Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

30 December 2015

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Being a special needs parent is...

Dear friend,

Being a parent is amazing, exhausting, awe inspiring, confusing... full of contradictions. It is everything and nothing like I expected. When my son was 5 he was diagnosed with autism, one of life's curved balls and we had to learn to parent a little differently. Lots of friends sent us a poem to read. It was called; Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley. Ironically most people who sent this did not have children with special needs.  I think it was a well meaning attempt to empathise with how I was feeling and perhaps they felt it had added significance as I live in Holland.  

Initially I loved the poem however, over time I have become less comfortable with the hint of disappointment expressed. Here is my attempt to describe my feelings...

Our experiences are unique and it is how we choose to respond to them that defines us. We need to trust that in the end we will all arrive at the place we need to be.

There comes a time when you have to let go, face the fear and embrace the unexpected! One thing is certain, I am going to make dam sure I enjoy the ride!

I posted a version of this post in March 2015: What is parenting from a special perspective. It was published in The Mighty.
The post was revised in November 2016.

Autistic people do show empathy

2 December 2015

Dear friend,

I love our conversations around the dinner table. I really feel it is so important to sit around a table on an evening share a meal and talk together. It has become one of my favourite times of the day, especially on a day that I work because this is maybe the first 'proper' conversation I have had with the boys.

I don't know how it is on a morning in your house but I am normally found rushing around, making sure they're dressed, have eaten their breakfast, the dog is fed, school bags are ready etc I sometimes feel like an army sergeant barking commands at his company, poor kids. Anyway, I digress...

The other evening at dinner we were trying to sort out our schedule for the week. The boys regularly announce that "Mark is playing tomorrow" or "I am going to Dave's" and we are generally OK with that but we like them to 'ask' as there may be other plans. At first I found this strange as I was used to the mum's arranging the play dates not the kids but I have learned to go with the laid back flow here and as long as the boys are happy that's fine.

The little man announced that he had a friend coming to play tomorrow then the big lad said, oh yes I have 'friend' coming too. But he didn't look very happy about this so I asked the question; Is there a problem because you don't look very happy about it? What he said next totally knocked me off my feet.

I don't really want to play with 'friend' he is not really one of my 'best' friends and I find him a bit annoying but no-one really wants to play with him and I think that's not nice for him so I think that I should. 

I have read so many times that autistic people lack empathy. This can be linked back to the work of Simon Baron-Cohen on Theory of mind.

Yet, I do not believe this as here is another example of my big lad demonstrating perfectly that he does have empathy for others. In a previous post I have also discussed how he almost seems to feel the emotions too much.

Theories develop as understanding grows and Simon Baron-Cohen and his team are conducting further research at Cambridge University into Theory of Mind. It appears that empathy has now been broken down into two distinct areas:

ToM is the ability to attribute mental states to others, to infer what someone else is thinking or feeling. It is one of the two major components of empathy, sometimes known as 'cognitive empathy'. The other major component is known as 'affective empathy', or the drive to respond with an appropriate emotion to someone else's mental states. Our work is showing that in Asperger Syndrome it is primarily cognitive empathy that is impaired, whilst affective empathy is intact. In classic autism, both components of empathy may be impaired.

If I understand this corectly then my big lad is showing signs of affective empathy, responding with an appropriate emotion to someone else's mental state. 

For me, however this is just another example of the complexities of autism and a reminder of how no two autistic people are ever the same. But ultimately it a moment to feel immense pride that my son is growing up to be such a kind and caring person.

Book Corner: Love Monster

23 November 2015

Dear friend,

I love reading and spent many a happy hour as a child curled up under my duvet, torch in hand reading fantastic tales that exported me to magical lands, other times and took me on great adventures. I want to pass that love of reading on to my children. I love it when you find a book that also teachers them something and I think my book of the month does this brilliantly.

Book of the month: Love Monster.

Love monster by Rachel bright.
Harper Collins. ISBN: 978-0-00-744546-2

Groundhog Day

18 November 2015

Dear friend,

Sometimes having a child with autism is a bit like being stuck in Groundhog Day. Here I was in another waiting room, biding my time while my son receives therapy.

