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Light at the end of the tunnel

Today I was so proud of myself!! My husband and brother in law were running in the Chester half Marathon. I was to drive in on my own with both the girls and meet up with my mother inlaw, sister in law and my lovely little niece who’s 1. I felt a bit anxious about it all. About finding somewhere to park, about the huge crowds of people, about pushing Amelia in the pushchair through those crowds whilst keeping Sofia safe beside me. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

I have to admit, I rarely venture out with the children by myself, unless it’s to the local park, or school run or generally somwhere where there’s not many other people around. I think of all the stressful things that could go wrong. I think of all the people who simply don’t have any spacial awareness and stop dead right in front of you, then proceed to give you disapproving looks when you inadvertently ram their heels with the pushchair. Well I’m not a mind reader and maybe I wish I’d rammed them a bit harder! I think of all the people who don’t look down and see my petite 4 year old struggling to hang on to the pushchair because everyone’s barging past her with enough force to move a bulldozer. And then I think of how easy it would be for someone to take advantage of my situation and take Sofia away from me. Slightly irrational, I know, but it DOES happen. The mothers always stating “she was right beside me then the next thing she was gone”. Gone into a sea of people that when ladened on my own with a pushchair full of shopping and my other precious child, I’d be powerless to do anything about. It scares me. So I completely avoid those situations if I can.

But today was different. Before today, I have tried going to the local market or modest shopping centre with the girls and physically have to psyche myself up. A big job. And every time, I survived but so glad to get home, that it was over and I didn’t have to experience that again for a while. Exactly what was different about today, I’m not sure. I went to bed last night with the familiar knots in my tummy, over thinking all the things that could go awry the next day. But when this morning came, I was surprisingly ok. Apart from the panic that I thought we were going to be late, it went fine. We parked at the park and ride, got on the bus, got off and walked to the finish line without a hitch. Managed to meet up with where the inlaws were and keep the girls happy. It helped I had cupcakes with me!

And then I surprised myself. It was fairly crowded where we were stood and I couldn’t get the pushchair near the barrier. Not wanting the girls to miss out on spotting their superhero daddy run past, I thought it be a good idea for me to go further up the road to see if I could find a better spot. So finally with adult support and I was willing to go it alone with the girls, into the sea of people to improve our view spot. And just a few yards down we managed to find a better spot and the family came to join us. I actually smiled to myself at my small accomplishment! It certainly helped the girls were good as gold today. Sofia was so complicent to everything I asked of her and Amelia was content at being in her pushchair, again, I had a copious amount of cupcakes!  

We spotted Glyn run past. I’ve never heard the girls shout so loudly or wave so enthusiastically!!! I could have cried! And then I did it again. I set off to find Glyn. Glyn’s mum came with me this time, which I’m always glad of, but I can honestly say that even if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have minded.  

 I really feel like I’ve turned a corner today. That something’s changed inside me. I wasn’t stressed in the least little bit. Perhaps that’s why the girls were so good. Perhaps in the past they have picked up only anxieties which makes them act up. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have gone out with the girls on a few occasions so it all felt a little more familiar, a little more normal. I think that it was me that made the difference in today. I accepted the challenge and rose to it. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. As today when so well, I feel filled with confidence for our next outing. I feel like I WANT to take them out only own again. That I can actually enjoy it instead of stressing over every little thing. This excites me. It broadens the range of places we can go, the things we can see and do. And this will surely enrich their lives and in turn, make me a better mummy for allowing them to have those experiences. All because I now feel I don’t have to wait until some else is free before we can go anywhere. The world is our oyster! Well maybe just stick to Chester for know. One step at a time! 

 

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Working girl

Mondays are my usual working day as a mobile beautician and nail technician. My mum comes up to ours and looks after the girls for me until  Glyn arrives back from work to take over. I try and squeeze as many clients in on a Monday as I can, as I know I have the childcare. I also have another day in the week,  not as busy, just used for any appointments that couldn’t be fit into the Monday. The girls go off to Glyn’s parents house on that day.
Now, on a Monday, I usually have just enough time to drop Sofia off at school, come back, pack my bags and prepare my lunch, dinner and snacks for the day. Brings a whole meaning to meals on wheels! Then I’m out the door as soon as my mum arrives to take care of Amelia. I don’t return until late evening. My mum does a couple of jobs for me around the house during the day, but let’s face it, cleaning with children around is like brushing your teeth whilst eating Oreo biscuits! And Glyn does what he can when he gets in, but the girls usually have swimming practice on Monday evenings, and tea-bath-bed routine is the most hectic of them all.

