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Articles tagged with: Day to Day Life

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #25 'Working Together'

on Sunday, 21 June 2015.

Two months ago we made a huge decision that would truly change our family dynamic. That decision was that my husband would give up his full time job and set up a business from home. A business that both of us would work on together. Sometimes I still can't believe it's actually happened, for us it really is living the dream, and I am so glad that we took a risk. It definitely isn't dramatic to say it's completely changed our lives.

It definitely wasn't a decision we made lightly. I have been working freelance on and off for about three years, but took the risk and ended up handing in my notice in my previous travel industry marketing job when LL was 11 months old, after deciding not to return after maternity leave. I have always been career orientated, having a great job before the girls, but for my previous role I had to go away a week of every month and that just wasn't right for me after having my babies. I've been properly working freelance for a year and a half now and it's the best thing I ever did. I work mainly managing social media clients, doing blogger outreach, writing and of course having the odd opportunity that this blog brings. Sometimes it can be scary not knowing what money I could be bringing in each month, but luckily I have some great long term clients now who I hope won't be going anywhere for a while. Mr E is a designer and had been working for a local company for a couple of years, with some freelance work on the side in the evenings, and for ages had been saying he would love to work for himself. However we just didn't dare take the risk, after all we really relied on his full time wage.

But then just before Christmas he got given the opportunity to do a short term freelance project on the side in the evenings and at the weekends. That freelance work went really well and the company he was doing it for offered him a full time six month contract. After much discussion we agreed that this seemed like the perfect opportunity to set up on our own as we had the security of six months worth of work and therefore six months worth of pennies coming in. And that's where we are now. We decided on a new business name, set up our company, and created a lovely, motivating little office space for ourselves.

Sometimes I still can't believe we are doing this. It sounds cheesy but I feel like I am utterly living our dream. I didn't know what it would be like at first having him at home constantly, but I genuinely couldn't be happier. In fact we have both commented that our relationship has actually got even stronger as a result of this change in our lives. We are joint parenting our girls, we get to be together so much as a family, and to put it quite simply my best friend is by my side non stop. We have settled into a routine that I work 'properly' on a Tuesday and Thursday when the girls are at nursery all day, but in reality I work a lot more than that in the evenings, nap times and whenever I can squeeze some more time in. If Mr E has got a lot done in a day, he will often finish at 3pm and let me do a couple of hours work for a while- and that's where it's just so fantastic and flexible.

Mr E has always been an incredibly hands on Dad- he gets the girls dressed in the mornings and gives them breakfast, and has done from Day One. Because he worked locally he was home for tea time and he plays a huge part in their lives, he has never been a parent who is frightened to have them on his own, he would have them for a week at a time if he needed to. He has also always been incredibly supportive of me and my work, and now it all seems to have just slotted into place. We both help each other, bounce ideas off each other, but most of all we have fun. There's nothing better than having a 'work mate' you can suddenly stop working and cuddle, or someone who can tell if you are having a bad day and will go and get some chocolate and a diet coke from the shop. We laugh all day long, it's never serious in our little office, and I genuinely do enjoy spending time with him.

Of course I wouldn't want to paint a picture that it's the perfect working life, because of course nothing is rarely perfect. At the moment he is still in this six month contract, but I am sure life will be a little bit more stressful when that ends. After all he will have to find new clients all the time, and we all know that isn't always the easiest when there is so much competition. When Mads was just a few months old Mr E got made redundant and it was such a scary time, I remember at one point crying my eyes out as we couldn't afford to pay our mortage one month. Luckily now we are comfortable, but I don't want it to be like that again. And yes of course we bicker, like most couples, although I wouldn't say working together has made us get sick of the sight of each other and argue more. But some days he can definitely drive me mad and I know he would say the same about me. I also massively struggle with a work/life balance, some weeks I am fine and feel like I switch off, but some weeks I struggle and am up till the early hours catching up, or just generally feeling stressed with what I have to do. I am not good when stressed and sometimes, especially when you factor in this blog and all I like doing for this, I just feel so worked up and on edge.