It took me back to one of my very first posts. A piece that I wrote a long time ago near the beginning of our autism journey whilst sitting in a similar waiting room and reflecting on our situation.

What if anything has changed since this point?

My original post:

Today I sat, once again, and waited for my son to finish his physio therapy. I spent the time flicking through a magazine but not really reading. It was simply a mask for my thoughts. Perhaps I should be glad of this time, a much needed spare moment to myself. In the past I have been. But today I felt myself wishing that I could be anywhere else in the world.

During my day dream I was watching him play football, at swimming club, at street dance or at band practice. For most children of this age their world is just beginning to open up and new social horizons are being explored. I would love for my child to experience their world; somewhere he does not feel confusion, anxiety, uncertainty and simply 'unsafe '.

Instead I bring him here in an attempt to help him understand his "busy body" then I take him home and allow him to play for too long on his computer.

What remains the same?

Our big lad still has autism. You may think this is a strange statement, given that Autism is a lifelong condition. But after diagnosis (AD) I did daydream that they'd got it wrong. Wishful thinking perhaps but this was echoed by some family members and then supported by sensationalist journalism with articles claiming a cure had been found or a child had miraculously 'grown out of' their autism at age 9 etc

The big lad is still having therapy. We still sit in waiting rooms whilst these amazing people do their best to help our son.

The big lad remains at 'normal' school. We were advised to move him to a special school but ignored this advice because we felt he was well supported and happy where he was. The special v normal school debate is a difficult and highly individual one which must be based on the needs of the child. This is something that I still worry about. I have got no doubt that we made the right choice but we need to carefully monitor the situation to make sure it remains the correct option.

We are still a happy family. The boys have a great relationship. The little man adores his big brother. I feel having a sibling has been of great benefit to the big lad's social development.

Hubby and I are still together. We had heard that a large proportion of marriages fail. At times it has been tough but we have pulled together and we make a great tag team for each other.

What has changed?

Therapy has changed. There is not as much (no physio or speech therapy) and he doesn't have it all the time, he has it when it is needed. There is more time for him just to be a child.

We have changed. When I read this post I recognise the mother who was doing her very best but who felt overwhelmed and I can feel a hint of sadness and pain in the writing. A sense of loss. But the person who wrote this around 4 years ago no longer exists. Hans Asperger called it 'Looking with open eyes'. Instead of us looking at how we can change our sons behaviour (essentially cure him) we are looking at what we can do to support him, understand him or teach him.

Asperger talked about a need for the teacher to themselves become 'Autistic'. Perhaps that can also apply to parents of autistic children as five years later hubby and I regularly ask the question; Do you think I am autistic too?

I am no longer frightened of what the future will bring. Nothing has turned out as we imagined and whilst we are realistic we are also optimistic. I am inspired by people like Temple Grandin and Steve Silberman who are looking at autism in a more positive, almost revolutionary way. Not as a problem to solve but as a group of people or a person to understand and value! A powerful message.

The big lad has changed. He has grown in confidence and developed into a funny, caring, kind, handsome, crazy, sensitive, computer loving, tenacious young boy who we are extremely proud of.

This isn't Groundhog Day this is Thanks Giving.

It is a time for me to give thanks for my fantastic son, amazing supportive family and the wonderful people who have all helped us to arrive at this place where our future looks so much brighter!

What makes me a woman?

21 October 2015

Dear Friend,

A while ago I wrote a piece about 'periods' and I was overwhelmed by the response the post got. Obviously this is a hot topic with many women suffering in silence. After several months of problems I had a procedure to try and alleviate some of my symptoms but unfortunately, it wasn't a total success. I have been offered an alternative; hysterectomy. 

I wasn't shocked, I had expected this outcome as I had done the unthinkable and completed my own research on the Internet (what on earth did people do pre-internet?) What I didn't expect was my reaction...
Will I still be a woman? 

feel a huge amount of shame for my self indulgent behavior. It's only a body part and one I won't need again so why am I so attached to it? 

I know my response is purely emotional...

I will be womb less. My ability to carry children will have gone. The place where I held my boys for nine months will no longer exist. It is intrinsically linked to my concept of motherhood. To letting go of probably the best period (no pun intended) of my life,  the end of my child bearing years and it has happened too soon, I am not ready for this yet. I am only 42, this happens to women in their 50's doesn't it?

