First blog post

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Hi and here we are with my own very first blog post, it’s October 18th 2017 and I have been wanting to blog for so long so to say I’m excited is an understatement.

Who am I?

I am Sharon, a mum of 2, Full Time Carer to my eldest and I gave up my teaching career four years ago when my daughter started school. More on that to come.

Why Blog?

Well I’ve been in Network Marketing for 2 years now and I wanted to share my experience, what I’ve learned along the way with you as well as my trials and tribulations on my journey as a mum.

My mission is to inspire both my children and you to be the best you can be, whatever that means for you.

Say Hi and I’m looking forward to sharing more with you.

Sharon 

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Those First Few Days to Help You with a Child who has Down Syndrome

Are you a first time parent to a child with Down Syndrome? You may have known about the diagnosis during your pregnancy or found out afterwards, like I did….either way I would strongly suggest turning off google, putting any leaflets away you’ve been given by the professionals and read on. This blog is for you and is not just written from my own personal experience but from shared parenting secrets to you from many that have been in your shoes.

Congratulations, you have a newborn! Now if like me this child is your first you’ve probably got ready or possibly even read the ‘parenting handbooks’. Put them away in a drawer for now, even if your newborn is not your first child; grab a brew and read these top tips that many parents of a child with Down Syndrome begin with

‘treat your child like you would any other child, through each and every stage. See past the diagnoses, love and discipline just as you would your oldest’

Ellie, days old

Enjoy your beautiful baby as that is what you have in front of you, a beautiful baby.
Stop worrying, stop reading and stop googling; take each day forward and when you’re ready to learn more; consider joining a supportive group such as
https://www.facebook.com/groups/801281006738525/?
to ask any questions you have from those that have lived through them.

Another main point that many parents agreed was to enjoy every minute, like everyone else your child will grow up just as quick. My daughter Ellie has just turned 10 and I feel like I’ve blinked. Additionally in those first few days and maybe even longer don’t refuse help; you may be emotional about having a newborn even without having a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, so don’t try and play super-parent and do everything, take help when offered. The storm of emotions you will be going through will pass and things will get easier, we all promise you that. Just breathe and hold your baby.

Be kind to yourself and one thing that personally worked for me was talking to my husband openly and honestly about how I was feeling. Emotions such as sadness, concerns, worrying too much about the future; you may even have health problems (Ellie has a hole in the heart) but don’t be scared and don’t look too far ahead. Cuddle and ‘squish’ your baby and enjoy the magical journey that you are on.

As your baby gets older day by day, don’t stress the small stuff, the milestones, the appointments; go to baby groups, the park and find other parents that will support you. Trust your parenting instinct always and remember your little bundle of joy will be as unique as everyone else so take those photos and videos and give yourself and your child time to get into your routine to begin your journey.

And finally,

‘look forward to the most enthralling, frustrating, beautiful, fulfilled, exciting, worrying, scary, proud, enriching and varied life journey you’ll be privileged to be on with your baby.

If reading this has helped you in anyway, please comment below or get in touch with me through any platform via @lintr.ee/shaz_crowley. Thank you to the parents of the above group #WCAT for helping me put this together and as always, thank you for reading.

Until Next Time
Sharon x


Carer’s Allowance and Free Access

Are you a carer, do you know what you are entitled to as a carer? Not sure, then stay with me and read on. Hi I’m Sharon (if reading for the first time) and I am a carer to my daughter Ellie, who is 10 and has Down Syndrome.

A definition of carer in the UK is ‘anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support’ according to The Carer’s Trust.

As a carer you are entitled to Carers Allowance, which in the UK is £66.15 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. There are other criteria and please refer to https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance for assistance.

After speaking to several mums I was curious as to whether this allowance was justified. I know it was needed for our family as it has become the income I lost giving up work, but at the back of my mind was always the thought, ‘why are we entitled to it’ and the next paragraph sums up why every carer is 100% entitled.

