Word of the Week

The importance of a little bit of head space…

I started writing this post sat in the peaceful surrounds of a public library – always a reliable haven for mums with small children. Little Miss was at nursery and Little Mister was snoozing next to me in his cosy buggy.

For the first time in days, maybe a few weeks even, I felt able to just sit, still and calm, and be me.

Neither child was demanding anything from me and being out of the house removed the ever-present temptation to start filling this time with chores instead of taking a moment for myself.

It was bliss. The autumn sun was shining through the window. There may even have been a rainbow as I’d just ducked out of a heavy shower.

It was quiet. There was no CBeebies, Peppa Pig or nursery rhymes playing in the background! And, much as I adore her, no Little Miss asking constant questions or insisting I do or get something for her NOW!

I felt refreshed and it made me realise that I should prioritise trying to do this more often.

The importance of a little bit of head space... www.mummystodolist.com

Having two children is what I always wanted. I now have the perfect family I dreamt of, a girl and a boy, and I love them to infinity and beyond. But one of the things I have found most difficult these last few months is the lack of personal time and space.

I sometimes wonder if growing up as an only child has made the transition more difficult for me. Whereas my husband grew up in a busy household with three brothers (and a very naughty dog!), I suppose I’m just more accustomed to being on my own a lot. My dad worked long, irregular hours so it was often just my mum and I at home.

I am used to, and sometimes really need, time for peace and quiet. Incessant noise, after a while, makes my brain feel frazzled, my head ache and my thoughts feel all over the place.

Whenever we’ve done those personal development quizzes at work, the ones that try and categorise people by character traits, I always come out as an introvert. This used to surprise and slightly alarm me as I’m not especially shy and can be a terrible chatterbox at times. But I’ve grown to realise it means that I like, and need, my own space to function well.

But it’s not just a need for personal space that has made having two little ones feel overwhelming.

My other big problem is the demands I place upon myself. I crave time and space but when I have a chance to grab some I all too often fritter it away on some mundane household task that could, for the sake of my sanity, have waited. Or at best it could have been done much quicker if I wasn’t on a constant quest for perfection.

That’s why getting out of the house the other day was so good for me.

Usually on Little Miss’s nursery day I stay at home and set myself an impossibly long list of household jobs and admin tasks that I want to get done. I nearly always end up feeling disappointed not to have finished the list, even though it was unrealistic in the first place.

I also often spend too long trying to do simple chores to an unnecessarily high standard. And sometimes it feels easier not to start at all if I think my standards won’t be met in the time available.

It’s a catch 22 situation. I feel frustrated about my lack of time, yet when I have it I don’t use it wisely or get less done than I could have and end up feeling I must get even more done the next day. Ahhhhh!

Anyway, getting back to the point, taking myself out of my usual routine did me the world of good this week.

Instead of staying at home and filling my toddler-free day with hoovering, washing and housework – in between the nappies and feeds – I escaped our four walls, which can feel pretty claustrophobic even at the best of times.

My husband was heading to the quaint, historic Sussex town of Lewes for a work meeting and Little Mister and I went along for the ride, meeting him later for lunch. It’s a place I used to go with Little Miss when she was tiny too, so it brought back many happy memories and a strong sense of déjà vu.

I had a lovely, relaxing morning. I sat and fed Little Mister in a coffee shop – without having to chase a hyperactive toddler every few minutes, or bribe her into sitting still with biscuits or Peppa Pig on my phone. I drank a latte while it was still hot and I enjoyed a packet of crisps without having to share. Little luxuries, I know!

And then I hit the shops!

And although I was enjoying myself, the trip was very productive too and did actually enable me to tick quite a few things off my to-do list. It was a winner all round!

I bought Christmas cards and a fair few presents. With just under six weeks to go until the big day, I now feel that we’ve made a major dent in the shopping. Something my bank account was also clearly feeling when I checked last night. Whoops!

It was lovely to have time to look around for gifts – something which has become increasingly tricky when Little Miss is in tow.

Little Mister, when he’s awake, loves being out and about, with plenty to look at. And it’s nice for him to be complete centre of attention for once. He enjoyed smiling and gurgling at all the old ladies who stopped to admire him. He is a fantastic flirt – loves putting on his cutest performances for an audience!

It was lovely to be able to focus just on him for a while. He was rewarded with a nice new pair of Sock Ons! (for those not in the know, these are genius little things designed to keep babies’ footwear on their feet. Little Mister is terrible for rubbing his feet together to lose his socks).