Jessica Rabbit
Hubby's response to my panic was typically blunt; well if a man has a vasectomy does that mean he is no longer a man? Brilliant logic that can not be argued with of course. 

The stupid thing is that I don't actually want any more children. Our family is complete. But the fact that the option of more children will have been taken away, gone forever, unnerves me! I think I liked the idea that there was always a chance...

What is it that makes me a woman I don't honestly know! I don't want to go down the road of gender stereotypes (like Caitlin Jenner who in a recent Vanity fair article incurred the wrath of many feminist writers.) 

Unlike Jenner I don't think being a woman is about corseted breasts, high heels, make up, big hair and being emotional (e.g. Jessica Rabbit). My idea of being a woman is looking after your family, standing up for your rights, following your own path and never giving up on what you believe. 

Faced with the prospect of severe pain every month for possibly the next ten years or having a hysterectomy my choice is clear. I just need my heart to catch up with my brain.

What is your idea of being a woman?

Read more of my Hysterectomy diary...

Book corner: The little rabbit who liked to say MOO

20 October 2015

Dear friend,

I was invited to take part in the Love to read linky by the fabulous Angela over at Days in Bed. I was thrilled to be invited as this is right up my street. As a Primary School teacher I recognise the value and importance  of reading with your children. Reading and understanding language is central to learning.

We have a house full of children's books. This is especially important to me as my kids are growing up bilingual. Every trip back to the UK I buy more books and I am lucky to be able to borrow from my school library too. Hubby is not such a book worm so we make up for our lack of Dutch language books with trips to the library which luckily is at the end of our street.

Ways children torture their parents

14 October 2015

Dear friend,

Today whilst making lunch for my kids they sat playing on the Nintendo DS and the iPad. Yes I know screen time is the devil, bla, bla, bla. Anyway I digress. After about 5 minutes I snapped and screamed; which one of you is that? Turn the bloody sound down it is like a form of torture! 

If your kids have these things too then you’ll understand, the constant repetition of tinny techno music drives me totally insane. It climbs into my brain and blocks up my synapses so I just can't think!

But actually it did get me thinking. I could seriously sign my kids up for the FBI. Withholding information? My two will get any information out of the most hardened criminals in 2 minutes. In their short time on earth they have perfected the art of parental torture. 

The loving push!

30 September 2015

Dear Friend,

There was a lot of head scratching, hair pulling and teeth grinding before we made the decision to tell my big lad that he had autism. We took advice from people in the know and hubby and I talked it through and through and through... For quite some time we went with the "you have a busy body" explanation and it worked so why change? He began to say things like; I'm stupid, I'm rubbish and I wanted him to know that no he isn't. He is autistic.

At first he embraced it. Oh, that happens because I have autism. Yes, a break through. But... 

Big lad started to say stupid autism, I hate being autistic or they don't get that I'm autistic. Sometimes he is right, it is autism that is making his life difficult but...
He is clever enough to use his autism as an excuse too.

When I hear this negativity it is like finger nails down a blackboard to me. I want to scream; No!!!
Why is my reaction so strong? 

I don't want him to become his label!

In hindsight, had we made a mistake and introduced 'autism' too early? (A good intentioned mistake but a mistake non the less.) By handing him 'autism' had we also handed him an excuse and ultimately limited his behaviour?

Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. - Albert Einstein

Time for the experts to step in. The big lad began a course with a young therapist to discuss: Who am I. The intension was to give him a much more positive view of what being autistic means for him. This was very difficult for me as in all honesty I was also struggling to find positive aspects of Big lad being autistic. I needed to change my thinking too! 

Being autistic means my big lad is brilliant at:

  • Seeing the detail: lost ear ring, no problem, he can spot anything. 
  • Seeing things in a unique way.
  • Visual puzzles, logic puzzles, seeing the pattern.
  • Being totally honest! Want the truth ask big lad. He never lies.  
  • Remembering things. Amazing memory. Put on a CD and he knows which number he wants, he remembers facts, funny stories (especially ones you don't want to) and promises made. 
  • Smelling things. He knows what's for dinner before he gets downstairs. 
  • Keeping going! He is passionate and tenacious. Big lad never gives up.
  • Following the rules: He has a strong sense of what is right. He sticks to rules. 
  • Being Loyal. He is very loyal to his friends.
  • Forgiveness.