Many carers give up work, like myself, and this allowance subsidizes the family income. Some put the money towards travel for additional appointments, many use it for specific items that can help their child; sensory toys, private therapies, specialised clothing/equipment and a few put it towards their children’s future needs. So yes every carer should apply for that allowance.

So now you get the picture about the allowance, let’s talk free access. Now every young child generally can’t go to an attraction on their own, but most teenagers and young adults can however people with Down Syndrome may often need a carer for some supervision and with some help from this fabulous group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DLAchildrensDaysOut/
we have created a list of places where carers go free.
Please see attached as this will be updated

I would love to know if you have found this useful or if you could add to the list, please comment below and as always thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,
Sharon x

If I Knew Then What I Know Now!

It’s a common saying isn’t it? ‘If only I knew then what I know now’ but this couldn’t be more relevant to me as I recently celebrated my daughters 10th birthday. Ellie was born with Down’s Syndrome and diagnosed a few hours later; for those parents in the same situation you can only imagine the thoughts that ran through my head at that time (but that’s for a different post).

So I wanted to share with you some notions, with the help of other parents, that I wish I had known back then, in case you are reading this as a first time parent.

Ellie on holiday aged 2

One important thing to remember is your child is unique and has your genes, so whilst there will be similarities with others born with Down’s Syndrome they will be more like you than you realise. In addition due to the wide spectrum of learning difficulty in Down’s Syndrome you cannot predict what your child will or won’t be able to do.

From a mum, here are her words “There is no need for fear, my son brings me more joy than anyone ever could…..he makes me proud every single day.”

You may become or you may not fixated with milestones (I sure did) but when your child hits them, and they will in their own unique way; you will be over the moon, jump up and down, record it and cry with laughter 🙂

Other parents with a child with Down’s Syndrome will become your best friends as they understand exactly what you’re going through. I can strongly recommend joining a supportive group as soon as you feel ready (one link is below and another in linktr.ee/shaz_crowley)

Forget the myths and sterotypes; most people with Down’s Syndrome are living a completely different independent life to those from only a few decades ago due to medical progress, interventions, inclusion and technology; Ellie is a whiz on her ipad (see previous blog)
https://sharoncrowley.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/challenging-some-myths-and-stereotypes-around-downs-syndrome/

Yes there will be downs as well as ups, yes there may be lots of appointments, health issues and other additional needs to contend with but from one mum to another; you can do this. Have faith, trust your gut instinct every time and enjoy the delight of being a mum. There will be lots of happiness to come and your child will not only enrich your life but everyone else they meet. They will give you some fresh ideas on life and expectations so believe that everything is going to be alright.

Pouty

A special thank you to the parents of this group (#wouldntchangeathing) for their words of wisdom and insights
https://www.facebook.com/wouldntchangeathingdotorg/

Thank you as always for taking the time to read and if you would like to connect with me, connect via @linktr.ee/shaz_crowley

Until Next Time
Sharon x

Challenging some Myths and Stereotypes around Down’s Syndrome

After having my daughter Ellie I was suddenly surrounded by a lot of outdated facts, myths and stereotypes of Down’s Syndrome; some made me laugh and many I chose to ignore. However 10 years later I have chosen to challenge those myths.
First let share my thoughts as a parent and to offer some education.
Please note everything written here is just my opinion, however many myths have been contributed by other parents.

So let’s begin with the most popular one; all people with Down’s Syndrome are always happy and loving. All I can say here folks is ask a parent! All our children have every emotion just like yours, they are angry, frustrated, cry, have tantrums and can be very annoying (sound familiar?)

Another stereo type that may have come from the medical profession or just an outdated view was when another mum was informed that her child would not come to much. Seriously??? Have you seen the actors, the dancers, the pianists, and not forgetting the legend Sarah Gordy who received a MBE in 2018. Ellie is currently in mainstream primary, can read, do mental maths, spell, and goes to drama with her friends. She has achieved her 100m swimming certificate and recently went on her first field trip with school, without us.

