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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See You Soon…

My daughter is five next week, so quite possibly what I’m doing today is long overdue, but it really doesn’t make me feel any easier or happier about it. I am leaving my children overnight for the first time! I don’t know why I feel so bad about it, but I honestly think I’m going to spend my entire train journey bawling my eyes out like an over emotional loon! We’ve had nights apart before after all, both of them have been to sleepovers at their friend’s houses and I used to leave them all day, which is surely more obvious to them owing to the fact that they’re awake!

I just feel that this is a real milestone, because up until now, any nights we have spent apart have been for them, and they’ve done the ‘going away.’ This time, I will be putting them to bed, and when they wake up I won’t be there, and I won’t be back in time to put them to bed either, so it will be the first complete day of their lives I won’t see them for. Most of you probably think I’m weird for feeling like this, it’s only a day after all. Some people are probably very jealous that I’m going to have a whole day of hot tea and unaccompanied wees, but I’m dreading it!

Since giving up my job last year, I spend so much time with the children it’s like they’re part of me, and I just don’t feel quite right without them. A few hours is lush of course but I’m going to miss them so much.

I know the children will be absolutely fine, and they don’t feel the same as me, in fact they can’t wait to have a play date before school so that my husband can get to work on time, and having Daddy pick them up from school and pre school is the ultimate treat! This is the thing, my husband is still here, it’s not even like we’re both leaving them! I just somehow feel like I shouldn’t be going, even though it’s for work and I’ll only be gone 24 hours!

So come on Mums who’ve done it already, how can I stop myself from bawling my eyes out on the train tonight, my eyes are filling up just thinking about it?! Am I freak who just needs to sort myself out, or is this just a normal Mum thing?!

Isn’t it Ironic?!

Well as the words of Alanis Morissette rhetorically ask, it’s quite ironic, that my longest blog silence this year has actually been because I’ve been having so much fun – on HOLIDAY! If you scroll up, you’ll see that my last post was written complaining that holidays are overhyped and how I can take them or leave them. I guess that’s still true (bah humbug indeed) but at the same time, our little family have probably just had the best holiday ever!

It’s not all about the going away, although we did have have a couple of days in Cardiff, I just love love loved the quality family time, which I think before my daughter started school was something I was beginning to both take for granted and also not appreciate if that’s possible. My intense working hours during the term, meant that I found myself living for holidays just so I didn’t have to go to work, rather than for the opportunities the time off opened up for the family.

People also said that when we moved away from Bournemouth, we’d miss all the fantastic things that part of the world offered us (I think most people just thought we were crazy to move away from the beach, but for someone who hates sand as much as me, that was no big deal at all!)

So why was our half term so great?

We had the in laws to stay (honestly, that was a fab start! No less because they babysat and my husband and I stayed out til 3:30am, I don’t remember the last time that happened)…

We crossed the bridge to Wales…

We did lots of really cool experiments at Techniquest (a totally brilliant family time if you ever find yourself in Cardiff!)…

I'm having an out of body experience!

We had one big sleepover in a hotel room (or should that be one big ‘howlongcanyoustayawakeover?’)…

Like Father, like son in so many ways...

We saw the Millennium Stadium…

We went to a real Castle (the best afternoon of the whole half term!)…

We went swimming, walking, to the park, and soaked each other with fairy liquid bubbles…

We went to birthday parties…

And we had a lot of lazy lie ins (bliss!)…

I hope you had a lovely half term too if you have little ones, and sorry for the slightly indulgent post, but I just wanted to share it with you, and prove that I’m not totally Bah Humbug about holidays!

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