Having autism means you learn differently and think differently but so what?!  You can not blame all problems on autism. It is not an excuse! I want my son to know that he can do or be anything he sets his mind to on.

Temple Grandin and Debra Moore spread the message well in their book entitled the loving push. 

High-functioning autistic children learn differently, but they are capable of living independent, productive adult lives IF their parents and other caretakers lovingly push them to do so.

My big lad will not be defined by his autism. He will be defined by his love, his passions, his sense of humor, his loyalty and warmth, his amazing memory and his intelligence. I will continue to lovingly push him to achieve!

Help after an autism diagnosis...

23 September 2015

Dear friend,

When Big lad was diagnosed with autism I read everything that I could get my hands on, we went on a parents course and I bothered my special needs colleagues by asking lots of questions. Why?

Looking back I think that I was scared. I wanted answers but what I really wanted was some reassurance that everything was going to be alright.

Did I get that? No!!!

What I read:

Autistic children are lonelier than neurotypical children 
Autistic kids have poor quality friendships
Autistic children have trouble reading social cues: figures of speech, facial expressions, hand gestures and body language
Autistic people withdraw
Poor friendships can lead to antisocial behaviour
Autistic kids are ignored or bullied by others
70% of people with autism are unable to live independently.
Autistic children are 28 times more likely to commit suicide

The more I read the more panicked and scared for the future I became.
According to this my son would become a lonely, antisocial person who is bullied, suicidal and unable to live alone...

The information filled me with fear for my child's future and truth be told my own. What hope was there, would he ever be happy?

Most of the initial Dr appointments and therapy sessions did little to alleviate these fears as we spent  our time talking about Big lad's problems. I left the appointments depressed and scared.

If I could go back in time and give myself advice at this worrying stage of my life then what would I say?
  • Don't panic. Don't try and look too far into the future. Plan for your child's immediate and short term needs. It get's easier. 
  • Don't try and do too much at once! Give your child a break. Let them be a child. Yes therapy is important but so is spending time with your family and friends or just relaxing. Big lad really needs his down time. 
  • Build a community of people that will listen. Many parents find it helpful to have therapy themselves. We initially shied away from the psychologists offer of support but later on found it invaluable.
  • Don't drive yourself mad doing research on the internet. Knowledge is power but too much can drive you completely crazy! 
  • Make sure you take time for yourself! Be kind to yourself and your partner. Take care of each other. Hubby and I are each other's tag team. We are honest enough with each other to be able to say, I need a time out.
  • Don't let people tell you what your child can't do. Focus on their capabilities and aim high! Ask health professionals and school to always begin and end on a positive.
  • Don't ask why and certainly don't blame yourself! It is not your fault that your child has autism.
  • Pick your battles! Don't sweat the small stuff. I was going to have perfect children who obeyed my every word (a fact my mum never tires of reminding me). Some things you have to let go, for the sake of your sanity.
  • Recognise and celebrate all achievements and don't measure progress against others. Learn to measure effort and not results.
  • Always focus on your child not on the diagnosis! My big lad is funny, kind, loving, warm and caring and happens to have autism.

In the last 9 years I have learnt that nothing works out as expected. You simply can not predict the future. All you can do is give your child your love and support and let them amaze you with what they can do!

I had to have a shift in my thinking. When I made the realisation that I needed to stop trying to fix my big lad and try harder to understand him our lives became better!

 I strongly believe that we should:

Stop focusing on the disability and focus on the child. See the child before the label.

Shouldn't professionals be giving parents hope? Hope that their child can and will have a happy future.

Sometimes all a parent needs is to know the impossible is actually possible. Hope goes a long way when it comes to autism!

When should children start school?

16 September 2015

Dear Friend,

I've read a lot of posts recently about kids starting school, some asking when is the best time for children to start, some saying 4 is too young to start, some saying their child was ready. In fact my lovely blogging buddy Natalie over at Confessions of a Crummy Mummy gave an interview on this morning about this exact subject. The too much too soon campaign hit the headlines in September with a series of experts recommending children in the UK do not start formal learning until the age of 7.

