How do we make the most of a situation that we don’t want to end and yet, is the humdrum of our lives with all it’s daily frustrations?
This question has been on my mind for a few weeks, as Mini Mck’s school start date looms in the not too distant future, when at the same time I’d been finding days with two small children frustrating and irritating.
Just like any job, even one that is loved, there are times when caring for your kids full time is something you would really just rather not do and before Christmas, this is exactly how I felt. The change from having a toddler and a baby to having two toddlers, added to the manic Christmas preparations, miserable winter weather and the longest school term in the history of the world, ever, was taking it’s toll on me and my boy tribe. I still went through the motions of mothering, but really what my real voice was silently screaming ‘go away, stop needing me, stop causing me work.’
As Mckdaddy’s Christmas break was coming to an end, I found I was dreading looking after the children again and yet I knew I couldn’t spend the next seven months shouting and wanting them to go away, because in September I will, no doubt be wishing I could have this special time back.
Sometimes things happen just at the right time. I got a book from the library. The Happiness Project. It is the kind of book that seems to have been written especially for me, as if the author is just sitting next to me having a chat. It is gently pushing me to make small changes, that are having big effects on how our days are being played out.
I realised I need more of a plan each day, even when nursery is happening we are back by Midday with still a lot of time to fill. It’s not a rigid plan, but I know roughly what we are going to do and what we are going to eat and when Nano is going to sleep. Suddenly as they are finishing one thing, I am preparing the next. While they snack, I am getting the playdoh ready, while they busy themselves with playdoh, I am preparing lunch or getting the lego ready in another room. Our days are suddenly running much smoother and I feel so much more in control.
I also had to accept that we need to get outside as much as we can. Every day if possible. Thankfully swings and slides are being replaced with bikes and football, which I much prefer and I even pop Nano’s trike in the pushchair for him to join in. We don’t always stay long, but it makes such a difference.
It’s not just about what I am doing when the children are awake. After they have gone to bed I am having a quick half an hour tidy up and probably the most important thing is I am getting to sleep at a decent time, making sure I have a decent period of non-screen reading time before I do. I know it’s boring, but I feel so much better and so for now, I shall have to be boring.
I am not so unrealistic to think that I am always going to feel so energised and enthused, but for the first time in a long time I really am making the most of our day to day life. I am putting in to practice my desire to really enjoy these last few months before school starts and it feels wonderful.