One myth I admit to worrying about when Ellie was born, was what would happen to her as she got older. Yes our children are no longer taken to care homes to be looked after but would she live with us forever. It’s been a lovely surprise to see so many young adults including the awesome Heidi who moved out at 20 to live the life she wants here’s a link to her page
https://www.facebook.com/Heidi-Crowter-Living-the-Dream-473919313091896/

Another common myth about babies with Down’s Syndrome is they simply cannot breastfeed. I admittedly tried only once with Ellie and didn’t pursue it but other mum’s have had no problems showing every child, as we should accept, is unique.

Age; the common stereotype that only older females have children with Down’s Syndrome. I personally was only 34 (I don’t consider that old, do you?) and statistics show there are more females under the age of 35 than older that have children with Down’s Syndrome. Down’s Syndrome is a chromosome abnormality and therefore has little to do with age.

Children with Down’s Syndrome stay babies for longer, have you heard this – many parents might feel like this when given the diagnosis due to stereotypes, but again ask a parent if you want the truth. I feel Ellie turned into a teenager when she was 7 with all the same fun attributes of moodiness, stubbornness and emotions that you would expect from those teenage years. Others have said the same. Many parents teach their children age appropriate behaviour to try to dispel this myth.

All people with Down’s Syndrome look the same. Yes many children have similar facial features (slanted eyes, small nose), a smaller stature and may need support with their gross, motor and oral skills; however each child is unique and will have similarities to their parents and siblings just as much.

So there you have it, some very common myths and stereotypes of Down’s Syndrome challenged. My last thought on this matter is terminology; a person is a person not a Down’s Syndrome person or a Down’s; a better way of saying something that is similar is ‘Here is Ellie, she has Down’s Syndrome’ – person first.

Thank you for reading and as always if you would like to connect, connect with me via linktr.ee/shaz_crowley.
Do you think I’ve missed one out, comment below? Until next time,
Sharon x

Taking Action

Taking action to achieve your goals is imperative but what if you don’t have any goals or understand what you want to do, how can you? Last week I wrote about my next chapter titled ‘The Next Chapter’ which you can see here
https://sharoncrowley.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/changing-attitudes/
so this week I will start to explain what I have been doing.

My first investigation was to see where I could go locally that was dog free as my daughter Ellie, who has Down’s Syndrome is frightened to death of dogs. Whilst we, as parents, work closely with her to encourage her to be brave and to let dogs walk on by. It was beginning to feel disheartening to find many let their dogs off leads in public and more recently I spotted a dog in our local children’s park. That was the last straw, as they say and the day I began to take action. I emailed, telephoned and researched and then went live on Facebook with Ellie to explain our findings (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/sharon.crowley.14/videos/vb.707793674/10157347055773675/?type=3

Next stage; journalling which began on a daily basis, often twice a day, just writing down my thoughts, what I wanted to achieve in life, who was I, could I inspire or motivate others? During this time I felt that most children with Down’s Syndrome were supported very well from birth through therapists, community groups and lots of resources from the Down’s Syndrome Association but I felt it was a different story once they became teenagers and this was something I wanted to address.

However after various conversations and finding a Facebook group which provided this support, for secondary school age (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=fod%20secondary%20school%20age%20support&epa=SEARCH_BOX
it appears there is plenty of material out there, just maybe not advertised as much which I could find and share.

I then turned my attention to social activities as I didn’t believe I had seen many for teenagers with Down’s Syndrome, but once again there are a few but still a lot of work in this area needs to be addressed. A local Down’s Syndrome group advertises such activities in the South Manchester area, (see here)
https://www.facebook.com/SMDSSG
and these include movie nights, pizza nights and plenty of football action can be seen at Manchester City. In addition, I am hoping to restart our local Bury support group and work closely with parents to see what other ways we, as parents and carers can support our children to help them reach their full potential and be included in the community.