I am in awe of the mums who came out fighting to support their children. Those who knew their kids were not ready yet and went to great extremes to prove this and delay their school start. I am also in awe of those mums who put their own anxieties to the side to help prepare their little ones to start school because they knew that they were ready. The thing is as a mum a teacher and an Expat, I have the ability to look at this argument from a different, rather unique perspective. 

Sink or swim

9 September 2015

Dear friend, 

As soon as we set foot in the swimming baths I knew this was a bad idea. The place was packed. Kids everywhere. Running around, swimming in shoals, with little supervision. Oh no, a play group! 

I was tempted to turn around and get dressed again. How would my big lad cope with this? But his face lit up at the sight of the huge inflatable so instead I smiled, took a deep breath and dived in.

Invisible Autism do you Sink or swim?

I like my personal space; this stems from a long held fear that someone may kick my dodgy knee and I like to swim in peace. No such luck we were caught up in the shoals. I was determined to make the most of it, I didn't want to be the damp squib (ok enough sea puns)! We played shark mummy and found a quieter corner to perform our synchronised swimming tricks.

The little man waited in line for the slide whilst the big lad battled the inflatable again, with me watching from the side. I observed happily as he pulled himself up (he couldn't do that last time) he tottered along the thinner section before reaching the wider area, the concentration etched on his face. One shoal had sat themselves here and as he arrived they promptly pushed him back into the water.

I wanted to shout! Hey how could you do that, can't you see how much effort it took for him to get there? A part of me was ready to dive into the water and rip the little shits lovelies off there myself, see how they liked it. But I didn't...

They weren't singling him out, it was a game, no-one was safe. After all the kids in that pool did not know the big lad has a disability (autism is invisible) they were just treating him the same as everyone else. Actually, isn't that what I want?! 

He tried again... the same thing happened, he was pushed into the water. I could sense his frustration and gave him the thumbs up and told him to keep trying that it was just a game. He tried again, and again. 

Eventually the big lad climbed out and said I'm going to tell someone and walked over to the assistant who repeated my words; It is just a game. I thought about explaining to the assistant that he was autistic but why what difference would it make? 

I told the big lad; Your brain is telling you it's fun to climb up, walk along and spring off the end into the water but the other boys brains are telling them it's fun to sit in the middle and push everyone off. You have your game and they have there's. They are not being mean they are just playing. You have a choice, give up and do something else or keep trying. 

He kept trying; he fought back, he dodged, he waited patiently, he kept going. I watched from the pool side giving silent encouragement, winks, thumbs up, go on son. Until he made it and with a massive grin on his face swam over towards me asking what shall we do now?

The group left and we had 1/2 an hour peace, the pool practically to ourselves. The little man slid down the tunnel slide about 50 times in a row and the big lad returned to traversing the inflatable. 

I swam peacefully with only my thoughts for company. 

There is a massive conflict between wanting to protect my son from hurt and harm and wanting to prepare my son for the world. 

What kind of parent do I want to be? Is it better that I teach the big lad the social skills to deal with these situations so the next time he knows what to do not just to step in and take over? Is my ultimate goal for him to live an independent life? 

Yes it is! But my goodness sometimes it is very difficult for this protective mum to do

Real protection means teaching children to manage risks on their own, not shielding them from every hazard...

How to make a visual timetable

12 August 2015

Dear Friend,

Why do autistic children need visuals? Many autistic people have communication difficulties so using visuals to see can give them a better understanding of the world. A picture remains constant whereas words/instructions disappear. Having visuals gives the big lad a sense of structure and teaches him routine. Visuals also help to establish his attention and manage his time, they can speed up slow thinking e.g. visuals for tasks like cleaning teeth and showering. They also help with him handling change and following rules as without the timetable he would simply spend all day on his computer.

We have been using visuals with the big lad  for a long time, since pre 'official' diagnosis. The first one I made was a washing line with clothes pegged on. We used this to show him the order of dressing/undressing so he could learn to do this independently. We use/d visuals for teeth cleaning, showering, remembering to flush the toilet, shut the door and put out the light. Morning and evening routines were made visual when he was younger too but now we rely on a holiday calendar with special events marked on and a daily timetable. Today I am going to share how to make a daily timetable.

