Time Out for Parents

time out

We only have two more sleeps until the boys finish for the summer holidays and I can’t wait. I love having them at home and dread the end of the holidays as they all-too-quickly approach. Time out as a family is important however time out for us as parents is something that shouldn’t be ignored or put aside either.

I once joked to friends when the children were younger that I could make a fortune if I were to open a small hotel exclusively set up for parents to take turns to come and relax and decompress for a night. Parenting can be demanding, as fabulous as it is, and sometimes time out for parents is a must.

Sadly I don’t own a small hotel and am not earning my early retirement from parents looking for some Peppa Pig time however if you are serious about taking some self-care time out for you, consider these ways to do it.

Use Your Annual Leave

Holidays are usually saved up to cover the school holidays and so on. What if for once, they weren’t? Try and take a day off just for you while children are at school or in childcare (or with a willing sitter) and just spend time on you. Roy and I started doing this years ago and we love it. We go out for lunch or breakfast, curl up and watch movies, go for a walk or similar. Nothing flash, nothing fancy, but something much needed and appreciated.

Find a Babysitter

A trusted babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold. Having someone who can look after your child/children so that you may go away for a night or even just an evening enables you to spend some time together as a couple or time out for yourself. Try and schedule some time out regularly, even if it’s just to get out of the work/home cycle for a few hours for a meal at a local restaurant.

Join a Club

Go to karate, join a Dungeons and Dragons RPG group or find a fun book club. Find something that takes you away from home for a few hours, enables you to spend time doing something you love with people you like. Again, dedicating that little bit of self-care for yourself is something you should do and something you deserve.

Relax on a Cruise Holiday

This takes my parent hotel idea and cranks it up a notch or ten. We have plans when the boys are older to get out there and enjoy more us time. More than an evening or a night away (we haven’t done a night away together for them yet and the eldest is twelve, we must try harder). Whether we go for a tour de Britain in a campervan or decide on something more luxurious such as a cruise holiday, time will tell.

Get Others on Board

Finding a sitter, finding the time (and the energy) to organise a night out and then going through the motions of getting dressed, packed and so on is often what puts parents off and results in another cancelled night out. It’s tiring being a parent and doing all the other things that adults need to do. Enlist other parents who understand the problem on board, meet up together or babysit for each other. Be accountable for each other and make sure no-one cancels their valuable night or day out without very good cause!

As parents we do an important job. It’s the worst-paid job imaginable, the hours are terrible and our managers can be harsh. That said, we wouldn’t change it for the world. As long as we take the time to recharge our own batteries from time to time, we’ll hopefully all come out of the parenting experience intact.

 

Vaping Facts and Fiction

e cigarette, vaping

As an ex-smoker (of coming up thirteen years) I wish that vaping was around when I was first tried to quit smoking. Smoking cessation is far from easy and many struggle to give up smoking without support. With NHS stop smoking services regularly being cut and up to 75% fewer cessation-related prescriptions being given out now compared to a decade ago (according to the British Lung Foundation latest report) I wish there was more information out there for people about vaping and the benefits of e cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes on their health and often their bank balance.

So many myths surrounding vaping exist which is why I’ve put together these few vaping explanations to help you separate the fact from the fiction.

Vaping is as Unhealthy as Tobacco Smoking

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Back in 2007 Public Health England, the government public health group implemented the Go Smoke Free legislation. This has seen smoking in public places, on public transport, and at work effectively banned. Part of the reason for this was to protect non-smoking individuals from the harmful effects of passive smoking. Part of the reason was to reduce the numbers of individuals smoking full stop.

Clearly, Public Health England (PHE) are staunch anti-smoking and yet why would advocate for the use of e cigarettes as a valid alternative to smoking if vaping was as unhealthy as smoking? They wouldn’t. PHE’s own review reported their findings that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking. After a longer period has passed many expect PHE to award vaping that last 5%. In order to do so vaping studies need to be run over a longer time period.

Vaping and Smoking are the Same

Not even a little bit. Yes, you inhale something and exhale something. With that description, you could say that smoking and breathing are the same. Cigarettes contain a high number of toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemicals (according to WHO). These are breathed in via a smoke after tobacco and other contents are burned. Vaping contains no toxic or harmful chemicals and vaping produces a flavoured vapour by heating up an e liquid.
Smoking is classified by WHO, PHE and countless other health and research organisations as being harmful to health. Vaping is not.

E Cigarettes Randomly Blow Up Regularly

The media love this one! Yes, there have been some reports about exploding e cigarettes and no-one can or should deny that. What they should do however is look a little closer. The London Fire Brigade support vaping over smoking as to date no vaping-related deaths and serious incidents have been recorded whereas sadly the same cannot be said for smoking.

E cigarettes are powered via a lithium battery, the same as mobile phones. If batteries are not taken care of or individuals modify their e cigarettes without understanding the safety implications of this there is a possibility of damage. It comes down to common sense. I haven’t seen many calls for mobile phones to be banned recently but the newspapers love to do just that with e cigarettes. Before you make your mind up on this one look a little closer.

Vaping Will Give You Popcorn Lung

Now, this is a story that hit the media that does require some explaining. Diacetyl is a chemical found in buttery-flavoured foods and such-like. Studies showed that those exposed to high levels of diacetyl over a long period of time i.e. those working directly with it in a production setting could be at risk of a diacetyl related condition called popcorn lung. This is not something to sweep under the rug and quite rightly so legal action on behalf of those affected has been taken and in some case is still underway.

In relation to vaping, however, studies show that the few eliquids found to contain diacetyl (in tiny amounts) would not cause popcorn lung in vapers. In response to the news of diacetyl’s shortcomings e liquid manufacturers, the few that were using it, stopped adding it to their buttery-flavoured e juices, despite evidence showing vaping does not cause popcorn lung. If you buy your e liquids from a reputable source you will not find diacetyl in any of the ingredients.

In Summary

It’s very easy to get caught up in the negativity surrounding vaping (which is reported with huge headlines) and forget to look at the many benefits of vaping. Don’t forget that it is a significantly healthier alternative to smoking. Before making up your mind, do your own research via reputable sources and make an informed choice.

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