Activities

So that’s me for this week, until next time. Feel free to connect with me via @linktr.ee/shaz_crowley or share to anyone that may also find these links useful and thank you, as always, for reading.
Sharon x

Changing Attitudes

When you find your passion, the reason to get out of bed each morning, you will give it 100% focus and make plans and take continuous action. This is what I have found recently, as I became a little jaded with the path I was on so therefore I took some time out and now I am back to begin the next chapter of my work from home journey.

What has changed?
Let me introduce myself especially if this is the first time you are reading my blog. I’m Sharon, mum of two and full time carer to my daughter, Ellie who will be 10 next month. Ellie has Down’s Syndrome and my life changed direction when I gave birth to her. Not only did I become a new mum at 34, but I had a child with a disability and a disability until then that I had not heard of.
Fast forward ten years and I am now a work from home mum. I take both children to school, to their clubs and not missing Ellie’s appointments. After being in work full time since I was 16, becoming a full time housewife was not for me and as such an enjoyable journey working from home. Three and a half years of Network Marketing has helped me build a network of friends, business skills and a lot of social media tips but the passion for me wasn’t there in the end.

Meet Ellie & Billy

Which brings me right up to today. After a coaching call with @LeonaBurton from #mumsinbusinessassociation I was advised to journal daily and reflect on what I enjoy, what excited me, what I don’t enjoy too and with a tonne of personal development daily I chose to find ‘me’ again. I want to find something I can do that will help others, something that is inspiring to others and that brings me to sharing my version of ‘Changing Attitudes’, the inspiration derived from my children. I am now on a mission to help, with many others, change the attitudes towards people with Down’s Syndrome. In addition, help my daughter and others feel accepted, included and above all reach their full potential.

Do I know how, not yet? But isn’t that the exciting part? I’ve taken the first step and put this blog out there for you to read and I hope you will follow my journey as I plan to play big and share regular tips, ideas and inspirational stories from now on.

Thank you for reading, if you would like to connect with me, you can via linktr.ee/shaz_crowley and comment below if you know someone that has Down’s Syndrome.

Sharon x

Mum on a Missions Guide to….Carbs

Hi and Welcome to the Brand New Series of Mum on a Mission’s Guide to…..blog 1

After going through a recent phase of time out and reflection; I have been brainstorming with myself on where I would like my online work from home business to move forward and after much debating I have come up with this title for a series of blogs. Along the way I will be sharing topics that inspire and motivate me towards a healthy happier lifestyle and I would like to share them with you for the forseeable future.

So who am I? I’m Sharon, mum of two, carer to my eldest, Ellie and have been #mumonamission for just over three years. See a little more here
https://sharoncrowley.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/first-blog-post/

So let’s get started with my thoughts on carbohydrates, carbs for short. With the majority of the world on a lo -carb diet (or it feels like it) courtesy of many healthy eating programmes recently that have been hugely successful for weight loss including @thebodycoach are they really that bad? The latest research suggests it can even reduce belly fat
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/weight-loss/heres-why-experts-say-you-should-cut-back-on-carbs-if-you-want-to-lose-belly-fat/ar-BBVtSDN?li=BBoPH6F&ocid=U452DHP

I am no expert, so these are my own opinions only, but I truly believe carbs are needed on a daily basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle; I personally feel tired when I cut them out completely. However do we need as many; probably not? Could we live without them for one meal, probably and more so if not exercising in the evening? Could we change to healthier alternatives such as wholegrain, yes?

Here is a facebook live I did recently with a colleague on healthier habitsand how to implement them during your typical day
https://youtu.be/Nir5ddzeRU0

I would love to know if you are cutting back on the carbs, have maybe switched to healthier versions or think it is a load of baloney; feel free to comment below and click follow to continue with the series as I will be seeing you again soon

Sharon x