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Articles tagged with: Parenting

{The Ordinary Moments 15} #2 'Logic will take you from A to B, Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

on Sunday, 11 January 2015.

'Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you Everywhere.'

Albert Einstein


As a parent I beat myself up a lot and I question myself as a mother.  Most nights I lie in bed and I think, I should have done more with the girls today, or I should have put my phone down a little more, or I shouldn't have lost my patience over something so small.  I know I am a good Mum but sometimes I worry I am not the best Mum I can be.  Perhaps they have watched too much television that day, or I gave them too much chocolate or I didn't pay them enough attention- I often feel a lot of guilt.  I think that is inevitable sometimes as a parent.  

I'm not a 'crafty' Mum. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we have painted in the four years Mads has been here.  Don't get me wrong, we do it every now and again, but our dining table is quite small and on carpet and I just hate the mess it makes for about ten minutes of playing. If I am being deeply honest though, I could put a plastic sheet down, but I just would rather do it at play groups or let them do it at nursery.  We occasionally play with Play Dough because Mads absolutely loves it, but again I do it with reluctance as it always manages to find it's way onto the carpet.  We don't do other crafts much and I don't think I have ever made anything from an egg box.

I am not a teaching Mum.  Of course I teach them every day- I teach them manners, I teach them life skills and I teach them right from wrong.  I am helping them learn and shaping them into who they are going to be.  What I mean is I don't often sit down and really teach Mads curriculum based things- we do practice writing, or letters, or sums, but I don't spend ages teaching her.  I always forget my phonics and I need teaching in them myself!  I don't need her to be a genius and she isn't particularly advanced for her age, apart from in her speech, but she's doing just fine and is a bright little girl.  She's well loved at nursery and is turning out to be quiet the comedienne.

But when I am feeling a little down or guilty about what I have or haven't done that day then I remember what I am good at.  And that's fueling their imaginations.  I love to help encourage my girls minds.  Just this week we have been police officers, nurses and knights.  I have been a dragon that has been captured on the floor with a knight and a princess lying on top of me, I have been given endless cups of tea, and had to eat wooden pizza which was a little too hot from the oven at least 60 times.  I spent an hour shouting 'Ladies and Gentleman please welcome Harry and Zayn from One Direction' over and over again, while two little people ran on to the stage and shaked and danced while 'singing' into a microphone.  I immerse my girls into a world of make believe.  It's an ordinary part of our life and it's definitely an everyday occurance.

Which brings me to my 'Ordinary Moment' for this week.  One of the favourite presents I got our girls for Christmas were some story stones.  I randomly found them by chance when I was looking for inspiration for their stockings and I just fell in love with them.  Such a simple idea, just painted stones with a colourful picture each side, but I knew that the girls would think they were great.  They are little magpies, they love to collect 'treasures' and I more often than not find buttons, little bits of plastic and random stones in bags, pockets and under pillows.

We use the stones to create stories and to encourage their imaginations.  The sad man might go and fly a kite with a mouse and then become happy, so he drinks a drink of juice and then goes in a plane to find his baby.  I let Mads completely make up the stories and I absolutely love hearing her create these scenarios and tales in her head.  They definitely were such a brilliant present and I am currently waiting for another set to arrive that I bought with some of their Christmas money. 

I absolutely love to see my girl's imaginations grow and flourish.  It's a tiny little bit of make believe in our ordinary day to day lives.

story-stones-1

story-stones-2

story-stones

 

*****

It was absolutely amazing to see so many people link up to the 1st Ordinary Moments of 2015 last week- thank you to everyone who linked up.  As you read this I am currently doing something very unordinary as my little family are in the sunshine on holiday, so the lovely Donna over at What the Redhead Said is going to host the Ordinary Moments for me this week.  Head over to her to link up and I will make sure I visit them all when I get home.  And as always please try and comment on a few if you can as the whole point of linkies is to spread the blog love!  Do check back later in the week as people add to it all week, not just Sunday.  :)

 

 

NB: I paid for the Story Stones and the lady who I bought them off doesn't know I am writing about them- I just wanted to share them because they really are a lovely gift.)

Mads You Are Four!

on Wednesday, 24 December 2014.

To my Dearest Baby Big Girl,

It's Christmas Eve and everyone is excitedly getting ready for the big day tomorrow- rushing to the supermarket to get last minute essentials, wrapping presents while listening to cheesy Christmas music or just spending time with family and friends.  We are doing all that, except we are also celebrating an extra special day.  Your birthday.  Today my biggest daughter turns four.

I often joke about two things.  Firstly that no Christmas present anyone ever buys me again will ever come close to the Christmas present I received on the 24th December 2010.  My early Christmas present and the best one I have ever and will ever receive.  You were worth spending the whole of Christmas in hospital for, worth not seeing my family for as they weren't allowed to meet you or come in the wards as it was shut due to Norovirus, and worth every single Christmas being a teeny tiny bit of a letdown ever since.  After all what can come close to meeting your baby for the first time at the most special time of year?