Using visuals:

  1. The type of visual you use e.g. photo or image will depend upon the age and needs of your child. Very young children may need images that closely resemble the object.
  2. They must have meaning for your child; I have used Mario bros characters and minions in the past to grab his attention.
  3. Always use visuals with speech. They are an aid to teaching language.
  4. Print the name of the visual in the bottom corner so that everyone uses the same name.
  5. Visuals need to be accessible; We keep ours on the fridge (not too high) where the boys can move them around and make choices.
  6. Be patient! Wait for your child to point to the cards and process the information.

We keep our visuals on the fridge

  • How to make a Visual Timetable:
Lots of websites offer free pictograms and you can find these easily by searching. I have used the sparklebox Visual resources professionally and personally they are clear and easy. I also came across Autism Buddy, this sight looks great and I can't wait to explore it further. 

As I wanted to make my cards specific to my kids I searched for images I thought they'd like and then made them using Pic MonkeyI made the images 300x300 pixels. I choose a clear, simple font that would be easy to read. 

Some of my visuals:


Next I made a daily timetable to place the cards on. 

Timetable 1 for normal school days

Timetable 2 for Wednesdays

Timetable 3 for Weekends & Holidays

I had to make 3 different daily versions as the big lad does not attend school on Wednesday afternoons and I made a separate timetable for weekends/holidays.

The timetables and cards are printed on high quality paper and then laminated to make them more durable.

You can place cards on the timetable e.g. doctors appointments, physio therapy, shopping, a visit to the beach or a party. Your child then completes the empty squares.(They may not use all squares every time, especially if you are spending a morning out somewhere.)

It is important that you talk through your child's choices with them. I usually give the big lad 2 or 3 choices per square. We have some rules e.g. only 1 computer choice per morning/afternoon but you can set your own rules. Obviously some activities take longer than others. 

Be patient. At the beginning the big lad would rush through some tasks to get to the computer activity that he really wanted. I then set at least a 30 minute time frame for each one. Using the visual timetables has helped to add more variety to his play.

My big lad relies on the visuals less now and some days doesn't use them at all, especially if we are busy out and about. But we made the mistake of removing the timetable from our fridge and he really struggled so it is back to stay. He needs the structure more on weekends and holidays when there is no school.

Perhaps you know someone who would benefit from these cards? Please feel free to share this post or e-mail me if you would like a copy of the timetables and cards.

Ten things you didn't know

11 August 2015

Dear friend,

I was tagged by the lovely Cuddle Fairy to complete; "Ten things you didn't know about me!" I really enjoy completing these posts. As a new blogger it is a great way to get to know other bloggers out there so thanks so much for the tag!  

The Rules:

Please link back to the blogger who nominated you and answer their ten questions. Add the badge to your post. Write your own ten questions and tag ten bloggers to do the same.

Cuddle Fairy's Questions and my answers:

1.  If you could return to one place you have already traveled to, where would it be?

New York. Hubby and I spent New Year there when we had first met. We went with some special friends and had a fantastic time. We bought our wedding rings on 5th Avenue, visited the empire state building, the statue of liberty, saw the ball drop, watched Lion King on Broadway and generally had the time of our lives. 

2.  What kind of music do you like?
I am a massive fan of the Script. Hubby took me to their concert at the Ziggo Dome for my birthday this year. It was amazing. 
3.  What's your favourite book or magazine?
I am a chick Lit girl and love anything by Freya North. I loved all her books about the sisters, Pip, Fen, Cat etc and read them many times. I also love the humour of Marian Keyes. 
4.  What's your favorite thing to shop for (ie: handbags if you asked me)?
5.  If you could travel back in time & give your 17-year-old self one piece of advice - what would it be?
Gosh this is a hard one but maybe; Don't wait around for people to change, change yourself and believe in yourself. Save hard and get your own place ASAP.

