An Open Letter To Professionals – Mums Are Experts Too

As I sit once again inside another hospital room, the little man lying asleep in a cot next to me, another night of vomit over, there’s something I feel I have to say.

I am a mum.

I care. I love. I hurt.

I know my child. I have held him in my arms every day – no every hour – since he was born.

I know I haven’t studied the course you have. I don’t have a degree in medicine. I am not a qualified expert.

But, I do know my child. I am an expert in him.

I know what is normal for him. And I know what isn’t.

I deserve to be spoken to. I deserve to know what you are thinking; to hear your theories and ideas. And I deserve to be listened to.

I deserve to be respected, just as you do.

My mum persona is a far cry from my teacher one.

When I walk into a room with my teacher head on, my title commands respect. People listen. Because I am the professional in the room, the objective one.

Yet, when I have that head on, I have often known the children I represent a matter of months. I am an expert. Except I’m not.

I haven’t held that child in my arms as they cry at night. I haven’t witnessed them grow, or worried about them long into the night.

That child matters to me, but they are not my world. I have other priorities, other agendas, other people to consider.

Yet I am the professional. Therefore my views matter.

When I am a mum, they matter less.

Because I am less.

When really I should be more.

Posts From The Heart 27th February 2017

Hello and welcome to Posts From The Heart, hosted by myself and fellow blogger Becci over at The UnNatural Mother.

We love to read blogs about things that matter to people; whether it’s something your child did that meant a lot or a political event on the world stage, from the smallest of details to the grandest of hopes, if what we write about means something to us its light shines bright.

We wanted to create a Linky to showcase those posts, to make sure that those posts which mean the most to us are seen and read, and this is the result of that dream.

Whether you’re here to link up, or here because you like us you love to find out what people care about, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Each week, we’ll read, comment and StumbleUpon each post as well as each choosing our three favourites to highlight the following week.

Our Rules

  • You may link up a maximum of two posts, old or new, as long as they are about things which matter to you.
  • Please comment on at least one of the highlighted posts.
  • Please comment on any four new posts which you feel relate to you. There’s no obligation to comment on ours, they are no more important than any of the other posts people have linked up.
  • Please use #PostsFromTheHeart in your comments, that way people know where you have found their post.
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My Highlighted Posts From Posts From The Heart 20th February 2017

Our seventh week of #PostsFromTheHeart contained another wonderful set of fantastic posts. I read them whilst on a less than ideal holiday… but hey, you live and learn. Next time I’ll make sure I check out some reviews before booking!

Once again we had both some incredibly joyful, and some utter heartbreakers among our posts. It was a priveledge to read every one of them. It was lovely to see so many of our regular linkers return, and also to see lots of new writers join us.

There is no obligation at all to comment on this post but we would love it if you could sprinkle some extra love on one of our Highlighted Posts. You the linkers are what make this Linky such a pleasure to host and we want to make sure you all get as much out of it as possible.

This week’s highlighted posts were once again incredibly difficult to choose, but I think you will all agree that they are more than deserving of their place:

My Breastfeeding Journey by Autumn’s Mummy is a truly beautiful piece of writing. It really highlights the importance of supporting our fellow mums and letting go of judgement. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the mum we always intended to be, but sometimes life has unexpected twists and turns. We need to be kind to ourselves and others.

My Children Are Just As Annoying As Yours by Five Little Doves is a beautiful response to the unkindness of a stranger. As bloggers we put our lives in the public domain willingly, but that doesn’t mean criticism doesn’t hurt. Laura’s blog, is honest, it is positive and it is real as is her open reply.

I Don’t Recognise Myself by Raisie Bay was a staggeringly brave post which serves to remind us all that life really can change in an instant. Life is precious, we never know what the future will bring and this is a post which really goes to show just how trivial many of the things we worry about really are. This blog epitomises strength, if you haven’t yet read it, you need to.


The Truth About Pushy Parents

After the publication of yesterday’s articles in the guardian and the independent regarding pushy parents wanting a diagnosis of SEND for their children, I have become increasingly annoyed.

Because the truth is parents of children with SEND need to be pushy.

In fifteen years of teaching I can honestly say that I have never met a parent who wants their child to have SEND. However, I have seen countless parents at breaking point. Parents who have spent countless hours fighting for services their child needs access to. And parents whose children have been refused diagnosis because of the lack of knowledge of the professionals working with them.

The reality is that most mainstream teachers have no training in working with children with SEND. They have no knowledge of diagnostic criteria. And funding cuts mean they have very little access to specialist services.

Behaviour is all too often blamed because teachers do not have an understanding of the root causes.

Do middle class children fare better in the system than those from less well off backgrounds? Absolutely. Their parents learn how to work the system. They learn that in order to get what their child needs they need to shout loudly in the right ears. And they are less likely to be blamed as the root cause of the difficulties their child is causing.

There are limited resources. Too few specialist places and not enough money to go round. I have sat in meetings with LEA budget holders and been told frankly that there is not enough money in the pot to provide the education that SEND children in the authority need.

This is not the fault of pushy parents. It is the fault of cuts to an already stretched budget.

Parents do not want to be pushy. They should not need to be pushy. The education children need to be successful should be a right for all. Services should be given on the basis of need. Children whose parents do not understand the system should not be sacrificed.

But that is not the fault of the parents of the children who access them. It is the fault of the system.

Change is needed. And it is needed now.

More resources are needed urgently. More training for all teachers in SEND needs to be made compulsory. But more than that parents need to be listened to – not because authorities are afraid of complaints but because they are the ones who know their children best.

Because education matters for all children.

There should not be children entering secondary school who have not been taught to read and write. There should not be children spending years out of school because of the lack of an appropriate placement.

We should not be complaining that parents are pushing to get the education their child needs, we should be asking why they need to.

After all, if your child needed help, what would you do?

Dear Reflux – My Third Open Letter To Infant Reflux At Ten And A Half Months

Dear Reflux,

This month you have shown us your worst.

You have shown us that you have the power. This is the month that Number Two learnt how to reject medicine. And this is the month that along with your good friend gastroenteritis you landed him in hospital.

He had one good wonderful day. We took him out. He enjoyed food. We dared to hope.

Then wham bam, along you came, showing us you still had control. Only this time you did it with style. This time your power was so strong, he wouldn’t even take a bottle. This time he ended up being fed from a tube, unable to keep anything down. You had help of course, but still you let us know you were around, hiding under the surface, making him feel worse.

I hate you. I hate you more now than I ever have. And I need you to go. I need you to leave my baby alone.

The tube has gone. But you are still here. He has been through enough. He doesn’t deserve you.

This week we have been on holiday, but you were our unwanted guest. You weren’t invited but along you came. The elephant in the room. All knowing. Ever present.

He tried so hard our gorgeous Number Two, to eat new foods and try new things. He discovered scampi and strawberries and wolfed both down. He enjoyed them, wanted to eat, was eager to try more. Again we began to hope, maybe this would be the start of something new. Maybe here away from the associations of pain, he would learn to eat.

Then night came.

And with nightfall, as always came you. Creeping up on his blissful sleep. Disturbing him. Making him cry out in pain.

He woke every half hour. No that is wrong. He didn’t wake. YOU woke him!

You punished him for what he ate, reminding us all that you have the control. You have the power.

But he isn’t listening. Not this time. So far he continues to fight you. Each day he has continued to eat. Not a lot. But some. Our lion is fighting. He is stronger than you. He will not let you win.

Because this month whilst you showed your worst, he rallied his army. He is loved by so many. And love is strong. Stronger than you.

We’re fighting you Reflux, and you will not win.

There are more than us than there are of you. And we will win.

Mummy x