And, once I was all shopped out, I still had time to start writing this, my first post in a while.

The day was a reminder, a wake-up call, that me-time matters. That, sometimes, it needs to be made more of a priority. My wellbeing is important and giving myself a bit of a day off from the housework was one of the best things I did this week.

It’s made me realise that I should try and carve out more time for myself – either to rest, relax or do nice things. If that means lowering my standards a bit at home then I think it will be worth it.

Having a bit of breathing space, time to clear my head, makes me a calmer, happier, more positive parent when I return to the joyful chaos of childcare.

So I will strive to do it more often.

I’m linking this post and the word ‘space’ with The Reading Residence’s fab Word of the Week linky. 

The Reading Residence
Pic credit: thaikrit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Categories: Mind matters, Motherhood, Things I've learnt..., Word of the Week | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

The one where the toddler gets naked!

Word of the Week #21 

Over the last few weeks we’ve gradually been finding Little Miss in ever increasing states of undress by the time we retrieve her from her cot each morning.

For a long time now upon waking she’s been evicting the various beloved cuddly toys that she insists are safely tucked in with her each night. Clearly they’re not so essential come first light as they are unceremoniously dumped over the side of her cot, landing with a series of thuds.

Next she moved onto unzipping herself from her sleeping bag. Then came sock removal – again an item she absolutely insists on having for bedtime whatever the weather!

The last few weeks have seen her take things up another notch, moving on to starting the day topless.

And Thursday of this week saw us greeted by a completely starkers toddler… wearing nothing but a pleased-with-herself smile. Thankfully the nappy she’d taken off was only a wet one or I doubt I’d be telling this tale with quite as much humour! So my Word of the Week has to be… Word of the Week - NakedThe implications of this are dire for a mother who generally struggles to heave herself out of bed first thing in the morning. I’m now far too nervous to risk leaving her longer than five minutes or so once we’ve heard the first shouts from her bedroom. I dread the possibility of arriving to find her standing naked in the middle of a full-on, cot-based dirty protest!

So it looks like there’ll be no more attempts to eke out anything resembling a lay-in from now on! We’ve got away with it for a long time – she used to just lay in her cot, happily chatting and singing. All good things come to an end I suppose!

This post is part of the Word of the Week linky run by fellow blogger Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence. The idea is very simple, every week you come up with one word to sum up your week. My previous words include: Can, HappyStickersCalm, AnticipationSinging, BirthdaysNo! and family.

The Reading Residence

Categories: Toddlerdom, Word of the Week | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

A weekend of running…

Word of the Week #20

Word of the Week - Running

Running has always been a big part of my husband’s life and it’s something he’s pretty good at. He was running way before we met, since he was very young, and over the years has competed at county level.

How much he runs depends on the time of year, how fit he’s feeling and whether or not he’s injured. And it has generally taken a bit more of a back seat since Little Miss came on the scene.

Although I can be known to grumble, especially about muddy gear and bringing ice packs into bed when he’s pulled a muscle, as far as sports go running is much more family friendly than most of the other options he could be obsessed with… It’s not dangerous. It’s pretty easy going on the loyal spectator, providing it’s not chucking it down. There are no complicated rules to work out and the distances he runs (these days usually between 5 and 10km) are done and dusted in well under 40 minutes – the quicker the better being the whole point! So there’s not too much waiting around. And races are usually quite exciting to watch.

Runners are also generally pretty healthy, clean-living folk. There may be the odd curry and beer night every so often but it’s all fairly civilized – not the wild weekend benders that some team sports are renowned for revelling in. You need to be fit to run fast so beer bellies are not really in vogue for the serious pavement pounder.

Anyway, last weekend (I’m playing catch up with this post!) was a bit of a bumper one for running and since Little Miss and I wanted to be there to cheer Daddy on, the lovely sunshine was very much appreciated.

Saturday morning saw a trip to our local parkrun, where hubby was taking part in his 50th event – a celebrated milestone for dedicated parkrunners. If you don’t know what parkrun is, it’s a series of free, weekly, 5km timed runs and you can find them popping up all over the country now. Anyone can turn up and run and they really cater for all abilities. I’ve been known to dabble myself and they are a great, non-scary way of getting into running. They’re run (no pun intended!) by volunteers and there’s always a warm welcome and often coffee and cake afterwards. Worth considering if you fancy getting fit or want a new challenge.

