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Dog Free Zones

I wondered how I was going to write this blog as it is something that is extremely personal to me and I’ll explain why as we go, but I didn’t want it to come across as controversial. In the end I decided to write from the heart and be open and honest. For the record this is just my opinion.

Why did I want to write about Dog Free Zones?
My daughter, who is now 10, for the last eight years has had a phobia of dogs. I don’t know how it happened but it did and has since got progressively worse, it has also been passed onto other animals over the years. I understand phobias are not pleasant for anyone but when you have a learning difficulty, as in Down Syndrome, calm rationality is not even an option.

Over the years I have seen Ellie have a melt down on more than one occasion. I have seen her shake from head to foot, scream the place down and cry in hysteria. It has not been pleasant to watch and has caused the family great concern. We live in a lovely area that has many fields, parks and pubs that are dog friendly so knew it was important to get a handle on this.

As time has gone on, depending on Ellie’s emotional needs some days she can actually stand still, stay calm and let a dog walk past her, some days she can run past dogs cheering herself on for being so brave, but there are still days that involve emotions which result from having a phobia.

So why am I writing this? 
I am writing this quite simply because Ellie is not the only child to have a phobia of dogs. Ellie does not have a phobia of dogs because she has Down Syndrome, many other children have this phobia too and I wanted to let all the dog owners out there understand what can be happening when you walk past with your dog and see a child screaming.

Actions and Considerations
First, please consider that a child is literally petrified of your dog, therefore saying “She won’t hurt, just pat it” and bringing your nice dog nearer to said child, doesn’t actually help. Please ensure your dog is on a lead if in a public place, I personally was told by the police that in all public spaces, all dogs must be kept on a lead and it is a criminal offence not do so. A good friend shared this link with me, which clearly states that in public spaces that have PSPO’s, a dog must be on a lead.

https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/public-spaces-protection-orders

Other actions to consider if you have a dog with you, is that if you are asked to put your dog on a lead because a child is frightened (just for a few minutes), please don’t ignore it. If a restaurant or park has a sign saying ‘No Dogs’ please don’t take your dog in there. My daughter has seen her brother get jumped by a dog, her brother be chased by a dog and a dog ran that ran that close to her one day, off a lead, that she pushed it away.

I understand this is a work in progress for our family and I know there is wider support out there such as The Dogs Trust but for now, please be considerate as we will too.

Information relating to The Dogs Trust

If you are in the same situation as my family, here are some places that are dog free that you can attend and enjoy

  • Most beaches on the Isle of Wight (during the summer) are dog free
  • Most beaches in West Wales have summertime dog bans (eg Saundersfoot, Tenby)
  • RSPB Old Moor in Wath upon Dearne
  • Cleethorpes Beach is dog free between Good Friday and 30th September
  • Butlins
  • Haven Burnham on Sea
  • Fairthorne Manner in Botley Hampshire
  • Brockholes
  • Lytham St Anne’s beach in the summer
  • Lytham St Anne’s beach in the summer

I hope as always you have found this useful and I would love to hear from you if you have any coping mechanisms or know of any Dog Free Zones that I can add to my list.
Thank you as always for reading and if you would like to connect with me through any social media platforms please click on the button

Until Next Time
Sharon x

Self Care for a Carer

Self Care, what is that I hear you say? Well let’s talk about why self care is important and those little activities that you can incorporate into your every day life to take some time out from being a carer and should put a smile on your face.

Let’s start with what is self care? I have to admit, in my humble opinion, I believe self care has become a ‘buzz word’ of today that has been recently created but I still feel it is extremely important for survival as a human being, even more so as a parent and vital as a carer.

A definition of self care – the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

Now, how important was that for you to hear, ‘improve one’s health.’ As a carer you have to spend a lot of time looking after someone else’s health and needs; either older or younger and in addition to your own health and more often than not your own family.

Don’t get to this

Why is self care important? You may have heard the phrase if you’re running on empty how can you help others’ and that really is the simplicity of it. You cannot complete your role as a carer from your sick bed. Therefore it is vital to stay as healthy as you can and understand when it is time to take a step back here is what one mum said recently about self care.

I got myself into this really negative place where I’d just feel guilty and shit, that I wasn’t doing enough all the time. I’d get stressed super quickly because I put myself under so much pressure, then shout, then feel more rubbish and so on.

So I consciously took a step back and really focused on all the stuff I do that’s great, or even just the stuff that’s OK, normal stuff! We do so much every day that takes physical and mental effort but I definitely only focused on all the stuff I thought I wasn’t doing x

Next let’s look at what activities can be classed as self care and whilst some of these activities might seem unusual even ordinary to you, they do work for a few parents that I know. Self care is vital and it needs doing regularly for both our health and our sanity. There were several categories that were considered ordinary to turn to from crocheting, to hitting the gym, to even enjoying the (occasional or daily) glass of wine. Reading was another important wind down whether done before bed or sat in the car whilst playing taxi service.

Other additional self care activities that some might not even consider activities were watching the TV, simply eating, getting a decent sleep, having a shower or even a warm cuppa. Some considered more extravagant self care activities from pamper massages, spa breaks to drinking champagne and even hitting the beach. Gardening, horse riding, singing and yes it was said ‘locking yourself in the bathroom’ (we have all been there!), were many of the activities chosen from carers, hopefully there will be one that will suit you too.

Whatever activities you do decide on, choose to do some daily, some weekly and some less often, but do them. These self care activities will help you, maybe slightly, help your health, reduce your stress as a carer and just maybe put a smile on your face.

 

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you have found some value in this. I would love to know if you leave a comment, what your favourite self care activity is or message me directly via any of the links @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

Simple or Easy? You Tell Me!

How many times do you hear the saying ‘It’s easy’ and you are there thinking if it is that easy why am I struggling? Stay tuned as I dissect this further.

Two things I like to talk to you about are my own health journey and my own work from home journey and this fits in easily with both or should that be simply?

However today let’s talk weight loss; it should be easy shouldn’t it? Eat less calories, exercise more but if it really was that simple why am I not at a healthy weight yet, why does it feel like I’ve been on some type of diet all my life, why do companies consistently come up with new products to help me lose weight? It just ain’t that simple is it? WHY?

Let’s look at other things that could be affecting the ‘eat less, move more’ theory. I am a busy mum and I am also a full time carer, I take care of the running of the house and I am working from home, therefore sometimes actually eating a decent healthy meal takes precious time to prepare and cook and I often reach for something I know I shouldn’t either to satisfy the hunger pangs or when I realise I’ve not eaten yet. It’s quick and convenient, so time needs to be factored in here and obviously organisation.

Another consideration which plays a huge part is mindset and I talk often about this because when you really are truly in the zone, it does feel simple, it does feel easy because you want it strongly enough and you are taking actions to achieve your goal. You have the right mindset. When that starts to falter you will come up with every excuse not to exercise, you will tell yourself you are happy with your weight. So mindset is also another huge contribution to this debate.

Therefore is it really that simple to lose weight? I would say yes; with the right mindset, some organisation and time to plan your meals and your exercise, it can be. Is it easy, not at all as you have to stick to it?

I hope you have found this useful and maybe can relate to this, if so please comment below I would love to hear from you. Click follow to see further blogs and thanks for reading.

Until next time,
Sharon x