Above all though, it has been such an amazing time for our family and I couldn't be more thankful. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have him at home with me, and helping me raise our children so equally, but at the same time it isn't solely luck- all those years of 2am finishes, years of stressing about money, wondering how we were going to pay the bills, all those cancelled trips away because we had to work, and all those weekends where one of us went to a local hotel to work and missed out on family time have finally reaped rewards. It might not last forever, one day the money might not come in as regularly, and one or both of us may have to return to  other employment as opposed to working for ourselves, but for now I am going to treasure every single minute of having no boss, (Mr E if you are reading this you are not my boss like you like to pretend sometimes!) the fact that we can sneak off for a lunch together, have an impromptu day out as a family, and above all raise our little girls lovingly together.

It's been years and years of very hard work to get to this point, but for now I'm living my work dream. And actually I am living my life dream too.

It's not always perfect, most definitely not. But it's my perfectly imperfect life. And for that I couldn't be more thankful.

working together 1

working together 2

working together 3

working together 4

 

creative workspace 14

creative workspace 17

creative workspace 22

creative workspace 25

 *****

I'm away this week and silly me forgot to ask my lovely friend Donna (hi Donna!) to host it as she usually does, but fear not, I will read the other ordinary moments when I am home!

Have a good week everyone! x

 

 

A Picnic in the Buttercups...

on Thursday, 11 June 2015.

I am a big stickler for nap times and bed times. I don't know what it is, whether it's just who they are, or whether it's our set routine, but our girls do love to sleep and for the most part they will be in bed by at least 7.30pm every night. Of course if we are on holiday, or have plans to go out for the day then they don't always go to bed on time, but if we are at home then it just makes sense for them to go sleep. 

However in the Summer months we definitely get more relaxed. The long, light evenings sometimes just cry out for us to stay out longer, and the last thing any of us want to do is to go in and do the whole bedtime routine. They are at an age where if they go to bed at 9pm one night, or miss a nap one day, that they aren't ridiculous grumpy monsters the next day- they can go a few days without a nap or later evenings. 

We had one of those such evenings at the weekend. On Sunday the weather was just gorgeous, we had spent the morning at Mads first ever running race and then had a picnic with friends while Mr E got on with some work. We came home and the girls had a nap, and when we got up we decided it was just too nice not to be outside. We decided to forget about our planned 'hot dinner' and head out for yet another picnic. 

When we drive in the direction of our supermarket I often notice a beautiful field of buttercups on one side of the road so I suggested going there for a picnic. Luckily Mr E is long suffering and generally humours my requests, so we packed some picnic food and drove the few minute journey to this beautiful wild buttercup field. 

It was such a lovely couple of hours and the girls loved it, not only because they got peanut butter sandwiches twice in one day, which quite frankly is always a winner in their eyes, but because the sun was shining, there were giggles a plenty and Mummy even remembered to pack some Smarties. I sat back in the sunshine, feeling the sun beating down on my shoulders, watching our two little girls giggling and laughing, and I genuinely at that moment couldn't have been happier. It was another one of those moments that I want to store in that little memory box in the back of my head to pull out if I am ever feeling down or having a tough day...

field of buttercups 1

field of buttercups 2

field of buttercups 3

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field of buttercups 5

field of buttercups 6

field of buttercups 7

field of buttercups 8

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field of buttercups 13

 

*****

If you like my photos or tales of life with my little ladies then my blog has been chosen as a finalist in the Mad Blog Awards (eeek!) in Best Preschool Blog and Best Blog Photography. If you wanted to swing a vote my way, I would be so grateful. You can vote here. xxx

Contentment, Yellow Fields and Motherhood Ramblings...

on Tuesday, 02 June 2015.

I don't know what it is at the moment, but I just feel happy. I am a slightly strange person because I don't actually like typing those words, I worry some how I am tempting fate by saying it out loud, or that something will happen by me declaring how I am feeling. I realise how ridiculous that sounds, but I think as a mother you are only too aware of the fragility of things. When you have a child it's magnified, it seems. Sometimes you ignore it, and sometimes it's all you ever think about. 

There's no particular reason for this happiness. In fact perhaps it's not even really happiness at all. It's contentment. I just feel content. Life has it's stresses, sure it does, but for the most part those worries that seem so big at 2am, feel better by the next morning. There's the odd day where I feel on edge, where parenting has been at it's most difficult, where the girls drive me mad, but being positive is the best therapy of them all. We are busy, life is hectic, but at the same time our routine is solid and our children are at an age where things just seem to be getting that little bit easier. We can take them out for a meal without them screaming the place down, or we can let them have the odd late night without them being grumpy monsters the next day. They play nicely together for the most part (although fighting happens regularly too), the iPad is always our saviour and if we are having a day where they are excessively hyper we can guarantee that half an hour snuggling on the sofa will quieten them down. The daily doldrum of our routine comforts me in a way- the nursery run, the same things for dinner every week, the set your watch by them wake up's in the morning. I thrive on our mundanity. 