6.  Do you have a favorite sweet / candy?
Haribo. These sweets are dangerous. There must be a secret ingredient that makes them impossible to resist. 
7.  Do you have any pets? 
Yes a beautiful beagle cross called Nova. She is totally spoilt and we all love her to bits. 
8.  What's your favourite perfume?
Angel by Thierry Mugler. No other perfume can compare. I try new things but always go back to this. I have been wearing it for over 10 years now. 
9.  What was your first job?
My first proper job was as a Primary School teacher but as a student I worked Saturday jobs or holiday jobs in a shoe shop (I hate feet), in Top Shop, as a waitress and as a bar maid. 

10. Name one blog that you really enjoy & follow regularly (I know it's hard to choose just one!).
R is for Hoppit: Things my Toddler says.  I think the Toddler may just be a genius. It aways makes me smile.

My Nominees:

Jeanette over at Autism Mumma.

Caroline at Diary of a mum of 3.

Silly Mummy at R is for Hoppit.

Jennifer at the Hollyhock door.

Lisa at Mrssavageangel

My Questions:

1. Who do you admire the most and why?

2. Do you have any hidden talents?

3. What is your most treasured possession?

4. What are you scared of?

5. If you could learn a new skill what would it be and why?

6. Do you play any musical instruments?

7. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

8. What is your biggest regret?

9. Did you always want to have children?

10. Why did you become a blogger?

I look forward to reading your responses. Don't forget to tag me in!

Being a blogger is...

16 July 2015

Dear Friend,

I've been tagged by the lovely Lisa @mrssavageangel who writes a truly inspirational blog about her wonderful family. She has been a great support to me on this new journey so thank you Lisa for everything. Here I am taking part in a post called

Being a blogger is...

I never every dreamed that I would be doing this! As a new blogger (9 months) I feel like I am still earning my blogging credentials and learning my craft so I found this very difficult to begin writing. I guess I didn't feel qualified yet!  Thanks Lisa for believing in me!

Being a blogger is hard to explain...
I find it difficult to discuss my blogging with people. I don't think that everyone gets why we choose to do this and it can be difficult to explain. I haven't told my parents, would they get it? 
Writing this is making me address my feelings so thanks Lisa!

But what does blogging really mean to me?

Blogging is like breathing out. For so long I feel like I have been holding my breathe, bottling up thoughts, feelings and ideas. Now through my blogging I am breathing out. 

Blogging is like having another baby. I started this blog with a few short pieces I had written and I have watched it grow over the last few months. I am proud of what I have achieved so far but I am not talking about the statistics. Those matter of course as there is no point in writing if no-one reads but I am talking about the wonderful comments from people. People who have laughed, cried or perhaps learned something and felt compelled to tell me. 

Blogging is addictive. I am neglecting my housework (pity) making my family pose for pictures too much and generally living and breathing blogging. Everything is a potential blog post. OMG what has happened to me? But I love it.

Blogging is inspiring. One of the best things for me has been discovering a world that I never knew existed. A community of people who are willing to share their personal experiences, advice and expertise to help and support others. What a great community.

Blogging is social. Being an expat can be a really lonely experience. I have left behind my best friends and relocated to a place where language is a barrier and culture can be confusing. I have found a way to connect with like minded people. I am making new friends.

Blogging is educational. I am a massive advocate of lifelong learning and beginning blogging has been a massive learning curve for me. But not just the technical aspects. I am developing my writing. I am learning about myself. And seriously some of these blogs are a mine of information with great tips for parenting, cooking, crafts, style etc 

Being a blogger is highly personal. At first I wrote publicly, promoting myself on Facebook amongst friends and family. But I found this hard. My blog has developed and I write more personal stuff.  I was concerned about the cyber footprint I was leaving for my boys so decided to become more private.

Blogging is therapy. It is my way of figuring out life's little difficulties and challenges. But it has grown from that original purpose and has become my own, small way, of raising acceptance of difference. The thing is, the more I write, the more I realise, it is my son who is teaching me.

Blogging is cathartic. On here I can say whatever I think and not feel judged. I can get everything out in the open and not worry about hurting people's feelings. I can be imperfect!

Kind Regards,
An Imperfect Mum

I would like to nominate the following amazing bloggers to take part but everyone is welcome:
+Morgan Prince 
Please let me know via twitter if you join the tag and I will comment. 

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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