Letting go of the challenges of parenting.

Being a parent can be hard. It’s exhausting, relentless and it can be, dare I say, boring. Although being a parent is wonderful most of the time, I think every parent at some time or another has wished for a sunny beach, peace, quiet and preferably a margarita in hand! But I’ll tell you a little secret that parents of little ones don’t know or even have time to think about….it does change and get easier; almost overnight and then you will miss those challenges with all your heart. The hurdles that we face as parents are only stages in our lives and we need to let them go to fully appreciate the parenting journey. Because of course, a journey always has its ups and downs.

I vividly remember my son going through ‘the yelling phase.’ Basically, he yelled in the night when he wanted something! It could be a drink, a biscuit,  a cuddle, a story, a banana (yes, really!) a new toy….just anything so that he could get our attention. The thing was totally irrelevant but because we had another child that we were frightened would wake up, we tended to go into his room as quickly as possible. This meant one of us was ‘on stand by’ throughout the night and we were exhausted. Of course, we could have left him to cry and yell but for an easier life and because we were not entirely sure he was awake half the time, we got up and went to him. He was only about 2 after all. This became part of my night time thing and I used to dread it. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly be this tired and still function. It was awful. And then, one night, it stopped. He slept through without the yelling! Could we be this lucky and have a whole nights sleep? He never yelled out in the night again and this phase in our parenting journey was over, just like that.

When my daughter was about 6 she would not want to go to sleep. We tried the usual stories, milk, teeth, bed routine that had always worked. We tried extra cuddles, we tried rewarding her with a sticker chart and we tried telling her off. Nothing seemed to work. There would always be a reason for her coming down….’ur I can’t sleep….I need a drink….mummy can I just tell you something……ur can I have a grape?’ The ‘Can I have a grape?’ became a family joke but this stage went on for about a year. Yes, a whole year of her coming down in the late evening as she couldn’t get to sleep. Then one night,  it stopped. As quickly as it began, it was over.

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I think what I’m trying to say is that the challenges you are facing right now will soon be done. The ‘problem’ that exhausts you or makes you despair will one day be over. Whether it be a fussy toddler that makes you cry with frustration because they will only wear red or the child who lives off fresh air because they never seem to eat a meal. Whether it be the child who refuses to sleep in their own bed or the child that will not settle in the morning at school. These are all challenges at the time but one day, they will stop and life moves on. Children grow and change whilst us parents try to adapt to the changing direction that parenting takes us.

So when your son asks you not to get stressed when he accidently breaks the window of your Greenhouse by launching a hockey ball down the garden, pause, take a breath and smile. He doesn’t remember the 3 DS games, the new Hoover, the car radio or the countless TV remotes that he broke as a destructive toddler. Those were our challenges as parents so let them go and move on. One day, I shall remind him of the Greenhouse window and hope it will become a family story to remember and retell rather than a challenge to overcome.
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Waiting in the dark for you to come home.

When you were a baby, I would feed you in the dark so that you could learn the difference between night and day. I didn’t want to wake your dad either so would tiptoe across the carpet to get a clean nappy. You would dreamfeed, all snuggled up against my skin, safe and secure in my arms.

When you were a toddler, I would tiptoe across the landing to your baby brothers room in the night to feed him. I would always check in on you. You would often sleep upside down with your bottom in the air! Or you would be smuggled down with your Dutch dolly called “Lovey La-La,” thumb in your mouth. You looked so small in your new “Big Girl” bed. You would often be surrounded by books. I would move a blond curl from your little face.

As a little girl, you would often tiptoe into my room, press your face up to mine and ask me if there were robbers at the door. I would take you back to bed and tuck you in reassuring you that no one could get in. Your little imagination would run riot. You didn’t like the dark and would insist on a night light. Your teddies and soft toys were positioned carefully on your bed so that they could keep an eye on you. Little soldiers guarding you from nightmares and frights.