The other thing I joke about is that it's a rubbish day to have a birthday and that Daddy and I should have planned it better.  But actually deep down I think Christmas Eve is a pretty exciting day to be born.  We do all those festive things, but with the added extra of it being your special day.  You arrived into the world, my little c-section baby, to the sound of an extra special song that means a lot to Mummy and also to the sound of Christmas songs as well.  You wore a Christmas hat from a cracker that Mummy pulled with the midwives at less than 24 hours old and we often said we should have called you Holly or Eve.  There was Christmas music playing on the wards non stop, everyone was in good spirits and it was so quiet- there were only 4 babies born on the whole ward over Christmas time.  That meant that you got extra special attention from all the staff.

And now my biggest girl is four.  The one who made me a Mummy.  The one who changed everything we thought about life.  Who made us realise exactly what is important.  That it's the little things and that as long as we have each other, we couldn't be luckier.  I often stare at you and it takes my breath away- a weird emotion between insane happiness that you are mine and almost a little bit of pain about how life can be so sad and how it can change in an instant.  I can't quite believe you are four.  Three still seems little, still clinging on to the last grasp of toddlerhood.  But four is big.  Four year olds go to school.  Four is a little girl and there is no inch of toddlerhood left. 

You make me so incredibly proud every single day.  As I type this I have tears in my eyes.  Some slight ones over the fact it is so bittersweet just how fast the time is going.  How I wish I could make it slow down, or pause the good bits and replay them again and again.  But mostly my tears are for just how proud I am of you.  You are one in a million- kind, gentle, the worlds best big sister, hilariously funny with a dry, sarcastic wit even at your tender young age, and the most affectionate little person I could ask for.  We have our moments, you can be a stroppy little thing, or have days where you drive me mad, but for the most part you are the loveliest, happiest girl and you brighten up all our days.

I am going to relish these next few months as come September I am going to have to let you go just a little bit and share you when you head off to school.  I am, to be quite honest dreading that day as I just don't want this stage of our lives to be over.  But I know you are ready and you will love and enjoy it, just as you do when you go to nursery two long mornings a week.  

Happy 4th birthday my darling girl.  Enjoy being four and all the adventures it brings.  Thank you for being you.

Mummy loves you more than anything in the world.

But as always you already knew that.

Mummy.

xxxx

madsis4a

madsis4

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #31 'Half Glass Empty Half Glass Full'

on Sunday, 24 August 2014.

*Disclaimer- this is a bit of rambling post on motherhood that doesn't really make much sense, but my emotions were all over the place this week.  You have been warned!*

 

I have a tendency to let the mundanity of life catch up with me sometimes.  Occasionally the constant nappy changes, the endless making lunches or lugging two small people around the supermarket with one running off and one refusing to sit in a trolley, will result in me feeling a little bit out of sorts.  I will pace around the living room waiting to hear the front door open and see my husband arrive home from work, just to get a little break from the constant demands of motherhood.

At the back of my mind, I always deep down know how lucky I am, how blessed I am to have the opportunity to work from home and be the person who looks after my girls the majority of the time.  Of course I know that, but sometimes the intensity and mediocrity just catches up with me.  Because let's face it, being a parent is hard work.  It's relentless, from the second they open their eyes in the morning until well after they have gone to sleep at night.  Making sandwiches, the nursery drop off, running their bath water, tidying the toys after they are in bed- we repeat so many moments in motherhood we could probably do them in our sleep.  They become routine.  They become day to day life.  And sometimes that day to day life gets a little stagnant, or a 'bad day' in the life of a three and a half year old learning to express her emotions can throw it all off kilter slightly.  You can feel like your glass is half empty even though you know deep down that couldn't be further from the truth.

But then I also have the other kind of emotional moments.  These happen once in a while too and they are even harder to describe.  My husband has a tattoo of the yin and yang symbol, I don't hugely like it to be honest (it's very late 90's sorry Mr E!) but it was done another lifetime ago.  However recently I have been thinking about the meaning behind it and how in a way you can relate it to the feeling of motherhood.  How opposing or contrary forces are actually interconnected and complementary to each other.  Amazing and beautiful moments, followed by difficult or sad ones.  Ordinary days where everything goes right followed by ordinary days where it all feels just feels a little bit challenging and hard.  

This week I have felt so teary.  But not teary in a sad or unhappy way.  Just emotional with the intensity of it all.  Emotional because I feel lucky to have this mundane, slightly boring life.  The slightest thing has set me off, whether it's a sad song, saying goodbye to my grandparents, or even cuddling my biggest girl who clung to me in our bed in the night after being sick.  As she lay with me, I felt this raw emotion so strong that it made me cry silently into my pillow. I find that being a mother is loving so deeply that sometimes it actually physically hurts.

