Thursday, June 30, 2005


I saw this article in the guardian and it prompted me to think about my own situation. My partner has two children - boys aged 18 and 16. I have been a significant adult in their lives for about 10 years now.

I do not call my Mum's husband and my Dad's wife Step-parents. I have always called them by their names and described them as I have just done. I was 15 though, so I guess that made it clearer to me. My own experience has meant that I have been extra-sensitive to making sure that I am not trying to replace my partners children's mum. I have never been and would not want to be "step-Mum".

One phrase in the article really struck home - "The clarity of family life was absent," she wrote. "We did not know what we were aiming at." Me and my partner have often talked about having to make it up as we went along - not having a clear model to base things on - this has it's advantages. We have not been too constrained by stereotypes.

I dealt with my parents separation at the age of 15 (1986) and my partner's mother re-married when he was young (in the early 60's). We both have our own experience to base our situation on. I lived between houses until I left home to go to university and even then, still shared time between the two when I visited and stayed during holiday periods. That was often helpful - if I was finding it difficult in one place, I went to the other....

Interestingly, research shows - "a stepfamily in which there is limited yo-yoing between households has a better chance of success". I can see how that might be the case, but that means if both parents are alive, one misses out/ the child misses out on one parental relationship.

I have been really careful to not change the home environment too much when they were at their mum's so it was different when they came here. I know that I have not always managed to do this in practice. I hardly ever go into their bedroom - I always put their clean clothes on the landing for them to collect if I do the washing, for example.

In last few years when my partner's ex-wife was ill and his children lived here more of the time, the yo-yoing reduced, and that was harder to deal with in many ways - they missed their mum and we were all used to the routine. For the last few years they have lived with us full-time and our relationship has changed subtly - but this is also due to them now being young adults and quite independent. When they were younger I did more for them - mainly if their Dad was not available.

Their Mum died two years ago and we have all had adjustments to make as a result. My partner is their emotional and practical support and I am a back-up. The "housework" I do is my contribution to the shared household. I hope I'm a reasonable one - but I am not perfect.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Did you know that every Council has a Forward Plan published every month?
A forward plan details every key decisions due to be taken over the next four months. This is the place to see what is going to cost or save the taxpayer more than £200,000 and/ or have a significant impact on your community.

This is a really important part of the process of government that is made transparent. If you want to ask questions about any of the planned decisions contact your local councillor.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Isn't Frida Kahlo amazing?
Her work is being exhibited from 9th June to 9th October this year at the Tate Modern in London - find out more here.
See some more pictures here.

Self portrait Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

Learning Disability awareness week

It is learning disability awareness week soon (20-25 June).

Mencap - the UK's leading learning disability charity ran a photography competition called Snap!. The winners for 2005 are exhibited here. They will be on show at the Link Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from the 18 June to 1 August.

"Sparkle" Kayleigh Dawson Posted by Hello

Story behind the picture -
Because of my autistic spectrum disorder I think I can see the world differently to others around me. Small fragments of my world sometimes seem very important to me and I notice things that other people may not!I am very sensitive to things like touch and flickering lights! I always notice earrings my support worker wears and if she looks different in a slight way.I have taken photos of close-up objects in my school environment, which I see, mostly everyday.I took this photograph because I liked the sparkle of the water from the tap.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

first post

I am yclepta and this is my new blog. Big thanks to quiddity for inspiring me to blog too.

I love this cartoon and I think there are some very useful hints on
classy broads Posted by Hello