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Now, I’m waiting in the dark. I’m awake you see as you are not yet home. I know you will always text me to let me know that you are safe. You are a good girl like that. But you are not in bed. You are not home. You are where you should be, out with your friends. But I’m awake waiting in the dark. I offered to pick you up but it’s easier, you said to stay with a friend. It’s all planned. That’s ok. I love that you are organised like that. It’s just that, I will always be your mum you see and I will lie in the dark thinking of you, even when you are not here. Have fun. Stay safe. My little girl.

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Pinterest. Take a look at my Educational Boards for young children.

I love Pinterest, don’t you?

I discovered Pinterest a few years ago now but have only just learnt that I can share these ideas on my blog too!

This board has lots of ideas for using play dough in different ways. Play dough is awesome!

To make play dough, mix 2 cups flour with 1 cup salt and 2 cups of water in a saucepan on a low heat. Add one tablespoon of cream of tartar (this is the magic ingredient!), one tablespoon of oil and any extras.

I have written an old post about play dough here

Here are some fabulous arty ideas for all those crafty kids.

I’m a big fan of the outdoors!

I have written a great post about outdoor ideas for your family here 

These ideas are great for pre-school children.

Did you know that without strong muscles in a child’s arms, hands and fingers, they will find writing tricky? Here are some great ideas to help build those muscles in a fun and playful way.

I have many other boards on Pinterest that you may love. Why not pop over there to take a look and feel free to rePin any you like. Of course, there are garden pages too!

Thanks for reading!

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10 things nursery rhymes teach babies and young children.

Do you know traditional nursery rhymes? Do you sing them with your baby or young child?

If you do then that is awesome! If you don’t then you really should! Why? Here are the main reasons.

  1. They teach children about language structure, rhyme and alliteration.
  2. They are your child’s first stories.
  3. Nursery rhymes develop your child’s vocabulary.
  4. They instill a love of books in your child.
  5. Your child will be a better reader as nursery rhymes introduce phonetic patterns.
  6. They are traditional and should be shared as a link to the past.
  7. Nursery rhymes often have finger plays too and connect the sides of the brain enabling your child to develop.
  8. They are great at improving your child’s memory.
  9. Nursery rhymes are social. We can all join in together.
  10. They are fun; they introduce fun and interesting words that can be manipulated.
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A baby enjoying books.

Some interesting Nursery rhyme facts:

Did you know now Humpty Dumpty was a cannon?

Did you know Ring O’Roses is about The Plague?

Baa Baa Black Sheep is from a tax system in 1275 and yes, the black sheep was the master (We sing Baa, Baa pink sheep at school!)

Jack and Jill were possibly Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

Baa Baa Pink Sheep

Baa Baa pink sheep,

Have you any spots?

Yes sir, yes sir,

Lots and lots!

Some on my fingers,

and someone my toes…

and some on the end of my little pink nose!

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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My ovaries are hurting…..

I was chatting to my good friend, Marie. She is lovely and has children of a similar age to mine and she was asking if I was going to have any more children.

What!??! Urrrr noooooooo!!??

You get the picture!

She always thought that I would have more children you see -I have 2. In fact, I always thought I would have more children. It was just that there was never the right time. I even saved names for those children.

Hubbie didn’t want another when I did (when son was about 4). Then when I definitely could not see myself with another, he started to consider the thought! By then, the gap would have been 8 years between 2 and 3 and I just couldn’t imagine starting again. Anyway, I was working full time and I couldn’t imagine working, having 2 school aged children and a baby! I was only just managing with the routine I had. I remember a family member telling me that I didn’t want to get to 40 and regret it or that every baby was a blessing.

I reached 40 and decided that I did not want another baby. I was so happy and lucky to have the family I have.

But then my ovaries started hurting…..

I think it’s my bodies way of telling me this is my last chance. I mean, I’m 45 now so there is such a slim chance! This blogging malarky doesn’t help either as so many of you lovely people have such cute babies! And dont get me started on Instagram! OMG the cuteness!

BUT

I think my ovaries are hurting because I just miss my children being babies? Does that make sense? I miss me being a mummy of younger children I guess. I think that’s just part of my make-up; I’m a primary school teacher so enjoy this age group. That’s not to say I don’t love my teenagers….I just miss them as babies. Or, may be my ovaries are hurting because I’m perimenopausal?? Yeah, that’ll be it!

