the careys

the careys
and then there were 7!!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Brave

I have had a couple of drinks, heard this song (not for the first time this year) and decided that it is my anthem.

I have had a couple of drinks, heard this song (not for the first time this year) and decided that it is my anthem.

2014......The year I 'bravely' stepped out of my comfort zone, on multiple occasions, and embarked upon journey's into the unknown that will continue into 2015 and beyond.

I have found my confidence disappearing this week, largely due to two assignment results that, although I was thrilled with, have made me think of the future again and what I am aiming to achieve and it has scared the shit out of me! (again)

I remember when my days consisted of the simple stuff: nappies, breastfeeding, tantrums, family days out and all that goes with being a part of a large family. I still do all these things but now I have extra responsibilities, commitments, aspirations and ultimate personal goals.
My standards and expectations of myself keep getting higher and I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself to keep the damn balls in the air! (I am also convinced I am also trying to grow a set).

So, today's blog post is a little distraction, to give my self a pep talk, to celebrate my achievements so far and to just focus on the here and now for a little bit.

Christmas is in five days time and I cannot wait to celebrate with my beautiful family.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Uganda

I am not sure whether I am excited, petrified, overwhelmed, nervous.... possibly all of the above so I had a drink to calm myself!

I put myself forward for a volunteering opportunity to a Maternity and Neonatal hub in Uganda a few weeks back and although there was a cost involved, 2k, I really wanted to use the experience for my 3rd year community placement or as a subject for my dissertation as I had already planned to focus on maternity/breastfeeding.

Funding for international projects is available through my uni but priority is given to Santander partner Universities which this project is not, however, I was still advised to apply.

I received an email today saying my application was successful and I have been awarded 5k based on the merits of my application!

So, now I need to get used to saying 'when' I go to Uganda instead of 'if'.

The next step is confirm dates, identify my exact my role in the project and prepare my family for 4 weeks without me.

As an extra 'bonus' I get to complete an extra element of the Salford Advantage award (employability skills award, I am doing alongside my degree) but for this I need to do a blog/video blog whilst I am in Africa, followed by a presentation when I return!

I need another drink..

Friday, 21 November 2014

Catching up.

I am almost at the end of my first semester which means I almost half way through my degree already!

Since my last update in October I have been busier than ever before. I am out of the house by 8.30 at the latest every morning and 2-3 times a week I do not arrive home until after 10pm when I have been at work, a workshop or a meeting, yet I haven't burned out....yet.

I have submitted one assignment so far, analysing the family and medical leave act in America, and I have two more to tie up the loose ends on and submit next week! Then I have three to work on over Christmas to be submitted in January, one of which is comparing the policies on breastfeeding women who are H.I.V positive in South Africa and the UK which I have found really interesting!

Although I feel on top of my uni work I am stressing that the work I am putting in will not be enough to get me good marks, but time will tell.

Parliamentors is moving on quite well and we now have two dates set in January to run our workshops and a date for our 'I am Salford' exhibition in February. There have been some challenges but I am confident we will succeed and I am putting 100% into the project.

I have been volunteering as a high school mentor as well to give me an insight into teaching and although I would prefer to teach at further or higher education level I have loved being in the classroom and the support and feedback I am getting is excellent and extremely positive.

In  addition to everything else, I have signed up to a 'trustee in training' programme through the uni which will utilise the skills I have at the moment and develop them further, and most importantly I will be involved in working with social enterprises in areas that I am passionate about.

On top of all this!  A job I applied for as a School Health Care Assistant in September still want me for the job despite my other commitments which means I would need to change my hours at times, and they said they will support me in my learning and development as they want someone who is keen to progress!

So yes, I may be busy, a bit stressed at times and have no social life but I am loving every minute at the moment and seem to thrive on the adrenalin. I am off to London on Monday to meet the parliamentors for mid-point training, looking forward to meeting everyone again and hearing about their projects, however, I equally cannot wait until next weekend when I get two full days off!!