I often come home and see a list of jobs that I have to do the next day before I’ve even gone to sleep! And not that it would be hugely noticeable to anyone else, it’s all I see and it’s consuming! Talk about  throwing the towel in before you’ve even started, but that would just add to the list!

Tuesdays are a double edge sword. I’m tied between doing all the jobs that need doing and spending some quality time with my girls, drawing, playing, snuggling, all the things that I missed out on the day before. I can’t win. There’s a meme with 3 choices; happy children, clean house, and sanity. You can only choose 2. This is me on a Tuesday. It’s a battle. If I do all the chores, I have satisfaction of a tidy house and clarity of mind that it brings, yet feel insanely guilty for letting the girls be babysat by the TV. On the other hand, if I spend the time with the girls, the house looks increasingly like a bomb site as the hours go by, and if visitors come by, I’ll feel like hiding in the bath as apposed to letting them in. That’s if they could get in over the sea of toys!

So I’m often left feeling completely flat and unmotivated, like today. And there’s only one thing for it, chocolate, snuggles and lots of Disney movies with the girls. The house can wait till tomorrow, I’m busy loving my girls. Just don’t come round to visit on a Tuesday, you won’t get past the door!

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Super Saturdays!

Now that my girls are getting older 4 and 2 1/2 (and that 6 months makes ALL the difference to toddlers), I’ve been wanting to do something with the girls that they will remember in years to come. Something they can look back on and fondly remember the fun we all had together and perhaps, when they have their own children, want to do they same or something similar. I wanted to start our own little tradition.

Traditions are something that are important to me. For example, I love the fact that my mum waits for a day where my 2 sisters and I are all free to decorate the Christmas tree, even though we are 31,29 and 26 respectively and I live an hour away. But traditions aren’t just for Christmas or special times of the year, they can be anything at any time, and that’s the beauty of it. Doing something on a regular basis can become a tradition.

I am a girly girl by nature. I love pink and pastel colours, fluffy animals, make up and doing my nails (helps I’m a nail technician!) so I was delighted when as my girls personalities blossomed, it became apparent that they shared the same interests too. And I in now way forced it upon them. We bought trains and tool boxes as much as barbies and ponies, but the latter is what they preferred to play with the most. So this being their preference, I decided to indulge in it.

Weekdays are always pretty busy for us with school drop offs, hobbies and my work, so I picked a Saturday morning for our little tradition to happen. I felt like it would signify the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend for them. I also wanted to incorporate doing their nails into it. Partly because Sofia loves having her nails painted and partly because Amelia had started getting into the habit of biting her nails. And I don’t mean the odd nibble, I mean painfully short to the point the na bed was being exposed. So I thought I could encourage her to look after them by having them painted on a regular basis.

One evening, Sofia wanted to watch ‘The Little Mermaid’. It was almost bedtime so there was no chance that day, but I promised her we could in the morning, As it was Saturday and we didn’t have to be up and out early. For some reason, I decided to put French braids in her hair that night, so she could wake up the next morning with ‘mermaid’ hair.

She woke up the next morning and bounced through to our room. She squealed in delight at her now wavy hair and immediately went to dig out her mermaid costume. Poor Amelia doesn’t have one, so she had to settle for one of those poncho towels with a mermaids body on it. She wasn’t bothered! We went through to the lounge and I put the film on for them. We all snuggled on the sofa to watch it, only interrupted by the outburst of a song, or them wanting to act out a certain scene. Of course I had to oblige and join in! After, I painted their nails in suitable mermaid colours and we even had ‘starfish’ egg on toast for breakfast. It’s amazing what you can so when you’ve got a draw full of various cookie cutters!

And so it was born, our ‘Super Saytudays’. A morning around a theme of their choice, be that a film or book or character. A morning of dressing up and playing make believe. A morning of magic. And for me, a morning of escaping real life. It’s so much fun to be 4 and 2 1/2!  Of course, they won’t always be this age. Before I know it they will be teenagers with very different ideas of what fun is, but I hope our ‘Super Saturdays’ will always be that, whether that be pretending to be mermaids or a shopping trip and lunch. But for now, I’m more than happy to be Eric to their Ariel. I already know the words after all! 

