remember to comment.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome but not other linky's please) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @nickykentisbeer
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond 
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers

 

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Sleepy Teenagers – How Much Do They Need?

With the exams finally behind us and the holidays stretching ahead it has struck me that one thing teenagers can do very well is sleep.

In our house there is a definite teen sleep pattern evolving that eschews that of the rest of the house and means not only are our body clocks not in tune but also we are out of sync on so many other levels as a result.

If he is not working to pay for his multiple upcoming summer holidays, our eldest will go out as we go to bed, arrive home as my husband goes to work, go to sleep as I get up and his breakfast is our lunch and so on and so forth.   As for our youngest, well she is going through a massive growth spurt at the moment and is permanently tired so needs no encouragement to sleep some more.

I am certainly not a morning person and relish the holidays and the chance for some extra shut eye, but my teenagers make sleeping look like an Olympic sport when not at school and I confess that on a couple of occasions I have resorted to the habit namely reserved for new mums of creeping in to their rooms and checking for a pulse for fear they have slipped in to a sleep induced coma!

Of course this whole scenario is ironic as I am sure like many other parents of teenagers will attest, the term time is a constant battle to get them to go to bed and get enough sleep, so if I argue with them now about cutting their sleep short and getting up earlier, they simply raise their eyebrows and challenge my logic.

Research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that teenagers between the ages of 14-18 need around 9 hours sleep a night, not only for their general well being but also to function at their best.

As adults, we are all too aware of the benefits of sleep.  It makes us more alert and we have more energy, we think more clearly and make better decisions and that of course means we are all much happier and enjoy life more, but just as with everything else in life though, it isn't just about the quantity of sleep but the quality.

Puberty, has a lot to answer for and as our children move through adolescence their internal body clock starts to alter which in turn affects their circadian rhythm making them more alert later in the day and moving back their time for feeling sleepy at night by about two hours, so it is a futile battle to get them to go to bed early as their body is simply not sleepy enough.

Combine this with busy schedules during the term time and the need to wake up early and go to school and invariably our teenagers are just not getting the amount, let alone the quality of sleep they need.

Cumulative sleep deprivation is bad for our health and as I know from personal experience with my menopausal insomnia, can result in mood swings, concentration issues and poor health and the same is true of teenagers.  They need sleep to ensure their brain grows properly and to make sense of the world.

I have featured a guest post previously from Dr Martin Lee at No Phone Zone on good sleep hygiene habits for our teenagers and the importance of ensuring they disconnect from the digital world when they go to bed, but what else can we do as parents?

Well during term time a routine and set bed time is important, but it would seem that during the weekends and holidays whilst it may go against every grain in our body and drive us nuts, it is advised to let our teenagers sleep to replenish their fuel reserves, but this should not be at the expense of any parental control.  If left to sleep indefinitely teenagers will experience a complete shift in their circadian rhythm which will mean that when it comes to the end of the holidays and returning to a normal routine they will struggle to adapt.

A good night's rest is vital mental nourishment and the holidays are a time for resting and throwing the rule book and the alarm clock for that matter out of the window but there is a point at which it is necessary to call "time teenagers please!"

 

What is your summer holiday sleep routine? Are your youngsters busy catching up on their sleep?

 

 

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond #16

Good Morning and welcome to Week 16 of linky Tweens, Teens & Beyond hosted by myself and my fellow Tween and Teen bloggers Sharon at After The Playground and Nicky at Not Just The Three of Us.

Thank you all for joining us for another week and if this is your first time with us, WELCOME and we hope you will join us again.

Our featured post from last week comes from a dedicated linker and fellow mother of teenagers Helen at Just Saying Mum who is also a finalist in the parenting category of this years's BIBs awards.  Her post Five Minute Therapy Series : Children & Identity run in conjunction with Sarah & Jayne, counsellors and hypnotherapists at BE Integrative Therapy addresses a number of pertinent issues around our growing tweens and teens and focuses on identity and self-confidence.