In other news, in particular my family, Mark has a date for his knee surgery that is 12th December and 6 weeks off work! Peter has had his pre-op today for his tonsillectomy and now waiting for a date which should be before Christmas and Jason had his speech therapy assessment today and although she was very thorough Jason apparently is not just 'delayed' he has a speech 'disorder' which may or may not be caused by hearing loss, or a problem with his palate which he will be referred to ENT for further investigation. We have some strategies to work through with him to help with his speech but it is good to finally get someone to recognise what we have been noticing for a while now. I was hoping it was just a speech delay but thankfully he is able to communicate well with us non-verbally and has a great understanding overall.
Owen has also been re-referred back in the local speech therapy after being at the more specialised Willy Russell centre for a few years and I was pleased to find out that they now advocate the use of 'techniques' and do not just focus on confidence building. They look at breathing techniques amongst other strategies that sound similar to what I undertook when I was in college and helped immensely.

So, that's me for another few weeks probably, maybe until it is closer to Christmas, before I get to update again when I will probably be knee deep in looking after my husband and Peter post-op!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

I am,..........

in no particular order, a wife, a mother to five children, a student, a volunteer, and employed at two jobs.
I am often asked how I manage to fit it all in and this has caused me to analyse exactly how I do manage to juggle all my commitments whilst retaining my sanity.

The biggest sacrifice I have made in the last year is having a social life. I very rarely go out with friends anymore and choose to spend my free time with my husband Mark and our children.

I am highly organised and I find that it is the little things that can make all the difference. For instance: organising the uniforms and clothes the night before, ensuring all bags and coats are in the car ready, making sandwiches the night before, preparing the breakfast bowls and spoons the night before, making sure everyone knows what time we are leaving and give them each something to be responsible for.

Multi-tasking plays an important part in my daily life. I make the most of any spare minutes and seconds. I can be reading whilst preparing dinner, researching journals and books to reserve at the library in between calls at work, making phone calls in the car or walking to a lecture.

Keeping a diary, electronically and a traditional book style, and taking them with me everywhere.

Prioritising commitments. My family always come first and spending time with them is at the top of my list. Housework, although necessary, gets done on a needs must basis and although I ensure the house is tidy, clean and we all have food and clothes, some jobs can wait until the semester is over because who cares if my inside windows have not been cleaned for a few weeks or my freezer hasn't been defrosted?!?.

My brain works the quickest in the evening so I prefer to study when the children are in bed until 1am/2am, this also means that my brain has been we exercised and so I generally sleep better, despite sometimes dreaming about the last thing I have written or thought about!

I have a strong family support network and my husband and I work together, sharing all jobs and picking up the slack if one of us is busy.

I ask for help if I need it and I am not afraid to admit if I am feeling swamped with responsibilities, talking through it usually resolves any issues (and a glass of fruity cider).

I always keep at the forefront of mind what my future aspirations are, how far I have come and ultimately what I aim to achieve. If I fail, it will not be due to lack of commitment or determination. I want a first class degree but I also want graduate attributes, employability skills, I want to stand out when it comes to fighting for the top jobs.

I am a fairly calm person, which helps, and I choose my battles carefully and can often see in advance if something is not worth becoming stressed or anxious over, I am capable of rationalising.

I can laugh at myself. My clumsiness, mishearing words and sentences due to hearing loss, constantly forgetting my hearing aids and I like to have silly fun with the children, whether that is making up new words to songs and new dance moves.

Being passionate about certain subjects is an excellent motivator.

I do struggle with confidence issues and I have been on anti-depressants since April due to delayed post natal depression and I am due for a review in December where I may possibly start to be weaned off them.

I believe if you want something badly enough you will achieve it.

Those who can...do....

I am NOT superwoman.

I am Claire, I am Mummy, I am just me.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Back to uni

I have decisions to make and I am too indecisive.

I love my job, i love uni, my volunteer work and Parliamentors, I am also looking forward to being a high school mentor.
I have been offered a few jobs and I am down to two, both of which are fantastic opportunities and relevant to my future goals but I cannot do everything!

I could do with a crystal ball :)

Yesterday I was inspired again by a couple of people who directly and indirectly helped me so much at the start of my degree by offering general advice and confidence boosting motivational talks.
After speaking to the new first years yesterday I was approached by a few at the end of the session asking for bits of advice as they could relate to being out of education and feeling overwhelmed in the early days. I truly hope that what I said will help them to stay determined and focused and relax!

Now I need to take my own advice......