       

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Bank Holiday Blues

We all work hard all week, and count down to the weekend. A weekend of lazy morning cuddles in bed, leisurely breakfasts with the whole family and pjs till midday. Even more so when it’s a Bank Holiday weekend! Oh the excitement for what’s in store on the very special extra day off!!! Ours turned out to be a bit of a wash out, and it was nothing to do with the Great Britiah Weather!

Our family life is pretty busy day to day. Non more so then for my husband. Life as a successful Chartered Accountant is never ending. 3 days a week he’s in the local office and the other 2 are spent taking care of the office in Manchester, meaning in those days he doesn’t get to see the girls as he leaves before they get up and arrives back after bedtime. The drive itself must be mentally exhausting, and that’s before he has to sit at a screen with hundreds of figures in front of him, trying to save companies hundreds and thousands of pounds. Even when he gets home and on weekends, he is still answering work related emails that simply cannot wait. Not many make it to the level he is at purely because of the work load, deadlines and stress! What I do in a day is nothing compared to him, and he does it for us, to give us a better life.

We are currently in the middle of having an extension on our house, well more like half a house at the moment! When Glyn isn’t working, there’s physical jobs he has to get done. I mean, ladder climbing, tile placing, knocking down walls kind of jobs! Although give me a sledge hammer after a stressful day with the girls, and I’d have it down in a jiffy! When there’s a spare day that we’re not visiting someone, or don’t have commitments, it’s spent at home doing other vital jobs to get the house finished. Jon Snow knows that “winter is coming” and if our past summers are anything to go by, winter will be here before we know it!

This weekend, we had nothing specific organised. We had a do to go to on Saturday night but that was it. So after picking the girls up from their grandparents, we spent the rest of Sunday unpacking our overnight bags, doing little chores and trying to finish that Frozen jigsaw the girls for at Christmas only to find we were a piece missing!!! Dinner time came and went and before we knew it the girls were in bed and we were snuggled up on the sofa. Bank Holiday Monday was the topic of conversation. It didn’t go well. 

Glyn didn’t really fancy going anywhere special as there would undoubtably be traffic, and he was tired. He just wanted to relax at home and spend time with the girls. The thought of spending another day sat at home killed me, drove me insane! I spend 90% of my time in our little unfinished house, and not to sound ungrateful, but it really affects your mood! I just wanted to go out, spend quality time with my little family doing things that people do on Bank Holidays! Is that so selfish? But then I think of how hard Glyn works all of the time. I can’t begrudge him 1 day off to slouch around the house. Everyone needs a day like that, right? 

So it ended on a sour note. I hate it when we don’t get along. We just couldn’t agree on this topic. I felt guilty for trying to deny Gltn of some much needed down time. I felt guilty of the fact that we hadn’t taken the girls somewhere, to experience something, so they could tell the teacher about all about it the next day. I felt guilty for wasting a precious day of us all being together. Being a Mummy sure makes you feel guilty a lot!! And I felt angry. Angry withy self for feeling so guilty over everything andet it spoil the mood for the rest of the day. 

Do we put too much pressure on ourselves to do ‘something’ on days like Bank Holidays? To do something so awesome that the girls can’t wait to tell everyone in school about and will remember it for years to come. To compete with the other super mums, who take their children on day trips all over the country!! But I’ll tell you this, my girls are happy. They don’t care if they haven’t been to Lego Land, or Peppa Pig World. They care that their parents have spent time with them, regardless of wether that’s in some theme park miles away, or spent in the four walls that they call home. They care that we had special snuggles on the sofa, watching a Disney movie for the hundredth time. They care that we turned the whole house upside down and found the missing piece of jigsaw so they could finally complete it! Didn’t matter that I had to clean it all up again, it was worth it to see their delighted faces at finding Elsa’s hand and putting it in place. 

Next time we have a precious day off, I’m not going to beat myself up on the fact that we didn’t do something exciting, but be happy in the fact we spent it together as a little unit, as days like that in a busy family are few and far between. You can make memories anywhere, but all they will remember is that you were with them, and that’s what they will treasure the most. 💗