There's this fear deep inside me that I don't even like to think about let alone put into words.  I imagine all mothers have it from time to time.  Most of the time it lies dormant, always there but hidden, a passing thought in the midst of a busy day.  But sometimes it pushes it's way to the surface and it can consume my thoughts.  It may be something on the news, something that has happened to a friend of a friend, or even god forbid someone you know.  A glimpse into someone else's anguish and despair.  The fact that life can change in an instant.  And these moments will always make me sad but occasionally they will floor me.  The thought of anything bursting my happy bubble of ordinary life.  

Because Motherhood is so much more than making sandwiches, the nursery drop off, running their bath water, and tidying the toys.  Underneath the routine and the structure, there's the deep rooted  intensity of loving someone so much that it can completely change you.  That you can have days where you feel like crying for absolutely no reason because you feel so overcome with emotion about how lucky you are.  Sometimes the best way to process that is just to carry on, to go about your day to day life- to play, to teach, to discipline and to make memories.  And it goes back to the Ying and Yang theory, for all of the worry, fear, guilt and mundanity, there is happiness, love and gratitude.  Those complimentary opposites constantly interacting and balancing each other, not being able to exist without the other.

You need the odd bad or challenging day to fully appreciate the good ones.  Sometimes I need a good cry, or to go and pick my children up from nursery early for a cuddle, or to really sit and closely watch them on the sofa eating an after nap biscuit to remind myself that ordinary life isn't always easy.  That motherhood isn't always easy.  We may be incredibly lucky but that everyone is allowed to feel like their glass is half empty on the odd occasion.  

But that deep down you know that it is in fact full to the brim.

appreciatoin 

 

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #22 'Soft Play Hell.'

on Sunday, 01 June 2014.

Love it or loathe it, soft play outings are a very ordinary moment in our household.  Before I had my girls I only had a couple of friends who had children and one particular friend and I used to meet occasionally at the local soft play place.  I never used to think it was that bad, her kids were a little older and they would run off and play while we sat and had a chat.  There was diet coke there and cake, and quite honestly what more does one need?  I would see the other Mum's sat there with the latest copy of Grazia, or Marie Claire, while all the little ones ran around excitedly.   I thought it looked like a pleasant enough place to wile away an hour or so.

Oh how naive I was.  Soft play is the epitome of everything I dislike about being a parent.  It turns both my children and myself into stressed, intense, hyperactive versions of ourselves, where the slightest thing can set us over the edge.  First of all they all smell a little bit of wee and sweaty feet, and have you ever worn white socks there before?  Don't.  And even with the most clean ones, you are guaranteed to find a dirty plaster in the ball pool. Then there's the E numbers.  What is it about soft play that makes me lose my responsible side?  Sugary juice, unhealthy snacks and calorific treats are available in abundance and for some reason I find it acceptable to give my girls far more than I would ever give them at home.  Which in turn has them climbing off the walls.  Then there are the other children.  Most of them who are also dosed up on said E numbers, shouting, screaming and generally making far too much noise than is entirely neccessary.  There is always one 'devil' child who every parent tries to avoid, who seems hell bent on causing havoc, pushing, biting, hitting or worse.

Mads is just at the age where she is quite happy to go off with her little chums for a while, running back every now and again to grab a sugary snack or to let me know she is ok.  But now I have LL who no longer will be pacified with a biscuit on my lap or who even better used to snooze in her buggy.  Instead she wants to be in the thick of the action too, which means trying to have eyes at the back of my head so I can play with her while keep an eye out for Mads too.  

It's also no longer a 'cheap' activity for us, with me having to pay for both Mads and LL.  That, combined with the fact that most places get a little funny about you bringing your own food in, mean that I am paying almost £20 a time for this exciting privilege.

Yet even though I know all this and even though my blood pressure raises that little more each time we go, we still visit a soft play place at least once a week.  Why do I do it to myself?  Firstly because both my girls love it and secondly because when the weather is grey and wet there isn't really much you can do with at least three toddlers and their siblings too.  We see friends on a Wednesday and a Friday and now they are all a little bit big to do play dates in our houses, (I struggle enough letting my girls run riot in our home let alone their friends too!) so therefore there really isn't many other options.  It's not too bad, at least my friends are there and we can chat in between taking it in turns to go up and down the slide numerous times.

So for the considerable future, unless the weather starts to get nicer, soft play is definitely a very ordinary moment for us.

 And when it makes their little faces so happy like LL was last Friday, at least I can rest assured that my girls are having a nice time even if I am not.  And that all that licking of plastic balls coated in numerous germs is is totally helping build up a strong immune system.  At least that's what I will keep telling myself.

soft play 1

soft play 2

 

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