OH THE JOYS OF THE PERIMENOPAUSE (Yes! It’s a thing…….google it!)

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How to be a bad parent.

Ok, so have you done any of the following?

  • Locked yourself in the toilet because you just wanted to check your Instagram account?
  • Gone through the laundry basket of dirty clothes looking for that school PE top that you are sure you washed but obviously didn’t?
  • Had “help yourself night” rather than cooking too many times in one week?
  • Been to Ikea just to feed the kids the cheap meatballs?
  • Both pretended to be asleep when your kid comes in at night for the hundredth time?
  • Sent the children to school a bit poorly when really they should be at home but you’ve had to go to work? (Shhh)
  • Let your child go out as Batman because you had no clean clothes?
  • Put that spare T-shirt on your child’s bottom because you forgot the nappy bag?
  • When their breakfast is toast and a water bottle in the car as you were late to get up?
  • Eaten your kids Easter eggs/sweets/party bag cake because they have too many and you needed sugar?
  • Not brushed your child’s hair for a week?
  • Let your child go to bed as Batman because he just won’t change into PJ’s?
  • Hidden toys under anything possible when your mum or mother-in-law is coming for a cuppa?
  • You’ve told your children that the Tooth Fairy must have been really busy as she didn’t come in the night (oops) Then loved the look on their faces when the Tooth Fairy came during breakfast -“yes, you must have just missed her!?”
  • Had a phone call from Nursery to find out where you were and you’ve lied about being in traffic when actually you were asleep?
  • Let your kids watch films back-to-back because you are just too tired?

Well I must be a bad parent because I’ve done all of these. My children have survived. It’s ok! Be a “bad” parent once in a while and your children may actually thank you for it. Being perfect is just too exhausting!

Have a great day!

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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What’s annoying me series…..This one is about having babies.

 

Ok, so this is about pregnancy, giving birth and having young babies……All these experiences have happened to me and are slightly annoying.

  • Avoiding pregnancy was annoying…..take a pill, wear a condom. No! Don’t come there! You know…. but trying to get pregnant on purpose is also annoying. Take your temperature, put your bum in the air, carry your husbands sperm to the clinic in your cleavage to keep it warm…..I’ve done it all and it’s very, very annoying.
  • You’re pregnant! After 3 years! But you can’t tell anyone…..now that’s annoying! I did tell my mum, well you would heh?!
  • Pregnancy wasn’t how I imagined it to be…..puking at the smell of anything, falling asleep at 6pm but being awake all night, OMG the size of my boobs! Sleeping on the sofa for 4 months due to sciatica and only having one tent dress that fitted. All annoying but it was worth it….
  • Listening to birth stories! OMG…why do other woman do this?  Hello? I’m already pregnant! My older relatives were the worst……..sooo annoying.
  • Nesting. Why do we concentrate on getting the exact shade of lemon yellow for the nursery when we should be doing all the things we can’t do once baby arrives? The annoying thing is, we don’t realise this and continue to worry about the quality of the pram blankets…..
  • Giving birth. Look I know that some woman have this life changing, inspiring birth moment and that’s annoying, but I didn’t. So, to the midwife that stuck her hand up inside me declaring my baby was breech, then smiling that I could still do this naturally, you were fucking annoying. Then, to the same midwife who got cross that I was one of “too many” woman to plan a millennium baby who was now crowding the hospital….that was a tad annoying as I had taken 3 years to get to this point! But, to the other sooo kind midwife who told me I COULD do this and breathed with me at 10cm to get the epidural needle in, thank you….I was probably really annoying!
  • To the other new mum in the C section ward who sang all night to her new baby when mine actually slept through. Shut up!  You were annoying as that was possibly the only nights sleep I could have had in 9 months.
  • To my new mum friends….you were soo annoying the way your baby slept through/ate new foods/crawled early/gained a tooth etc etc BUT you were also soo much fun and you kept me sane during those annoying sleepless nights.