Although, the questions are from a parenting teenagers perspective, the issues that Sarah and Jayne touch on are relevant to us all.  Helen champions positive parenting and this post contains some relevant advice to us parents of young adults.  Please take a read and here's wishing Helen lots of luck from the Tweens, Teens & Beyond team for the awards.

Now on to this week's linky, the rules are below for those who are new to our linky and those who may need a reminder.  The most important is to share the linky love and remember to comment.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome but not other linky's please) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @nickykentisbeer
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond 
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

Mother of Teenagers

 

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Los Angeles – A Californian Road Trip – Part Four

Los Angeles is a must visit destination for anyone doing a road trip through California and for our teens it was a much anticipated highlight of our holiday.

Leaving the opulence of Hearst Castle behind we left Highway 1 and took the well known and faster Route 101 towards LA, stopping off first for a couple of days in Santa Barbara.

Widely referred to as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a Southern Californian rarity in that it is a city with a single architectural style.  Following a devastating earthquake in 1952, the centre was rebuilt according to strict rules that dictated a Mediterranean style. The result is a city filled with white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, which to a Brit abroad seem an incongruous feature on the sunny Californian coast.

The perfect stop off, Santa Barbara is an eclectic mix of just about everything.  With the Santa Ynez Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop as well as housing many wineries, Santa Barbara is perfect for aficionadas and novices alike to learn about and taste wines. There is history and culture at the Museum of Fine Arts and the gallery of El Paseo and the Mission Santa Barbara perched on a hilltop, houses Franciscan friars and a museum should it take your fancy.  For the green-fingered, the botanic garden is not to be sniffed at either, housing 40 acres of California's native flora.

For us though Santa Barbara also provided the perfect opportunity to ease off on the sight-seeing and indulge in a bit of shopping.  State Street is the hub of Santa Barbara's shopping district and it is and certainly was for us at least, easy to spend a whole day getting lost in the plethora of shops on offer.

After the almost suburban perfection of Santa Barbara, LA was the perfect antithesis, loud, brash and glitzy.

LA is best described as a series of interconnected villages, each with its own distinctive character from the affluence of Bel Air to the urban chic of Downtown LA.  The first thing that struck us on arriving was the traffic, the eight lane jams made a drive around the M25 seem like a walk in the park.

We chose not to stay in LA opting instead for the coastal community of Santa Monica.  The beach and that of its neighbour Venice is awash with people if not striving for, then certainly showing off their bodies beautiful.  A leisurely stroll along the boardwalk is littered with close encounters with skaters, surfers, cyclists, segways and then there are the guys pumping iron at the notorious Muscle Beach which of course fascinated our fitness obsessed eldest teenager.  It is an experience unlike any other, but one that is quintessentially LA.

The main attraction for us, or more particularly the teens on this section of our trip was a visit to Universal Studios, Hollywood. Housed in Burbank, the city's media centre and home to Buena Vista, Disney and Warner Bros it is a must visit.  To be honest my natural aversion to theme parks didn't put it high on my agenda but outnumbered 3 to 1, I went along for the ride.

Like everything in the US, it certainly didn't disappoint.  We had booked Front of Line passes to make accessing the shows, rides and attractions easier, but that aside the park and its facilites are extremely clean and laid out on two levels are well organised, making it easy to navigate and an altogether more pleasant experience than some UK theme parks I have visited.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is particularly impressive with reconstructions of Hogwarts and the shops of Hogsmeade and houses one of the scariest rides (or so I was told anyway) in the park.

As you would expect there are a variety of film-themed rides, some of which make the most of motion simulation combined with 3D and 4D technology to bring the experience alive incuding Fast & Furious, King Kong and Transformers.

