Babies No More

I’ve loved every (well almost every) moment of being a Mum so far. The laughs, the loves and the challenges it brings, but with my youngest turning 7 in just a few weeks and my eldest about to turn 9, it’s suddenly dawned on me that they’re not babies any more. They’ll always be my babies of course, and although I still want to cherish every moment and freeze time at every given opportunity, I wouldn’t want to go back in time any more.

Some may be sad those baby days are over, others may see this as proof there is light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I’ve realised that this is just another stage that I would like to freeze in time forever, but there are definitely some aspects of parenting that I don’t miss!

You can structure your day without having nap times blocked out

We were always very disciplined when it came to routine. As teachers, we were used to our lives being governed by timetables and found that our children were as predictable as clockwork too, so when we suddenly realised that we could accept invitations at any time without having to worry about when they were going to nap, eat, poo, it was so liberating!

You can have a shower while the children are awake

This was actually my prompt for writing this post. Yesterday, the children were at gymnastics, and rather than taking advantage of the opportunity to drink some tea while it is still hot as I would have done until quite recently, I decided to go for a run (yes really, read about my mission to get fitter here!). When we got back, I quickly got some tea for the children, and asked if they minded me having a quick shower while they ate it. And I did! They may have walked in several times for emergencies, such as needing to know if Qatar is the only country in the world beginning with Q, but I was able to shower and then have some unstinky (me not them!) snuggly time before bed.

A ‘family film’ might actually be something that you genuinely are interested in watching

Going to watch the new Star Wars film was the defining moment here. All four of us equally excited. We didn’t even have to miss any of it to take the children to the toilet every five minutes!

You can wear jewellery

My sister in law recently had a baby. She’s gorgeous in every way and I love my cuddles, but how do 4 month old babies instinctively know which of your bracelets are most likely to break or choke them and then choose those ones to try and eat?! Nowadays I wear my jewellery with pride and for the most part, manage to keep it saliva free!

You can go out for an evening meal

The first time you can book a restaurant for an evening meal – as in actual evening rather than the 4:30pm type of evening meal you’ve had to endure in order to be back for bath time for oh so long – is amazing. A 7pm meal where you can wear nice clothes and aside from a few colouring pencils (and perhaps an iPad for emergencies), nothing else is needed!

8pm is not the middle of the night!

My daughter now finishes Brownies at 8pm. Sometimes we nip into the shop afterwards to pick up a few bits. Nothing exciting here, apart from the fact that 8pm exists again!

Homework is for the children

This term, my daughter has had to complete column addition and subtraction, giving her answers using hieroglyphics and complete a 500 word original story. My son has had to learn his times tables and find interesting ways of displaying them and create 3D models of Tudor houses. Obviously I’m on hand to help with homework, but essentially it is work for them, to extend their understanding and develop their ability to work independently. Which leads me nicely on to the next one…

You don’t have the pressure of having the class bear to visit

This is tongue in cheek, but who can honestly hold their hands up and say they didn’t feel the pressure to get out and do exciting things when Billy the Bear came home for the weekend?! The last time we had the class bear, he’d been to Paris the weekend before and climbed the Eiffel Tower. Aaaaargh!

Babysitting can be free

Older children don’t just pop round for lunch or tea – they have sleepovers – the holy grail for the children concerned and the parents alike! Until of course you realise that you haven’t returned the favour yet and it’s your turn to host a handful of 9 year olds…

You can wee on your own

Yeah right, just kidding – did you really think I was serious?! I’m still waiting for this day, will it ever happen?!

So, moments to cherish or light at the end of the tunnel? You decide, I’d love to know your thoughts!

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I Need a Babysitter!

I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle this one, so why not come straight to the point?! And before you start wondering, I’m not putting out an open request here for someone, anyone to come and look after my children!

I was watching Eastenders the other night, and saw a toddler nearly drown when her mother decided to let her teenage cousin look after her, just so she could go out a bit earlier, and I had full on shivers that in less than five minutes she nearly drowned, because the babysitter wasn’t doing their job properly.

Until a couple of months ago, if we were invited out for the evening, (and this didn’t happen very often!) it was simple. My husband would get on the phone to his Mum, she’d pop round and hey presto, sorted! If she couldn’t help us out, I’d phone my Mum, or sister in law, or best friend. We just knew that we’d be able to go out, and that someone we trusted implicitly would be able to babysit.

A lot of people will know that in September, we moved to Wiltshire, about an hour and a half away from our friends and family. If anything, in this time our social lives have got more active, we’ve going out a lot more separately. I’ve made some lovely friends through the children’s incredibly busy social lives, and my husband has met a lot of people through his new job, who he has also socialised with. I’ve asked the Mums I regularly talk to already, and I think it might be a bit rude to just go up to any of the other Mums, and suddenly ask them to do me a huge favour when I’ve never even had them round for a cuppa! However, in a few weeks, we have both been invited to my husband’s Christmas social, and the mother in law is away for the weekend, so who could babysit?!

I’d really like to meet the people my husband works with, and I think he’d actually quite like me to be there too! I’m sure I could get someone, but if, for example, one of the mums at the school gates who I trust recommends someone, does that mean I can trust them? Can I just go out, leaving my home and my children in their care when I’ve only met them a couple of times? For some reason, the answer in my heart is no, but if this person is a babysitter, qualified and CRB checked, shouldn’t it be yes? After all, I dropped my daughter off at school for her first induction, having only spoken to her teacher for less than five minutes, and I didn’t have the doubts then? And only a couple of weeks ago, one of the Mums let her daughter come to my house in my care, and she didn’t really know me.

So do I need to lighten up or am I right to feel like this? Have I just been spoilt until now, having the luxury of family just around the corner? What do you do when they’re not there? I think I might just hope for my Fairy Godmother to appear and tell me that I shall go to the Ball. After all, it is nearly Panto season!