Anyway, he did his 50th one and has earned himself a special t-shirt to mark the occasion. Then Sunday saw him taking part in a local 10k race in lovely hot conditions that clearly favoured our little cheering party much more than the poor runners!

For both events it was lovely to see Little Miss getting excited when Daddy ran past, happily shouting “Daddy running, Daddy very fast!” She’s just starting to understand it all and loves the opportunity to be out and about early in the morning.

As someone who was always a bit naff at sports – partly because I always let myself believe I couldn’t do it – I’ve always been a bit in awe of those who seem to have an easy, natural zeal for it. I hope we can encourage Little Miss to have far more confidence than I did and that she continues to enjoy being physically active. This week has seen her running up and down the garden, trying to be like Daddy, so maybe there’s a budding little athlete of the future in there!

This post is part of the Word of the Week linky run by fellow blogger Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence. The idea is very simple, every week you come up with one word to sum up your week.

My previous words include:

Can, HappyStickersCalm, AnticipationSinging, BirthdaysNo! and family.

The Reading Residence

Categories: Word of the Week | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Word of the Week #19

The last few weeks have seen Little Miss starting to discover her confidence in the water and really start to enjoy herself at…

Word of the Week - swimming

We always meant to take her much more than we have but somehow never seemed to get round to it. Until a few weeks ago her only pool experience had been on holiday at Centre Parcs last June.

We did plan to go more often after that but on our first post-holiday expedition to a local pool last summer Little Miss decided to revisit her lunch in epic fashion during the car ride there. Obviously we didn’t think she’d be welcome that day, covered as she was in sick! And on a side note, carrot and corriander soup had been a very unfortunate meal choice – we’ve only recently been able to eat it again after that! Anyway, soup and sick aside, it ended up being another nine months before we attempted the pool again.

SwimmingOn her first trip a few weeks ago it took Little Miss quite a while to get into it. She couldn’t wait to put on her new swim suit and loved the Peppa Pig rubber ring we’d bought but once she got through the doors to the poolside it was all too strange. She hated walking on the changing room floor (takes after me there!) and cried for the first 20 minutes because she wanted to put her socks back on! But she did slowly come round and by the end of the session was beginning to enjoy it.

Since that trip she’s become far more adventurous at home in the bath. Up until then she’d always refused to lay down or put her face near the water. Now she can’t wait to lay on her front and pretend she’s swimming. It’s so cute to see.

And today she had a second trip to the proper swimming pool and couldn’t wait to get in and ‘make Daddy all wet’ splashing. There were no tears at all this time. At one point she even jumped it! At the moment her favourite thing is sitting on the side kicking her legs in the water. It’s been lovely to see her starting to enjoy herself and we definitely won’t leave it another nine months before we go back again this time.

This post is part of the Word of the Week linky run by fellow blogger Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence. The idea is very simple, every week you come up with one word to sum up your week.

My previous words include:

Can, HappyStickersCalm, AnticipationSinging, BirthdaysNo! and family.

The Reading Residence

Categories: Word of the Week | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Word of the Week #18

This week has felt difficult. A bit like wading through mud. I could go with the treacle analogy but that might be at least a bit more enjoyable! I’m not entirely sure why but returning to work after having had the previous week off I felt far from refreshed – more sluggish, stressed and generally a bit…

Word of the Week - Bah!

It’s just been one of those weeks where I haven’t felt on top of life. I’ve felt tired, frustrated and overwhelmed. I haven’t achieved the things I wanted to.

On the blogging front especially there’s been so much more I wanted to do but didn’t have the energy for on top of everything else – a backlog of blog posts that have stayed in my head or at best were written down as just a title, linkys I didn’t manage to join in with and comments I didn’t get around to making.

I know everyone has good and bad weeks, especially busy parents who are trying to juggle so many things.

Thankfully it does feel like the fog is lifting now. The so-far-sunny long Bank Holiday weekend is helping, as have a couple of more productive but enjoyable days. So hopefully next week I’ll feel more positive and upbeat again.

This post is part of the Word of the Week linky run by fellow blogger Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence. The idea is very simple, every week you come up with one word to sum up your week.

My previous words include:

Can, HappyStickersCalm, Anticipation, Singing, BirthdaysNo! and family.

The Reading Residence

Categories: Word of the Week | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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