{The Ordinary Moments 16} #29 Mum Guilt and a Birthday Party for a Sheep and a Dog.

Sometimes life isn’t about picture perfect moments of little people in matching clothes, or happy family snaps of five people smiling in the golden afternoon sunshine. While I am always honest and try to be real on this blog, I generally write about the happy moments, I put on the best photos, or I only really talk about the interesting things we get up to. Don’t get me wrong, I talk about the other stuff too, the emotional stuff or the not so nice things, but it’s rare I talk about the mundanes. And the reality is that in parenting and life in general there is a lot of those mundane times. That is part of the reason I started writing about my ‘ordinary moments’ all those years ago, because I wanted to write about the stuff that didn’t always warrant a glossy set of photos or an emotional outpouring of words on a screen- just the average times we all have.

The first full week of the summer holidays has been and gone and I will be honest and say that it hasn’t always been plain sailing here. As much as I love having Mads with me and I absolutely love not having to do the school run every day, our already small house seems much smaller when there are five of us in it pretty much constantly 24 hours a day. I find I get stressed quite easily, I feel a bit claustrophobic when we are all under each others feet, when it is a constant mess from one game opened up only to be forgotten about 2o seconds later and another dragged out the drawer. Coupled with that Mr E and I still have to work and we are struggling a little to adjust to working when all three of them are about. I feel like I have to get out of his way so he can concentrate, but there is only so many £20 trips to soft play we can do or trips to the garden centre to get a cake, before our bank balance and our motivation is low. Likewise I get stressed that I can’t do any of my work either.

Out of all our children Mads is by far the most demanding of our time. She is incredibly active, alert and needs constant engagement. I often wonder if it is cause she was the first, whether it is because until she was two she hadn’t been to nursery and instead went to family friends for one on one engagement when I went back to work, or whether it is just because that is who she is. Whereas her little sister will happily entertain herself and play for hours, Mads seems to have a different kind of personality when it comes to playing. She doesn’t play imaginative games on her own, for example she wouldn’t sit and play with lego and create stories or make the people come to life. What she does enjoy is constant active games, sports, board games where we have to play with her of course, or dressing up and running around type games where she can pretend to be a superhero. She also loves to draw, write story books, and do activity educational work books. One thing is for sure though, her mind always has to be engaged and occupied. It is rare she will sit for more than half an hour without getting bored and wanting us to play with her.

This is all very well but when you have two other children to look after, a house to tidy and work to do, it can get quite suffocating and all this week I have been verging from stressed to guilty. The first couple of days of the holiday she was probably the worst behaved she has ever been, a lot of people told me it was end of term itis and it would calm down, to which it has, but she is still Mads and she still is very demanding of my time and energy. The last few days she has been a very good girl but I am still finding the holidays quite hard work, although with their lovely moments too.

On Thursday afternoon I decided that I would dedicate my entire afternoon to her. LL was in nursery, our baby boy isn’t too demanding of my energy and time as long as he is fed and happy, and so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make sure that I really dedicated my time to Mads. I asked her what she wanted to do and she mentioned she would like to make a cake. She then said that she wanted to make a cake with candles to which I replied that it wasn’t anyones birthday. We then decided it was actually Pongo and Baa Baa’s birthday, her and her sisters favourite cuddly toys.

What went from an innocent idea of making a cake soon spiralled into something much bigger. We decided to make Pongo and Baa Baa both cakes and cookies and throw them a proper birthday bash. We went to the supermarket and got party hats, candles, and Mads also made them homemade confetti party poppers too. It was just something silly, but it really sparked her imagination and we had a great time together sorting it all out. When Mr E had picked LL up from nursery, we all sat down and had the party.

It was lovely to see the girls so engaged and happy in something so small and simple. LL was so excited to get home and see what we had planned and I really enjoyed spending time with my big girl. I must admit that out of all of them at the moment I do find her the hardest, I think it is just quite hard at times dealing with a five year old who is learning so much about the world and her boundaries, and I do often feel guilty that I feel like I am nagging or shouting at her the most. That is only cause her brother and sister are both pretty easy at the moment, despite LL’s occasional meltdown.  I often forget she is only five and that is so young still and our afternoon reminded me that I need to make more time to dedicate to just her, as out of all of them she is the one who thrives on it and needs it the most. On the whole she is a really good girl and exceptionally polite and kind, so I just need to nurture her a little more, she just is quite loud and hyper a lot of the time and is going through a phase of not listening and being a bit cheeky.

We had a lovely surprise party for Pongo and Baa Baa. The most silly of simple ordinary moments that came from no where, but that made two little girls go to bed cuddling them tight and smiling at the fun they had had.

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  • Becky says:

    Love this post and love that you totally gave hr the tim and energy she needs, kids are all so different aren’t they but every child loves that special time and for a parent to totally go with their play ideas once in a while. Great job x

  • Oh look at him with his little party hat on… He is too cute! We’ve had an interesting run of behaviour round here too (though not the eldest in this case!!) it is exhausting, isn’t it?! Mads looks so proud and excited here though, and I think it’s right for us to recognise that the children all gave slightly different needs and may need a different approach! Oh thus motherhood thing is a tough gig sometimes! The emotions, and questions and doubts!! You are doing a fabulous job though, Katie… She looks so thrilled to be having that 1 on 1 time! Much love xx

  • She looks so very happy 🙂
    I think I understand what you mean – my 3.5yo’s behaviour has been incredibly challenging since the start of the holidays, made worse by the stress of my still having to work on and off as well (yes, guilt!). It’s so tricky, when I’d expected everything to be quite chilled out. I think it does go to show that they are still quite little and need us to be there heart and mind!

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Luckily ours has calmed down a bit now, although she still has her moments. And you are right, it is so important to remember that they are still so little. x

  • Ah this is such a lovely post and a great idea! Bella loves baking so maybe we’ll have to have a little teddy bears picnic style event too! Gorgeous photos too xx

  • Laura says:

    This is cute and is totally reminds you that the smallest things can make them so happy doesn’t it? We often do things like this and I love to see Eva’s imagination flourish. I think we all feel this way too and I for one have had a huge amount of guilt since Eva started school and struggled to get everything done and also keep her entertained, she sounds just like Mads in the ‘entertain me’ stakes and it can be so suffocating especially with other children to consider but it looks like you are doing a fab job xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      It is lovely how the small things make them happy isn’t it? I hope you are having a lovely summer Laura. x

  • Ahhh what a sweet idea 🙂 YEP feeling it here too. It is nice having the twins at home and no preschool run but but Lottie is the same as she constantly needs attention and inspiration too! I am working late at night and weekends! I set lots of things up on the kitchen table like aqua-beads and pens, glue and paper so that she can do this whilst she talks to me as I make the dinner/tidy up. It seems to work! Good luck and enjoy your summer xx

    • Katie Ellison says:

      Thanks lovely, it is so hard when you work from home isn’t it? But then thats the reason why many of us do work from home, to be able to be there for our children, so I guess we just have to work around it somehow! xx

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