In addition there is the World Famous Studio Tour which takes in sets from past and present films and shows in the largest set construction project in studio history.  These include the smouldering wreckage from Spielbergs War Of The Worlds and Jaws which was a particular highlight for us as it provided our eldest teen with the chance to come face to face with the fibreglass construction that haunted his dreams in his tweens and has kept him firmly out of the sea both home and abroad ever since for fear of sharks!  What makes the tour particularly special though is that Universal is a real working movie studio and therefore there is a high likelihood of witnessing filming in progress, which we did on our trip.

Aside from this there is also a lot of live entertainment at Hollywood Studios.  Our favourites were the Special Effects Show which features real Hollywood stunt actors recreating unforgettable moments from your favourite movies and WaterWorld which is a full-on explosive display of pyrotechnic effects that literally has you standing on the edge of your seat.

Aside from Universal the other must sees in LA of course are the Hollywood sign on Mount Lee and the Walk Of Fame.  The former is quite frankly a massive anti-climax.  You can if you wish go on a tour and get up close and personal with the sign but we felt this was a bit OTT so opted for viewing it from afar.  I don't know what I expected really but the best place to view it is from a bridge in the Hollywood and Highland shopping centre, a rather tacky construction on Hollywood Boulevard that offers peerless views of the sign. Maybe we should have gone on the tour because there was a definite "is that it?" sentiment to our viewing experience from the bridge.

The Walk of Fame however didn't disappoint, although it is a battle to manoeuvre your way through the hoards of tourists to get a glimpse of the terrazzo and brass stars.  Close by is Grauman's state-of-the-art Chinese Theatre where you can still check out Marilyn Monroe's impossibly tiny handprints and revel in the array of celebrity hand and footprints on display.

All in all LA rocks.  A glittering city for sure, we had the best time and we left, if not with a bit of Hollywood glamour then at the very least a sense of having been there and done that to add to our memory catalogue of family holidays.

 

This post is the fourth in a series on our California Road Trip with Teens.  If you missed the previous posts you can view them via the links below.

A California Road Trip with Teens - Part One

Whale Watching in Monterey - California Part Two

The Big Sur - A California Road Trip - Part Three

 

Extraordinary Chaos JakiJellz

 

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Tweens, Teens & Beyond #15

Where does the time go?  It seems like only yesterday that Sharon, Nicky and I launched Tweens, Teens & Beyond and here we are at Week 15.  Welcome back or if this is your first time, thanks for joining us.

To date we have had a total of 60 bloggers join our link up, many of whom have been joining us since day one and we continue to remain grateful for all their support.

One such blogger is Lynne who blogs at Raising My Autistic Son and her post from last week "Who Would We Be Without Our Sisters & Brothers" is our featured post. The role of families and the dynamic of siblings was a topic of conversation for Sharon, Nicky & I last week when we met and Lynne's post highlights perfectly the valuable role that siblings can play in supporting each other and this evident in the relationship that she describes between her son Edward and his older sister Leila.  It really is poignant.  Do take a read if you haven't already.

Now on to this week's linky, the rules are below for those who are new to our linky and those who may need a reminder.  The most important is to share the linky love and remember to comment.

Linky Rules

Please could you:

  • Grab the Tweens,Teens & Beyond  badge and add it to the bottom of your post or your side bar - if you need help read this Linky Guide from Becky at Cuddle Fairy.
  • Link up one post, old or new (sponsored and review posts are welcome but not other linky's please) that relate to children over the age of 10 years (Tweens, Teens or young adult children) and midlife.
  • Tweet us @motherofteensuk, @DrSharonParry1 and @nickykentisbeer
  • Comment on the hosts' posts and AT LEAST one other of your choice using the linky hashtag #TweensTeensBeyond 
  • Share any posts that you love, we are all about sharing!

What we will do for you:

  • All three of us will comment on your post and share it on Twitter.
  • Your post will be pinned to the #TweensTeensBeyond Linky Pinterest Board
  • Each week, we will select our favourite post which will be featured on all of our sites and shared on Social Media
  • By entering the link you are agreeing to be added to the email reminder list.  (You can request to be removed at any time!)

 

Mother of Teenagers

 

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