I struggle with a work life balance. That's something I need to work on. Last week I had so much piled on top of me that I felt exhausted and unmotivated just thinking about it. I actually cried a couple of times because I just wanted to stop feeling so on edge with the amount I had to do. But once I have cleared my workload a little bit, I see things a lot clearer, and I feel really thankful that I am able to work from home. It's the hardest work I have ever done, way more hours than a full time job, and it means 2am bed times some evenings, but deep down I do love that I have the flexibilty to bring up my girls how I want. Even better is that my best buddy has joined me now, and I now have Mr E working at home too. I have no doubts that it will be stressful going forward, especially when his current contract runs out and we have to find new clients, worrying about what money is coming in each month. But I love that we both are raising our children equally as a partnership. I love that he is there, just a comforting cuddle behind our office door if I need him during the day.

Anyway, I have gone off on somewhat of a tangent. Back to this contentment. What I am trying to say is that day to day life definitely has it's stresses and can get on top of me at times, but for the most part we are ok. We are doing ok. We are happy. I often feel this ache. An ache that my babies are growing up so quickly. An ache that I can't slow life down but I can only enter it, hold it, and be thankful for it. I am painfully aware that life will change come September when Mads goes to school, that we will reach the end of an era, that while I have no doubt it will still be wonderful, a little part of all of us will have to let go and embrace this new chapter. 

So for now I am basking in this contentment. The days where I look at my little family and get tears in my eyes because I am thankful. The days where I feel I have this motherhood lark sussed. Yes LL is going through a phase where the only food she will eat is nutella sandwiches and  plain rice. But I have hindsight on my side. It doesn't matter in the long run, she's not going to be an eighteen year old going out on a date with her first boyfriend and ordering chocolate sandwiches for her main course. Or if Mads has a day where she is obnoxious and tires me out, I know the next day she will be sat on the sofa telling me I am her best friend while she plays with my ear and snuggles in close. Sometimes it's all consuming, they are highly emotional and constantly needy. Sometimes it feels demanding, complicated and all those other tiresome things that I wished it wasn't. I am a very different person to the one who I was four and a half years ago before I became a mother. Much more sentimental, yes. But also far less selfish and one who appreciates things a lot more. Sometimes you have to have the odd day where it feels all a bit much. If you didn't feel empty every now and again, you wouldn't feel that satisfaction that comes with feeling full and happy.

I have surrendered to the fact that motherhood isn't always plain sailling. Life isn't really either. And I have that sussed now. For all those 'bad' days, there will be a hundred more good ones. There are moments where even the best laid plans go array and others where it all just goes the way it should. 

And that's ok. Motherhood has never claimed to be easy. Only worth it. For that I am happy.

And that right there is contentment. 

 

*****

took these photos a couple of weekends ago. It's become a bit of a yearly tradition to go to the 'yellow fields' and also to the 'purple ones' a little later on in the year too. When I look at our photos from last year, I can't believe how much we have changed. I say it every time, but I couldn't love these photos anymore and I think they might be my favourites I have ever taken...

yellowfieldfune

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yellowfieldfuno

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yellowfieldfuns

yellowfieldfund

yellowfieldfunh

 

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #20 'Motherhood Right Now'...

on Sunday, 17 May 2015.

My motherhood journey seems to be broken down into stages. There's those big stages- the newborn days, the baby days, the toddler days and the days before school, the big milestone days that get ticked off one by one. First smile... check. First tooth... check. First time in a big girl bed... check. First time on a play date without Mummy... check. Every stage that passes and every milestone reached, however great, I seem to mourn. I mourned the day LL stopped wearing babygrows, I mourned the day Mads no longer called me Mama but Mummy and I mourn them getting older on a regular basis. I am an emotional sap and I find the slightest thing about my children can set me off. But at the same time I find myself saying 'This is the best it's ever been.' 

And it's true, for every stage that passes that feels so utterly bittersweet, there's actually a better stage ahead. The newborn days, they are oh so delicious, with those soft baby heads and endless hours breastfeeding, snuggling and marvelling at this little person you created. There's those teeny tiny onesies, washed over and over again, the night feeds where although you are exhausted you feel like it's just you and your baby against the world. But as much as I love to look back on them with fondness (and remember the hardness at times), each stage that we get to really is the best of all the moments that have been before it. That's the beauty of watching these girls grow up. 