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  • To my boobs….you were annoying because you produced way too much milk which made me wear about four tops per day. All that washing was very annoying. You also were bloody sore at times and looked like a pair of small bald men were feeding my, in comparison, tiny baby. Although to my hubbie, you were far from annoying!!
  • To my mirrored wardrobe….I used to be able to see my reflection in the twilight as I sat up to breastfeed at 2/3/4am in those early days as my hubbie lay snoring next to me….you were annoying as I was oh so tired and I could see myself and remember thinking, “I used to be hot…..!”
  • To time…. I wished I could have controlled you….at times I wish you would speed up especially when my baby was crying for hours on end! Now, I wish I could rewind you and relive the precious first few months that I never appreciated due to tiredness and lack of experience….time is annoying because lovely times fly by whilst stressful times seem to stick. Hold your babies close and try to look up every now and then. Time makes memories fade…..

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What’s annoying me series…… Today, it’s other parents.

At the weekend, I went to watch one of my children play sport and was reminded of how some parents are just bloody annoying. You know the types….so here are my top annoying parent things that have actually happened to me….

  • I took my daughter to one if those intensive swimming weeks aged 5 because I thought it was “an important life skill.” I realised she was the oldest child there. Wtf…she was 5. What annoying parent sends a 3 year old to an intensive swimming week??
  • Having a parent tell you their child only eats organic food, likes a lavender bath followed by a story (I’ve popped it in the bag) before a sleep over at my house! Wtf…..she’ll be lucky to get pizza and a sleeping bag, I think as I smile politely. She didn’t come again.
  • The mum that said her baby sleeps through at 3 days old….shut up now please (although my son was one of those, sorry!) It took my daughter until she was 9 months.
  • The parent who goes on and on about what a genius child they have…..he goes to mandarin, has cornet lessons and has made the under 6 rugby team, aged 4.  Stop. You are annoying! Actually, as a teacher I get this a lot….your child is not a genius I’m afraid as it is clear that you do their homework. The more after school clubs they do does not equal how gifted they are people.
  • Yes, your child eats everything! Well, mine likes yellow food the best.
  • The mum on the beach who looks so perfect in her bikini with amazing, flicky hair. Sorry, but you are genetically annoying.
  • The mum who goes to baby yoga, baby singing and baby swimming whilst I struggled to go anywhere….you were sooo annoying.
  • To the parent with the white carpet and sofa…you were annoying but we weren’t invited again so I forgive you. Oh by the way, sorry for the wee stain….
  • The parent who would sneak into the cinema with a sleeping baby in a carry car seat and the baby slept through the entire film! Yes, you were annoying as I sat there with my boobs soaking my T-shirt unable to enjoy the film because I’d left my baby for the first time.
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Child looking amazed at the content of this post!

  • The mum who looks disapprovingly whilst I wrestle my tantruming daughter out of the shop by bundling her under one arm whilst 8 months pregnant. F off, you were annoying.
  • To the fake posh parents who drive a Bentley and say, “Cressida is having such pony problems.” You are so poshly annoying.
  • To the actual posh parent who is lovely but pops to Gleneagles for the weekend or lends you their kid’s cashmere cardie after a swimming party at their mansion. You are lovely but still a teeny bit annoying.
  • To the parents of that toddler who sat through that flight to Gran Canaria on their parents lap whilst my 20 month old child demanded to walk up and down the aisle 20 million times, you were smugly annoying. What were we thinking??
  • To the disapproving older person who said my child needed to see a child psychologist because of his rage, aged 4. That was hurtfully annoying.
  • To the parent of the kid who is on the same rugby team as my kid, you are annoying the way you yell at my kid and tell him how to play.
  • To the parent who just won’t tell their child “no” because it may damage their self-esteem. You and your child….just No!
  • To the parent who lets their child throw their book bag at them and hit my kid and then laughs at how cute they are. No, your kid is horrid and you are annoying.
  • To Beyoncé in her stupid tutu thingy outfit announcing on the internet that she is pregnant. And?? You are not a religious figure who is producing the next messiah! You are alarmingly annoying.

But, in reality I expect I was the annoying parent to other parents so to all of us….

Hurrah for the annoying parent!

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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