So what is motherhood like right now with an 'almost four and a half year old' and a 'turned two a couple of months ago year old?' Well of course, yet again, it's the best it's ever been. These days being a Mum means going from moments of utter frustration to just absolute proudness and love in a few moments. Sometimes I feel like the days are never ending- hour upon hour of constant questions, grumpy children or just the daily humdrum of life. Life can be tedious at times, of course it can, routines and structures set in place, eating the same thing every week, going to the same soft play and playing the same games over and over. Sometimes I go to bed in the evening and feel so incredibly guilty- I feel guilty for not giving them my full attention, not fully participating in the same boring game of making plastic pizza with olives and tomato, of not being completely present. Or I will feel guilty for losing my patience too easily, for shouting over something that didn't really need to be shouted over. 

But for the most part, motherhood just feels good to me. Of course it's always felt good, it's a blessing and for the most part I've been lucky to have it pretty easy all things considered. But this stage we are at right now? It's fun. Mads is on the brink of going to school and I know life will change dramatically then, but for the next few months I have her all to myself bar the days she's at nursery. She's like a sponge, she wants to learn, she wants to understand about the world she lives in and above all she is just the most funny little character. She's a joker, she is never serious and she always has a smile. Yet she is incredibly sensitive, affectionate and loves to be near you. At times that can become a little stifling, she is constantly asking questions, wanting to play, but she's also pretty easy. She knows the consequences of her actions at four, she knows how to behave. You can tell her to do something and she will do it most of the time. Of course the odd meltdown can still occur, but for the most part she is such a well behaved little girl.

And then there's LL. My baby. Who actually really isn't a baby anymore. In the last couple of weeks all traces of baby have gone. Instead we have a little girl, a happy, cheerful little girl whose character develops on a daily basis- we are loving to get to know her properly and find out who she is and who she is going to become. Her speech has exploded and we love her feisty little personality. She's more stroppy than her big sister, who often gives in to her for an easy life. She has the occasional serious temper tantrum, of course we are well in the 'terrible twos', but I have the benefit of experience this time round. It doesn't phase me. Yes that person just had to step over my wailing, screaming child who has just thrown herself on the floor of Tescos because I wouldn't let her hold a pack of frozen chips. (true story) Do I care? It doesn't phase me in slightest. The second time around you know that you haven't given birth to a wannabe sociopath just because of a few tantrums. You know it's just a stage and that she will grow out of it soon enough, hindsight is a powerful tool in this motherhood journey.

Both my girls are so much fun to be around. I think it's even better because they compliment each other so well. They are learning to play with each other properly, rather than simply co-existing and being sat there playing next to each other with separate toys. Sharing a bedroom together has made them even closer and I hear them at night chattering away, of course a lot of time LL doesn't make a huge amount of sense, but judging by the giggles, it's non stop fun. And quite simply it's fun for me too. I am the lucky one who gets to take part in these adventures. To experience their imaginations and the way they are with each other. To experience the cuddles, the kisses and the happy smiles. I get to experience the days where I cannot wait for them to get to bed- where I breathe a sigh of relief that they are away from me so I can get some peace, only to go upstairs and see them fast asleep, their bodies contorted into funny positions because they have obviously been getting up to mischief and I get to feel that emotion of pure love that comes with watching my sleeping babies. All parents must get that feeling when they check on them at night- that feeling 'These little people are mine', the way the love just rushes through you and you want to wake them up.  

I have no doubt that there will be more stages in the future. Harder stages, stages where it all goes a bit difficult, I remember in the early days my Mum used to ring me to check in and say 'How's it been today?' because Mads was going through a stage of having tantrums and LL was teething and grumpy. I had days where I would pace the living room just waiting for Mr E's key to turn in the lock. But those days rarely happen anymore, sure I have bad days where I say to my husband 'Please let me go and have a bath for an hour just to have a break' but they are few and far between. Parenting is tough, those stages will come back, periods where Mads drives me mad, where she tests the boundaries again, or where LL repeats them all just a couple of years behind.

But motherhood right now? It feels good. It's always good but it feels really good. 

'This is the best it's ever been.'

may 2015 mads ll

 

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